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If You Can Say It, You Can Feel It

For a long time, philosophers and scientists assumed that we humans have a limited set of basic emotions – such as fear, joy, anger – that can explain the range of feelings we experience. A more recent theory takes a different approach: We have infinite emotions, so long as we can name them. This makes for interesting neologisms and is at the heart of the internet trope «tfw», with people describing in specific terms «that feeling when…». It has more serious implications, too: New ways of defining emotions «shift the way neuroscientists search for treatments for emotional problems», like depression or anxiety. An eye-opening read.

Published in Weekly Filet #288

Does Depression Have an Evolutionary Purpose?


At the beginning of this year, I’ve decided to collect all articles (or videos, or visualisations, or books) that changed my view on a subject, or gave me a fresh perspective on something I had a fairly limited understanding of. This is one of them.

Published in Weekly Filet #264

Why we fall for political spin

The Washington Post

A playful way to experience and learn about cognitive biases. For when you’re a bit too busy to read the complete Kahneman (which I highly recommend, though)

Published in Weekly Filet #245

The Psychology of Human Misjudgment

Harrison Barnes

Don’t be scared away by the slow start and the sheer length of this piece (my read-later app of choice says 98 minutes reading time). It’s time well spent with an «avid collector of instances of bad judgment»: a deeply insightful description of 25 human tendencies that lead to bad choices (then again, we’re not as bad as ants, that – once they’d have atomic bombs – would within 18 hours…well, read for yourself).

Published in Weekly Filet #230 In collection: Best of 2017

Why facts don’t change our minds

The New Yorker

I tell you this is a great text. Then I tell you that I just made up that appraisal, it’s completely random. You still believe me. And now you probably want to read it to understand why.

Published in Weekly Filet #229

Ten Meter Tower

The New York Times

All it takes is a small step – gravity will take care of the rest. And yet, and yet. This 16-minute documentary from Sweden brilliantly captures people struggling with themselves as they stand atop the ten meter tower, ready to jump into the water. Or maybe not. Or maybe yes. Or maybe not.

Published in Weekly Filet #226 In collection: Best of 2017