The culpably faulty study that claimed to find a link between MMR vaccination and autism scared many parents, who stopped vaccinating their children. Photograph: Thinkstock

Loss of public trust will be the most serious consequence if misconduct is not eliminated

Ikaria: the island’s inhabitants live 10 years longer than Americans before contracting cancer or cardiovascular disease, and suffer much less from depression. Photograph: Thinkstock

It’s no myth: on Ikaria a mix of contentment, diet and social interaction extend life well beyond the norm

Are all brains preloaded with a reservoir of remarkable abilities that are lying dormant?

Pinocchio learned all about the damage lies can cause

Lies told to spare people’s feelings are generally considered harmless, but some scientists disagree

A leg up? Not all self-help books are worthy of the name

Avoid any approach that hasn’t been verified by independent data or that promises a quick fix

How much of reality can be explained by the physical sciences?

Materialists claim that the self is illusory and free will doesn’t exist, but many scientists disagree

Selling cigarettes to under-18s is already illegal, but this does not prevent young people from obtaining them

The British Medial Association’s move to block the sale of cigarettes to those born after 2000 is understandable but would prove c(...)

It is possible to achieve checkmate in a well-known five-step manoeuvre, but also using a much less familiar three-move sequence. Photograph: Thinkstock

Familiarity with the tried and tested can prevent us from seeking out more efficient solutions

How can God affect our lives? Kosslyn uses the analogy of a flock of geese navigating a long migration. Photograph: Thinkstock

Stephen Kosslyn once put forward the intriguing notion that God exists but is not supernatural

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