The Latest

An Apology from Psychology Today

By PT Editors on May 27, 2011 in Brainstorm
Last week, a blog post about race and appearance by Satoshi Kanazawa was published--and promptly removed--from this site. We deeply apologize for the pain and offense that this post caused.

The Ancient Greek Cure for Depression and Anxiety

As far as societies go, we’re one stressed out, anxious, depressed and self-medicating mess. Those of us who work on the front-lines in the mental health field know this all too well; others need only to take a careful look around the social-cultural landscape to appreciate that our collective mental health is not too, well, healthy.

Did dogs inspire domestication?

The domestication of animals was self-evidently a crucial part of the human race's transition from hunter-gatherer through pastoralist, but despite its importance, many unanswered questions remain. Why, for example, have so few species of animals been domesticated? Animal scientists are divided as to whether the primary cause of this is biological or cultural.

Why believe in God?

There is an important difference between motivations for believing in God and reasons for believing in God.

A Yet More Pathetic Fallacy

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on May 27, 2011 in Hidden Motives
The Economy

Projecting feelings into forests and clouds is a great way to evoke moods, but it’s startling to see economist routinely doing this to the economy. When poets do this to nature, we call it the “pathetic fallacy,” but what should we call it when economists do it to economic data?

Race, Sensationalism, Stereotyping, and Freedom of Speech

My initial reaction to Kanazawa’s controversial blog posting was annoyance, but I now believe there is much to learn from this episode – about freedom of speech, "pseudoscience," sensationalism, stereotyping, and the ease with which otherwise well-intentioned people can adopt a lynch-mob mentality.

5 Ways to Indirectly Ask for a Date

How to make asking for a date easier, by being indirect and covert with your requests.

Smoked Out

By Kasia Galazka on May 27, 2011 in Pop Rocks
Growing up we got peppered with all sorts of anti-drug campaigns, which cemented my fear of ever feeling out of control, so I only smoked and drank on occasion. And then I quit. That is, until I started watching Mad Men.

Springtime for Hitler

By Lynn Phillips on May 27, 2011 in Dream On
While drinking excessively puts your at risk for addiction, quitting drinking carries some strange risks as well, as Lars Von Trier found out at the Cannes Film Festival, where he made a rambling speech that got him banished as an anti-Semite.

Four Relationship Busters And How To Beat Them

By Marcia Eckerd Ph.D. on May 27, 2011 in People Skills
How to keep that special closeness with your partner.

Oprah as Emerson

Oprah was an optimist, but what does this mean? Was she reflecting common sense or changing it? What philosophical ideas were being invoked as she changed our culture? And why are her ideas so uncannily close to Ralph Waldo Emerson's?

Love, Work, and Friends: You Actually Can Have It All, With One Caveat

You want a social life, with friends.
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day.
What's true Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But you never may have three.

"I Am Powerless Over My Anger"

By Stanton Peele on May 27, 2011 in Addiction in Society
We have certain unquestioned societal responses to problems people encounter that lead them into trouble -- like anger management training and Alcoholics Anonymous. Wait a sec -- aren't those two things at opposite ends of the therapy spectrum?

People Who Can't Control Themselves Control The People Around Them Part 2

Interdependence as a concept has been around for years, but it is badly misunderstood. This is why people talking the most about it are usually unable to do it. The problem isn't that they have difficulty putting their ideals into practice (but which is often true). The problem is their idea of interdependence is systematically wrong.

Friends Tell Friends Their Secret Fears

By Donna Barstow on May 27, 2011 in Ink Blots Cartoons
Don't be fooled, and don't ask how she does it. Just tell her she looks beautiful.

Is Marriage a Special Kind of Social Support?

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on May 27, 2011 in Living Single
Here’s a study in which researchers asked the unmarried participants about their social and emotional support, rather than just assuming that they would have less support than married people.

Lawsuit Over Photos of Dead Son: What Is It Really About?

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a bereaved mother who feels traumatized by photographs taken of her dead infant son. After she refused consent, an album of postmortem photographs arrived in the mail, and she was horrified to discover that her baby had been dressed, posed, and photographed without her knowledge. My heart goes out to her. But it’s not what you think.

The Thrill of Victory and the Lessons of Defeat

Don't fail to fail, it's how you learn to succeed. But fear of failure can become a trap.

Self-interest Drives Animals to Dominate or Submit

When a mammal sees a piece of food, a group-mate sees it too. Group-living animals evolved to size up others as they act to meet their needs.

One-upping Is a Mammalian Survival Strategy

We feel good when we're one-up because we've inherited a brain that evolved to do just that. Instead of feeling guilty about it, we can feel good about how well we moderate this instinct.