Essential Reads

Delusions of Deterrence

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on February 05, 2018 in Peace and War
Even many people who should know better wear intellectual blinders when it comes to nuclear deterrence, and we are all worse off as a result.

The Winchester Mystery House and Other Haunted Places

By Frank T. McAndrew Ph.D. on January 29, 2018 in Out of the Ooze
Ghosts seem to have very specific preferences for where they take up residence-–why?

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on January 06, 2018 in Talking Apes
Belief in conspiracy theories can satisfy important psychological needs for some people. We need to understand this first before confronting a believer with facts.
Pixabay

Insects Are the Canaries In Our Coal Mine

We may loathe many of them, but it will be much harder to feed us if they are gone.

More Posts on Magical Thinking

Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The Emergence and Nature of Us

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 02, 2017 in Ambigamy
The biggest gap in psychology finally filled, an explanation for why things matter to you but not to your computer, bed or car.

America's Myopioid Epidemic

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 25, 2017 in Ambigamy
Myopium: Myopic (short-sighted) beliefs turning people into closed-minded fanatics, high on themselves, unrealistic about the future.

Wedding Madness

By Brenda Berger Ph.D. on July 23, 2017 in Hearts and Minds
At a moment of promising oneself to another, uncertainty and anxiety are masked by elaborate, and sometimes charming, strategies to secure the fantasy of a perfect wedding.

Matter- but Not Mind-blind—and Vice Versa

A pioneering study shows mentalism to vary inversely with mechanistic cognition as predicted by the diametric model.
Manu Praba / Wikipedia Commons CC BY 2.0

Be(lie)ve It or Not: Part One

Is belief a psychological condition? Why do we believe what we believe? What does belief mean? Is it many things?

Americans Intoxicated

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on July 01, 2017 in A Swim in Denial
It’s an angry era in America. Instead of debating who’s right or wrong, let’s ask what kinds of work anger is doing for Americans now? And what's behind it?

A Possible Sign from God That He (It) Exists

By Izzy Kalman on June 14, 2017 in Resilience to Bullying
Could it be that a familiar cosmic illusion considered by scientists to be a pure coincidence is actually a clever sign from God to mankind that He exists?

Christianity Is Dying in the United Kingdom

Latest study shows that Christianity in Britain is in deep decline.

What’s Your Anti-Gravity Strategy?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 04, 2017 in Ambigamy
People seek transcendence by many means. Some come bundled with belief in supernatural magic at odds with science. Scientists can do more to help resolve the tension.

Why Do People Cherry-Pick Which Science They Accept?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 21, 2017 in Ambigamy
By not explaining why anything matters, science becomes dubious enough that we can easily escape its inconvenient truths.

Communicating With the Dead: Mediums, Séances, Ouija Boards

There has long been a keen interest in finding a way to communicate with the dead. How better to manage our own uncertainty about life in the hereafter?

Face-it Versus Escapist Coping Strategies

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 10, 2017 in Ambigamy
Do you reduce stress in ways that increase or decrease your peripheral vision?

Why Do Some Men Get Premature Championship Tattoos?

By Kevin Bennett on March 22, 2017 in Modern Minds
Why do some men get premature championship tattoos? Here are four reasons why you might go for some skin art that predicts a successful season for your favorite team.
Mooshny/Shutterstock

Thinking Away Unwanted Thoughts

Don't bother telling yourself not to worry. It will never work. Instead, do this.

Fervor and Fanaticism

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on March 12, 2017 in Side Effects
On the parallels between Trumpism and other mass movements.

Annoyed at Work? The “Flow” Hack Transforms Motivation!

By Bobby Hoffman Ph.D. on March 06, 2017 in Motivate!
Is your job boring, tedious or overwhelming? Even the worst positions can be transformed to engaging and exciting when you master the Flow Hack. It only takes a few minutes a day!

A Really Big Question Part I

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 27, 2017 in Ambigamy
Buddies kick the tires on a popular explanation for life: that life energy, vital force, spirit or soul enters matter and makes it come alive. They come away curious.

What's the Difference Between Optimism and Hope?

By Utpal Dholakia on February 26, 2017 in The Science Behind Behavior
Both are beneficial, but they’re different in their effects on our life outcomes.

How Trump Takes Advantage of the Psychology of Blame

By Robert Klitzman M.D. on February 23, 2017 in Am I My Genes?
To make sense of complex problems, we often seek simple story lines. These often involve blaming someone, assigning physical and moral cause. Trump takes advantage of this trait.

How I Learned to Stop Lying, by Marcia Butler

By Jennifer Haupt on February 21, 2017 in One True Thing
I couldn’t tolerate even one person knowing what had happened to me — even my therapist. The shame was crippling.

Focus On Trump's Acts, Not His Psychology

By Allen J Frances M.D. on February 11, 2017 in Saving Normal
We must challenge Trump on his outrageous behaviors and constant lies, not on his motivations and mental status.

Voting for the Magic Wand, or Trump's Phallic Victory

By Lawrence D. Blum M.D. on January 09, 2017 in Beyond Freud
Voters are influenced by powerful fantasies that pundits don't talk about.

Can These Zombies Be Killed?

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on December 06, 2016 in Time Out
Zombies of 20th century hatred are stalking the country again. We must defeat them.

For a Greener Holiday Let’s Do Nothing

As we make our to-do list for the holidays, leave some time for doing nothing. Find a bit of quiet away from the frazzled shopping crowds and slow down. Be as green as you can.

The Psychology of Why We Play Lotto

By Ryan Anderson on December 04, 2016 in The Mating Game
Why do people engage in such 'curious' behaviour as playing the lottery? Don't they know that it's staggeringly unlikely that they'll win? Often, they do know, but play anyway

Fear and Voting

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on November 23, 2016 in Excellent Beauty
We all live in groups defined by shared fears, and shared ways of allaying those fears. Our fears therefore function as shibboleths. And thus my fears are invisible to you.
Pixabay

Monsters

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in This Is America
Monsters, real and imagined, take shape from the interplay between the inherent fears of human nature and a specific historical context.

Why Even Some Smart People Are Superstitious

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 22, 2016 in How To Do Life
Hidden benefits of magical thinking

Time Travel: When "Be Here Now" Isn't Enough

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on November 06, 2016 in Creating in Flow
There's something compelling about time travel novels in which characters go back in time to change or fix the past. Here are a few new books—and worlds—to try out.