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

What is "American"?

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on April 25, 2017 in Minority Report
In today's political climate, the question of, "What is American?" is being challenged by those who find immigrants and people of color not fitting into their image of "American"..

"Us" and "Them"

By Jann Gumbiner Ph.D. on April 25, 2017 in The Teenage Mind
Many of the principles studied by social psychologists after WWII apply to our current political climate.

Fragmentation of Personality

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on April 24, 2017 in Jacob's Staff
Given the complexity of our online lives, how do we define the totality of who we are? Is this changing how we think of being integrated human beings and our creative lives?

#MarchForScience, Social Media, Diversity and Identity

UCSF showcased a panel of scientific leaders at their Stand Up For Science day. What does this tell us about diversity in science, and about social media?

Religious Conflict Makes Porn Bad for Relationships

By David J Ley Ph.D. on April 17, 2017 in Women Who Stray
A new research study finds more evidence that the alleged harms from porn are actually caused by religious conflict, shame, and the "porn addict" identity.

Linguistic Smoke and Mirrors in Leadership

Is it advantageous for our leaders to potentially maintain an inflated moral self-image through indirect speech?
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The Self is Not an Illusion

By Steve Taylor Ph.D. on April 14, 2017 in Out of the Darkness
Spiritual teachings that tell us that to become "enlightened" means to lose your sense of self may be misleading. Spiritual awakening means a new self, not no self.

Vehicular Trauma Syndrome

By James F. Zender Ph.D. on April 14, 2017 in The New Normal
A new syndrome related to vehicular trauma is identified.

Why Elite White-Collar Criminals Are Rarely Punished

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on April 09, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
White-collar criminals benefit from institutionalized non-enforcement practices, regulatory policies and legal representation not available to street criminals.

Can Religious Identity Inspire Pro-Environmental Action?

Religious identity can shape worldviews, build community, and provide networks of communication. So why is it so hard to motivate adherents to take pro-environmental action?
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The Passionate Art of Storytelling

By Diana Raab Ph.D. on April 06, 2017 in The Empowerment Diary
Do you feel as isolated from people and their stories? Do you have difficulty telling stories? Here are some reasons why sharing stories unites us, and how to tell a story.

60 Sex-Relevant Terms You May Not Know – and Why You Should

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on April 06, 2017 in Living Single
Here are 60 terms related to sex, relationships, sexual orientations, and gender identities, many of which are new or unfamiliar. More than vocabulary is at stake.

Life as a Banana

Assimilation can be good for Asian Americans' mental health. But there may be hidden benefits of being Asian in the United States.

What’s in a Name?

By Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. on April 05, 2017 in The Me in We
How does one's name influence identity and guide one's destiny?

What Animal Are You?

Psychological health means constructing a version of oneself that is essentially human.

The Savage Empathy of Safe Spaces

Empathetic professors who subscribe to the invention that words equal violence, and that hearing certain views is a threat to students' "humanity" can do incalculable damage.
"Picking Grass at the Bus Stop"/Charlene Croft/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Who Speaks for Autism?

By Barb Cohen on March 31, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
I would not want someone else to speak for me; to decide what I want and what I need; to judge whether my life is worth living. But autism is a family affair. We all need a voice.

My Fifties, My Sixties...My Super New Job!

By Dawn R. Norris, Ph.D. on March 30, 2017 in The Next Step
Can being an older job seeker actually help recharge your job search?
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Superfandom and Its Contents

A phenomenon fueled by social media, superfandom is exploding. Its implications, however, on individuals and American society, is by no means clear.

Dual Instagram Accounts: Sharing Private and Public Selves

Dual Instagram accounts Rinstagram (Real) and Finstagram (Fake) make sense. They let people support multiple selves--just like offline

Cure the Religion, Not the LGBT Child

Conversion therapy does more harm than good.

What Goes On in the Mind of Your Therapist?

Good therapists aim to see their clients without the overlays on their personality generated by the past, and they take steps to help people eventually see themselves the same way.

Out of Work...at My Age

By Dawn R. Norris, Ph.D. on March 26, 2017 in The Next Step
Are there ways to think about age that help us get through unemployment?

The Woman Who Does it All

Women seem to hold up the world. Is this an identity, a self-created fate, or a default position when men in our lives do less than their share?

Why Resentment Lasts—and How to Defeat It

Resentment is a formidable foe. Are you willing to defeat it by trying these 5 approaches?

Finding Yourself in the New Tribalism

By Carol S. Pearson Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in The Hero Within
Neotribalism is a sociological term that describes the way many countries are splintering apart in response to a global society in which it is difficult to find our individual iden

Strategies for Supporting a Transgender Child

In advance of International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, this blog focuses on offering some strategies to parents with trans children.

9 Ways to Respond To Social Identity Threats

Since the presidential election, several sources have indicated that hate crimes and hate speech have increased.

How I Learned to Stop Whining and Why It Was a Great Lesson

It took me a long time to realize “vulnerable,” "insecure" and “adorable” were not the same thing. Whining is not attractive. I had to learn that and it was a good lesson.