All About Identity

"We contain multitudes," wrote Walt Whitman, referring not to the highly contested diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder but to the fact that we see ourselves radically differently in different contexts. Everyone struggles with that existential plum, "Who am I?" For people who are overly concerned with other people's impressions, or who feel a core aspect of themselves, such as gender or sexuality, is not being expressed, this struggle is acute.

Recent Posts on Identity

Young, Confident, Bisexual

By Nick Luxmoore on September 02, 2015 in Young People Up Close
More and more young people are slowly gaining the confidence to resist being defined as one thing or another. More and more say that they "might be bisexual."

The Lure of ISIS

By Saul Levine M.D. on September 01, 2015 in Our Emotional Footprint
Thousands of youth from multiple countries, cultures, religions, and social classes have abruptly left their homes and families to join ISIS, a dangerous, destructive, messianic Islamic self-styled nation (caliphate). They abandon their past values and relationships. become zealous True Believers, committed to their charismatic leaders and their God, dedicated to victory

Is Your Relationship Growing or Diminishing Your Real Self?

By Peg Streep on August 26, 2015 in Tech Support
We connect with others in part to validate our sense of who we are but why is it that, sometimes--more often than we'd like--the close connections we forge make us feel "less than" instead of "more than." A close look at the perils and rewards of interdependence....

The Black "Whole" of Schizophrenia

This article examines the meaning of the idea that "the whole is more than the sum of its parts" in the context of psychotic delusions. Creation of a complex and/or systematized delusional system may lead one into a black hole and a gravitation toward alienation, suffering and perhaps death. The psychotic individual's receipt of self-reflection can be therapeutic.

Which Five Powerful Self-Beliefs Motivate Donald Trump?

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Motivate!
Research indicates most people are unable to articulate their own motives. Accurate detection of motivation is even more challenging when assessing others. Do you really know what motivates billionaire Donald Trump?

The History and Psychology of Warrior Women

Warrior Women, Archetype, History, Psychology

The Bundy Effect

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on August 18, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
The Bundy Effect is the ability to create multiple impressions, fluidly and effectively, to achieve a goal.

Can You Fake Intimacy?

Being involved in a truly intimate relationship means that you reveal your real self to your partner. The question is whether the self you show to your partner is authentic or sham. Find out whether you and your partner are being as honest as possible with each other.

The Collapse of Values and My Local Car Dealership

What an efficient group of employees! Then why do I feel so bad?

Cognitive Signatures of Creativity and Genius

By Kaja Perina on August 14, 2015 in Brainstorm
Dr. Albert Rothenberg articulates cognitive processes that undergird breakthrough discoveries and the most inventive minds.

How Superman Handles Pressure

You might be able to leap buildings in a single bound and change the course of mighty rivers, but can you handle pressure?

The Right Way to React to Risky Moments in Your Relationship

By Erica B Slotter Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 in Me, You, & Us
How do you react when your partner does something that makes you feel hurt or rejected? In these situations, you can either protect yourself or seek connection with your partner. Read on to find out which behavioral option is best for your relationship and which strategy you may be more likely to choose.

Does Faking It Make Us Happy?

By Donna Flagg on August 12, 2015 in Honestly
We live in a world of smoke-n-mirrors, deeply challenged to face reality, honesty and truth.

The Inside Out of American identity

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on August 08, 2015 in The Me in We
Erikson reflects on the disunity of the United States.

The Gun, the Bomb, and the Wound That Will Not Heal

By Pythia Peay on August 06, 2015 in America On The Couch
"I say this again and again—but it happens that we were the ones to make the bomb first, and to use it, and this has had its impact on us. The raw nerve exists because we have a need to fend off any kind of guilt or self-condemnation." Psychohistorian Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.

Student-Athlete...or Athlete-Student?

By Alexis Hatcher on August 05, 2015 in Psy-College-y Today
Despite what colleges claim, academics doesn’t always end up coming first. Here's an athlete's perspective on why that is.

Home Is Where the Heart Is, but Where Is "Home"?

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on August 03, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
“Home” is the place where you feel in control and properly oriented in space and time; it is a predictable and secure place. In the words of poet Robert Frost, "Home is the place that, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." In short, home is the primary connection between you and the rest of the world.

4 Reasons to Have the Last Say

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on August 03, 2015 in Creating in Flow
There are several good reasons to write out a brief narrative essay that expresses something we'd like to be remembered by. Whether it's to be used as a eulogy or shared with close family or the world, the experience itself is eye-opening.

Why We Need Work

As much as we might like to inhabit another vision – perhaps lounging on the deck of our new home as we gaze at the ocean across an unpopulated beach – it would be our undoing. What work teaches, and what the Puritans emphasized, is the value of charting a trajectory for one’s life and of maintaining that trajectory.

Why So Many Partners Want to Be Both Single and Together

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on August 03, 2015 in Living Single
After decades in which living single has been stereotyped and stigmatized, is it now becoming something that even couples want a piece of?

God, Satan, and Our Moral Bias

By Hector A Garcia Psy.D. on August 02, 2015 in Alpha God
Monuments to God or Satan? Exposing our moral biases.

Life’s Endings and How We Make Sense out of Them

When something important in your life comes to an end, whether your career or your relationship, the process may be more difficult to cope with than you might realize. Ultimately, it’s your identity, and the sense you make of that ending, which will determine how you emerge from life’s transition points.

Shortcut to Understanding Others

Speed Dating With Speed Testing

Why High School Stays with You Forever (Like It or Not)

For some of us, high school shines like an enchanted kingdom; for others, it is remembered as an endless Hell of daily torments. For most of us, it is something in between, but memorable nonetheless. Is it the collision between evolved psychological mechanisms and the nature of the modern high school that is to blame?

Freud had DP at the Acropolis; Today Teens at Venice Beach

By Elena Bezzubova on July 22, 2015 in The Search for Self
Physical and physiological stressors - bright light, overheating, dehydration, sudden climate change, spinning or fever - can precipitate fleeting feelings of unreality of oneself and the surrounding world. These transitory non-pathological episodes are characteristic for adolescents. Sometimes the episodes foreshow the full blown depersonalization-derealization syndrome.

Why Changing My Name Was & Wasn't the Worst Thing I Ever Did

By Anneli Rufus on July 21, 2015 in Stuck
I changed my name, regretted it for decades, then did something about it.

Transgender? Or TrueGender?

Being transgender is not a choice. Transgender people don’t choose to cross over and live as the other gender. They are, and always have been, the other gender. They have never felt aligned with the gender assigned at birth according to anatomy. The choice they do make is whether to live as their true gender or live a lie. This decision can be a matter of life and death.

Predicting Who We Will Be

By Julie K Hersh on July 20, 2015 in Struck By Living
After 25 years of marriage, I return to the Great Barrier Reef with my 19 year-old daughter to reflect back to who I thought I'd be.

"Do I Sound Gay?"

Why would a gay man dislike “sounding gay?” Why would “sounding less like a man” make a gay man view himself as inferior, unattractive, and undesirable? Why does "passing" as straight make a gay man feel good? Read on as we explore Internalized Homophobia - a very real but largely unseen, unheard, and unspoken psychological struggle that is experienced by many gay men.

The Espy Award

I was disgusted after reading so many ignorant and hateful comments on social media towards Caitlyn Jenner specifically, and transgender people generally. I learned that many people were really upset that Caitlyn Jenner won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, particularly over Lauren Hill, who was a college basketball player who died a few months ago of brain cancer.