Category: Psychology Cognition

Making Love Last

| November 8, 2015 | Reply

Eric Barker offer immense amounts of research in easily digested forms. His latest topic is on how to make love last – Lots of links to research and related topics.


You’re A Terrible Mind Reader: Stop assuming you know why they did something wrong. You don’t. Want the answer? Ask.
Rose-Colored Glasses Are Good: If you’re going to try to read minds, assume the best. Otherwise, why the heck are you with this person?
No Unspoken Rules: They can’t read minds either. Stop thinking “it’s obvious.” If it was obvious, you would not have this problem.
Symbolic Meanings Confuse People: To you “being late” means “you don’t love me.” To them “being late” means “being late.” Clarify your interpretation or they’ll think you’re insane.


Read More

Negotiate with children like we negotiate with hostage takers

| October 18, 2015 | Reply

Eric Barker drew an interesting and compelling analogy. “Let’s see what parenting experts and hostage negotiators can teach us, and how it can make for a more peaceful, happier home.”


Read More

Children who don’t grow up

| September 27, 2015 | Reply

This article at Psychology Today suggests that today’s children are damaged by their parents’ helicoptering:

In previous posts . . . I have described the dramatic decline, over the past few decades, in children’s opportunities to play, explore, and pursue their own interests away from adults. Among the consequences, I have argued, are well-documented increases in anxiety and depression and decreases in the sense of control of their own lives. We have raised a generation of young people who have not been given the opportunity to learn how to solve their own problems. They have not been given the opportunity to get into trouble and find their own way out, to experience failure and realize they can survive it, to be called bad names by others and learn how to respond without adult intervention. So now, here’s what we have. Young people,18 years and older, going to college still unable or unwilling to take responsibility for themselves, still feeling that if a problem arises they need an adult to solve it.


Read More

Milgram experiment reenacted by the BBC in 2009

| September 26, 2015 | Reply

Consider whether we are capable of learning basic moral lessons. This in a reenactment of the Millgram experiment by the BBC. This video drives home the terrible things that human beings are capable of doing, even when not coerced, where they are merely requested to do these terrible things by an apparent authority figure. Massively unsettling.


Read More

Make this train move with your mind

| September 24, 2015 | Reply

This GIF is a lot of fun. Just wish for the train to move in or out of the screen and it will happen.


Read More

The power of listening

| August 10, 2015 | Reply

A good friend of mine named Tom was an excellent parent – his son was a really cool kid. When I was about to adopt my first child I asked him what advice he had for raising children. He said, “Listen to them. Listen actively. Everything else will follow from that.”

After having raised two children, I find that to be excellent advice. Eric Barker has published a post on the power of listening. He calls it, “How To Be Loved By Everyone: 6 Powerful Secrets,” which is not a good title, because I consider it self destructive to try to be loved by everyone. But I agree with the content of the post, which centers on improving relationships by active listening. Here are Barker’s take-aways:

Be a detective. You need to be interested. The best way to do that is to play detective and be curious.

How little can you say? Ask questions. Paraphrase to make sure you understand. Past that, just shut up.

Can you summarize to their approval? If you paraphrase what they said and they reply, “Exactly” — you win.
Don’t try to fix them.

Be Socrates. Help them find their own solution. People remember their own ideas best.

Monitor body language. Eye contact and open postures are good. Touch their elbow to help create a bond.

Review the common mistakes we all make. And then don’t do them.

Listen and people will listen back. In fact, they’ll do more than that. They will come to trust and love you.

He ends with this quote by David Augsburger:

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”


Read More

How to address the issue of “Addiction”

| July 9, 2015 | Reply

This TED speech by Journalist Johann Hari criticizes conventional “war on drugs” and “just say no” approaches, making ample reference to data from Portugal, which ended its war on drugs 15 years ago.


Read More

Hierarchy of religious beliefs

| June 21, 2015 | 3 Replies

Friendly Atheist comments on a pyramid of the hierarchy of religious beliefs here.    And here is the original article at The Reason Stick.   The author comments: “While much thought and effort is directed at tackling those at the top of the pyramid, society seems equally keen to continue fuel the system from the bottom, ensuring that we have a constant fresh supply of enough receptive minds to climb to the top of the pyramid.”

religious hierarchy




Read More

About “race”

| June 21, 2015 | Reply

On FB, someone recently complained that race is not a legitimate concept. The writer claims to be Libertarian and wants to dismantle all government laws protecting citizens on the base of racism. Here is my response:

It is my position that you are overstating the role of Obama in peddling of “race” as a legitimate concept. The peddlers of racialism are ubiquitous, all stripes of people want to believe that they can use the skin color and body features as a proxy for a personality type. It’s been going on for many decades and centuries and, in my opinion, it’s time to put this stupidity to a stop. That said, I have no idea of how to do this, but the first step would be to say “Halt!” to everyone, all the pundits, social workers, media reporters, judges and every one else who claims that there is some scientific or social basis for claiming there to be sub-races to the human race. It’s much like climate change. There is no basis for the belief in race (or the denial of human-caused climate change), yet the stupidity has taken on a life of its own. Careful scientists with expertise in biology have weighed in, almost entirely in unison.

There is no “black” or “white” or “Chinese” race. Belief in race has no more basis than the belief in phrenology, and if there were big money, careers and xenophobia making use of phrenology, that silliness would still be with us too. Skin is an organ. It comes in different shades of brown. If skin were transparent, we’d be manipulating/exploiting/threatening each other on the colors of our livers, kidneys and lungs too. But I write this with a caveat – There are still many bigots running amok, much of this caused by the widespread misconception that there is such a thing as race. I would not outright eliminate all laws that protect people from racial discrimination. I would not make it an element of these laws that one is of a particular “race,” however, because I don’t believe in race. Rather, the protection would be given to anyone who is fired/excluded on the basis that they are perceived to be of a certain “race,” even though there is no such thing as race. In short, there can be racism even though there is no such thing as race, and people should be protected from racism, because it is a pernicious belief that causes widespread harm to society, in addition to causing specific harm to specific people.


Read More