Tag Archives | Psychology

Conspiracy Theory as a Personality Disorder?

She's protected

Photo: John Allspaw (CC)

“The treatment of ‘conspiracy theories’ by the US intelligentsia is reminiscent of the Soviet commissions that labeled political dissidents mentally ill,” claims Kerry R Bolton at Foreign Policy Journal:

While psychiatry as a means of repressing political dissent was well-known for its use the USSR, this occurred no less and perhaps more so in the West, and particularly in the USA. While the case of Ezra Pound is comparatively well-known now, not so recognized is that during the Kennedy era in particular there were efforts to silence critics through psychiatry. The cases of General Edwin Walker, Fredrick Seelig, and Lucille Miller might come to mind.

As related by Seelig, the treatment meted out to political dissidents in psychiatric wards and institutions could be hellish. Over the past few decades however, such techniques against dissent have become passé, in favor of more subtle methods of social control.

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Nam’s Mission

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Monday

4:15am:
I awake groggy from the weekend. And I want to call in sick. (ZzZzzzzzZZzzz.)

4:20am:
Ugh! I should work! (ZzzZZZzzz.)

4:25am:
Besides, the road might be a good distraction from my mental state. (ZZzzZZzzz.)

4:30am:
Okay! Okay! I’ll get up!

5:05am:
It’s a (now) rare foggy day in ‘ol San Francisco. I’m slogging up through the Citizen’s Cab lot and headed towards the office.

As I near, Sammy – the new office guy who’s taken over Kojak’s morning shift, passes me. He’s leaving the office with some new West African driver. They’re heading out to the lot … with a jump starter.

Note: Kojak has been moved to the afternoon office shift for some unknown reason. (Unknown to me, anyway.) This is how the cab biz works. Drivers, office workers; one day ya see ‘em. And the next, they’re gone.

Anyway, hmm.

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Because the Japanese Lolita Sex Dolls Just Aren’t Creepy Enough

As you may or may not be aware (and trust me, if not, your naivete is about to be shattered forever), there is a company in Japan that makes creepy, creepy life-like Lolita dolls.

Well, Buck Dobson (certainly doesn’t sound like a classically creepy name to me) is taking things a step further. One step beyond, as the kids say.

so very very creepy.

No word yet whether or not they’re compatible with AmericanGirl doll outfits.

For the children, of course. Praise Jeepers.

CSglobe tells the grotesque story:

Abused by his adult sister at the age of 10, Buck Dobson of Denver, Colorado, made his mission to cure pedophiles of their illness. But he says every attempt, such as rehabilitation and outreach programs, seems to have failed, which caused him to look into starting a company that will focus on creating child love dolls, according to Celebtricity.

However, the abuse inspired Dobson to spend most of his adult life working to cure pedophilia.

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Believing That Life Is Fair Might Make You a Terrible Person

Bryon Lippincott (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Bryon Lippincott (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Oliver Burkeman writes at the Guardian:

If you’ve been following the news recently, you know that human beings are terrible and everything is appalling. Yet the sheer range of ways we find to sabotage our efforts to make the world a better place continues to astonish. Did you know, for example, that last week’s commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz may have marginally increased the prevalence of antisemitism in the modern world, despite being partly intended as a warning against its consequences? Or that reading about the eye-popping state of economic inequality could make you less likely to support politicians who want to do something about it?

These are among numerous unsettling implications of the “just-world hypothesis”, a psychological bias explored in a new essay by Nicholas Hune-Brown at Hazlitt. The world, obviously, is a manifestly unjust place: people are always meeting fates they didn’t deserve, or not receiving rewards they did deserve for hard work or virtuous behaviour.

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When society isn’t judging, women’s sex drive rivals men’s

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Tom Stafford, University of Sheffield

Men just want sex more than women. I’m sure you’ve heard that one. Stephen Fry even went as far as suggesting in 2010 that straight women only went to bed with men because sex was “the price they are willing to pay for a relationship”.

Or perhaps you’ve even heard some of the evidence. In 1978 two psychologists, Russell Clark and Elaine Hatfield, did what became a famous experiment on the topic – not least because it demonstrated how much fun you can have as a social psychologist. Using volunteers, Clark and Hatfield had students at Florida State University approach people on campus and deliver a pick-up line.

The volunteers always began the same “I’ve noticed you around campus. I find you to be very attractive”, they said. They varied what they said next according to one of three randomly chosen options.… Read the rest

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A five-step guide to not being stupid

Still from Stupidity

Still from Stupidity

David Robson Via BBC:

If you ever doubt the idea that the very clever can also be very silly, just remember the time the smartest man in America tried to electrocute a turkey. Benjamin Franklin had been attempting to capture “electrical fire” in glass jars as a primitive battery. Having succeeded, he thought it’d be impressive to use the discharge to kill and roast his dinner. Soon it became a regular party trick, as he wowed guests with his magical ability to command this strange force.

During one of these demonstrations, however, Franklin became distracted, and made an elementary mistake – he touched one of the live jars while holding a metal chain in the other hand. “The company present… say that the flash was very great and the crack as loud as a pistol,” he later wrote. “I then felt what I know not how well to describe; a universal blow thro’out my whole body from head to foot which seem’d within as well as without; after which the first thing I took notice of was a violent quick shaking of my body.”

Clearly, intelligence doesn’t mean that you are more rational or sensible – a fact that we’ve explored before on BBC Future.

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An Odder Science

Laboratory specimens for Morgellons Research. Photo by Nicole Lupardus

Laboratory specimens for Morgellons Research. Photo by Nicole Lupardus

This article was originally published on This Land Press.

I pulled up behind Dr. Randy Wymore’s pickup right as he pulled up in front of Sidney Presley’s house.

“Sorry I don’t look like a journalist,” I apologized, explaining I’d smeared bike grease on the button-up I’d laid out for the evening.

“Oh, that’s okay,” Wymore half-laughed. “Do you think I look like a scientist?” In slim-fit denim jeans, a sleeve-rolled dress shirt, and pierced ears, the shaggy-headed doctor wasn’t advertising his occupation. “I’ve been growing my hair out for a while,” he said as we walked up the cobbled path. “I’m going as Woody Harrelson’s character from The Hunger Games this weekend.”

Tall, twisting, dark trees lined both sides of the walkway, their leaves the color of the ripe jack-o-lanterns dotting the neighborhood. The front door of the broad, two-story home opened just up the trail from us.… Read the rest

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White Fragility

Georgie Pauwels (CC BY 2.0)

Georgie Pauwels (CC BY 2.0)

Robin DiAngelo writes at the Good Men Project:

I am white. I have spent years studying what it means to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless, yet is deeply divided by race. This is what I have learned: Any white person living in the United States will develop opinions about race simply by swimming in the water of our culture. But mainstream sources—schools, textbooks, media—don’t provide us with the multiple perspectives we need.

Yes, we will develop strong emotionally laden opinions, but they will not be informed opinions. Our socialization renders us racially illiterate. When you add a lack of humility to that illiteracy (because we don’t know what we don’t know), you get the break-down we so often see when trying to engage white people in meaningful conversations about race.

Mainstream dictionary definitions reduce racism to individual racial prejudice and the intentional actions that result.

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Because there’s a convention for everything: Ouijacon 2015

You’ve been to the Renaissance Fair(e), Comic Con, assorted and sundry Fandom Conventions, the Psychic Festival (hey, nice Aura!), Bill Goodman’s Gun n’ Knife/Huntin’ n’ Killin’ Show, seen Hot Rods and Lowriders… even Bronies vs. Furries.

There’s nothing new under the sun, you say. You’ve seen it all. Been there, done that.

Not so fast, Smuggy Buggy!

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Yes Yes Yo and You Don’t Stop.

Welcome to the first spiritualist convention based around that Mysterious Occult Device which has a unique place in modern culture…and the games aisle at Toys R Us: The Ouija Board.

Fundamentalist Christians hate and fear it, skeptics sneer at it, horror movie producers have done it to death and Occultists, well, depends on who you talk to.

Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay it would seem and the much maligned Talking Board is about to celebrate a major milestone: the 125th anniversary of its creation, in the city where it all started, Baltimore, Maryland.… Read the rest

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The Truth about Lying

Tristan Schmurr (CC BY 2.0)

Tristan Schmurr (CC BY 2.0)

John Turri writes at Experimental Philosophy:

Lying is an important social and moral category. We react negatively to liars and their lies. But what is it to lie? The standard view in philosophy and social science is that a lie is a dishonest assertion. This view goes all the way back to at least the 4th century, when Augustine wrote, “He may say a true thing and yet lie, if he thinks it to be false and utters it for true.” On this view, lying is a purely psychological act: it does not require your assertion to be objectively false, only that you believe it is false.

About two years ago, my son Angelo came across an expression of the standard view of lying. He wondered whether it fit the ordinary concept of lying. (You might be able to imagine the sort of dinnertime conversations that could lead a twelve-year-old to become curious on this point.) In particular, Angelo was interested in whether, on the ordinary view, lying was a purely psychological act.

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