Tag Archives: psychology

BRAIN PICKINGS: Iterations – A Lyrical Animated Film about How We Grow as Human Beings and the Iterative Nature of Self-Transformation

“I am recycled cells, I learn to like myself more with each iteration…” Psychologists now know that a “growth mindset” is one of the greatest predictors of a fulfilling life. And yet only children are at ease with the discomfort necessary for growth — the rest of us are chronically resistant to stretching ourselves in the very ways that push ... Read More »

When the Patient Commits Suicide

There’s an article in the January 20th issue of The Atlantic called “How Patient Suicide Affects Psychiatrists.” The author uses the term “psychiatrists” loosely, referring to any mental health clinician. As I read it, the first situation described by the author sounded familiar. As I continued, the words attributed to a “Dr. Brown” sounded even more familiar. My thoughts went ... Read More »

OPEN CULTURE: Watch Footage from the Psychology Experiment that Shocked the World—Milgram’s Obedience Study (1961)

For decades following World War II,  the world was left wondering how the atrocities of the Holocaust could have been perpetrated in the midst of—and, most horrifically, by—a modern and civilized society.  How did people come to engage in a willing and systematic extermination of their neighbors? Psychologists, whose field had grown into a grudgingly respected science by the midpoint ... Read More »

Chaos: the Heartbeat of the Cosmos

Mandelbrot Set Image

According to mathematics our world is steeped in unpredictability, popularly referred to as chaos. The very course of our lives from the crib to the grave meanders through a wilderness of unpredictability, passing through random events and circumstances, and sometimes spontaneously changing course on an unexpected dime. Weather patterns, geological formations, and stock market fluctuations are all examples of chaotic systems, impossible ... Read More »

Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer

biocomputer cartoon

“In the province of the mind…there are no limits.” -John C. Lilly That was the conclusion of the late neuroscientist and psychoanalyst John C Lilly more than a half a century ago. In a small summary report written for the National Institute of Mental Health, entitled Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer (1966-1967), Lilly lends his unique insight after five years of ... Read More »

ALTERED STATES: Sensory Deprivation and the Mind

Eye image

Imagine a state of mind in total sensory deprivation: floating in a void abandoned by sound, absent of all light, and devoid of gravity. In this void there is no sense of up and down, left or right; the perceivable contrast between the you-internal and the world-external has faded away. In this void you are simply a plane of being—the “I” who thinks, ... Read More »

ALTERED STATES: The Parallels Between Physics and the Mind

gamma ray image

All human knowledge is derived from human experience…and there can be no essential difference between the raw materials of physics and the raw materials of psychology. -E. B. Titchener (1867-1927) How does one see the unseeable? By altering the state of observation. In other words: change the rules of the game, change how we “see.” Altered states of observation are ... Read More »

What’s your cubicle playlist?

A game of movement and music

It seems like I’ve always had one or both earbuds in my ears. Pop icons like Ke$ha or the mellow sounds of Explosions in the Sky drown out the silence of working at my computer. It isn’t so surprising, then, that this immediately caught my attention. Is the constant soundtrack helping or hindering my working habits? Music is good for updating Facebook ... Read More »

What is beauty?


Human beings universally seek beauty in others, but a misrepresented version plagues our society. In 2007, the US ranked first in the amount spent on beauty products. The average American is exposed to 1,500 advertisements a day, and almost half of those are beauty-related. We’re a culture obsessed with how we look, but the image many women strive for is ... Read More »

Is Technology Making Us Afraid of People?

I’ve been reading a book on marketing called Youtility by Jay Baer. Four chapters in, he brings up something rather insightful: access to the Internet has made people passive aggressive. I wondered, could technology cause more than antisocial behavior? Could overusing technology lead to a fear of interacting with others, or worse, make us afraid of other people? Now, I’m ... Read More »