Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

When narcolepsy makes you more creative

At night, the surrealist poet Saint-Pol-Roux used to hang a sign on his bedroom’s door that read: “Do not disturb: poet at work.” Indeed, may sleep increase our creativity? The link between creativity and sleep has been a topic of intense speculation, mainly based on anecdotal reports of artistic and scientific discoveries people have made while dreaming.

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Explaining Freud’s concept of the uncanny

According to his friend and biographer Ernest Jones Sigmund Freud was fond regaling him with “strange or uncanny experiences with patients.” Freud had a “particular relish” for such stories. 2019 marks the centenary of the publication of Freud’s essay, “The ‘Uncanny.’” Although much has been written on the essay during that time, Freud’s concept of the uncanny is often not well understood.

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Warning: music therapy comes with risks

Bob Marley sings, “One good thing about music—when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Although this may be the case for some people and in some circumstances, we dispute this statement as a global truth.

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Theranos and the cult of personality in science and tech

Elizabeth Holmes was a chemical engineering student who dropped out of Stanford to found Theranos: a silicon-valley start-up company that, at one point, was valued at US$9 billion. Her plan was to be another Steve Jobs. Today, she is facing fraud and other criminal charges.

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Schizophrenia and ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky

Schizophrenia is the most iconic of all mental illnesses but both its conceptualization and causes remain elusive. The popular image portrays patients convinced of being persecuted and hearing voices that nobody else can hear.

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A bull-session with bacteria

Arthur S. Reber’s new book argues that consciousness was present in the first living cells, and that even the simplest of organisms, the prokaryotes like bacteria, are sentient. In this piece, he imagines what it would be like to sit down with two bacteria and hear their opinions on consciousness, and how their sentience helps them keep alive despite the best efforts of humans.

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Philosopher of The Month: William James (timeline)

This January the OUP Philosophy team honours William James (1842-1910) as their Philosopher of the Month. James was the founder of pragmatism, an influential Harvard philosopher and scholar on religion and was arguably considered one of the dominant figures in psychology of his day, before Sigmund Freud.

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What do you value most in life? [quiz]

Everyday choices are guided by a person’s strongest character virtue, and show what they value most in life. This personality quiz,based on a psychometrically validated personality test developed by expert psychologists, will help you discover what your defining character virtue is and how it can help guide your future life choices.

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How video may influence juror decision-making for police defendants

In recent years, these videos [depicting police brutality] have become increasingly available to the public and widely disseminated, fueling the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement demanding justice for minority victims of police violence. Yet, little research has explored how video is impacting juries when police actually go to trial as defendants.

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Words always matter

The run-up to the recent mid-term elections saw commentators across the political spectrum claiming that “words matter.” Much of this was in response to violent acts – in particular the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre and the pipe bombs sent to Democrats – that some argued was a consequence of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Words always matter of course. But due to the timing and the stakes – in this instance, an upcoming mid-term election of considerable consequence – it turned into a literal war of words. Language was weaponized to an extent not seen before.

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How video may influence juror decision-making for police defendants

In recent years, these videos [depicting police brutality] have become increasingly available to the public and widely disseminated, fueling the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement demanding justice for minority victims of police violence. Yet, little research has explored how video is impacting juries when police actually go to trial as defendants.

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What is “toxic” about anger?

What is anger? In essence, anger is a subjective feeling tied to perceived wrongdoing and a tendency to counter or redress that wrongdoing in ways that may range from resistance to retaliation. Like sadness and fear, the feeling of anger can take the form of emotion, mood, or temperament.

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Stan Lee on what is a superhero

What is a superhero? What is a supervillain? What are the traits that define and separate these two? What cultural contexts do we find them in? And why we need them? Editors Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD and Peter Coogan, PhD collected a series of essays examining these questions from both major comic book writers and editors, such as Stan Lee and Danny Fingeroth, and leading academics in psychology and cultural studies, such as Will Brooker and John Jennings.

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Stress management in the work place [infographic]

Employees in the modern work force are faced with obstacles every day that prompt stress. These work-related stressors can lead to different kinds of strains that affect both the health and the well-being of the employee and the organization. Various types of stress management interventions, guided by organizational development and work stress frameworks, may be […]

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Learning from nature to save the planet

Our planet is out of balance as the result of our technologies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global temperatures could reach a frightening plus +3° by the end of the century, our ocean ecosystems risk being overwhelmed by non-degrading plastic waste, open rubbish tips scar the landscape and pollute our water supplies […]

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