Politics Essential Reads

Dealing with Difficult People: Lessons from Iran and Cuba

By Aldo Civico Ph.D. on April 14, 2015 in Turning Point
What can the meeting between Barack Obama and Raul Castro and the framework agreement between the United States and Iran teach us to deal with difficult people?

Hillary Clinton's Social Media Challenge

Obama was the classic Underdog archetype. Social media wasn’t his communications vehicle, it was part of his story. Don’t ask if Hillary Clinton will have a social media advantage because Obama did or if the Republicans will ever get it right. Ask if Hillary can adapt her archetype to social.

The APA and Guantanamo: Actions, Not Words

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on April 07, 2015 in Dangerous Ideas
APA leaders have an abysmal track record when it comes to meaningful action that runs counter to the Pentagon’s own policies on detention and interrogation operations. Time and again in these situations, the APA has trumpeted its commitment to psychology’s do-no-harm ethics but then retreated into the shadows when those principled words required principled actions.

Atheists Love Aliens

By Clay Routledge Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in More Than Mortal
Many atheists would argue that they do not believe in something unless there is a good reason for doing so. But is this true?

Does It Really Matter Where You Go to College?

If you want to be a leader in society, where you go to school probably matters. A good college, after all, might increase the likelihood of your success. When parents worry about which school their kids go to, they may be acting quite rationally.

A Tipping Point: We've Finally Noticed Boys' Struggles

For several years now a bipartisan group, which includes experts in the area of boys’ issues and fatherhood—and many of these are women, some of whom strongly identify as feminists—has been pushing for a White House Council on Boys and Men which would parallel the one that President Obama established for women and girls shortly after he took office in 2009.

Obama and Netanyahu in Family Therapy

After the initial evaluation and assessment, the therapist identified three classic family dysfunctions that exist in the relationship between Barack and Bibi: enmeshment, triangulation, and emotional cut-offs.

Should I Keep My Firstborn an Only Child?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on March 19, 2015 in Singletons
In terms of the level of education, aspirations and achievement, firstborns and only children excel. Of the 12 men who walked on the moon, all were firstborns or only children. What gives firstborns and only children this distinct advantage?

Guidance Counselors Should Reconsider the Gap Year

Research shows that gap years contribute to college success. So, why are college guidance counselors discouraged from suggesting them, even when they are in the best interest of the student? More importantly, how do we fix this?

Women Like Men With Big Medals

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on March 15, 2015 in Caveman Politics
If our basic drive is to survive and reproduce, why do men, who have been the primary war fighters throughout human history, volunteer to subject themselves to the life-threatening dangers of war?

The 'Other' Marshmallow Test

The tower building exercise - and its marshmallow - reveals another secret of successful human behavior, in this case for mental health professionals: when we put the goals of our patients first and foremost, they are going to be more effective, and so will we.

When Do Religious Values Harm Children? When Do They Help?

When children's mental health is put in danger because of religious intolerance, there are good reasons for mental health professionals to argue for what's right. Gay-straight alliances save children's lives. And religious tolerance for practices like the wearing of a niqab improves social cohesion.

Collusion? Where the APA Investigator Should Look

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on March 11, 2015 in Dangerous Ideas
There have been many allegations that the American Psychological Association colluded with the Bush Administration to support the use of psychologists in abusive detention and interrogation operations. APA’s standard response has followed the CIA’s unofficial motto: “Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter-accusations.” But now an investigation is finally underway.

7 Ways to Make Yourself Divorce-Proof

Many singles are interested in marriage but fear divorce. You can do things before marriage to increase your odds of lasting love in marriage.

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 "validity" of any religion are doomed to fail because of our own cognitive biases and the nature of religion itself.

Can Law Improve People's Lives?

Can law make people's lives better? The answer is yes, and treating mental illness more effectively is one place to start.

Do Generations Exist?

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Is it misleading to speak about a self-absorbed “Me Generation” or jaded, cynical GenXers, overeducated and underemployed?

How New Payment Technology Can Manipulate You

By Nir Eyal on February 23, 2015 in Automatic You
Digital payment systems use subtle tactics to increase tips, and while it’s certainly good for hard-working service workers, it may not be so good for your wallet. Here's the hidden psychology of why you unconsciously pay more.

“Islamic Extremism” vs “Violent Extremism”

By Neil Farber M.D, Ph.D. on February 20, 2015 in The Blame Game
Some refuse to use the term "Islamic Extremists" to describe the terrorist group, ISIS, calling them "Violent Extremists." By attributing cause and accountability, we are better able to define who they are, delineate their mission and goals, and derive solutions to stop them. Naming them DOES NOT blame, or indict non-violent Muslims - not guilt by religious association.

Conflicted Putin

By Zachary Shore D.Phil on February 10, 2015 in Judgment Calls
The Munich security conference revealed divisions within the Western camp. What does this period reveal about divisions within President Putin?

What Is Mindfulness and How Does It Work?

By Gregg Henriques on February 06, 2015 in Theory of Knowledge
Mindfulness is one of the most important developments in mental health in the past twenty years. Understand what it is and how it works.

God Is Just a Natural Disaster Away

Reversing the effects of secularization in a moment

The Vaccine Controversy: Through an Evolutionary Lens

In recent weeks, non-vaccinating parents have been blamed for being ignorant, stupid, or worse. But calling someone stupid does not seem like an effective way of getting parents to agree to do something that they believe might harm their child. Another way to look at parents’ fears about the risks of vaccinating is to look at decision making through an evolutionary lens.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

By Liza Long on February 02, 2015 in The Accidental Advocate
If we bring back the asylums, how do we make sure that our loved ones with mental illness remain part of our lives?

Rats and Responsibility (And a Bit of Camus)

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on January 30, 2015 in Pura Vida
People can get motivated to deal with serious immediate problems, but then, soon enough (often, too soon), they decide the problem is solved and move on. But problems, like rats, have a nasty habit of coming back. Cases in point: Ebola and nuclear weapons. In such cases, we can all learn a lesson from Albert Camus.

Love the Environment; But Environmentalists?

We think we've worked out why so many Americans are skeptical about climate change. Is it about conservatism, media coverage, brainwaves, the antics of environmentalists, or science education? The answer lies across the complex terrain of public opinion and understanding.

On Vaccines and Autism: An Open Letter to Larry Wilmore

By David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. on January 29, 2015 in A Logical Take
Larry Wilmore, the host of The Nightly Show, knows that vaccines are safe and effective. Unfortunately, he has no idea how to host a show that communicates that fact.

There's More to Yoga Than a Yoga Butt

The mental rewards of meditation.

Rejecting "Torture Tolerance-Lite"

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on January 28, 2015 in Dangerous Ideas
In their joint discounting of government-sponsored brutality, Cheney’s torture tolerance and Obama’s torture tolerance-lite represent a formidable front against calls for criminal prosecutions and justice.

17 Rules to Guide You Through Any Conflict

Whether in your relationships or your work life, it’s inevitable that you’ll be involved in a conflict with someone over something. These 17 principles will guide you in learning how best to put your emotions, motives, and communication skills to settle any of those conflicts in to produce successful results.