All About Mind Reading

"Mindsight" or "empathic accuracy" is the seemingly magical ability to map someone's mental terrain from their words, emotions, and body language. Those on the autism spectrum or those afflicted with psychotic disorders struggle mightily to read minds. And even the most socially intelligent are easily thrown off, because we've evolved to deceive others, and, if we're especially invested in someone, to deceive ourselves.

Recent Posts on Mind Reading

If Selfish Genes Build Brains, Why Aren’t We All Solipsists?

Contrary to what you might think, the “selfish gene” paradigm does not imply that we should be self-centered to the point of believing that only we exist.

Mistat: How the other guy becomes the one who started it

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 19, 2015 in Ambigamy
It's popularly understood that game theory suggests that tit for tat is a common, appropriate strategy. If you're attacked, attack back. But this simple version of game theory overlooks a human problem with tit for tat: Often an attack is ambiguous. We mistake an innocuous move as an attack and tat when we haven't been titted.

How to Respond When Your Partner's Bark Feels Like a Bite

The closer your attachment to someone, the more an effect their words will have on you. So assuming you’re in a committed relationship, how your partner addresses you can closely connect to how good, or secure, you feel about yourself. Moreover, given the nature of intimate relationships, your partner is as likely to be reactive to your words as you are to theirs...

Cracking the Code

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 06, 2015 in Talking Apes
When people talk, they often say one thing but mean something else, and somehow you’re expected to figure it out.

Want to Damage Your Relationship? Here Are 2 Easy Ways

By Douglas LaBier Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in The New Resilience
Troubled couples who seek therapy often show patterns of withdrawal and silent expectation when dealing with conflict; a kind of dance that deepens the damage to their relationships. New research shows how that happens.

Why Happy People Often Seem Tone Deaf To Negative Emotions

By David DiSalvo on January 31, 2015 in Neuronarrative
A new study finds that feeling positive doesn’t make you any better at empathy than others, and in some ways it’s a handicap.

Best Parenting Books of 2014?

By Polly Palumbo Ph.D. on January 26, 2015 in Momma Data
Do you avoid parenting books? Do you devour them? In either case, here are some books worth reading that aren't the typical "how to parent" fodder. These thought-provoking selections question what we know about brain science, adolescence, child vaccinations, anxiety and postpartum depression among other topics. No potty training or self-esteem building tips included.

10 Thinking Errors That Will Crush Your Mental Strength

These thinking errors make it impossible to flex your mental muscle.

Hyper-mentalism in Children Reporting Psychotic Experiences

Hyper-mentalism can be present in childhood as a new study reveals, but only the diametric model of mental illness reveals its positive aspects.

Do You Need Your Partner to Be a Mind Reader?

By Sean M. Horan Ph.D. on January 14, 2015 in Adventures in Dating
New research examines mind reading expectations in relationships and associated reactions. How does this relate to combative responses and the silent treatment? Read on to learn more.

Kindness in Kids and The Nature-Nurture Debate

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on December 14, 2014 in Moral Landscapes
Lucy wants Charlie's toy. He gives it to her, happily. Is his kindness nature or nurture?

The Missing Link for Satisfying, Healthy Love

Without doing this, healthy love won't last!

The X Factor Explains Androgyny in Male Asperger’s

Feminization in some male Asperger’s cases contradicts the extreme male brain theory but conforms to expectations of lingering maternal imprints on the X chromosome.

Are Men Really More Intelligent Than Women?

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on October 12, 2014 in A Sideways View
Perhaps the most contentious area in the whole of psychology concerns group differences (gender, race) in intelligence. It an area that triggers more passion than light as the biologists take on the environmentalists. What positions do people take on this topic?

New Insights Into the Genetics of Schizophrenia

Last month, a new veil was lifted from the mysterious and devastating disease of schizophrenia. If this research holds true on reexamination, we might be taking the first steps toward isolating the pathology of a major psychiatric disorder, as infectious disease doctors did a hundred and fifty years ago with the development of germ theory.

How Distorted Thinking Increases Stress and Anxiety

By Toni Bernhard J.D. on September 29, 2014 in Turning Straw Into Gold
"Personalization" is a major trigger for self-blame. It occurs when you erroneously see yourself as the cause of some external negative event, even though you weren’t responsible for it. An example is when you feel responsible for whether people have a good time when you’re with them.

Say and Mean These Three Words To Fall Back in Love

Do you long for that feeling of being in love again? Don't just say "I love you." You need to first say this to fall back in love.

New EEG Technology Makes for Better Brain Reading

By Robert T Muller Ph.D. on September 18, 2014 in Talking About Trauma
Recent technological advancements may soon have a profound impact on how mental health practitioners diagnose mental illness.

Do You Want to Be a Better Communicator?

By Sherry Hamby Ph.D. on September 08, 2014 in The Web of Violence
How to be an active listener and ask questions so people feel heard, not blamed. For providers of all types and anyone else who would like to be more supportive.

Three Ways We Can All Become Better Teachers

By Jonathan Wai Ph.D. on September 02, 2014 in Finding the Next Einstein
When we think of a teacher, we often think of our childhoods and desks, and the person at the head of the classroom. But in many ways all of us are teachers in so many aspects of everyday life. Whenever we want to educate someone about something, or help them understand our perspective or point of view, drawing from the craft of teaching can be helpful.

Eleven Ways REBT Can Help Anorexia

By Pamela D. Garcy Ph.D. on June 23, 2014 in Fearless You
Because anorexia is fed by distressing and inaccurate thinking, therapies such as REBT, which teach patients how to think, may be useful to people with this condition.

Coping With a Breakup: 10 Tips for Men

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on June 12, 2014 in In Practice
These ten tips are aimed at helping men who have recently separated from a long term partner. Men often feel shocked by a breakup and feel very intense emotions in the first few weeks of being newly single. Try these tips to help you start to process what has happened, and feel calmer.

Are You a Good "Mind-Reader?"

Do you think this guy is: (a) playful (b) comforting (c) irritated (d) bored. Being able to "mind-read" is a unique and important human trait. Being high in emotional intelligence and empathy helps us smoothly navigate our social world and communicate effectively with other people. Not everyone, however, is an emotion-decoding master.

Donald Sterling: Do Racists Have a Right to Privacy?

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on April 30, 2014 in Homo Consumericus
Do individuals have a right to privacy when uttering deplorable and hateful positions during a private chat? Should all individuals caught espousing racist and bigoted views during personal conversations be amenable to severe punishment?

Does Failure Make You Stronger and More Persistent?

By Peg Streep on April 16, 2014 in Tech Support
We all love the come-from-behind story and we most admire those who achieve after enduring setbacks. But does failure really inspire us to get on the road to success?

Say These Three Words To Improve Your Intimate Relationship

Learning to say, and really mean, these three words will make all your relationships more satisfying.

19 Ways to Peeve Your Lover

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 01, 2014 in Ambigamy
When in stubborn intimate conflict, we tend to pull out classic rhetorical moves to deflect doubt from ourselves and onto our opponents. Here's a list of nineteen such moves.

6 Questions to Reflect and Review

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on March 26, 2014 in In Practice
I'm currently back in New Zealand briefly and checking in with some of my old clients. I sent each client a one-pager with some brief questions to kickstart their process of reflecting and reviewing. I thought I'd share the questions here so any of you can try them.

What Makes Us Human?

By Thomas Suddendorf Ph.D. on March 10, 2014 in Uniquely Human
Scientists defend contradicting views on animal capacities, apparently aimed at either debunking human arrogance or at securing human dominance. The truth can often be found somewhere in the middle. It is time we make systematic progress on defining uniquely human traits.

Can’t-Miss Books for Spring and Summer

By Adam Grant Ph.D. on March 04, 2014 in Give and Take
Which books about psychology will be the biggest hits in the next four months?