Tag Archives: Psychology

Christakis’s Blueprint for Sanity

I’ve started reading Yale sociologist Nicholas Christakis’s book Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. Christakis is something of a hero not only of free speech, but of sanity itself. His wife Erika, also on the faculty, was denounced … Continue reading

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Trick or Treat

Is it okay to “trick people” for their own good? That question comes up early in John Staddon’s book The New Behaviorism. I’ve just started reading it, and it’s a thought-provoking analysis. Behaviorism is a psychological approach that, true to … Continue reading

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Embrace the Paradox of Self-Improvement

Are you good enough as you are, or do you think you can do better? That question highlights the paradox of self-improvement. Before you can make your life better, you must believe you’re worthy of something better. That means accepting … Continue reading

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A Tool’s Got to Know Its Limitations

What do DNA, psychological questionnaires, and my new car have in common? DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a molecule in which plants and animals encode the basic characteristics of their bodies. It’s what makes a rose a rose instead of a … Continue reading

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Oh Say, Kin You See?

Football player Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the American national anthem. And people on all sides of the political spectrum went nuts. Why? The most obvious reason is that they either endorse or dispute his complaint: “I am not … Continue reading

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Can Truth and Niceness Coexist?

Suppose that Joe believes he’s a parakeet. Is that okay? It depends. If Joe goes to work, obeys the law, fulfills his responsibilities, and doesn’t drive people nuts by making bird noises, then I’d say it’s okay. The belief makes … Continue reading

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Respect the Other Person

When you disagree with someone, how can you keep the argument focused on the issues? You don’t want to get sidetracked, and you especially don’t want the discussion to turn into a screaming match. The previous blog post (“How to … Continue reading

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