Essential Reads

There Is Grandeur in This View of Life

How Darwin’s Big Idea Can Cultivate Our Spiritual Side

Hunting Bwana the Dentist

What fantasies move a man to ambush an elderly tourist lion?

Stars, Bars, and Embryos

Confederate flag and genetic testing issues are more alike than one might think

We Succeed by Our Failures

The critical role of misbehavior and apology for kids and for parents

Recent Posts on Ethics and Morality

The American Discussion of Race Is Ethnocentric

The American "discussion of race," prevents new insights and limits proposals to a few alternative courses of action. It is as if the only place that exists is the United States today; the only ways of thinking about race are American ways; and there is nothing we can learn from other cultures that could contribute to our understanding.

APA, Torture, and Context

How did APA and psychologists become involved in possible collusion with torture and "enhanced interrogations"? Context matters.

Distinguishing Between Good and Bad Anxiety

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 03, 2015 in Ambigamy
Are you anxious? Should you be? It depends on whether your anxiety is founded or unfounded.

How the American Psychological Association Lost Its way

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on August 03, 2015 in Dangerous Ideas
In Toronto this week, APA leaders will face members’ confusion and rage during Council governance meetings, a three-day teach-in organized by Psychologists for Social Responsibility, and open town hall meetings. Can this soul-searching be channeled into fruitful reforms, not just to the organization, but for the future of the field? A lot is at stake in the days ahead.

God, Satan, and Our Moral Bias

By Hector A Garcia Psy.D. on August 02, 2015 in Alpha God
Monuments to God or Satan? Exposing our moral biases.

4 Changes I Will Make When Using Amazon MTurk for Research

I describe the changes I will make henceforth when using Amazon Mechanical Turk to collect survey and experimental data for my social science research. Based on my recent experience as an MTurk worker, I would like to use MTurk for data collection more ethically and effectively.

There Is Grandeur in This View of Life

Some people think that evolution somehow diminishes what it means to be human and strips us of any spirituality. As I see it, this does not need to be the case at all. And here is why.

Killing Lions and Self-Respect

Philosopher Dave Schmidtz addresses the value of trees, lions and other animals in a way that can explain why we care so much about the killing of a lion.

Shortcut to Understanding Others

Speed Dating With Speed Testing

You Pays Your Money and You Takes Your Choices

By Dan Mager MSW on July 30, 2015 in Some Assembly Required
We can make whatever choices we want or need to—as long as we are willing to accept the consequences of those choices. This equation represents the intersection of awareness, action, and accountability. And, it is applicable to virtually every area of life.

What's the Matter With "All Lives Matter"

Some white folks have responded to the phrase "Black Lives Matter" with the phrase “All Lives Matter.” While this is a seemingly more empowering and diversity affirming response, it is neither. Here's why.

Hunting Bwana the Dentist

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
What would motivate a dentist to spend $55,000 to kill an elderly tourist lion? The answer takes us on a psychological safari looking at recent themes in American life that incite and reward fantasies of the mighty hunter.

Cat Lovers In Denial

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on July 29, 2015 in Am I Right?
Love wears rose-colored glasses and that ain't good.

Stars, Bars, and Embryos

By Elliot Hosman J.D. on July 28, 2015 in Genetic Crossroads
The ideas of "choice" and "intent" have arisen in debates about both the confederate flag and prenatal genetic testing. But are these concepts insufficiently nuanced for these tough topics?

We Succeed by Our Failures

When we reflect on our childhood we tend to recall the tough times -- times when we as kids screwed up, or when our parents failed. It turns out that the dance between love and hate, doing right and doing wrong, and above all making amends is critical for secure attachments. We learn to trust other, indeed, we learn to be moral as part of a normal developmental process.

How Behavioural Science Tried to Abolish Morality

Previous psychologists and psychiatrists have tried to empty human conduct of moral meaning.

Stories of Seclusion: Afraid He'd Lose His Temper, He Hid

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 in How To Do Life
Injustice, especially if it could cost your livelihood, can cause great anger.

Life in the Mushpot

By Bernard L. De Koven on July 27, 2015 in On Having Fun
Sometimes it's OK when you don't get to play. Sometimes, not so much.

News stories with the power of empathy

Depicting physical pain and discomfort may make for compelling journalism, but it also could undermine audiences' empathetic responses and perpetuate what neuroscientists call the 'empathy gap.' Instead, efforts to capture people's emotional suffering may be more likely to evoke empathy, even though that's much trickier for reporters trained to 'show, don't tell.'

Baby Crying? Don't Shame the Parents!

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
A medical doctor, also a parent, wrote to me recently to complain about my blog post, "'Dangers of Crying it Out.'" Here is (most of) my response.

Stories of Seclusion: Embarassed into Isolation

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 26, 2015 in How To Do Life
The price of an affair can be great indeed.

How Are You Portraying Yourself When Using Social Media?

By Gregg McBride on July 25, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
When did vitriol become a national pastime and filling our social media feeds with hatred become de rigeur? Has initially greeting someone we don't understand (or even that we don't agree with) with kindness become a thing of the past?

Should Polygamy Really Be Legal?

With gay marriage now legal across the USA, some are suggesting that legal polygamy should be next. But would this really be a good idea?

The Quicksand of Self-deception: The Nocebo Effect

The placebo effect is a well-known phenomenon. Less well-known is the nocebo effect, placebo’s “evil twin.” Can physicians cause more harm than good when they give their patients too much information about a potential medication or therapeutic treatment, including those for weight-related disorders? What are the ethical considerations involved in withholding information?

I May Be a Jackass, But I Can Be Taught to Care

A jackass is an ornery animal. You can lead it to water, but you can't make it drink. Are kids the same way?

Feeling Insecure vs. Empathy

How can we learn to live with our insecurities

Stories of Seclusion: A Rejected Man

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 23, 2015 in How To Do Life
He too often commits The Mortal Sin of relationships.

Is Family Equality a Right to Surrogacy?

By Elliot Hosman J.D. on July 22, 2015 in Genetic Crossroads
With marriage equality the law of the land, the dignity of LGBTQ families calls for an ongoing conversation about the regulation of the ART and surrogacy industries.

5 Steps To Choosing Torture: Psychologists Breaking Bad

If you think the leaders in the American Psychological Association would interpret "Do no harm" broadly enough to mean: "Do not torture people," you are wrong.

The Meaning of the APA's Dealing With the Torture Scandal

After years of deception, and opposing strong and clear dissent from within its very ranks, the APA finds itself in a particularly awkward position. What does a professional organization which has lost its moral compass do when the news breaks? What does its reaction to the current controversy tell us about the APA’s organizational character?