Politics Essential Reads

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 Technology is Tricking You Into Tipping More

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”

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.

Conservatives Like Welfare (For Traditional Families)

When President Obama proposed lowering taxes for middle-class dual-income families with children, some conservatives objected that traditional single-earner families were left out. Like many political fights, this one shows conflicting interests at work.

Power Corrupts…And Testosterone Corrupts Absolutely?

By Gregg Murray Ph.D. on January 25, 2015 in Caveman Politics
We’re all familiar with the cynical warning about leaders: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But research shows there's more to corruption than just power. And that "more" may be everyone's favorite sex hormone.

Amazing Website Predicts All Your Political Opinions!*

I've posted an interactive tool that shows how various features (race, religion, gender, education, etc.) relate to a range of political opinions (abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, healthcare, etc.). Don't let a focus on your own views get in the way of learning about fascinating patterns in the data.

Lone-Wolf Terrorists and Mental Illness

By Dr. Kathryn Seifert on January 20, 2015 in Stop The Cycle
The question we must ask ourselves is what can we do to reduce the risk of violent acts carried out by lone-wolf terrorists? The answer to this question is not simply better intelligence or a more effective police force.

Bartender Accused of Threatening Speaker of the House

By Helen M Farrell M.D. on January 17, 2015 in Frontpage Forensics
Fate uncertain for an Ohio man accused of threatening Boehner’s life. Reports suggest the accused might suffer from a serious mental illness.

10 Tips for Reducing Anger

By Steven Laurent on January 15, 2015 in Chill Pill
I think some readers may take exception to tip no. 4. And many will struggle with no. 7 (myself included); but it's no reason not to strive for it...

Ten Things You Need to Know about Campus Sexual Assault

Sexaul assault on campus is common--far more common than many people imagine.

War: What Is It Good For?

By APA Division 15 on January 14, 2015 in PsychEd
Researchers in the educational sciences seem to spend more time fighting paradigm wars than developing better education. It’s time we beat our pens (or word processors) into ploughshares, and see education—and the sciences that try to describe and even predict it—as a true ecological system where different paradigms ‘work’ at different levels for different things.

Cast Into the Depths: Perilous Waters for the APA

By Roy Eidelson Ph.D. on January 14, 2015 in Dangerous Ideas
The APA’s salvation begins with letting go of its stubborn denials of any connection to the Bush Administration's program of torture and abuse, its self-righteous assertions that it has always prohibited psychologists from participating in torture, and its false assurances that it will take assertive action against any members implicated in detainee mistreatment.

Climate Change: How To Really Make A Difference

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on January 12, 2015 in Listen Up!
We live with a blanket of denial about human-made climate change, yet there are many paths to an empowered activism that works toward a more hopeful future. Here are some examples.

Yes to Free Press, No to Racism: Why I Am Not Charlie

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on January 12, 2015 in Am I Right?
I won't stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who ridicule blacks as sub-human or Jews as monsters or sacred religious figures as crude or vicious.

How to Think About Terrorism

By Robert L Leahy Ph.D. on January 10, 2015 in Anxiety Files
The terrorists want us all to be afraid. But should we? Perhaps we can look at this with greater rationality and, ultimately, realize that this is an act of desperation rather than real power.

There Is Nothing Either Good or Bad But Thinking Makes It So

Lack of empathy is the black hole in our social relations.

Violence, Symbolic and Real

By Laurie Essig Ph.D. on January 08, 2015 in Social Studies
The attacks on Charlie Hebdo are despicable. But does condemning violent attacks by fanatics mean we must also accept the ideological claim that speech is free?

Defining the Competent Psychiatrist

What is a competent psychiatrist? Harsh critics declare the question moot, official bodies print long lists of "competencies." Is the answer in between? What does it take to understand and help troubled people?