B is for... better

The Psychologist A to Z continues.

Suggested by Lai Tang, a Research Student
University of Roehampton London

‘What does it mean to be better? Who decides who is better? It’s an issue for psychology in multiple contexts, and how we think on it depends on cultural and technological shifts.’

Brain disorder can lead to better performance. In their February 2013 article, Narinder Kapur, Jonathan Cole and Tom Manly explained how language-impaired patients can be better at detecting facial cues of deception; how two lesions can be better than one; and how sensory loss can enhance other areas.

Who decides whether a person is ‘getting better’? Back in 2008, Hayward and Slade discussed the recovery movement, advocating a state of ‘safe uncertainty’, whereby new explanations can be collaboratively developed and people can ‘fall out of love with the idea that solutions solve things’.

Would you be happier if you were better looking? On our Research Digest, guest blogger David Robson revealed that the link between body satisfaction and life satisfaction is actually very weak.

Many psychologists strive for a better society. See Mark Burton’s 2013 article ‘A renewal of ethics’.

Brain training exercises just make you better at brain training exercises – see a 2016 review covered on our Research Digest.

Would you take ‘cognitive enhancers’ in pursuit of a better you? See Barbara Sahakian’s work for more

- Tweet your thoughts on this topic, and suggestions for any letter, to @psychmag using the hashtag #PsychAtoZ or email the editor on [email protected]

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber