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The Will Is Caused, Not "Free"

The following is a summary of our side of a recent debate with Roy Baumeister on free will, held at the annual convention of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology last February in Tampa, Florida.

Hooked on Addiction Culture

By Lynn Phillips on June 23, 2009 in Dream On
In medicine the word “addiction” usually indicates a physical dependence on a chemical substance or behavior that messes with your dopamine system. But, as Wikipedia admits, the word is now used much more broadly to mean any old gratifying dependency you have a tough time ending without tears. That’s the definition I’m taking home. So, while occasionally here in “Dream On,” we’ll look at the roles that mind and brain play in the predictable dopaminergic addictions like huffing glue (substance abuse), compulsive Purex use (OCD) and designer purse collecting (shopoholia), most often we’ll focus on the addictiveness of ideas, concepts, and fantasies -- from skewed self-images and the myth of “the American dream,” to the need to pretend that your sex partner is Angelina Jolie, a black stallion or Samuel Beckett.

Professor Anti-Stigma

One might call it Pope’s rule: Your motives are revealed by your focus.   An interesting hypothesis, especially as confirmed in cases like that of Professor Anti-Stigma. 

Can Cops Catch Liars?

By Maureen O'Sullivan Ph.D. on June 22, 2009 in Deception
If it is true that most people are unable to detect deception, what does that say about the accuracy of police investigators?   

Half off! Act now: How to Resist the Spell of a Sale

By Kit Yarrow Ph.D. on June 22, 2009 in The Why Behind the Buy
At a time when many Americans are working hard to trim their spending, alluring discounts and now-or-never bargains have never been more ubiquitous. Here's how to resist the spell of a sale and make smart shopping decisions - even in the face of a 70% off tag.

Asexuals at the Pride Parade

By Anneli Rufus on June 22, 2009 in Stuck
The San Francisco Pride Parade is wild, exuberant -- and it's all about sex. How could it not be? The pride in question involves matters of the flesh and heart: of practices, partners and passions. That's why its tens of thousands of marchers range from the motorcycle-gunning Dykes on Bikes to gay Christians to gay grandparents to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: guys who cross-dress as nuns. So it's interesting that this year, for the first time ever, an asexual contingent will march in SFPride.

The Traps Are Getting Serious for ADD/ADHD

By Frank Lawlis Ph.D. on June 22, 2009 in Redefining Stress
I am getting a little paranoid with latest study showing relationship of unexplained deaths and ADD medication.

Casual Cruelty Towards Children (Which Doesn't Stop There)

By Stanton Peele on June 22, 2009 in Addiction in Society
I've written about the cruelty casually visited on children daily on TV reality shows (like Maury Povitch). I've written about celebrity biographies that are amazing in the degree to which women tolerate abuse (like Pattie Boyd). A new biography combines the two in equal amounts.

Fathers as Models of Friendships?

By Geoffrey Greif Ph.D. on June 22, 2009 in Buddy System
President Obama was never friends with his father. Last week at the White House, he addressed the importance of fathers in children's lives and described his own mixed relationship with his dad, also recounted in his autobiography. By placing dads on the national agenda, he is also calling attention to men's roles and friendships between men.

How Do Obsessive Compulsive People Think?

By Robert L. Leahy Ph.D. on June 19, 2009 in Anxiety Files
You have thoughts that pop into your head, you fear them, you try to suppress them, and you feel responsible for everything that can go wrong. You are not alone. OCD is not a mystery. In fact, there is some "regularity" and "rationality" to your thinking. See if you see yourself in this post"

Is Your Comedian Your Therapist?

By Paul Dobransky M.D. on June 19, 2009 in The Urban Scientist
What if a comedian is the "poor man's" therapist? It's not as simple as "laughter is the best medicine." Their place in society is a direct commentary on the maturity of society itself.

The Truth About Pheromones, Part 2

By Rachel Herz Ph.D. on June 18, 2009 in Smell Life
Will a real human sex pheromone be found and bottled?

Genetic testing and the field of dreams (part 2)

By Talya Miron-Shatz Ph.D. on June 18, 2009 in Baffled by Numbers
The first Annual Consumer Genetics Show in Boston last week, reminded me of the First Automobile Show, New York, 1900. ‘The Grandmother of all Auto Shows' presented vehicles to a world with no highways or navigation tools. A world with barely any road signs, because people rarely wandered outside of their well known realm. The car manufacturers who presented there were perhaps dreamers, but such dreamers, fueled by ambition, adventure, a flare for novel ideas and, let's face it, the desire to make a buck, are what pushes the world forward.  

Calvin Nails Its Market

By Paul Joannides Psy.D. on June 17, 2009 in As You Like It
Two pretty boys and one seriously skinny girl. This is not going to put a tent in the pants of your average straight guy.

All You Need Is Love Part I

By Anthony Synnott Ph.D. on June 17, 2009 in Rethinking Men
"All you need is love...love is all you need." The Beatles sang this interminably. "What the world needs now, is love, sweet love," sang Burt Bacharach in close harmony. "Love makes the world go round" is proverbial.

Minding Your P's & Q's

By Anthony Synnott Ph.D. on June 16, 2009 in Rethinking Men

Do the Eyes Have It?

By Sybil Lockhart Ph.D. on June 16, 2009 in FearSome
A few years ago, my friend Ally, who had a somewhat unwarranted confidence in my knowledge of Things Psychological, asked if I knew anything about EMDR; she had suffered some severe childhood trauma, and was thinking of trying it. "EMDR?" I asked, "Is that a new street drug?" I guess that showed her what I knew.

Forget about Perfection

By Judith S. Beck PhD on June 16, 2009 in Thinking Thin
Many dieters have an interesting sabotaging thought: "Because I wasn't perfect on my diet just now (i.e., because I just cheated), I may as well give up (and start again tomorrow)." It's a cleverly hidden excuse.

Anticipating One's Troubles: The Elusive Benefits of Negative Expectations

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on June 15, 2009 in Don't Delay
"He who suffers before it is necessary suffers more than is necessary" (Seneca, Roman essayist, philosopher, playwright, C. 4 B.C.- A.D.65) A recent study in the journal Emotion provides support for the cost of anticipating one's troubles. It's a cost and kind of suffering procrastinators know all too well.

The Narcissism and Grandiosity of Celebrities.

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on June 15, 2009 in Homo Consumericus
Most celebrities have at best graduated from high school. Hence, it is quite extraordinary that they should feel sufficiently knowledgeable as to "contribute" to complex issues in physics (Madonna), psychiatry (Tom Cruise), or medicine (Jenny McCarthy and Suzanne Somers). Here is a thought: Entertain us at the movies and in concert halls, and leave the science for scientists. Celebrities might wish to take heed of the famous quote by Confucius: "When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it - this is knowledge." 

Sexual Response, Motivation and Innovation

By Moses Ma on June 15, 2009 in The Tao of Innovation
Where exactly does the motivation for innovation come from? Is the act of inventing buried deep within our evolutionary context? Is there an "invention gene"? How are the brain functions for creativity and procreativity similar? How can one achieve a state of mastery in innovation, so ideation becomes a meditation, like with a zen master at the archery range? A new approach might lead us to a post Theory Z view of motivation. Instead of using carrots and sticks and focusing on the extrinsic factors, perhaps management theorists and organizational psychologists should look at the intrinsic neurophysiology of invention and creativity.

Genetic testing and the field of dreams (part 1)

By Talya Miron-Shatz Ph.D. on June 15, 2009 in Baffled by Numbers
 Genetic testing is so widespread, even affordable, that it has become a commodity with companies offering kits for gathering saliva, which are then mailed back, analyzed, and followed up with genetic reports. The technological ability to pore over one's genes dovetails with a zeitgeist promoting choice, knowledge, and patient autonomy. And what better proof to the marriage of zeitgeist and science than the name "The First Annual Consumer Genetics Show" which took place in Boston last week.

Friendships: The Next Big Business Strategy?

By Ray Williams on June 14, 2009 in Wired for Success
There is no question that the value in online friendships for both businesses and individuals alike is poised to grow and be used for purposes beyond what we can now imagine.