Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

How America Lost Its Mind


(Atlantic) – Kurt Andersen:

The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history. …

theatlantic 534231

American fantasies

The Doorway Effect


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

We’ve all experienced what the cartoon character has just gone through. You decide to do something the next time you go into a room where that task has to be done and then as soon as you get there, you forget what it was that you wanted to do. Sometimes you know that you have forgotten something but can’t recall what it is, at other times you don’t even realize that you have forgotten until much later, when you are doing something else.

This is because the brain can only store so much stuff in its working memory and has to throw stuff out that it thinks are no longer needed. …

singham 2017/07/07 doorway-effect

Doorway effect

Psychology Discredited


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

In an earlier posting, I set up a general attack on fields of study with an aim to being able to claim that they are “discredited” [stderr] – so that, at some point, we can say “phrenology is bunk” without having to endure a cascade of phreno-apologetics in response. …

The danger, in other words, is when you’ve got a field that is horribly and consistently wrong, engages in multi-generational pseudo-scientific behavior, abuses patients’ trust and is responsible for horrible unethical studies on unaware patients, then – when it should be dying from neglect – gloms on to some actual science and manages to survive.

I’m referring, of course, to psychology. …

stderr 2017/07/02 discredited


4-Year-Olds Don’t Act Like Trump


(NYTimes Opinion) – Alison Gopnik:

The analogy is pervasive among his critics: Donald Trump is like a child. Making him the president was like making a 4-year-old the leader of the free world.

But the analogy is profoundly wrong, and it’s unfair to children. The scientific developmental research of the past 30 years shows that Mr. Trump is utterly unlike a 4-year-old. …

nytimes 2017/05/20 4-year-olds

Donald Trump at the White House Easter egg roll 2017

Religion – Symbiote or Parasite?


( – Valerie Tarico:

Given that our world is plagued by religious conflict and cruelties, some antitheists have suggested that religion as a whole is a form of pathology. But as worried and angry as we may feel about religious harms, here is a reason this way of construing religion doesn’t quite work: The term pathology implies illness and disability, and not all forms of religion appear to cause harm, even when they contain contagious ideas that are false. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-4

The Human Mind as a Host for Contagious Ideas


( – Valerie Tarico:

I like to think that I am the master of my thoughts – that I generate and control them and that they serve my own purposes. But that is only one way to look at things. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-3

Why We Pass on False Ideas


( – Valerie Tarico:

We are vastly more intelligent than pigeons but, also, our lives are vastly more complex. And one thing we do that pigeons can’t is spread superstitions by word of mouth. But we don’t just pass on anything and everything. The superstitious information we share is mostly stuff that is perfectly suited to take advantage of our blind spots and logical glitches, exploiting our dependence on the powerful subconscious processes that enable thinking fast.

It feels real. Very real.

And that, in an odd way, is by design. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-2

The Brain-Changing Power of Religious Belief


( – Valerie Tarico:

I wonder if religious belief might be best construed not as psychopathology but as something related that I called a socio-pathology. By this I meant a delusional system that has its root not in a biological malfunction but rather in a malfunction of social information flow.

I now think that hunch was only partly right. To explain, I need to delve into the nature of the human mind, the nature of ideas, and the nature of religion – with a little help from bacteria. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-1

Narcissist-in-Chief: A Psychological Take on a Political Reality


( – Alfie Kohn:

The initial shock has given way to a twofold horror. First, there is the unavoidable fact that more than 62 million Americans voted for this man. Most white college graduates preferred him. Most white women preferred him. Presumably many of those 62 million aren’t bigots or bullies or sexual predators or compulsive liars. But they knowingly voted for someone who is all of those things and more.

And then there are the sickening practical implications. …

alfiekohn narcissist

Donald Trump venting

If “Nothing Fails Like Prayer,” Why Do People Keep at It?


( – Valerie Tarico:

Despite a stack of evidence that God is either deaf or dead (or otherwise unaffected by human supplication), theists by the hundreds of millions keep sending their requests heavenward.

These requests and offers often are made sincerely – by smart, kindhearted people who seemingly should know better.

What is going on? …

valerietarico nothing-fails-like-prayer

Duerer Prayer