620 posts tagged with psychology.
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Love at first smell, and what stinky t-shirts tell us about attraction

"There's no Brad Pitt of smell," Herz says. "Body odor is an external manifestation of the immune system, and the smells we think are attractive come from the people who are most genetically compatible with us." [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Jan 31, 2008 - 41 comments

The Saddam Sessions

Saddam's Confessions - Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator George Piro pretty fascinating.
posted by kliuless on Jan 27, 2008 - 24 comments

The Origin of Emotions

The Origin of Emotions by Mark Devon “I began thinking about emotions while studying evolutionary theory at Harvard University. Learning that adaptations do not evolve unless they help survival, I reasoned that each emotion must have a purpose that helped survival. If I could identify an emotion’s trigger, I could also identify its purpose." [more inside]
posted by dontoine on Jan 22, 2008 - 38 comments

"The road to hell is paved with happy plans."

In Praise Of Melancholy. We are eradicating a major cultural force, the muse behind much art and poetry and music. We are annihilating melancholia. Does an overemphasis on the pursuit of happiness cause us to miss an essential part of a full life? Via.
posted by amyms on Jan 16, 2008 - 83 comments

How well do you know your own thoughts?

"A few years ago a psychologist and a philosopher got into an argument over whether we can accurately describe our thoughts. "Yes," said the psychologist; with training and the help of my special technique, we can accurately describe our thoughts. The philosopher doubted it. To resolve their argument, they recruited a young woman who agreed tell them her thoughts, so that they could argue over whether she was credible." Eric Schwitzgebel and Russ Hurlbert debate the transparency of inner experience. See also Schwitzgebel's extremely interesting blog.
posted by painquale on Jan 13, 2008 - 34 comments

The psychology of the moral instinct

The Moral Instinct. "Evolution has endowed us with ethical impulses. Do we know what to do with them?" [Via The Mahablog.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 13, 2008 - 68 comments

237 reasons

237 reasons why humans have sex (PDF). The research paper referenced in David Buss' contribution to The Edge. NYT comment and analysis.
posted by Tarn on Jan 11, 2008 - 52 comments

Questioning the banality of evil

Questioning the banality of evil. "There is a widespread consensus amongst psychologists that tyranny triumphs either because ordinary people blindly follow orders or else because they mindlessly conform to powerful roles. However, recent evidence concerning historical events challenges these views. In particular, studies of the Nazi regime reveal that its functionaries engaged actively and creatively with their tasks. Re-examination of classic social psychological studies points to the same dynamics at work. This article summarises these developments and lays out the case for an updated social psychology of tyranny that explains both the influence of tyrannical leaders and the active contributions of their followers." [Via Mind Hacks.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 2, 2008 - 107 comments

Make me a Muslim ...wait, what ?

Make me a Muslim. The recently aired three episodes show takes a glamour model who wants to experience being completely hidden under a dress ,a skin therapist looking for meaning of life, a taxi driver that strongly feels islam is threatening UK lifestyle, a school teacher who wants to learn, an interracial interreligion couple and a flaming gay hairdresser tired of shallow party life. Take this colourful bunch and have two imams, a preacher and a converted woman lead them through an "islamic lifestyle" experience. You can watch the results here , I guess at least for a while.
posted by elpapacito on Dec 26, 2007 - 59 comments

the hellidays spirit

A good chuckle about surviving the hellidays: Dysfunctional Family Holidays, the music l an interactive karaoke with several songs l What exactly is a dysfunctional family? l What are the roles for the kids? [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Dec 25, 2007 - 4 comments

free Yale courses online

Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to seven introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University:Astronomy, English, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies: a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video, syllabi, suggested readings, and problem sets. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Dec 14, 2007 - 30 comments

Quiz: are you an asshole ?

Are you an asshole ? Of course you are not ...but what if you look, walk, and quack like an ....asshole ? You may be seen as one ! Fear not, for this King of All AssHoles that goes by the name of Bob Sutton wrote a test for you. He also wrote a book and he dares teach at Stanford and even has spare time to run a blog. What a royal ass !
posted by elpapacito on Dec 6, 2007 - 41 comments

Psych class last place to look for Freud

Freud Is Widely Taught at Universities, Except in the Psychology Department.
posted by AceRock on Nov 25, 2007 - 98 comments

Is Denial A Social Necessity?

Does Denial Make The World Go 'Round? "In the modern vernacular, to say someone is 'in denial' is to deliver a savage combination punch: one shot to the belly for the cheating or drinking or bad behavior, and another slap to the head for the cowardly self-deception of pretending it's not a problem. Yet recent studies from fields as diverse as psychology and anthropology suggest that the ability to look the other way, while potentially destructive, is also critically important to forming and nourishing close relationships. The psychological tricks that people use to ignore a festering problem in their own households are the same ones that they need to live with everyday human dishonesty and betrayal, their own and others'. And it is these highly evolved abilities, research suggests, that provide the foundation for that most disarming of all human invitations, forgiveness."
posted by amyms on Nov 24, 2007 - 12 comments

A Theory of Humor | Why something is funny, why it sometimes is not, and when it crosses a line.

Theory of Humor. A scientific paper, written by Tom Veatch, describes his Theory of Humor. When is something funny? When is it not funny? When does it cross the line? Why are puns generally shitty? And the mysterious and magical powers elephant jokes have on children, revealed! A great data set to use for practice in applying the theories presented in the paper can be found here.
posted by iamkimiam on Nov 20, 2007 - 57 comments

Chick Sexing

"Over and over he scoops up a chick with his left hand, expels its droppings with a squeeze of his thumb, opens its vent with his fingers, peers through the magnifying lenses attached to his spectacles and determines its sex." It's a dirty job (YT). Sexing chicks early is important so that the cockerels can be separated and culled^ or fed to be broilers^. The obvious differences take weeks to develop, so when the vent sexing method was developed in Japan in the 1920s, professional chicken sexers became sought after. [more inside]
posted by parudox on Nov 19, 2007 - 37 comments

Algorithms for dumb security questions

Algorithms for dumb security questions
posted by nthdegx on Nov 18, 2007 - 19 comments

Striking Out

Striking Out by James Surowiecki. "As TV writers hit the picket lines, Surowiecki discusses the motivations and consequences of labor strikes. Historically, he argues, strikes have rarely ended up benefiting workers; the deals reached are usually similar to offers on the table before workers walk out. So why strike? For one thing, he writes, striking may clarify how serious your employer is about his stated position. And strikes are often about fairness, rather than economics -- people tend to reject deals they view as unfair, even when doing so leaves them worse off. A cogent analysis offering some interesting, timely tidbits of economic theory." [via]
posted by shotgunbooty on Nov 13, 2007 - 12 comments

School Shootings - not just a U.S. problem

At least eight people are dead in a shooting at a school in Finland. Apparently some are blaming Youtube, as the killer posted some videos of himself shortly before the attack. How to get inside the mind of kids who do these terrible things? Are they just "bad seeds" or are these killers created? Clearly marginalization and alienation play a role. Many would-be -killers seem to share these fantasies of grandiose mass spectacles , many psychologists think are inspired by their immersion in violent video games and movies. There's still controversy over the idea that watching violent TV/video games/etc can make kids more aggressive, and if that translates to violent behavior. I'm curious how often nationalist and racist rhetoric is also often deployed by these kids and wonder why that is: The Finland shooter, Auvinen called himself a "social Darwinist" who would "eliminate all who I see unfit".
posted by canine epigram on Nov 8, 2007 - 70 comments

Before Kid Nation, there was Robbers Cave

"In the summer of 1954, twenty-two fifth-grade boys were taken out to a campground at Robbers Cave State Park, Oklahoma. [...] Ostensibly it was an unremarkable summer camp. [...] what they had really done for two and a half weeks was unwittingly take part in an elaborate and fascinating psychological experiment." [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Oct 23, 2007 - 44 comments

"We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers"

"We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers." Evolutionary psychologist Andy Thomson analyzes suicide terrorism from the perspective of evolutionary biology. The presentation was part of the Atheist Alliance International convention in D.C. last month.
posted by McLir on Oct 13, 2007 - 19 comments

The Case Against Adolescence

"Imagine what it would feel like—or think back to what it felt like—when your body and mind are telling you you're an adult while the adults around you keep insisting you're a child." An interview with psychologist Robert Epstein, who argues that American teens are far more intelligent, capable, and moral than we give them credit for. His new book, The Case Against Adolescence, suggests that infantilization of teens leads to psychological problems. See also Epstein's article "The Myth of the Teen Brain" [PDF] from Scientific American Mind.
posted by 912 Greens on Sep 19, 2007 - 61 comments

Suburban Moscow only seems like outer space

Russians are planning a trip to Mars, but first they want to better understand the psychological and practical issues involved with long, isolated human travel. So the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems will be locking volunteers into a small, closed system for ~500 days. The ESA is collaborating on the so-called Mars500 project. There is a current call out for volunteers which is open until the end of this month. [more inside]
posted by dkg on Sep 6, 2007 - 33 comments

Myth-busters have the odds against them

Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach. "The conventional response to myths and urban legends is to counter bad information with accurate information. But the new psychological studies (PDFs) show that denials and clarifications, for all their intuitive appeal, can paradoxically contribute to the resiliency of popular myths." [Via Firedoglake, more at MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 5, 2007 - 53 comments

driven mad by paradoxes

Dangerous Knowledge, BBC. In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians - Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing - whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.
posted by nickyskye on Sep 4, 2007 - 39 comments

People who play gnomes are more likely to be annoying in real life.

Nick Yee's Daedalus Project (touched on previously) is dedicated to the study of human behaviour in MMOs. His recent dissertation names "The Proteus Effect": a correlation between MMO characters' appearances, and their players' behaviors. "In the final study (pdf), I showed that the Proteus Effect persists outside of the virtual environment. Placing someone in a taller avatar changes how they consequently negotiate in a face-to-face setting." His archives cover a lot of ground, and current MMO players can help by taking the survey. For a little lighter reading, refer to his critique of Internet Addiction Disorder, a "condition" that started as a joke, but almost made it into the DSM-V.
posted by mek on Sep 2, 2007 - 11 comments

Death Grip

Death Grip: How Political Psychology Explains Bush's Ghastly Success. Interesting article on the work of psychologists Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski. [Via Disinformation.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 29, 2007 - 68 comments

psychology in the movies

PsychFlix, psychology themes in reviews of 535 movies. Movie title index. The reviewer, professor of psychiatry, Roland Atkinson, not Rowan.
posted by nickyskye on Aug 6, 2007 - 10 comments

On living with a mental illness.

Borderline personality disorder described firsthand. A very personal look at BPD - including the implications of sharing the news in a public setting - his blog.
posted by 2shay on Aug 6, 2007 - 154 comments

Torture Teachers

Rorschach and Awe. "America's coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by two C.I.A. psychologists who had spent their careers training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical 'black site' operation."
posted by homunculus on Jul 31, 2007 - 57 comments

My Pet Goat? Scarier Than You Might Have Imagined.

Were you psychologically damaged at a petting zoo?. The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation was created in 1982 by a small group that originally came together as an informal support group for problems that were the result of traumatic experiences at petting zoos as children. This group realized that there were many others out there who were afraid to come forward with their horrific stories and wanted to find some way to help as many people as they could. The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation is the result of their dream.
posted by amyms on Jul 30, 2007 - 130 comments

Powerful mood-altering chemicals

Alexyss Tylor was right! Semen is a powerful drug. (Fairly SFW, text-only link.)
posted by Brittanie on Jul 18, 2007 - 58 comments

Psychiatry in pictures

Psychiatry in Pictures is a monthly feature of The British Journal of Psychiatry which often demonstrates art created by the psychopathologically afflicted. Other installments include portraits of important figures in the history of psychiatry, paintings drawn during art therapy, and photographs of (quite inhumane) psychiatric treatments.
posted by charmston on Jul 18, 2007 - 15 comments

Why Terrorism Does Not Work

Why Terrorism Does Not Work [pdf] is an article by Max Abrahms that tries to understand why terrorist groups have a success rate of 7% on their stated goals and those terrorists who target civilians have a stunning 0% success rate when it comes to achieving their political objectives. He argues that the answer lies in correspondent inference theory. [via Wired's Bruce Schneier]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 12, 2007 - 78 comments

Ten Evolutionarily Obvious Truths About Human Nature

Women won't sleep with random attractive strangers? Damn.
posted by Citizen Premier on Jul 5, 2007 - 129 comments

Boy Gets in Trouble at School with "No Touching" Policy

Boy's Hug Lands Him in Trouble At School With "No Touching" Policy. 7th grader Hal Beaulieu "hopped up from his lunch table one day a few months ago, sat next to his girlfriend and slipped his arm around her shoulder. That landed him a trip to the school office." Handshakes could be gang signs, and officials note, "in a culturally diverse school...families might have different views of what is appropriate." The PTA President remarks: ""Even high-fives can get out of hand ... someone can get bonked in the head." (CNN News Video)
posted by shivohum on Jun 24, 2007 - 108 comments

Natalie Portman: Broadway, Silver Screen...Research Lab?

Turns out that Golden Globe-winning actress Natalie Portman (formerly known as Natalie Hershlag) is quite an accomplished scholar. In addition to being a Harvard psychology student, she worked in Dr. Abigail Baird's research lab and was the co-author of a peer-reviewed journal article investigating the neuroscience underlying the development of object permanence in infants. Quite impressive, in an age where Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons dominate the headlines.
posted by charmston on Jun 19, 2007 - 101 comments

Heckuva job Brownie!

Positive self-deception is a normal In 1988, psychologists Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown published an article making the somewhat disturbing claim that positive self-deception is a normal and beneficial part of most people’s everyday outlook.
posted by punkfloyd on Jun 19, 2007 - 71 comments

About psychopaths.

Are these people qualitatively different from us? "I would think yes," says Hare. "Do they form a discrete taxon or category? I would say probably -- the evidence is suggesting that.
Psychopaths. They form about 1% of the population. They enjoy the excitement of power. Some choice bits from Hare's book. The obligatory Bush link, but, hey, it's got the test sections and the sad truth is that we do have some psychopaths in positions of power, though probably not the Presidency. [Gosh this is getting long] It turns out there's a biological basis for it. Here's the DSM description and some detailed analysis/description (gosh, I identify with some of those traits!) And here's some AskMe fodder, "Are You Involved With A Psychopath?" And because of that lust for power... well, it could well be your boss.
posted by five fresh fish on May 28, 2007 - 112 comments

Field Guide to Loners

Contrary to popular belief, not all loners have a pathological fear of social contact "Loners often hear from well-meaning peers that they need to be more social, but the implication that they're merely black-and-white opposites of their bubbly peers misses the point."
posted by 2shay on May 16, 2007 - 89 comments

Women don't talk more than man after all.

The commonly held belief that women talk more than men is apparently a fabrication. The truth: "No reputable study has ever measured the widely repeated numerical comparisons that show women talking two or three times as much as men."
posted by 2shay on Apr 20, 2007 - 97 comments

Psychopathology of the Boss

Boss Science: The Psychopathology of the modern American corporate leader. The personality which wins the promotion game has dubious overlap with characteristics of effective leadership. Many organizational psychologists argue that the "emergent" boss is often a narcissist who, because he "manages to act like he already is the boss," is "socially skilled at adjusting his personality," and is charismatic, rises and entrenches himself to the detriment of the organization. Some, though, "extol[] the virtues of the narcissist’s selfishness, ethical blindness, and lack of empathy as indispensable to being an agent of change in a large corporation—or the world."
posted by shivohum on Apr 8, 2007 - 37 comments

Highly Sensitive People: if you prick us, do we not bleed? and burst into tears? and run from the room and fling ourselves down on the bed?

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? This trait ... is inherited by 15 to 20% of the population, and ... seems to be present in all higher animals. Being an HSP means your nervous system is more sensitive to subtleties. Your sight, hearing, and sense of smell are not necessarily keener .... But your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. Being an HSP also means, necessarily, that you are more easily overstimulated, stressed out, overwhelmed. This trait ... has been mislabeled as shyness (not an inherited trait), introversion (30% of HSPs are actually extraverts), inhibitedness, fearfulness, and the like. HSPs can be these, but none of these are the fundamental trait they have inherited ...
yahoo group | latest research (fascinating!) | newsletter | wikipedia | blog | via
posted by grumblebee on Apr 8, 2007 - 150 comments

Jeff Hawkins unleashes his brain: Numenta's new AI platform

Jeff Hawkins, co-founder of Palm and Handspring, has started a new company, called Numenta, to test his controversial theory of intelligence. Whether you find his theory plausible or not, his book, "On Intelligence" is fascinating. Numenta is attempting to build A.I.s using Hawkins' theory as a backbone. They've developed a software engine and a Python-based API, which they've made public (as free downloads), so that hackers can start playing. They've also released manuals, a whitepaper (pdf) and videos [1] [2]. (At about 30:18 into the first video, Hawkins demonstrates, with screenshots, the first app which uses his system.)
posted by grumblebee on Apr 4, 2007 - 22 comments

surviving relationships with difficult people

If You Had Controlling Parents. A site providing support and resources for adults raised with unhealthy control and/or Narcissistic parenting. The eight styles of controlling parents.
posted by nickyskye on Apr 4, 2007 - 29 comments

We Used To Get Together And Really Let Our Hair Down...

Remember When We Used To Have Fun? A look into the causes of modern unhappiness by Barbara Ehrenreich, author of "Nickel and Dimed."
posted by amyms on Apr 3, 2007 - 73 comments

"Do you hear voices?" "Doesn't everyone?"

INTERVOICE (International Network for Training, Education and Research into Hearing Voices) "offers information, publications, research, and good practice on hearing voices and other key issues." Voice hearing is surprisingly common, even normal. Many people find it a pleasurable and positive experience. Find everything from stencil graffiti to a recent New York Times magazine article on the work of the Hearing Voices Movement. (w i k i s)
posted by srs on Mar 29, 2007 - 20 comments

"So I try to laugh about it / Cover it all up with lies"

Men get depression too. An excellent article about the hurdles men face in coming to terms with having the Black Dog. (Click "Print this" at the bottom for an easier to read one-page version; bonus links inside.)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Mar 11, 2007 - 73 comments

The Lucifer Effect

Retiring psychology professor Philip G. Zimbardo, who ran the Stanford Prison Experiment, gave his final lecture at Stanford this week, criticizing the Bush administration and saying that senior government officials responsible for Abu Ghraib should be "tried for the crimes against humanity." [Via MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 9, 2007 - 38 comments

What's outside?

Leave No Child Inside
Are children disconnected from the natural world? With the rise of endless variations of in-home entertainment, parents are finding it harder to get kids to play outside, get muddy, and explore nature. Are we inadvertently creating yet another childhood malady (Nature Deficit Disorder)?
posted by moonbird on Mar 7, 2007 - 55 comments

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