Essential Reads

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

Baby Crying? Don't Shame the Parents!

What all adults need to know about letting babies "cry it out"

Recent Posts on Ethics and Morality

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?

Stories of Seclusion: Obsessed with Margaret Sanger

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 22, 2015 in How To Do Life
A woman attempts to reconcile how Planned Parenthood's founder could be a leading eugenicist.

My Experience as an Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) Worker

I spent a week answering psychological surveys on MTurk. The result was a revelation and has changed how I now think about using MTurk as a researcher.

5 Positive Lessons from Negative Comments

The media have been going wild this week covering Donald Trump's extreme and negative comments, focusing on how negative the comments were. My advice: Look at the substance of Trump's remarks--see what you can learn from them! Today I'm going to follow my own advice--not with Trump's comments, but with some negative comments I've received.

The Courage of a Surfer

By Michael W Austin on July 20, 2015 in Ethics for Everyone
A lesson about courage from a man who swam towards a shark.

Moral Panic: Who Benefits From Public Fear?

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Moral panic is a situation in which public fears and state interventions exceed the objective threat posed by an individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating it. Central to the concept is an argument that public concern or fear over an alleged social problem is mutually beneficial to state officials, politicians, law enforcement and news media.

How Psychologists and the APA Colluded in Torture

The APA colluded with the Dept of Defense and CIA to support enhanced interrogations against every international code.

Three Siblings Jailed by Family Court Judge

A Family Court Judge in Michigan forces three children into juvenile detention as punishment for not wanting to see their father. Do children have any rights?

A Deeper Look at the Evil Within

By Guest Bloggers on July 17, 2015 in Brainstorm
When ordinary people took on roles of prisoners and guards, even the researchers were shocked at what happened. With the release of a Stanford Prison Experiment movie, here's a look at the research surrounding the study people are still arguing about decades later.

Unnatural Sex

By Isadora Alman MFT on July 17, 2015 in Sex & Sociability
Unnatural sex is absolutely relative. One must ask "Unnatural to whom?"

Our digital devices might make us kinder

Henry James once wrote, Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. Maybe our digital devices can help us discover all three.

What to Say When There Are No Words

By Sheila Weinstein on July 17, 2015 in What Do I Do Now?
Bigotry is very much alive