Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The importance of character during war

Nearly 20 years of war following the events of September 11 has resulted in advances in military psychology that stand to improve the well-being of all people, military and civilian alike. The symbiotic relationship between psychology and the military traces back to World War I. With the advent of US involvement in the war, the […]

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Can you tell the difference between real and fake therapy? [quiz]

Counseling and psychotherapy are professions that should be held to the highest standards—ethical standards, professional standards, and scientific standards, just as all health care services should comply with high standards. In providing health care services to clients, we are asking them to come to us in a state of vulnerability and trust that we are […]

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Protecting workers from COVID-19

Everyone deserves to go home from work safe and healthy. Sadly, during the current pandemic that will not be the case; some workers will die because they became infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus, the official name for the virus responsible for COVID-19, in their workplace. We expect that employers will take all reasonable steps to protect their workers […]

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Children Aid’s Society neighborhood-based programs

Established in 1853, the Children’s Aid Society provided services to homeless children and poor families.  Although CAS’s first secretary, Charles Loring Brace, is best known for the “orphan trains”—an initiative that placed children with families in the West—he also built an impressive network of community-based programs in the city. Starting from a small office on […]

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Why we like a good robot story

Jim and Kerry Kelly live in a small town in the rural Midwest. Their sons, Ben, six, and Ryan, twelve, attend the local public school. Their school district is always short staffed. The closest town is 40 miles away and the pay for teachers is abysmal. This year, the district’s staffing has hit a critical […]

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Keeping social distance: the story of the word “aloof” and a few tidbits

It is amazing how many words like aloof exist in English. Even for “fear” we have two a-formations: afraid, which supplanted the archaic afeard, and aghast. Aback, aboard, ashore, asunder—a small dictionary can be filled with them (but alas and alack do not belong here). The model is productive: consider aflutter and aglitter. One feature unites those words: they cannot be used attributively. Indeed, an asunder man and an astride rider do not exist.

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The city will survive coronavirus

In a recent essay, New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman asked “Can City Life Survive Coronavirus?” It seems an apt question in this extraordinary time of mandated retreat from public life.  City streets and spaces normally teeming with people are nearly deserted now, evoking scenes from a Terry Gilliam film.  In an effort to slow the […]

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Why war stories could reinjure those affected

When my mother was born, the Federal Republic of Nigeria was less than one year old. Language barriers, and eventually death, prevented me from asking my grandparents what life under the colonial rule of the Royal Niger Company had been like, their fates twisted and tugged by the company’s board of directors in London. I […]

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Inspirational TV shows to watch during this pandemic

There are many ways people are passing time with staying home during the pandemic. Some are taking up new hobbies. Some are exploring virtual museums. Some may even be preparing for a neighborhood sing-along out their windows. But many people are turning to television to provide entertainment, comfort, and/or escape. Since the late 1990s, as […]

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Untold stories of the Apollo 13 engineers

Late on 13 April 1970, the night shift had started in Houston’s Manned Spaceflight Center. Engineers tried to sift through reams of odd data coming about the Apollo 13 spacecraft, from instrument readings to the confused reports from three astronauts. It looked like they were rapidly losing their oxygen supply. “First of all, we thought […]

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Six jazz movies you may not know

The film industry started making jazz-related features as soon as synchronized sound came in, in 1927: “I’m gonna sing it jazzy,” Al Jolson’s Jack Robin optimistically declares in the pioneering talkie The Jazz Singer, before taking off on Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” (He gets closer to the jazzy mark whistling a quasi-improvised chorus of “Toot Toot […]

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Why gun owners could be the decisive vote in 2020

Recently, Joe Biden visited a construction plant in Michigan. A worker confronted Biden and accused the former vice president of “actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment right and take away our guns.” Biden, in turn, responded, “You’re full of shit.” The exchange continued, cameras rolling, Biden clearly sensed an opportunity, recognized the political value of the […]

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Maths can help you thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic

When Isaac Newton practiced social distancing during the Great Plague that hit London in 1665, he was not expected to transition from face-to-face work with scientist colleagues to a patchwork of conference calls and email. With no children underfoot who needed care at home, he concentrated on developing early calculus ideas. With no exposure to a […]

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The Perfect Tenses in English

What could be simpler than grammatical tense—things happening now are in the present, things happening before are in the past, and things that haven’t happened yet are in the future. If only it were so easy. Consider the present tense. Its meaning often refers not to things happening right now but to some general state […]

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How religious sects can be a force for good

On Sunday, 29 March, Russell M. Nelson, president of the 16-million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released a video from Salt Lake City calling on church members everywhere to join in a fast “to pray for relief from the physical, emotional, and economic effects of this global pandemic.” Some 71 years before, on […]

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Why vaccines should be compulsory

Imagine we develop a vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19). Suppose the vaccine has some very small chance of some serious side effects, for instance seizures. However, this vaccine can save millions of lives globally, in the same way as other vaccines do. You are the prime minister and you have to decide whether to make […]

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