psychology

33 articles
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The Most Dangerous Idea in Mental Health

The belief that hidden memories can be “recovered” in therapy has been discredited, but the mental health establishment does not always learn from its mistakes—and families are still paying the price.

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Leona Never Happened

A man's lifelong hold on an imaginary person.

"He could never really explain it, once he got past that age where it stopped being okay to have an imaginary friend. He always knew she wasn't an imaginary friend. But he desperately tried to explain it anyway, to all the school counselors and all sorts of in-network therapists as he got older. It was simple in some senses. She was supposed to be living on his street. She was supposed to be in his kindergarten class. But all the houses were full with other families. And every little spot on that circular alphabet rug in his classroom was taken by someone else. Leona never happened."

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The Minister's Black Veil

A classis psychological work on Hawthorne's 210th birthday.

"The cause of so much amazement may appear sufficiently slight. Mr. Hooper, a gentlemanly person, of about thirty, though still a bachelor, was dressed with due clerical neatness, as if a careful wife had starched his band, and brushed the weekly dust from his Sunday's garb. There was but one thing remarkable in his appearance. Swathed about his forehead, and hanging down over his face, so low as to be shaken by his breath, Mr. Hooper had on a black veil. On a nearer view it seemed to consist of two folds of crape, which entirely concealed his features, except the mouth and chin, but probably did not intercept his sight, further than to give a darkened aspect to all living and inanimate things. With this gloomy shade before him, good Mr. Hooper walked onward, at a slow and quiet pace, stooping somewhat, and looking on the ground, as is customary with abstracted men, yet nodding kindly to those of his parishioners who still waited on the meeting-house steps. But so wonder-struck were they that his greeting hardly met with a return."

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The Search for Psychology's Lost Boy

An investigation into “Little Albert,” the famous test subject.

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Irreducible

A scientific and psychological examination of a gunshot.

"This is how you feel a bullet. You have certain sensory receptors that detect pain, these are called nociceptors. When a nocicpetor receives a painful stimulus, it sends a signal through its neuron to the spinal cord, which sends the signal to your brain, which sends it to a number of different areas for processing. The location and intensity of the stimulus is deciphered by the primary and secondary somatosensory cortex, for example."

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The Science of Hatred

A Bosnian social psychologist who studies guilt and responsibility in the collective memory (and denial) of Sreberbica, which is “among the most scientifically documented mass killings in history.”

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The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

What the popular game says about our subconscious.

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I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes

A profile of Roseanne Barr and her multiple personalities.

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Why We Keep Playing the Lottery

“It’s just beyond our experience—we have nothing in our evolutionary history that prepares us or primes us, no intellectual architecture, to try and grasp the remoteness of those odds.”

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The Upside of Trauma

What good can come of tragedy.

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A History of Like

Marketing research,the pre-Facebook history of ‘likeability,’ and why there will never be a ‘dislike’ button.

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We Aren’t the World

New research upends ideas about culture’s impact on how our brains our wired.

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There Is Only Awe

On Julian Jaynes, a Princeton psychologist who told the story of how humans learned to think.

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Power of Suggestion

Why psychologists love “priming.”

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What's So Effective About Stephen Covey?

A profile of the man behind the “7 Habits.”

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Psychology of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things

The story of one man’s descent into lies and illegal activity – and why it could so easily happen to any of us.

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The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Genius

Margaret Profet, evolutionary biologist and MacArthur grant recipient, disappeared in 2005. She has neither been seen nor heard from since.

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The King of Human Error

On a pair of Israeli psychologists who between 1971 and 1984 “published a series of quirky papers exploring the ways human judgment may be distorted when we are making decisions in conditions of uncertainty.”

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The Benjamin Franklin Effect

The misconception? You do nice things for the people you like and bad things to the people you hate. The truth? You grow to like people for whom you do nice things and hate people you harm.
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Which One of You Is Jesus?

In 1959, a social psychologist in Michigan brought together three institutionalized patients for an experiment:

[W]hat would happen, he wondered, if he made three men meet and live closely side by side over a period of time, each of whom believed himself to be the one and only Jesus Christ?

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The Rapist Says He's Sorry

A profile of a serial sex offender:

This is a story about how hard it is to be good—or, rather, how hard it is to be good once you’ve been bad; how hard it is to be fixed once you’ve been broken; how hard it is to be straight once you’ve been bent. It is about a scary man who is trying very hard not to be scary anymore and yet who still manages to scare not only the people who have good reason to be afraid of him but even occasionally himself. It is about sex, and how little we know about its mysteries; about the human heart, and how futilely we have responded—with silence, with therapy, with the law and even with the sacred Constitution—to its dark challenge. It is about what happens when we, as a society, no longer trust our futile responses and admit that we have no idea what to do with a guy like Mitchell Gaff.

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I Thought You Were a Poet

An essay on poetry and madness.

People still think of poets as an odd bunch, as you’ll know if you’ve been introduced as one at a wedding. Some poets spotlight this conception by saying otherworldly things, playing up afflictions and dramas, and otherwise hinting that they might be visionaries. In the past few centuries, of course, the standard picture of psychopathology has changed a great deal. But as it’s often invoked, the idea of the mad poet preserves, in fossil form, a stubbornly outdated and incomplete image of madness. Modern psychiatry and neuroscience have supplanted this image almost everywhere else.

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Killing Mom and Dad on Staten Island

The story of a high school quarterback’s descent into madness, and its tragic end.

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Hollywood Shadows: A Cure for Blocked Screenwriters

Barry Michels is Hollywood’s most successful therapist cum motivation coach with an approach that combines Jungian psychology, encouraging patients to embrace their dark side, and “three-by-five index cards inscribed with Delphic pronouncements like THE HIERARCHY WILL NEVER BE CLEAR.”

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"I'm Glad I Went to Prison"

The bizarre tale–and unlikely turnaround–of an NHL player who tried to have his youth coach murdered.

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Hellhole

Is long-term solitary confinement torture?

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Fetal Origins

Anxiety, weight, general well-being—how the first nine months determine the rest of your life.

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Later

What we can learn from procrastination.

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Depression’s Upside

If the fittest survive, why are so many people still depressed? An evolutionary theory on the benefits of painful rumination.

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Can Preschoolers Be Depressed?

Thirty years ago, few people had ever heard of ADD. ‘Early onset depression’ might become a common diagnosis long before 2040.

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What Is It About 20-Somethings?

A psychological theory emerges to explain why young Americans are taking a while to grow up.

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Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare

An emerging school of therapy says that scripting your dreams while awake could eliminate the worst ones. Not everyone thinks that’s healthy.