Conspiracy Pathology

Conspiracy theories shade into mental illness, as in the dream that destroyed David Crowley and family. The ambiguity that gives conspiracy thinking power also invites delusion.

A Psychology of Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy theories used to be kooky inventions homemade in somebody’s mental garage. Now they’re tools in mainstream contests for power.

Are Tattoos Addictive?

Do tattoos trigger craving for more?

Zombie Nerves

When reality feels overwhelming, popular fantasies can simplify and highlight important themes.

Dying to Be Great

Astonishment greeted the new president’s inauguration speech about “American carnage,” but it points to the hidden story that brought him to the White House.

Gut Feeling

When Meryl Streep spoke out about vindictiveness at the Golden Globes, was she right to trust her gut instinct?

Snow Job

Most old holiday movies warm your heart and eat your brain. But "White Christmas" can make you wonder what we really want.

Fighting for Life

What do role-playing knights and princesses tell us about the unsettled American psyche?

The Curse of Power

Why does victory bring such strange and disturbing reactions?

Groping for Sex and More Life

Terror Management Theory (TMT) offers a scientific way of understanding the spellbinding effects of Donald Trump's fantasies..

Playing Dead:

Preschoolers' development lags when they're overprotected.

Are You One of Us?

The cognitive process of naming things comes with surprising—sometimes painful—liabilities.

Seduced by Abandon

"Throwing caution to the winds" can be exhilarating or dangerous. In politics the idea manipulates us in wild ways.

The Missing Word Is Panic.

When aggression triggers a moral reflex, it can be blinding. We use it routinely to pump up heroic violence.

Tourist Psychology

In the prison of habit the tourist dreams of mind-blowing abandon

Are They Shooting at You?

The Orlando massacre, and reactions to it, turn flight to fight. The denial is as self-intoxicating as American gun mania.

Conspiracy Theories and You

Conspiracy theories have much to say about who we are and where we're going.

Programmed Life

Much of our experience is programmed. No wonder puppets & robots fascinate us. Some programs enhance life while others create zombies, it makes sense to think about the issues.

Love, Loss, and Heroic Rescue

Everyone wants to be rescued. For better or worse, rescue opens up romance. But it also reveals basic creaturely conflicts that define us.

Have You Read Your Body Lately?

It's spring. When the seasons hum, we resonate. It’s how we’re built. But much of the information is deeply embedded in culture and beyond everyday awareness. Let's tune in.

Trump Towers Vs. Downton Abbey

Enthusiasm for particular stories can reveal much about the political allegiances and values of the audience. Two popular yet very different stories prove the point.

A License for Concealed Motives

A new Texas law dictates that students may bring guns to campus. The law contributes to hysteria based on conflicts too disturbing to acknowledge.

Hunting for Death

Justice Scalia's death has raised a political storm. But the storm is psychological too, and it's battering all of us.

Trump Is History

Do you feel conflicted about politics? Does political talk stress you out? The psychology of play can help.

Lame Blame

In the season of giving, the key is forgiving. We victimize scapegoats by blaming them for what we hate in ourselves. But the better it works, the more it injures you.

Terrorism and the Psychology of Play:

Terrorism and our responses to it seem grounded in deep conviction, supported by raw, basic emotions. In reality, the behavior has a quality of play that can change the meaning.

What Video Gaming Tells Us

Humans everywhere use culture to turn fear into play. Video games turn paranoia into survival ecstasy and fertility—more life. These deep creaturely motives are symptomatic of many concerns today, from terrorism to virtual identity.

The Terrorist Trance

One of the few truisms that deserves to repeated over and over is that hysteria can be as deceptive as it is thrilling.

Addiction and Rescue

In video clip on Facebook a presidential campaigner promises prospective voters in a New Hampshire tavern that he favors treatment for addiction. Within a day or two, more than two million people called attention to the clip. What's the magic?

Rampage as a Team Instinct

Humans have evolved powerful social bonding that shows up in group rivalry and team spirit. In civilization, where strangers can live together, the lethal competition of warfare is safely symbolized in team sports such as football. In rampage killing, as in the Roseburg Oregon massacre, that symbolic quality breaks down.

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