The Latest

Big Black Squares

By Anneli Rufus on October 28, 2011 in Stuck
As a member of the media, I was invited to an art opening at SFMOMA this month. The art was large. The artist was famous. I ended up feeling like an idiot. For those of us with low self-esteem, opportunities for feeling inferior pop up everywhere.

Why Banks (and Regular People) Take Stupid Risks

Risk-taking is seen as a bad thing in many contexts (e.g. banking), but over human evolutionary history, risky behavior has on balance paid off. If evolution "wants" us to take risks, why does our risky behavior so often lead to disaster?

Why Does Coffee Make Us Feel So Good?

By Gary L Wenk Ph. D. on October 28, 2011 in Your Brain on Food
Coffee makes us feel so good because it is able to tap into virtually every reward system our brain has evolved. Hidden within that hot black silken elixir is a chemical that has taken over your brain by mimicking the actions of cocaine and marijuana.

The Dangers of Optimism

By Robert L Leahy Ph.D. on October 28, 2011 in Anxiety Files
Just think positively and everything will turn out the way you want. This is the premise behind the book, The Secret, which advertises itself as “Everything is possible, nothing is impossible”. How wonderful to know that we can count on the power of our thinking to change the laws of nature.

Emotional Causes of Climate Change Denial

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on October 28, 2011 in Hot Thought
Kari Marie Norgaard provides a sophisticated account of why a group of well informed and politically progressive people nevertheless tend to deny that climate change is a serious problem.

Halloween Quotes: What They Say About Our Fears

To the extent that Halloween revolves around an emotion, there's no question but that emotion is fear. After all, the most compelling creatures of the day (or night!) are monsters. And these bloodcurdling ogres represent either the freakish dead--such as mummies, skeletons, and ghosts--or the ghoulishly undead--like zombies and vampires. . . .

Musings About the "M" Word for Creatives

By Jeffrey Davis M.A. on October 28, 2011 in Tracking Wonder
Maybe a fresh look at what "the muse" is and isn't can help us creatives know what it takes to court it and keep it.

Changing How We Think About Psychological Trauma

By Stephen Joseph Ph.D. on October 28, 2011 in What Doesn't Kill Us
The possibility of posttraumatic growth has become one of the most exciting topics in modern clinical psychology and psychotherapy

Marshmallows and Monoamines

By Alex Korb Ph.D. on October 28, 2011 in PreFrontal Nudity
The ability to resist temptation is facilitated by the neurotransmitter serotonin. In contrast, dopamine pushes you to eat junk food, watch too much TV, lust after the opposite (or same) sex, and seek out drugs of abuse. Your ability to make good life decisions in large part depends on the relative strength of these two neurotransmitter systems.

My Teen Son Is a Failure

By Barbara Greenberg Ph.D. on October 27, 2011 in The Teen Doctor
What to do if your teen is failing school

Postpartum Depression: Is Misinformation Just Annoying or Can it Be Dangerous?

...Should well-respected, highly-accomplished experts stop promising women that they can prevent postpartum depression by buying their books, or taking their course, or by simply seeing things differently?

Is Before to the Left of After?

How we think about time can differ dramatically across cultures. Suppose someone gives you four cards, each of which depicts a scene from a story about preparing and eating a meal. The person asks you to arrange the scenes in temporal order, from beginning to end. Will you place the first card to the left or to the right of the second card?

Confronting Terror

Why is Halloween so alluring? Maybe because it provides people with a safe way to confront existential fears about death and personal darkness.

Light Therapy and Your Mental Health

Light therapy is useful in treating mood disorders.

Do Some People Sense the Unseen? Part 1

By Michael Jawer on October 27, 2011 in Feeling Too Much
Could a "neurobiology of sensitivity" – combining elements of nature as well as nurture – provide a basis for explaining the anomalous perceptions that many people have?

The Foster Care System and Its Victims: Part I

What happens when someone finds out a child has been abused? The difficult journey that leads a child to foster care is almost always a traumatic one.

Success Can Breed the Narcissism of "Tall Man Syndrome"

Craving attention? Addicted to being the best? Why do folks who are extra-smart, tall, athletic, good-looking or wealthy have higher rates of behaving like narcissists?

How Parents and Children Can Finally Come to Love Each Other

Adult children and their aging parents have a unique opportunity to relinquish control, to see, for once and for all, whether love is possible after all.