I don't know who coined the term, but whoever it was deserves a medal. I was introduced to it early in my training as a psychologist and psychoanalyst, and it's a good diagnosis for those who cannot tolerate doubt. Read More
In daily life people get caught up in mutual hatred, unable to see anything about the other person apart from their faults. It often happens in families and between groups as well. And it happens in the larger world.
Do We Really Want to Know?
The number of people who understand the meaning of the votes cast in the election is astonishing. They can’t all be correct, and yet so many are stridently certain -- and eager for the rest of us to get the message they hear so loudly.
More and more, the internet is being mined and scratched for data - and, of course, at the moment our current focus is on forecasting the election. Tuesday night, for example, CNN will use "sentiment analysis" to track the themes that preoccupy voters.
Economists often talk as if money has a life of its own. As Dan Ariely, a Duke University Professor, put it: "The entire question of how emotion will change people's behavior is pretty much outside the standard model of economics."
News about Iraq and Afghanistan fills the media. At the same time we are besieged with stories about the up-coming election. But where are the stories about how the war is affecting election campaigns?
A new study strongly suggests what many of us have suspected - or feared: "the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline." Interestingly, the data was compiled by economists, not psychologists or physicians.
Why Alvin Greene Won the Senate Nomination in South Carolina
Like everybody else, I don‘t know much about Alvin Greene. Nor do I have any theories about what motivated him to run in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat in South Carolina. What intrigues me is how he got over 100,000 votes and won the nomination.
For some time, research has shown how much we each unconsciously distort our perceptions to enhance self-esteem. We amplify the good and modify the bad. We tend to think we are more attractive, smarter, better and nicer than we actually are.
Anger frightens us. That's what it's designed to do. Indispensable to our evolutionary struggle, it generated the extra energy and alertness we needed for defense and counterattack. The mere signs of anger warn and intimidate potential enemies. And anger still serves those adaptive functions. But more recently we have seen it as a way of getting attention - and it has been getting a lot of attention.
Suddenly, economic inequality is a hot topic. The gap between the rich and poor has been growing for over 30 years, but a tipping point in our collective consciousness has now been reached. What made this possible? (For a review of the issue, see Slate: "The United States of Inequality")
Our financial roller coaster has offered many opportunities to observe people thinking about their financial situations under stress - or not. A new book offers some good examples of how businessmen and investors can keep their cool.
Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up Jewish shoppers, Sunni insurgents killing Shia police, Christian fundamentalists murdering abortion doctors, Hindu mobs attacking worshippers at Muslim shrines . . . . So much of the intolerance and hatred in the world seems to spring from religious differences.
And yet religions give us the largest possible overview of mankind.
The Compassion Deficit. It's not news anymore, but it's still a surprise: the poor are more generous than the rich. "For decades, surveys have shown that upper-income Americans ... are particularly undistinguished as givers when compared with the poor.... lower-income Americans give proportionally more of their incomes to charity than do upper-income Americans." (See, "The Charitable-Giving Divide" in Sunday's New York Times Magazine.)
A recent study appears to confirm that exercise can reduce anger. According to Nathaniel Thom, a stress physiologist, "exercise, even a single bout of it, can have a robust prophylactic effect" against the buildup of anger. (See, "Phys Ed - Can Exercise Moderate Anger?" in The New York Times Sunday Magazine)
The recent floods in Pakistan, the drought in Russia, melting glaciers and record-breaking temperatures in New York are bringing home the real threat of global warming. Extreme weather conditions are convincing people that the problem is real.
In an age where so much information and so many texts are freely available and free of cost - not to mention movies, songs and video clips - it is not surprising that plagiarism is thriving. Authorship and ownership have come to mean less and less.
I usually don't take anything to read when going for a ride on the subway. And I don't listen to books on tape while driving or running in the park. Typically I defend myself to friends who think I'm wasting time by claiming, "I need the time to worry."
Economists have recently confirmed something most of us have known since the third grade, the power of beauty to influence our judgment. Not a real surprise. But it is interesting how easily we seem to forget how our third-grade minds persist into adulthood, and how much they still control our reactions.
Psychologists have started to comment on the emotional impact of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They note its uncanny, nightmarish qualities as well as its resonance with other vital issues we are facing.