Understanding Religion

Though we can't prove the existence of one (or many) god(s), we can provide evidence for the power of religion. For good or for evil, faith factors into our everyday functioning: We've evolved to believe. Religion can help us make sense of our world, provide motivation, and bind us together. Nevertheless, structured belief has its drawbacks. So keep your mind open when dealing with dogma.

Recent Posts on Religion

Not Allowed to Dance?

By Kimerer LaMothe Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in What a Body Knows
It is always interesting to look back to those twists and turns in the path that have gotten you where you are. This week, I’ve done just that, prompted by some quality time with Yvonne Daniel’s thoughtful, thorough book, Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomble (2003).

Understanding the Islamic State - A Fool's Errand?

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
Attempts to identify the beliefs that define the "truth" of any religion are doomed to fail because of our own cognitive biases and the nature of religion itself.

Blaming the Victim

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Memory Medic
"What did we do to make them hate us so much?"

Where’s The Market For Organs (And Sex)?

By Jesse Marczyk on February 28, 2015 in Pop Psych
Sometimes you aren't allowed to sell things that you are free to give away; a curious bit of moral psychology

Addiction Speaks

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on February 27, 2015 in In Flux
Addiction comes in many shapes and forms. Not all addictions are alike in their severity and duration. Even those addictions that are less severe and less life-threatening can hold us in its clutches for years on end. This entry includes a letter written to Veronica by her "addict self." What emerges from our own depths and from our own will to heal is often poignant.

The Blue/Black White/Gold Dress Controversy: No One Is Right

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in A Logical Take
The blue/black, or white/gold, dress controversy reveals more than meets the eye.

How People Quit Being High Maintenance

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
Holding our heads high is good an necessary, but higher than other heads is exhausting both for us and the people who have to deal with us. Here's an alternative.

What Can We Learn About Love From ‘The Bachelor’?

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Millennial Media
Nineteen seasons in, and I'm still shamefully watching the show. As a psychologist, I can’t help but be fascinated by this dramatized reality show. As a girl, I’m sitting with my big bowl of popcorn secretly hoping there is a fairytale ending to it all. Which begs the question—how much of the show is real, and what (if anything) can we learn from it?

A Mother's Love: Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths

By Peg Streep on February 26, 2015 in Tech Support
Commonly held ideas about motherhood shape the dialogue we have culturally, get in the way of understanding parent-child conflict, and affect each of us individually by setting a high and sometimes impossible standard. Why it's time to banish some of the myths that animate the discussion and start a new conversation.

The Psychological Antidote – Part II

By Ran Zilca on February 26, 2015 in Confessions of a Techie
If today we choose to show others how similar we are to them instead of how different, we may prove their dehumazing thoughts wrong, break the vicious cycle of dehumanization, and prevent tomorrow’s violence by creating a situation that reduces the motivation for conflict.

Do Generations Exist?

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Is it misleading to speak about a self-absorbed “Me Generation” or jaded, cynical GenXers, overeducated and underemployed?

5 Steps from Fear to Freedom

By Lissa Rankin M.D. on February 25, 2015 in Owning Pink
The journey from fear to freedom, which is all about coming into right relationship with uncertainty, is a predictable journey, one that many have traveled before you and many will travel after you.

9/11, President Obama and the Haunting of America

By Rupert W Nacoste Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in A Quiet Revolution
Talk about being haunted. In the context of the shock of 9/11 and the shock of electing a non-white to the Presidency, America is filled with fear of psychological ghosts; filled with intergroup anxiety.

How to Integrate Mindfulness Practices into the Classroom

By Azadeh Aalai Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in The First Impression
How may college students benefit if mindfulness practices are introduced into their classes?

Hoax, Dehoax, Rehoax

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in One Among Many
What harm is in a hoax? The recent hoopla over about the alleged encounter of a temporarily dead priest with mother God is instructive.

Are People Naturally Scientific?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Hot Thought
Some social and developmental psychologists have claimed that people—even children—naturally think like scientists. I find this claim implausible because: people are naturally religious rather than scientific; everyday thinking frequently deviates from scientific reasoning; and science is a relatively recent cultural development.

Looking for the Right Relationship? Make a Plan!

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and you’re still alone. Or maybe you’re just wishing you were alone because clearly you’re dating a total loser. Or maybe you’ve decided to address your long-standing dating dilemma with a bold new approach. If you’ve opted for the latter, read on.

Anti-Vaxxers Love Their Children Too

Anti-vaxxers are seen as crazy or stupid. Psychology says otherwise.

What Do Scientists Know About Finding a Purpose in Life?

By Todd B Kashdan Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Curious?
Providing information on the science of a purpose in life. heavy, beautiful, and of paramount importance

Dogs Don't Believe Information From Liars

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 24, 2015 in Canine Corner
Dogs keep track of whether people lie or tell the truth, and they use these memories to determine whether they can trust particular humans and any new information that they get from them.

How to Encourage Non-Liberal Students in Psychology

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Rabble Rouser
How do you encourage non-liberal students to pursue careers in the social sciences? It is simple. Stop being hostile to them and their ideas. What a shock. If one creates an environment safe and supportive for all students, regardless of their politics, non-left students become interested in psychology.

How to Save Your Career From Social Media Meltdown

By Nancy Rothbard Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in The Science of Work
Sharing the wrong thing on social media can cost you your job.

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 1 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute, in 1,000 words or less, the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." In a three-part blog post, I explain why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

What Exactly Is 'The Best Interest of the Child?', Part 2

When parents are asked about the essential needs of their children during and after parental separation, children’s emotional, psychological, social, moral and spiritual needs are seen to be of paramount importance. But what exactly are these “metaphysical” needs?

Discovering Peace of Mind

By Leon Pomeroy Ph.D. on February 22, 2015 in Beyond Good and Evil
I became the person I always wanted to be

How To Solve The Diversity Problem

By Katerina Bezrukova Ph.D. on February 21, 2015 in Team Spirit
Can tolerance between different religious groups and races be increased or is it just something “we have to live with?”

The Jews Are Going Extinct

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on February 21, 2015 in How To Do Life
Why that’s bad, why it’s coming, and how to stop it.

Asked and Answered

By Amy S.F. Lutz on February 20, 2015 in Inspectrum
Hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities, families, providers and advocates came out yesterday to oppose New Jersey's plan to force all waiver recipients into integrated settings -- whether or not full community inclusion is safe, appropriate, or even desired -- with speakers calling the restrictions "violations of the ADA."

“Islamic Extremism” vs “Violent Extremism”

Some refuse to use the term "Islamic Extremists" to describe the terrorist group, ISIS, calling them "Violent Extremists." By attributing cause and accountability, we are better able to define who they are, delineate their mission and goals, and derive solutions to stop them. Naming them DOES NOT blame, or indict non-violent Muslims - not guilt by religious association.

Hyper-Mentalism, Hyper-Empathizing, and Supernatural Belief

Researchers reveal that the predictions of the diametric model are fulfilled where supernatural beliefs of various kinds are concerned.