Essential Reads

American Masculinity and Drugs

Changing relationship between men and their transitional object

Emotion Regulation

Conditioned Emotional Responses Become Habits

Why Are the Candy Crushes of the World Dominating Our Lives?

Darwin goes searching for the gas pedal in this evolutionary phenomenon of his.

The Pain Mess

Treatment of chronic pain is a scandal

Recent Posts on Addiction

Birds of a Feather Smoke and Drink Together

We tend to be very similar to our friends. We have similar interests and lifestyles. We engage in similar patterns of smoking and drinking (or not). But why? Did we come together from the start because of our similarities? Do we actively encourage each other to change? Or are we all just responding similarly to a shared cultural milieu?

The Sky Is Not Falling

By David J Ley Ph.D. on April 02, 2012 in Women Who Stray
The certainty that porn is destroying lives comes from a moral panic, not a scientific process. At best there is a debate—at worst, politically-induced morally-driven fear is leading us off a cliff.

Alien Race

When it comes to the problem of drugs and alcohol, the only time that the media takes notice is when a celebrity either ends up in jail, or dies due to drugs and alcohol. Celebrities mirror what is happening in our society and culture as a whole, they mirror what is happening in every large city and small town in our nation.

Are Our Children Overpraised?

By Kenneth Barish Ph.D. on April 02, 2012 in Pride and Joy
It has become common in recent years for parents to be warned about the dangers of praise. We are told that frequent praise, although intended to bolster a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, may instead create increased anxiety and ultimately undermine her initiative and confidence.

Adolescence and Stealing from Family

By the onset of adolescence, around ages 9 - 13, most young people have the concept of personal ownership firmly installed. And yet, with the awakening desire to break boundaries for more freedom and independence, there is interest in testing old rules and restraints to see if the prohibitions of childhood still hold.

How to Take a Day for Yourself

By Amy Przeworski Ph.D. on April 01, 2012 in Don't Worry, Mom
I wondered why I would feel guilty about taking a day off to do what I want to do. I work hard and I know the importance of self-care. In fact, I recommend it to others. So why doesn’t it apply to me? Is it a Super Mom complex? Do others feel this way?

A twin study primer

Much of psychology focuses on how people behave in general. As a behavior geneticist, I study what makes people different. One common way we explore differences between individuals is to compare twins.

The Suicide Sex

By Anthony Synnott Ph.D. on March 30, 2012 in Rethinking Men
Tyler Clementi’s tragic suicide at Rutgers in 2010 received much publicity and opened up some discussion on the topic (New Yorker Feb 6, 2012). Subsequently, after a rash of suicides by young people, President Obama called a White House Conference on bullying and cyber-bullying in May 2011. So suicide is receiving more attention, but there is much more to be done.

How New Found Financial Clarity is Changing How I Spend

I've never been great with money, and up until recently, my wife and I had no clue about how much money we had, how much we spent, or how much we owed. Income was automatically deposited, automatic payments were set up for nearly every bill, including rent, utilities, and most of our charitable giving.

Brain, Behavior, and Media

The dramatic influence of rapidly growing social media, computers, telephony, television, movies and the Internet continue to surprise us all. Among the most fascinating developments is what we are learning from brain research using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Face the Facts: We Are All Headed for an "iDisorder"

The way we relate to technology is leading us to an iDisorder.

What Exactly Do Millennials Care About?

Who makes up Generation Y? What do they care about? Millennial Media blog top 10 can provide us with a few clues. Hint: Facebook, texting, hookups, and the Kardashians all made the list.

No Other Country Condemns Children to Life Behind Bars

By Karen Franklin Ph.D. on March 28, 2012 in Witness
In locking up children for life, the U.S. is far out of step with the global community

A Diversity of Sexual Imagery

By Eric Anderson Ph.D. on March 27, 2012 in Masculinity Today
The Internet, and its accompanying pornography, has likely been useful in reducing cultural homophobia.

When Is Therapy Done?

Everyone who has been in psychotherapy has had the question arise: when am I done here? This question is a good one, as there is no obvious ending point for psychotherapy—it isn't like a course of antibiotics, or a broken bone, where the ending of treatment can be prescribed.

Mind control: Neuroscience in marketing

By Ray Williams on March 27, 2012 in Wired for Success
Knowledge from neuroscience has emerged as one of the biggest breakthroughs in business-particularly marketing and advertising-in decades.

Is Our Aversion to Pain Killing Us?

This abuse of drugs is a symptom of a larger psychological problem. In our ceaseless search for relief, we have become a pain-averse culture. Why has our society weakened our perceived tolerance and become so determined to avoid feelings?

Crappy First Drafts of Great Books

When I teach freshman writing, my first job is to destroy my students' illusions. TV shows and films give them the dangerous idea that great authors just wait to get inspired, and then genius pours out of their pens in an unstoppable flood.

Pinned: Pinterest Porn

By Susan Harrow on March 24, 2012 in The Body Blog
I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that naked pics have found their way into a space dominated by domestic bliss, weddings, flowers, food, crafts, and style.

Stress, Psychosis, and the Creator of "Kony 2012"

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on March 23, 2012 in Evil Deeds
Severe stress sometimes precipitates psychosis. When a citizen's behavior becomes so bizarre, threatening, self-destructive or violent that it demands the attention of the police, that individual may be legally detained against his or her will and taken to a designated psychiatric facility for evaluation and possible involuntary hospitalization. What happens next?

Addiction and Gender: Recovery for Women

By Brenda Iliff on March 22, 2012 in A Remarkable Recovery
Women are the fastest-growing segment for substance abuse in the United States. In fact, according to the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, about 2.7 million women in the United States abuse drugs or alcohol. Even more frightening is that the majority who need treatment do not receive it.

Why John Edwards Is Not a Sex Addict

By David J Ley Ph.D. on March 22, 2012 in Women Who Stray
In the past, John Edwards was accused of being a sex addict, based on the scandals involving a mistress and secret sex tapes. But, calling Edwards a sex addict ignores the real issues of ethics and personal responsibility that we should be demanding from our leaders. It also turns normal, though unacceptable, behaviors into an illness

DSM-5 Controversy Rages On in the Bereavement Community

With normal grief, you can muster your coping skills and still function when necessary. Over time, you adjust and reengage with your life and the people around you. But what happens if you crawl into the cave of grief, and lose sight of the light at its entrance? What if you find yourself giving up in despair, stuck and perhaps falling deeper and deeper into the abyss?

The People Hurt by Sex Addiction

By David J Ley Ph.D. on March 21, 2012 in Women Who Stray
A woman's son was told he was a sex addict, and it must be because he was sexually abused. But was he? Or is this just more evidence of the unethical and dangerous use of the sex addiction label?

Why People Get Better

By Stanton Peele on March 21, 2012 in Addiction in Society
While durable personality traits in people—partly inherited—might seem to be limiting factors in life, the personality characteristic of novelty-seeking seems to be a moving target. Once seen as the root of addiction and crime, it is now perceived as a way of maintaining fresh outlooks and approaches to life as people mature.

The Family Meal

I recently prepared a lecture on parenting from a positive psychology perspective. Although psychologists have had much to say about parenting, often the focus has been on eliminating undesirable actions on the part of kids, like talking back, tantrums, and tattling. These behaviors are of course annoying, but what about encouraging desirable actions?

Can't Get In: Barriers to Addiction Treatment Entry

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on March 20, 2012 in All About Addiction
What keeps people who need it out of addiction treatment? Barriers inside and out, that's what! But there's quite a bit we can do about it, and several occurrences where we don't need to.

All in the Family. Is materialism in your genes?

Given the implications for individuals and society in general, it certainly seems like we should be striving to determine the sources of materialistic desires and tendencies. And yet, there is no consensus about the origins or causes of materialism. Do materialistic desires result from our upbringing? Our culture? Our genes?