Tag Archives | Psychology

6 Bullshit “Facts” About Psychology That Everyone Believes

By Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

Muspar writing in Cracked back in 2009:

Psychology is one of those subjects that everybody likes to think they know something about. We love to go around diagnosing our friends and co-workers, both to make sense of the world and to make ourselves feel like we’re smarter than they are.

But like any science that makes its way into the pop culture, a lot of the “common sense” statements we hear every day are so wrong that they border on raving idiocy. Such as…

#6. “If You Let Your Anger Out, You’ll Feel Better!”

You always hear people talk about how “cathartic” an experience was and how much better they feel, or you’ll hear them say things like, “If you keep your anger bottled up, one day you’ll just snap!”

In fact the “about to go crazy because he can’t express anger” character is a mainstay in television and movies (see that Simpsons episode where Ned Flanders finally loses it, and every movie where a renegade cop fires his gun into the air instead of unloading on the bad guy who just killed his wife).

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Reconciling hallucinations in the locus of misfortune

People who suffer from schizophrenic symptoms are finding new ways of coping. Here is one such person who finds that hallucinations of angry voices can be a way to notice problems in their life.


The research of Dr. T. M. Luhrmann has found that Americans often suffer from distressing voices related to war and conflict.

Does culture make a difference to schizophrenic symptoms?


Organizations like Hearing Voices Network are experimenting with new ways of living with schizophrenic symptoms as opposed to trying to exorcise them away.


Dr. Arthur Hastings describes the use of the psychomanteum for bereavement. This use of a mirror angled in such a way that the user doesn’t see their own reflection can reconcile people to their lost loved ones and meditate on concepts of togetherness.


Dr. Jeffrey J. Kripal argues that there is a kinship between these experiences and writing itself:


Are we in a renaissance that is radically altering our perception of imagination in relation to objective truths?… Read the rest

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Carl Jung: In Defense and Critique

Mandala on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

From Modern Mythology

Much has been said about Carl Jung over the years, and despite the fact that many now in psychiatry and even some therapists seem to find him irrelevant, the amount that has been written about his ideas belies this claim. So much as is possible in a short article, I would like to consider both his contribution as well as provide a possible critique of some of his thought. Through that I hope to highlight the value of relating to symbols as psychological facts.

I think it best to begin with a psychological event that Jung himself considered important enough to mention in at least two of his published works. (Man and His Symbols and Memories, Dreams and Reflections.) This was a reoccurring dream he apparently had for some time, and we might turn some of his own approach toward it, though not nearly as thoroughly as there is only one point I’m looking to get at, rather than building an individual’s personal mythologywhich is the means by which Jungian psychology can effectively get its teeth as something more psychological and less merely analytic.

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When is torture okay?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

via Psychology Today:

Imagine that someone close to you was in imminent danger and the only solution involved having police use torture to extract information from a suspect in custody. Would you agree or not?

While torture remains a divisive topic with many countries around the world authorizing its use,  international human rights codes and the legal codes of most countries provide comprehensive legal protections against torture under any circumstances. Public opinion polls tend to be consistent in showing that only 34 percent of people worldwide actual endorse the use of torture though the numbers vary from country to country.  Still, despite the consensus that torture is both immoral and ineffective, both as a means of punishment and as a way of gaining information, controversy still surrounds its use. Issues such as  renditionwaterboarding, and the very definition of torture continue to influence international relations, especially given the current “War on Terror”  that shows no sign of ending.

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Project Bring Me to Life Podcast Interviews Nick Meador

On episode #5 of the Project Bring Me to Life Podcast, host Selomon and co-host Nick Mielnicki interview Nick Meador about his work as a facilitator and writer. Throughout the 90 minute discussion they touch on Process Work (or process-oriented psychology), Meador’s book project about the life and work of “Beat Generation” author Jack Kerouac, body awareness, ecstatic dance, dream interpretation, transformational festivals, and more.

Nick Meador facilitates self-development training on communication and awareness within a supportive community-building space.

He uses a type of psychology called Process Work plus Nonviolent Communication. Check out his group Dreaming Feeling Background for more information.

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Embattled Childhoods May Be the Real Trauma for Soldiers With PTSD

Spc. Mitchell Eidsvold (left), Spc. Michael Hons (center), and Sgt. Scott Jenson (right) of the 191st Military Police Company race toward the finish line of the Fallen Soldiers Memorial 12K run, while wearing full combat equipment and carrying the American Flag. The run took place in Devils Lake, N.D. on June 23, 2012. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brett Miller, 116th Public Affairs Detachment. By The U.S. Army via Flicker (CC by 2.0)

Spc. Mitchell Eidsvold (left), Spc. Michael Hons (center), and Sgt. Scott Jenson (right) of the 191st Military Police Company race toward the finish line of the Fallen Soldiers Memorial 12K run, while wearing full combat equipment and carrying the American Flag. The run took place in Devils Lake, N.D. on June 23, 2012. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Brett Miller, 116th Public Affairs Detachment. By The U.S. Army via Flicker (CC by 2.0)

Via the Association for Psychological Science:

New research on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers challenges popular assumptions about the origins and trajectory of PTSD, providing evidence that traumatic experiences in childhood – not combat – may predict which soldiers develop the disorder.

Psychological scientist Dorthe Berntsen of Aarhus University in Denmark and a team of Danish and American researchers wanted to understand why some soldiers develop PTSD but others don’t. They also wanted to develop a clearer understanding of how the symptoms of the disorder progress.

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Defensive Pessimism: How Planning for the Worst can be Beneficial

"Optimism Wisdom Pessimism Future Presence Past" by HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

“Optimism Wisdom Pessimism Future Presence Past” by HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Julie Norem, a psychology professor at Wellesley College, explores Defensive Pessimism in her 2002 book, The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking. In short, Defensive Pessimists expect the worst, but are proactive in planning against it. Thus they are more prepared, while reducing anxiety levels.

Olga Khazan interviews Norem at The Atlantic (Follow the link to read the entire interview):

Olga Khazan: What is defensive pessimism?

Julie Norem: It’s a strategy for dealing with anxiety and helping to manage anxiety so that it doesn’t negatively influence performance. If you feel anxious in a situation, it doesn’t really matter if it’s realistic or not, you feel how you feel. It’s hard not to feel that particular way. If you feel anxious, you need to do something about it. Usually people try to run away from whatever situation makes you anxious. But there are other ways of dealing with it.

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The Scapegoat: A Brief History of Meaning

Be it personal, political, or otherwise. Scapegoating erodes through a lack of accountability.

A modern interpretation of Azazel as a Satanic...

A modern interpretation of Azazel as a Satanic, goatlike demon, from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal (Paris,1825). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Megge Hill Fitz-Randolph @ suite.io

According to Sir James Frazer’s turn of the century classic, The Golden Bough; A Study in Magic and Religion, scapegoating has existed in every culture since the earliest times. Animals such as goats, snakes, and lizards as well as human beings were used to carry the village sins away from the community.

Either through sacrifice or banishment, the chosen victim carried the guilt and blame for the entire population. The perpetrator’s story is slightly different, however.

Historically Speaking

Historically what was chosen to carry the sins could be animal, vegetable or mineral.

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Sense of Free Will Weakens When We Need to Pee or Want Sex

I'm Cold AND I Have To Pee  by Fairy Heart via Flickr.

I’m Cold AND I Have To Pee by Fairy Heart via Flickr.

via io9:

Embodied cognition theory states that our thoughts and emotions are profoundly affected by our physical bodies. A new study takes this idea further, claiming that our bodily states — particularly when they’re urgent — can even influence our metaphysical beliefs.

Unlike Cartesian mind-body dualism, embodied cognition puts forth the notion that the mind is not only connected to the body, but that the body influences the mind. The theory, though controversial, suggests that our cognition, or brain states, are strongly determined by our experiences in the physical world. Indeed, previous studies have shown that our bodily movements and configurations can influence our attitudes.

For example, we enjoy things more when we nod yes, we are happier when we smile, and we suspect that botox injections stunt our ability to feel emotions. In addition, people’s judgements of social closeness can be influenced by room temperature, and their attentional style by the clothes they wear.

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Wearing sunglasses can make people less angry on sunny days

Michelle/sunglasses by Thomas Beck via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Michelle/sunglasses by Thomas Beck via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

via PsyBlog:

Wearing sunglasses makes people less likely to express anger on a sunny day, a recent psychology study finds.

The findings are based on the idea of embodied cognition: that our facial expressions and bodily actions, whatever their cause, feed back into how we feel.

The slightly bizarre study, published in the journal Cognition & Emotion, had researchers walking up and down a beach on a sunny day (Marzoli et al., 2013).

People were randomly approached who were either wearing sunglasses or not, and who were either walking into the sun or away from it.

They were then asked to complete a test in which they could express both anger and bitterness.

The results showed that people walking into the sun without sunglasses were more likely to express anger than people who had the sun behind them, or who were wearing sunglasses and walking into the sun.

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