Ophelia Deroy

To be or not to be two?

I could have been more courageous I will be more forgiving. Such thoughts are frequent, especially at the beginning of the year, like now. We believe that we stand for certain values, or deeper virtues, which might not be expressed or realized in our day-to-day actions. We fall short of a certain idea of ourselves. What Nina et al.’s paper argues is that we tend to transform this shortfall into the idea of a deep true self, distinct from the superficial or more contextual self we express in everyday life. ...

Read More

Fast lemons and intuitive beliefs

Is a lemon fast or slow? Which one is brighter: the sound of a violin or the sound of a trombone? Got the answer? Without any apparent reason, you believe that lemons are fast and violins sound brighter than trombones. These beliefs happen to be shared by most humans, from an early age and ...

Read More

Why pink? Color matters

Just ask yourself : Which colour do you prefer ? Have you always preferred it, or did your preference change ? Can you tell why you prefer pink to, let's say, yellow ? If you have no answer to these questions, you may wonder what's so interesting about colour preferences. And if you have no ...

Read More

Mad in America

Relativity of mental illness has enjoyed the favours of philosophers for decades (Michel Foucault, Ian Hacking and, more recently Geoffrey Llyod in his Cognitive Variations). It has lead to the development of the « new cross-cultural psychiatry », heralded by Kleinman in 1977. ...

Read More

Some like it hot

Relativity in culinary matters and in taste is a big issue - our tastes (or distastes) for things are indeed shaped by what we are used to eat and see eaten, as well as other factors, genetics being one. Now they combine with less strictly sensorial aspects - and disgust for instance integrates, as ...

Read More

Why you should rank your friends (but not tell them)

Like me, you must sometimes receive these « rank your friends » messages through your social network. It starts by saying how high you have been ranked in someone’s best friends list, and thereby invites you to return the compliment. It seems like crude ranking and ...

Read More

Face value

As Dan was noticing last time, the ability to recognize individuals on the basis of faces (and voices) is quite fascinating. The ability to « read » unfamiliar faces is no less interesting, albeit quite independant : prosopagnosics with impairments in perception of facial ...

Read More

Fame!

(editor's note) Why are we interested in famous people? Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that social  information served as gossip is inherently interesting for us - information about alliances, personal hatreds, couple formation and splits, is intrinsically rewarding to our brain ...

Read More