Social Life Essential Reads

Protective Parenting an Adolescent

With all the media attention devoted to adolescents getting in trouble, getting hurt, and getting killed, it's hard for parents not to worry about their teenager and to act restrictively in her or her defense. However, the best protection parents can provide is self-management preparation for safely functioning in a hazardous world.

March Madness

By Jeffrey Lieberman M.D. on March 24, 2015 in Shrink Speak
Students and parents rarely consider that they might need mental health services during college and often urgently. For this reason, they would be well advised to include the quality and availability of mental health services along with traditional considerations as they decide on the college of their choice.

Do You Feel Sexy on the Inside?

By Rick Miller LICSW on March 23, 2015 in Unwrapped
Expanding the ways in which we feel “sexy” is good for everyone (yup, except maybe for the beauty industry that sells just one way).

Want to Live Longer? Make Good Friends.

By Dawn C. Carr MGS, Ph.D. on March 15, 2015 in The Third Age
It may be surprising, but who you choose as a friend matters, and so does the quality of those friendships. Good relationships have a potent beneficial impact on your health.

Comforting Third Spaces

The best third spaces are green spaces.

Notes from an Older Dad

My journey to being a mostly full-time dad demonstrates how having a child can alter one’s personal identity and sense of masculinity, especially when one is older.

The Ambiguities of Progress

By Steven Mintz Ph.D. on March 11, 2015 in The Prime of Life
Rather than thinking about change in terms of progress or decline, it is better to focus on trade-offs.

The Surprising Way That Simple Actions Can Change Your Mind

By Geoff Haddock Ph.D. on March 05, 2015 in Attitude Check
Can holding a pen in your mouth lead you to see cartoons as more or less funny?

Think You Can't Get Drunk on Soda Water? Think Again.

Don't blame it on the alcohol! Blame it on your expectations about drinking.

8 Negative Attitudes of Chronically Unhappy People

All of us experience negative thoughts from time to time. How we manage our negative attitudes can make the difference between confidence versus fear, hope versus despair, mastery versus victimhood, and victory versus defeat. Here are eight negative attitudes of chronically unhappy people...

Three Dead Grannies, or the Psychology of Deadlines

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 21, 2015 in One Among Many
A deadline is a blunt cudgel to beat students (and others) into submission. Can we do without them? [this is a rhetorical question]

“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.

Flow and Happiness

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 16, 2015 in One Among Many
What is the relationship between the state of ‘flow’ and happiness? I suggest here that flow is beneficial but limited in scope because it is bound up with work and expertise.

The Way We Were?

By Phil Zuckerman Ph.D. on February 11, 2015 in The Secular Life
Life was not better when religion was stronger

What's in a Name? More Than You Think.

By Geoff Haddock Ph.D. on February 11, 2015 in Attitude Check
Is Darren more likely to be persuaded by Derek or Stuart?

Why are There More Homo Sapiens than Neandertals These Days?

Neandertals were smart - but they now only exist in small amounts in our own DNA. What led to the large-scale success of Homo Sapiens relative to the Neandertals? The answer lies in the human (or Homo Sapien) tendency to create "ingroups" beyond kin lines. And such "ingroup" reasoning can help explain both the best and the worst of what it means to be human.

Can Other People Make You Less Creative?

By Liane Gabora Ph.D. on February 06, 2015 in Mindbloggling
Do you sometimes feel more creative when you are alone? Though it is widely believed that stimulating environments enhance creativity this is not always the case. People may send out social signals to each other to conform, thereby ensuring that creativity--the process that fuels cultural novelty--is balanced by conformity--the process that perpetuates successful novelty.

Staying Home

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 04, 2015 in One Among Many
There are two psychologies of religion. One shows that religion is a poor way of ‘knowing.’ The other shows that religion is a stubborn social phenomenon.

Revelation vs. Science

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on February 02, 2015 in One Among Many
Does theistic religion offer transcendence or a psychological straightjacket?

Millennials and Social Media: It May Not Be What You Think

By Frank T McAndrew Ph.D. on February 02, 2015 in Out of the Ooze
We may be worrying too much that our smart phones, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages are making us less capable of dealing with real people in real physical space. The actual problem is that this technology is making it impossible for us to be WITHOUT other people, even for short periods of time.

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.

It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It

By David Ludden Ph.D. on January 30, 2015 in Talking Apes
Most of our daily conversations are about building and maintaining social relationships, and the actual content of those conversations is usually unimportant.

Are 36 Questions All It Takes to Fall in Love?

When love follows a 36-question exercise, people pay attention. But is this method a reliable one for transitioning strangers into long-term romantic partners?

Normative Happiness

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 24, 2015 in One Among Many
Is happiness a subjective, inner, feeling, or is it subject to analytical examination? If so, can your life and your happiness be objectively evaluated? Many philosophers but few psychologists believe so.

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.

What Makes a Good Pun?

By Richard Smith Ph.D. on January 16, 2015 in Joy and Pain
Punsters often insert puns into serious situations, thereby disrupting the hearer's goals. This produces groans of anger and frustration even if the puns are clever. The best puns are both clever and also succeed in furthering rather than disrupting the hearer's goals and in enhancing meaning.

Everyday Bipolar Disorder and Order

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 15, 2015 in Ambigamy
We're all a little bipolar, motivated in opposite directions. Healthier, more trustworthy people own their ambivalences. Here are some tips on how to do it.

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...

All Is Lost!

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on January 14, 2015 in The Human Beast
If a tsunami washes away your home, family and friends, you are entitled to feel that all is lost. Most people bounce back from disasters sooner or later. Yet many people feel catastrophic anxiety in their everyday lives without any catastrophe. Why?

The Truth About Lies

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on January 14, 2015 in This Is America
In The Devil Wins, Dallas Denery provides an informative and thought-provoking account of the efforts of theologians and philosophers from the early Christian era to the Enlightenment to define lies and understand their ethical, social, and political implications. In the "fallen world" of early modern Europe, he argues, lying became natural and naturally useful qualities.