Plenty of White Collar Crime, But Where Are the "Criminals?"

Is It a Contradiction in Terms?There is no shortage of white-collar crime in business and in government. The press is full of it. But there is little reference to white-collar "criminals." Is that a term reserved for the poor? 

Students' Stress Levels Rise

Is It About Unemployment?A recent survey revealed unprecedented levels of stress among college students in the US. Many commentators leaped to the conclusion that this reflected the uncertain job market. But do high levels of unemployment actually cause stress in students? 

Anxiety, Avoidance, Denial, and Worse

How to Really Mess up Your FinancesI have known patients who never open their mail - including bills. They live in so much dread of bad news that they make a point of avoiding any news at all. 

Unknown Knowns

What Madoff's Bankers Might Have KnownThe line between what we know and what we don't know is not as sharp as we would like to believe. Did Madoff's bankers know about his Ponzi scheme, as he insists they had to? Did they not know? Or did they not know that they knew it? 

Good Anxiety --and Bad

And How to Tell the DifferenceA certain amount of anxiety is useful - even indispensable. If you understand that it is a signal of impending danger, you can grasp its vital importance. When is danger ever entirely absent? 

Self-Esteem in the Marketplace

The Surprising Power of BrandsWe tend to assume that we have confidence in ourselves based on who we are and what we have done - or we don't. We think we feel good about ourselves consistently - or we don't. But it turns out that these internal beliefs are actually quite volatile. 

Love and Money

Thoughts for Valentine 's DayAn important way to be mindful about money is to keep your head when your heart is involved. All too many relationships get into trouble when personal finances are joined before each party gets to understand how far they can trust the other. 

Concentrating Makes You Happy

No Such Thing as a Spotless MindIt's better for the mind to focus on something than to wander -- at least this is the conclusion of a survey by two Harvard psychologists reported in Science. 

What Happened to Bank Reforms

Is It Denial - Or Corruption?The financial reporter for The New York Times Gretchen Morgenson notes that the report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission "makes for compelling reading because so little has changed." It's what's missing that captured her attention. 

Rose Colored Retirements

The Real Problems of "Global Aging"Fewer people retire in the way they used to.... A report in the McClatchy Newspapers calls this erosion of traditional patterns of retirement "one of the biggest demographic shifts in history." 

All Errors Are Human Errors

Another Look At Managing Risk"Any sufficiently complex, tightly coupled system will fail sooner or later," argues Charles Perrow....This combination characterizes financial systems and nuclear power plants, 

Why No Jobs?

Lawrence Katz, a Harvard labor economist, calls the full picture ‘genuinely puzzling.'" (See, "In Wreckage of Lost Jobs, Lost Power.")Perhaps I'm not puzzled because I'm not an economist. 

Following the Crowd

Is It Ever the Smart Thing To Do? It's pretty clear that many of those investors caught by the crash of the credit bubble in 2008 were following the crowd.  But what about the short sellers.... 

Real Leadership and Real Thought

What We NeedMore ink is spilled on the subject of leadership than almost on any other topic in our culture. That's probably a sign of how little we know about it -- and how desperate we are to understand the knowledge and skills we lack. 

Enhancing the Brain

Does Anything Really Work?We all have our personal theories about what helps and what hinders our mind's capacity to think. And our culture is rife with fads. There is probably no more engaging question for us to ask ourselves than how we can enhance our mental powers. But there is little hard evidence about what actually works. 

Why It's Not Possible to Save

And What To Do About ItThe savings rate among workers has dramatically declined over the past few decades. In many countries it's now lower than the rate of borrowing. No surprise. 

Americans Go To Church

"One Nation Under God"More Americans say they go to church than actually do, according to recent research. As Shankar Vedantam reported on Slate, "two in five Americans say they regularly attend religious services," but studies of actual behavior show that the real number is half that. 

Money and Happiness

Are They Related?There is very little correlation, according to a recent study: "happiness does not increase when a country's income increases." 

Is Incest Wrong?

Always? Sometimes? When? Why?Why does the law prohibit incest? Is it just another example of a deep-seated social convention or a prejudice, like the feeling some people have about gay marriage or polygamy? Who is hurt by it? 

The End of Narcissism -- Or Is It a New Beginning?

From the DSM to the MainstreamThe American Psychiatric Association has decided to eliminate Narcissism as a personality disorder. It probably it has to do with the absence of rigorous diagnostic standards, a problem of particular concern to researchers. 

WikiLeaks and the Tea Party

Ron Paul and Julian Assange: Strange BedfellowsIn an unexpected convergence, the logic behind WikiLeaks is coming to resemble the ideology of the Tea Party movement. They are both anti-establishment, of course, and seem to relish rebellion and defiance. But Assange's hero is Daniel Ellsberg. . . . 

The New Age of Neuro-Marketing

Manipulating the Brain for ProfitMarketers and advertising agencies are coming to realize that they have been speaking to only the most superficial part of the mind, the conscious part. 

The Harsh Business of Health

The Contradiction of Profit and ServiceThe conflict between the profit motive and the desire to serve others is something many of us live with every day.So I think we often miss out on the fact that it is very different for businesses.

The Impending Law Bubble?

Betting on JusticeInvestors increasingly have the chance to buy into the lawsuits of others, and, according to an article in The New York Times, the plaintiffs don't even have to know about it. 

"Pathological Certainty"

And the "Talking Cure"I don't know who coined the term, but whoever it was deserves a medal. I was introduced to it early in my training as a psychologist and psychoanalyst, and it's a good diagnosis for those who cannot tolerate doubt. 

How the West Inflames Terrorism

Locked in CombatIn daily life people get caught up in mutual hatred, unable to see anything about the other person apart from their faults. It often happens in families and between groups as well. And it happens in the larger world. 

What the Election Means

Do We Really Want to Know? The number of people who understand the meaning of the votes cast in the election is astonishing. They can’t all be correct, and yet so many are stridently certain -- and eager for the rest of us to get the message they hear so loudly.

A Better Ear to the Ground

Sentiment Analysis and TwitterMore and more, the internet is being mined and scratched for data - and, of course, at the moment our current focus is on forecasting the election. Tuesday night, for example, CNN will use "sentiment analysis" to track the themes that preoccupy voters. 

Motivation and Money

The X FactorEconomists often talk as if money has a life of its own. As Dan Ariely, a Duke University Professor, put it: "The entire question of how emotion will change people's behavior is pretty much outside the standard model of economics." 

The Myth Behind the War

The Forgotten War and the ElectionNews about Iraq and Afghanistan fills the media. At the same time we are besieged with stories about the up-coming election. But where are the stories about how the war is affecting election campaigns?This stunning absence calls for an explanation.