Essential Reads

Want to Build a Dog From A Fox? Here's How To Do It.

Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails that are as friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs—they are foxes.

Prestige, Power, and Placebos

Intuitive errors and social pressures often fool us into the wrong decisions. But our social minds also possess untapped healing power. Recent research shows us how to use it!

Science Is Not Political

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on March 22, 2017 in Mental Mishaps
Nonetheless, science is embroiled in politics. Why is science so controversial, and why are the scientists planning a big march?

The Self Illusion and Psychotherapy

The self is an illusion and, as I noted in a recent paper published in Australasian Psychiatry, we can tailor psychotherapy to highjack the mechanisms that create it.

More Posts on Cognition

My Work as a Psychologist in Prison

By Marisa Mauro Psy.D. on April 16, 2009 in Take All Prisoners
My daily routine involves completing rounds, seeing each of these patients and determining whether or not their level of care should be stepped down or if they should be discharged and returned to the hands of custody officers. In conjunction with my team, I also determine whether or not the condition is severe or chronic enough to warrant a referral to the Department of Mental Health.

Top Ten Necessities for Education Reform

For the first time since the institution of public education in the U.S., students currently in high school are less likely to graduate than their parents. We are the only industrialized country where that is true. Here are my recommendations to change the appalling dropout rate and prepare students for the 21st century.

Philosophy never ends

By Massimo Pigliucci on April 09, 2009 in Rationally Speaking
Today I was forwarded by several people a really bad and confused op-ed piece by New York Times columnist David Brooks. It is entitled “The End of Philosophy,” which naturally raised my baloney detector level to yellow alert. Brooks’ main argument is that philosophy’s approach to ethics is “hyper-rational,” and that it does not appreciate the fundamental role of the emotions. Odd, considering that it was David Hume (the 18th century Scottish philosopher, 1711-1776) who famously wrote about how reason and emotion interplay to give meaning to our lives (a much, much earlier statement than the very similar sentiment attributed by Brooks to psychologist Jonathan Haidt).

Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann Are Two Sides of the Same Coin.

By Gad Saad Ph.D. on April 07, 2009 in Homo Consumericus
Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann are public faces of the political Right and Left respectively. Each uses his public platform to demonize the motives and intentions of the other camp. Such coalitional thinking, which is an innate cognitive trap, results in banal, divisive, and caricatured political commentaries. The ability to engage in nuanced thinking is lacking when political affiliations are protected with religious fervor.

Anger Disorder: What It Is and What We Can Do About It

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on April 03, 2009 in Evil Deeds
In my PT blog (Evil Deeds) I have been posting numerous examples of murderously violent behavior perpetrated by pathologically angry individuals, usually men, including the Columbine High School shootings, Virginia Tech, as well as some more recent savage massacres in Los Angeles, Germany, Florida and Alabama to mention but a few. Last week, in North Carolina, Robert Stewart opened fire at a nursing home, killing seven very elderly residents and a nurse. Police speculated that the forty-five-year-old Stewart, who did not commit suicide and is currently in custody, targeted the facility because his estranged wife once worked there. And just today, a forty-two-year-old gunman with a high-powered rifle killed thirteen victims, critically wounded four, and took at least forty-one people hostage in Binghamton, New York before finally shooting himself. Curiously, despite the clearly raging epidemic of anger-fueled violence in America and abroad, the almost one-thousand pages of the American Psychiatric Association's official diagnostic manual, the DSM-IV-TR, contain only a handful of diagnoses capable of accurately addressing this disturbing and growing phenomenon. This is a serious omission, demanding immediate attention.

Dr. Judy Willis’ RAD Teaching Connections from Neuroscience Research to the Classroom

I left my neurology practice and became a teacher. Ten years ago I went back to university for my teaching credential and M.Ed when the number of referrals I was getting to evaluate kids for ADHD or  petit mal seizures sky-rocketed. I found the toxic cause of the misdiagnosis in the classrooms using teach-to-the-test, rote memory, stuffed curriculum. The kids were fine - their classroom instruction was toxic. Since then I have written books and given presentations to parents and educators worldwide about what strategies are most neuro-logical based on brain research. 

Creativity and the Aging Brain

By Shelley H Carson Ph.D. on March 30, 2009 in Life as Art
The aging brain resembles the creative brain in several ways. For instance, the aging brain is more distractible and somewhat more disinhibited than the younger brain (so is the creative brain). Aging brains score better on tests of crystallized IQ (and creative brains use crystallized knowledge to make novel and original associations). These changes in the aging brain may make it ideally suited to accomplish work in a number of creative domains. So instead of promoting retirement at age 65, perhaps we as a society should be promoting transition at age 65: transition into a creative field where our growing resource of individuals with aging brains can preserve their wisdom in culturally-valued works of art, music, or writing.

An infection can change your personality --there's plenty of proof

By Pamela Weintraub on March 30, 2009 in Emerging Diseases
Can an infection really alter your personality? At least 65 different microbes have been recognized as causing mental symptoms; the proof lies in several thousand articles published in the medical peer review.

Therapy for a Dollar, Part 2

My mother's penchant for putting me in therapy (she got it for a dollar) before I was three was surely a factor in my career choice, not that I had a jolly good time there, mind you.

Academic Delay of Gratification, Motivation and Self-regulated Learning Strategies

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on March 27, 2009 in Don't Delay
Competing intentions. We all have them; Exercise as we intended, or spend another night as couch potato. A recent study on academic delay of gratification sheds some light on the self-regulatory skills and learning strategies that successful students use to delay gratification.

Self-affirmation: A Strategy to Reduce Self-control Failure

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on March 26, 2009 in Don't Delay
The research evidence across four new studies reveals the importance of affirming one's sense of self to bolster our depleted self-control. I think this research underscores the deeply existential issue of self-affirmation and "courage" in relation to the self-regulation failure we know as procrastination.

A Unified Framework for Addiction: Decision-Process Vulnerabilities and Procrastination

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on March 22, 2009 in Don't Delay
Based on a framework for addiction recently published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, philosopher, Chrisoula Andreou, has offered up ideas to consider in our understanding of procrastination. 

Lifespan Developmental Stages of Text Messaging

Developmental theorists have long argued that human psychosocial development continues across the lifespan, at least for most people. According to my informal research, this perspective is no less important for text messaging. Just like Erikson's psychosocial stages of development, there are identifiable stages of text messaging development across the lifespan. Each has developmental tasks, but in contrast to Erikson's psychosocial stages, the texting stages tend to be inversely related to age. What is your stage of development? 

Parenting Style and Procrastination

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on March 21, 2009 in Don't Delay
Blame it on our parents. It's a common theme. Is it true for procrastination? Is parenting style related to adolescent procrastination? Yes, and there are some interesting gender differences.

Parents as Propagandists (Part Two)

By Steve Livingston on March 18, 2009 in Tinted Lenses
Many observers have readily accepted cyclical models of family violence, substance abuse, and crime, to the point where appeals to "break the cycle" accompany much public information on these issues. It therefore seems odd that we should be relatively squeamish about exploring generational cycles of development and transmission of prejudice.

Mass Murder is Nothing to Fear

It will be interesting to see what results from the two recent incidents of mass murder than occurred in Alabama and Germany. To the extent that the past is prologue, we should expect to see plenty of public fear and extreme reactions from officials and politicians. Both can be traced, at least to some degree, to a cognitive shortcut called the availability heuristic.

Sleep and the ADHD Student

By Frank Lawlis Ph.D. on March 16, 2009 in Redefining Stress

Why LinkedIn Works

The incredible rise in popularity of and other social networking sites represents a fundamental shift in how we are dealing with slowing economic prospects: we hunt for people, not jobs.  Network theory explains why that works a lot better.

Running Amok in Alabama: Our Raging Anger Epidemic

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on March 15, 2009 in Evil Deeds
This week, yet another angry young man went on a murderous rampage near the Alabama/Florida border, killing a total of fourteen victims: his mother, grandmother, uncle and two cousins, four dogs, and five random strangers on the street. It was the worst multiple murder in state history. Twenty-seven-year-old Michael McLendon was heavily armed with two military assault rifles, a handgun and a shotgun, firing more than 200 rounds before it was all over. So far as we know right now, there was reportedly no relationship breakup. No known criminal record. And no apparent previously diagnosed history of mental illness. As in many such cases, the perpetrator was posthumously described as a "quiet kid, no trouble. He was always polite and nice." A former co-worker called McLendon "shy, quiet and laid-back." What leads to such dangerous and deadly states of mind? What motivated this incredibly evil deed? And how might these increasingly common acts of absolute madness possibly be prevented?