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Germany is never so happy as when she is pregnant with war.

"In the course of researching my book The Emotional Life of Nations, I discovered that just before and during wars the nation was regularly depicted as a Dangerous Woman. I collected thousands of magazine covers and political cartoons before wars to see if there were any visual patterns that could predict the moods that led to war, and routinely found images of dangerous, bloodthirsty women."

Sociologist, political psychologist, and founder of The Institute for Psychohistory (no not that one) Lloyd deMause has written eight books and 90 articles on the link between warfare and parenting practices. With thousands of references to psychological and anthropological studies, deMause makes the case that outbursts of nationalist violence are reenactments of childhood experiences common to large groups.

His book The Origins of War In Child Abuse is available as a ten-part, free audiobook; read by Stefan Molyneux. [more inside]
posted by clarknova on May 3, 2011 - 151 comments

Avoid the News

Avoid the News: Towards A Healthy News Diet. (large-ish PDF) Go without news. Cut it out completely. Go cold turkey. Make news as inaccessible as possible . . . . After a while, you will realize that despite your personal news blackout, you have not missed – and you’re not going to miss – any important facts. If some bit of information is truly important to your profession, your company, your family or your community, you will hear it in time – from your friends, your mother-in-law or whomever you talk to or see. When you are with your friends, ask them if anything important is happening in the world. The question is a great conversation starter. Most of the time, the answer will be: “not really.”
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 20, 2011 - 113 comments

Are We There Yet?

Zerosomethings are adorable: angst-free, energetic, usually related to me. They will grab onto one my legs to get a free ride, and I will always give it to them. A precocious twentysomething's artful musings on the series of life-stages most of us have passed, are passing, or will pass through in the course of ordinary survival. Reading "-Somethings" I am reminded of Gail Sheehy's classic Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life (read a portion here), a thought-provoking and somewhat more academic investigation of how we change over time.
posted by fernabelle on Apr 10, 2011 - 30 comments

The Psychopathology of Extreme Heroism

SciAm takes a look at the fine line between clinical pyschopaths and real-life superheroes. Related: Addicted to Being Good
posted by saulgoodman on Mar 31, 2011 - 46 comments

Age of Pedagogy

Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School by Alison Gopnik [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Mar 17, 2011 - 42 comments

"Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink." Charles Bukowski

Full Bladder, Better Decisions? Study says controlling your bladder decreases impulsive choices.
posted by Fizz on Mar 7, 2011 - 34 comments

It's an intense thing, but it's a small thing.

In strange reversal of conventional wisdom, four fifths of enrolled undergrads skip out on optional Fucksaw presentation. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Mar 2, 2011 - 240 comments

"What do I have to plant inside their heads?"

Army Psy Ops Units Targeted American Senators
posted by empath on Feb 24, 2011 - 77 comments

The Supercommuter

Joe Simonetti is a 57-year-old psychotherapist who lives with his wife in Pound Ridge, New York. His commute takes him from the northern reaches of exurban Westchester County to his office just south of Central Park. It's about three and a half hours each way. By bike. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 22, 2011 - 72 comments

Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Fox, Storm

Bullestorm is a rather silly FPS from People Can Fly, focusing irreverance, violence, points for ridiculous achievments and fun fun. It's marketing campaign has included the meta-game "Duty Calls", which savagly skewers it's equally violent but far more self-serious competition such as Call of Duty: Black Ops. Naturally, Fox news has freaked out and started a campaign against it, including a claim that it will cause rape. Rock, Paper Shotgun responds. FOX responds to the response. RPS responds to the response to the response, with a summary of the debacle so far.
posted by Artw on Feb 21, 2011 - 119 comments

MDMA vs. PTSD

Can a Single Pill Change Your Life? Oprah Magazine examines recent studies on the use of MDMA (the main ingredient in Ecstasy) to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
posted by mannequito on Feb 15, 2011 - 104 comments

The Exact Opposite of Countercultural

The Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Effexor, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Restoril, Xanax, Adderall, Ritalin, Haldol, Risperdal, Seroquel, Ambien, Lunesta, Elavil, Trazodone War New York Magazine's Jennifer Senior writes on prescription drug (ab)use among soldiers and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Feb 15, 2011 - 50 comments

Watching you watch There Will Be Blood

"The result is almost unprecedented in film studies, I think: an effort to test a critic’s analysis against measurable effects of a movie." - Watching You Watch There Will Be Blood [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 14, 2011 - 41 comments

The Soul Niche

Swimming around in a mixture of language and matter, humans occupy a particular evolutionary niche mediated by something we call 'consciousness'. To Professor Nicholas Humphrey we're made up of "soul dust": "a kind of theatre... an entertainment which we put on for ourselves inside our own heads." But just as that theatre is directed by the relationship between language and matter, it is also undermined by it. It all depends how you think it.
posted by 0bvious on Feb 4, 2011 - 17 comments

more of the same

Life after Capitalism - Beyond capitalism, it seems, stretches a vista of... capitalism: [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 25, 2011 - 33 comments

Nefarious Notoriety: a Study of the Thoughts Behind Assasination Attempts on Public Figures

In 1999, psychologist Robert A. Fein and Executive Director of the US Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center, Bryan Vossekuil, published a study of 83 persons who had attempted or succeeded to assassinate a public figure (Google HTML view of pdf). Those 83 were all the people who were known to have attacked, or approached to attack, a prominent public official or public figure in the United States since 1949. The goal was to better understand the motives behind such actions, and included interviews with some of the subjects. NPR covered the report today, interviewing Fein and discussing the findings. The summary was that the attacks were not political in motive, but attempts at gaining fame. "They experienced failure after failure after failure, and decided that rather than being a 'nobody,' they wanted to be a 'somebody,' " Fein said. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 14, 2011 - 31 comments

Anxiety and test-taking

A study just published in Science finds that students who briefly write about their testing anxieties do better on the subsequent test. The abstract at Science, and a podcast interview with Sian Beilock, one of the study authors.
posted by OmieWise on Jan 14, 2011 - 14 comments

Cryptoforestry: Inner City Reforestation in Utrecht and the G/Local Amazon; Psychogeography is involved

Cryptoforestry is a heady blog that covers cryptoforests of all sorts, from feral forests that thrive next to heavily developed urban environments without human assistance, land in limbo and "states of vegetation for which lay-language has no name", incognito forests that hide in plain view, precognitive forests that are about to become forest or are forest Fata Morgana, and unappreciated forests that are considered wastelands. The scope of the blog covers local Utrecht sites to the "g/local" Amazon basin, and lands in-between. All this is filtered through the lens of psychogeography, emphasizing "the psychological effects of a forest rather than canopy cover or land use as of importance for classification." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 12, 2011 - 24 comments

The E-Persona

Separation Anxiety: "Now that there's no escaping the digital world, research is getting more serious about what happens to personalities that are incessantly on."
posted by zarq on Jan 12, 2011 - 42 comments

Should have seen this one coming, too.

Following the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology's decision to publish Daryl Bem's writeup of 8 studies (PDF) purporting to show evidence for precognition (previously), researchers from the University of Amsterdam have written a rebuttal (PDF) which finds methodological flaws not only in Bem's research, but in many other published papers in experimental psychology. Could this prove to be psychology's cold fusion moment? [more inside]
posted by yourcelf on Jan 8, 2011 - 21 comments

The Luxury Prime

"The rich are different than you and me." A new study out of the Harvard Business School suggests that frequent use of luxury goods and services may encourage a narrower, more self-interested view of the world. Here's a link to the report itself. (Achtung! it's a PDF.)
posted by saulgoodman on Jan 5, 2011 - 72 comments

Feel like nobody really cares whether you live or die these days? Well, you might be on to something...

The Empathy Deficit: "A recent study finds a decline in empathy among young people in the U.S." In fact, the report concludes "empathy levels have been declining over the past 30 years." Podcast on this topic here.
posted by saulgoodman on Dec 29, 2010 - 110 comments

A Real Science of Mind

A Real Science of Mind Neurobabble piques interest in science, but obscures how science works. Individuals see, know, and want to make love. Brains don’t. Those things are psychological — not, in any evident way, neural.
posted by shivohum on Dec 27, 2010 - 21 comments

Does the language we speak shape our thoughts? - An online debate

Does the language we speak shape our thoughts? The Economist is hosting an interactive online debate running all this week. Lena Boroditsky, a Stanford psychologist, supports the motion that it does, while Mark Liberman, a linguist from the Univ of Pennsylvania opposes it. Elsewhere you can read a WSJ article in which among other things Boroditsky argues that Japanese and Spanish speakers have a different sense of blame, and listen to a lively in-depth seminar at the Long Now Foundation. All her articles and papers are available in PDF online.
posted by philipy on Dec 15, 2010 - 72 comments

The Truth about Suicide Bombers?

Growing evidence suggests suicide bombers may be just ... well, suicidal. The idea is controversial and contentious, to be sure, but there is a small but growing movement among social scientists that the reasoning behind suicide bombing might be more mundane than religious "fanaticism" or "deluded" ideology. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Dec 12, 2010 - 22 comments

You saw this post coming

An eight-year, extremely large study (p = 1.34 × 10-11) has found statistically significant results that point towards a human capability for precognition. Reviewers for the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology are puzzled by the paper but cannot find any flaws in its methodology. Is this confirmation of the fluid nature of time? Or is it simply another candidate for the Journal of Irreproducible Results?
posted by shii on Nov 11, 2010 - 100 comments

The Dalai Lama at Stanford

The Dalai Lama on changing minds only through compassion and respect. He spent several days at Stanford recently, and this session focuses on the neuroscience of compassion. Watch it in full here.
posted by philipy on Oct 21, 2010 - 56 comments

Believing is seeing, seeing is hearing

Is seeing believing? BBC Horizon looks at sensory perception, illusions and the interplay of our different senses. (Full program for UK viewers here). Makes you feel like you've entered The Twilight Zone. [more inside]
posted by philipy on Oct 18, 2010 - 16 comments

The fine art of surfacing

Live coverage of the rescue operation of the 33 Chilean miners who have been stranded underground for the last 68 days. NASA are helping in more ways than one but it isn't over yet.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth on Oct 12, 2010 - 191 comments

The Scope-Severity Paradox

In an ideal world, you’d imagine that someone who harmed more people would deserve a harsher treatment: a new paper by Loran F. Nordgren and Mary McDonnell, The Scope-Severity Paradox, suggests people find crime with fewer victims more severe than those with more victims. [PDF link] [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Oct 4, 2010 - 47 comments

The Force of liberal guilt, it is strong.

Kill Whitey. It's the Right Thing to do. [more inside]
posted by googly on Sep 28, 2010 - 142 comments

Mooing Vuitton in the verdant fields of a mall.

"What was lost in the realm of economic exchange is reclaimed in the realm of cultural/semiotic performance. Branding also identifies the product relative to the chain of signifiers constituting its brand “family,” in the same way that ranchers brand livestock with the sign of their ranch." [via]
posted by nickrussell on Sep 15, 2010 - 11 comments

1 in 38,000,000

You are more likely to be killed by a pig than a shark. You run a greater risk of dying from an asteroid impact than a terrorist attack. You would have to fly an average of 38,000 years in commercial aviation before suffering a fatal crash. The fears parents have for their children have nothing in common to what will actually kill or hurt them. Our perception of risk has very little relation to threat: some helpful visual guides [PDF] and reasons why.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Sep 9, 2010 - 124 comments

75,000 is the magic number

"We infer that beyond about $75,000/y, there is no improvement whatever in any of the three measures of emotional well-being." Two social scientists at Princeton, Angus Deaton and Nobelist Daniel Kahneman, have a new paper in PNAS about money and the determinants of happiness. Increased income above $75,000 is not associated with higher subjective happiness, though it is associated with superior scores on measures of overall life satisfaction. Other tidbits: "Religion has a substantial influence on improving positive affect and reducing reports of stress, but no effect on reducing sadness or worry... The presence of children at home is associated with significant increases in stress, sadness, and worry."
posted by escabeche on Sep 8, 2010 - 49 comments

That rug really tied the room together, did it not?

Ugly Vegas Carpets Want You to Keep Playing. "Mathematician-philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said, “It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.” This certainly rings true with Chris Maluszynski’s Las Vegas Carpets series, whose name explains it all. The photos draw out the psychology of Las Vegas through the simple observation of carpet."
posted by Fizz on Sep 2, 2010 - 51 comments

The WEIRD ones

Westerners vs. the World: We are the WEIRD ones
posted by bardophile on Aug 29, 2010 - 81 comments

What Motivates Us?

Challenging the notion that humans are motivated by monetary reward, Dan Pink presents a variety of studies that test this notion. Inspired by his newest book, Drive
posted by fantodstic on Aug 26, 2010 - 34 comments

120 days in the hole

After 17 days, 33 Chilean miners have been found alive 2,300 vertical feet underground in a gold and copper mine. Now the only thing left to do is get them out safely -- in about four months.
posted by Gilbert on Aug 24, 2010 - 115 comments

What Is It About 20-Somethings?

Twenty-somethings today don't quite fit the definition of adolescence or adulthood. This has thrown the human development gurus for a loop. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Aug 18, 2010 - 136 comments

Long lasting prejudices

In 1939, psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark performed an experiment with dolls which was instrumental to Brown vs Board of Education, a case that struck down black/white segregation in American education. Earlier this year, CNN's AC360 aired the results (update, also) of a follow up statistical study on racial bias in today's children. Anderson Cooper himself explains his motives. [more inside]
posted by knz on Aug 16, 2010 - 72 comments

You Dirty Chicken Plucker

Howard Bloom: Exercising the Animals in the Brain [more inside]
posted by nola on Aug 9, 2010 - 25 comments

Stress

Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine.
posted by homunculus on Jul 31, 2010 - 47 comments

Pampered pigs 'feel optimistic'

Pampered pigs 'feel optimistic'
posted by memebake on Jul 29, 2010 - 41 comments

Caring with cash

Shared social responsibility - When customers could pay what they wanted in the knowledge that half of that would go to charity, sales and profits went through the roof ... Gneezy describes the combination of charitable donations and paying what you like as 'shared social responsibility', where businesses and customers work together for the public good. (via mr) [also see 1,2,3]
posted by kliuless on Jul 28, 2010 - 19 comments

Ok, you are. But not you.

You think people know what you are thinking. You think that you are rational. You even think that life is fair. Actually, you are not that smart.
posted by ejoey on Jul 27, 2010 - 66 comments

Medieval Cyborgs

Our cyborg past: Medieval artificial memory as mindware upgrade. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 26, 2010 - 28 comments

The New Science of Morality

The New Science of Morality: An Edge seminar featuring talks (with full video, audio and text transcripts) by Paul Bloom, Roy Baumeister, Joshua Greene, Jonathan Haidt, Sam Harris, Marc Hauser, Josua Knobe, Elizabeth Phelps, and David Pizarro.
posted by AceRock on Jul 26, 2010 - 24 comments

Epic Mafia: FOSing without claiming would be a scumtell if it weren't for WIFOM

Every person is assigned a role at the start of the game. You are randomly sided with either the village, the mafia, or a third party. During the night, the mafia secretly meet and discuss to decide who they want to kill, while other power roles decide what to do. During the day, the village players must figure out who is not sided with the village and get rid of them. [more inside]
posted by GooseOnTheLoose on Jul 17, 2010 - 38 comments

Picky Eating - Mental Disorder?

Picky Eating might be added to the DSM.
posted by backseatpilot on Jul 6, 2010 - 358 comments

You're an Animal!

In a fundamental re-think of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, a research team lead by Arizona State University's Doug Kenrick has replaced the personal need to achieve status and respect, culminating in self-actualization, with the biological imperative to find a mate and reproduce, culminating in parenting. Kenrick also replaces Maslow's strict design, in which needs replace one another, with a design in which needs overlap over the course of a lifetime. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Jun 30, 2010 - 126 comments

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