Essential Reads

Understanding the Islamic State - A Fool's Errand?

The quest to understand the "validity" of a religious sect will be unsatisfying.

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

Our new study suggests that better-looking men are more selfish.

Anti-Vaxxers Love Their Children Too

They're wrong, but are they crazy?

Malignant Narcissism and the Murder of a Parent

Loving parents, disturbed children and 12 approaches to the problem

Recent Posts on Ethics and Morality

Forgiveness and Your Health

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on March 02, 2015 in Media Spotlight
A new study shows that forgiveness can be a strong predictor of different measures of cardiovascular health for both husbands and wives. Even when marital satisfaction was taken into account, people scoring high on forgiveness measures had lower heart rates, blood pressure, and better cardiovascular efficiency than subjects with continued to hold grudges.

Black American Naming Traditions

Given names can provide cultural and spiritual insight. Researching an unfamiliar name, or asking the meaning of a name, as well as sharing the story of your name, may help provide new understanding or start a meaningful conversation

Our Evolving Black American Naming Traditions

Understanding the meaning and origin of names provides important social clues, spiritual insight, and understanding.

The Attraction of Terrorism

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on March 01, 2015 in Am I Right?
Young people want challenges; they need challenges; they yearn to discover their own strengths; they want to be part of something larger and more meaningful than their individual selves.

Why You Should be More Grateful

By Neel Burton M.D. on March 01, 2015 in Hide and Seek
Despite its many benefits, gratitude is hard to cultivate.

Envy and Social Propinquity

Did you ever notice how you will envy those most like you in some important way? If you love chess you won't envy Yitzhak Perlman, just as if you play violin you won't envy Bobby Fisher. What is the deeper meaning beneath this phenomenon and how can it help us better understand those pangs of envy we sometimes feel?

Understanding the Islamic State - A Fool's Errand?

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
Attempts to identify the beliefs that define the "truth" of any religion are doomed to fail because of our own cognitive biases and the nature of religion itself.

Modern Intellectual History of Cognitive Sciences

By Sean X. Luo M.D., Ph.D. on February 28, 2015 in Hooked on Patterns
Did cognitive science come out of Einstein or Darwin?

Where’s The Market For Organs (And Sex)?

By Jesse Marczyk on February 28, 2015 in Pop Psych
Sometimes you aren't allowed to sell things that you are free to give away; a curious bit of moral psychology

How (Not) to Win the War on Terrorism

By Po Chi Wu Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Jacob's Staff
How can we protect society against a few committed radicals who can disrupt society by marshaling powerful communications networks? In the good old days, we tracked the movement of physical assets as early warning signs of trouble. What can we do now, when weapons are intangible and untraceable? Might it be possible to mobilize the mainstream as a balancing force?

The Bystander Effect

By Rosemary K.M. Sword on February 27, 2015 in The Time Cure
We’d all like to think that when we see something bad happening that we’d step forward to render aid. But in reality most of us don’t. And although some people won’t take the initiative to help, they will take the time to photograph or videotape the event and post it on the internet. Why?

The Blue/Black White/Gold Dress Controversy: No One Is Right

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in A Logical Take
The blue/black, or white/gold, dress controversy reveals more than meets the eye.

Winning Moves in "Searching for Bobby Fischer"

By Skip Dine Young Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Movies and the Mind
"Searching for Bobby Fischer" is a movie about greatness in chess. But more than that, it is about maintaining compassion as one pursues excellence. It is also a caution to parents who may be tempted to overly identify with their children's success.

Schizophrenia and Violence, Part II

By Betsy Seifter Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in After the Diagnosis
The insanity defense fails again, but mentally ill offenders need treatment, not punishment.

Why SeaWorld Can’t Float: Censorship and Business Ethics

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 27, 2015 in Animal Emotions
SeaWorld attempted to censor talks at the 14th International Conference of the American Cetacean Society (ACS) last November that criticized them in the areas of the ethics of captivity and their business practices. Dr. Thomas White, who was one of the presenters being closeted, has now posted his presentation for all to see. It's well worth the time to view and share it.

They Talk, We Listen

By G.A. Bradshaw Ph.D., Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Bear in Mind
"I don’t know what happened, my Sweet Girl is gone. Yesterday she left in the morning and didn’t even say good-bye. She just left. I waited all day yesterday and she never came home, and today she’s still not home. I am really, really sad. I don’t even know what I am going to do with myself."

What Can We Learn About Love From ‘The Bachelor’?

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in Millennial Media
Nineteen seasons in, and I'm still shamefully watching the show. As a psychologist, I can’t help but be fascinated by this dramatized reality show. As a girl, I’m sitting with my big bowl of popcorn secretly hoping there is a fairytale ending to it all. Which begs the question—how much of the show is real, and what (if anything) can we learn from it?

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

There have been many recent media stories—with titles like "Science Says: Hot Guys Are A-Holes"—about a new study on attractiveness and behavior. I was lead author on this study, and I'll clarify here what our study really showed.

Should Health Care Providers Joke About Patients?

By Jean Kim M.D. on February 26, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Medical Gallows Humor can help providers cope, but at what cost to the care provider-patient relationship?

Stop Hating Yourself Once and For All

By Lisa Firestone Ph.D. on February 25, 2015 in Compassion Matters
Throughout a given day, we experience a barrage of sadistic thoughts so smoothly and so frequently that we hardly notice we’re under attack. We may try to compensate for insecurities, but deep down, we are our own worst enemy. So, what causes us to turn against ourselves and how can we stop?

Anti-Vaxxers Love Their Children Too

Anti-vaxxers are seen as crazy or stupid. Psychology says otherwise.

Do Friends Shame You For Not Believing Them?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 24, 2015 in Ambigamy
We have freedom of speech, but we have to earn our audience and credibility. The sooner we realize this, the freer we become and the more responsibility we take for getting heard and winning hearts and minds.

Malignant Narcissism and the Murder of a Parent

By Carrie Barron M.D. on February 24, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
This blog explores Malignant Narcissism and the damaging impact that it can have on family members and others.

Why Some College Students Love Molly

It's not surprising that college students look to party drugs.

A Response to Sam Harris's Writings on Moral Truth Pt 1 of 3

By John A. Johnson Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Cui Bono
In August of 2013, Sam Harris issued a challenge to refute, in 1,000 words or less, the central thesis of his book, The Moral Landscape. This thesis is that "questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science." In a three-part blog post, I explain why I agree with everything in his book except the central thesis.

How to Survive a Slasher Film

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Do you think you're trapped in a slasher film? A new research study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture provides an in-depth look at Final Girls over three decades of slasher films and what it was that enabled them to survive to the end of the movie. The study results may surprise you.

There Is No Choice but to Trust

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on February 23, 2015 in Am I Right?
Whenever we lie to a friend or don’t keep our word to colleagues or jump the line at the checkout counter, we undermine the very thing that makes life doable.

Get Robust, Because Resilience Is Too Little Too Late

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 22, 2015 in Ambigamy
Resilience is the ability to recover your cool quickly. Robustness is keeping your cool no matter what. James Bond is robust. You don't see him recovering his cool after a fight. He keeps his cool in the fight. Here are 14 quick strategies for cultivating your robustness, so you can stand up for yourself invulnerably.

What Exactly Is 'The Best Interest of the Child?', Part 2

When parents are asked about the essential needs of their children during and after parental separation, children’s emotional, psychological, social, moral and spiritual needs are seen to be of paramount importance. But what exactly are these “metaphysical” needs?

The 'Journey' of Psychotherapy

The “Journey” of Psychotherapy: On a voyage with an eating disordered patient. By Hilary Maddux, LCSW