Tag Archives | Psychology

Watch a ‘Lost Interview’ With Philosopher Michel Foucault on Madness and History

Courtesy of the always entertaining Open Culture blog (Bookmark it for more awesomeness.) comes what’s being billed as a “lost interview” with philosopher Michel Foucault. Lost or not, we’ve got it to watch.

Via Open Culture:

An introductory shot that might be an outtake from A Clockwork Orange opens this interview with Michel Foucault, “lost,” we’re told by Critical Theory, “for nearly 30 years” before it appeared on Youtube last week. In it, Foucault discusses madness and his interest in psychology and psychopathology, repeating in brief the argument he made in Madness and Civilization, his 1961 work in which—through impressive feats of archival research and leaps of the imagination—Foucault attempted, as he wrote in his preface, “to return, in history, to that zero point in the course of madness at which madness is an undifferentiated experience, a not yet divided experience of division itself.”

 

 

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Secrets of Success: Winners Wear Sweatpants

Pregnant woman smoking outside a London hospitalAccording to this Wall Street Journal report on a Harvard Business School study, people confident enough to take a nonconformist attitude to social dress codes are perceived as more successful, so keep your sweats on all day:

Anyone who has felt like the odd duck of the group can take heart from new research from Harvard Business School that says sticking out in distinct ways can lend you an air of presence or influence.

Standing out in certain circumstances, like wearing sweats in a luxury store, also appears to boost an individual’s standing.

One obvious way people signal what the researchers called “status” is through visible markers, like what they wear and what they buy. Previous research has largely examined why people buy or wear branded items.

Less work has focused on what others think of those who try to communicate that they are different or worthy of attention. Efforts to be different are interesting because humans are wired to conform and be part of a group.

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In Defense of Hypocrisy

PProg_19_p51_Hypocrisy

Pic: PD

We’re all a bunch of hypocrites. That’s okay, though: So is everyone else.

Adam Kingsmith writes at DeSmog Canada:

The way in which we think, act, feel and live is wrought with self-denial, contradiction and inconsistency. In a recent piece, I highlighted how various logical fallacies work as psychological flaws that twist and distort our decision-making abilities, making it virtually impossible for someone to make a truly unbiased and impartial choice about anything.
What’s more, because so much of our thought processes are subconscious, our internal contradictions and irregularities rarely register at a more conscious level. And thus our unwillingness to realize this means we tend to think everyone is a hypocrite but us.
According to Why Everyone (Else) Is A Hypocrite, by evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban, the reason we seem unwilling to make an effort to realize our inherent irrationalities is because in Western society, a flattering self-image is directly correlated with personal rewards such as greater senses of emotional stability, motivation and perseverance.
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Study Shows Children Can Be Better Than Adults at Figuring Out New Gadgets

Yasmin Anwar at UC Berkeley:

Preschoolers can be smarter than college students at figuring out how unusual toys and gadgets work because they’re more flexible and less biased than adults in their ideas about cause and effect, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh.

The findings suggest that technology and innovation can benefit from the exploratory learning and probabilistic reasoning skills that come naturally to young children, many of whom are learning to use smartphones even before they can tie their shoelaces. The findings also build upon the researchers’ efforts to use children’s cognitive smarts to teach machines to learn in more human ways.

“As far as we know, this is the first study examining whether children can learn abstract cause and effect relationships, and comparing them to adults,” said UC Berkeley developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik, senior author of the paper published online in the journal, Cognition.

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Facebook Strike as Self-Awareness Course

Pic: Rishibando (CC)

Pic: DKalo (CC)

More than once I’ve been struck with the desire to abandon Facebook, and at least one of those times I actually deactivated my account. The reasons for my frustration have varied over the last six years or so, from their sudden formatting changes to prioritize business interests, to the way they mine user data regardless of privacy settings. Other reasons have been more personal, like not having a sufficient method for determining who gets to see the more eccentric or extreme parts of my personality, or simply feeling like I waste too much time on the site.

At the end of 2013, a new kind of Facebook frustration began creeping over me. My attempts to explain it to people only seemed to make it worse, especially because – as I realized – I was creating a paradox by using Facebook to denounce Facebook. Then in late December, I simply stopped posting.… Read the rest

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People Are More Honest In The Morning

PIC: ENCMSTR (CC)

PIC: ENCMSTR (CC)

The next time you go shopping for a car you might want to start at the crack of dawn.  According to results published in the journal of Psychological Science, people appear to be more honest in the morning, but become less so as the day wears on.

Psychological Science:

…the normal, unremarkable experiences associated with everyday living can deplete one’s capacity to resist moral temptations. In a series of four experiments, both undergraduate students and a sample of U.S. adults engaged in less unethical behavior (e.g., less lying and cheating) on tasks performed in the morning than on the same tasks performed in the afternoon. This morning morality effect was mediated by decreases in moral awareness and self-control in the afternoon. Furthermore, the effect of time of day on unethical behavior was found to be stronger for people with a lower propensity to morally disengage. These findings highlight a simple yet pervasive factor (i.e., the time of day) that has important implications for moral behavior.

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Need a Smoke? Want a Drink? Grab a Game of Tetris Instead

PIC: Damian Yerrick (CC)

PIC: Damian Yerrick (CC)

If you’re trying to quit smoking or have problems with junk food cravings, you might want to go ahead and install the classic time-waster Tetris on your smart phone or tablet. According to a recent study, playing the game for three minutes may help you to quash those cravings.

Via PsyBlog:

One of the study’s authors, Professors Jackie Andrade, explained:

“Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualising what they want and the reward it will bring. Often those feelings result in the person giving in and consuming the very thing they are trying to resist. But by playing Tetris, just in short bursts, you are preventing your brain creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades.”

In the study 119 people — whose natural cravings were measured beforehand– played the computer game Tetris or they were put into a control condition.

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ASMR: When Sounds Tickle Your Brain


Do you have a little brain quirk that puts you in happy trance whenever you hear certain, soft sounds? Well, you’re in for a treat, because it’s a “thing,” and there are YouTube channels just for you. “For some percentage of readers,” writes Loz Blain of Gizmag, “this article could make a major positive impact on your life…”

Despite the very official-sounding name ascribed to it, there is no science to prove the existence of the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR. We have no idea what percentage of people have the ability to experience it, where it comes from, what it’s for or what brain mechanics are involved.

But if you’re lucky enough to be able to feel it, there’s a growing and thriving community out there producing thousands of free samples of canned pleasure and relaxation.

Let me start from my personal experience. As a schoolboy, I had a particular French teacher whose voice would put me into a trance.… Read the rest

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Enlightenment’s Evil Twin: The Pit of the Void

Pic: Expretta (CC)

Pic: Expretta (CC)

Jeff Warren explores the promises and pitfalls of vipassana and other mindfulness meditation on Psychology Tomorrow Magazine:

Practicing vipassana, you have more space to make appropriate responses, and more space, too, around your looping thought-track, which can dramatically reduce stress and anxiety as well as raise a person’s baseline levels of happiness and fulfillment. This is one reason why mindfulness has become the technique of choice for thousands of clinicians and psychotherapists, and there is now a considerable body of scientific research demonstrating these and other benefits.

Yet most of the clinicians who so enthusiastically endorse mindfulness do not have a proper understanding of where it can lead. The fact is that mindfulness in large doses can penetrate more than just your thoughts and sensations; it can see right through to the very pith of who you are – or rather, of who you are not. Because, as Buddhist teachers and teachers from many other contemplative traditions have long argued, on close investigation there doesn’t appear to be any deeper “you” in there running the show.

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Video Games Change How You Dream, Increase Lucid Dreaming

video games Are video games dreaming practice? The Verge writes:

Gackenbach is a psychologist at Canada’s Grant MacEwan University and arguably the world’s preeminent expert on how video games can impact dreaming. “The major parallel is that, in both instances, you’re in an alternate reality, whether a biological construct or a technological one,” she says.

In her most recent paper, published in the latest issue of Dreaming, Gackenbach and her colleagues solidified a key earlier finding: that so-called “hardcore” gamers (characterized by regular playing sessions of more than 2 hours, several times a week, since before the third grade) were more likely than their peers to experience lucid dreams.

With subsequent studies she has also found that during lucid dreams, gamers had control only over themselves as a character. They were also able to toggle between first and third-person point-of-view.

She’s also noted in other studies that some heavy gamers seem to be non-plussed by dreams that would qualify as nightmares.

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