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My Tianeptine article was #1 this past weekend on Reddit Psychology hot list.  If you’re a Redditor, do me a solid and go Upvote!  http://www.reddit.com/r/psychology/comments/wlsgn/tianeptine_the_antidepressant_that_reduces/

I visited MoMA this past weekend and now all I want to do is remain unemployed and sit at home and make art all day. #firstworldproblems

It inspired me to write another Suite 101 article.  I’ll get back to the Health & Wellness category soon, I swear.

I also need to get into the habit of taking my own pictures for articles, like this one.

At 630,000-square-feet, MoMA’s contemporary and spacious 6-floored building holds a vast array of 19th-21st century artwork. This prestigious museum encompasses a plethora of mediums including installations, paintings, photography, architecture, and vanguard digital media. If you have never visited an art museum before or are an art connoisseur on the prowl for new and exciting experiences, this floor-by-floor guide will provide the details on what New York’s MoMA has to offer.

Read more at Suite101: Guide to the Manhattan Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) by Candice Hall Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/guide-to-the-manhattan-museum-of-modern-art-moma-a409980#ixzz20wHLSzsr

Categories: I arted, Reviews Tags: art, MoMA, museum of modern art, new york city, psychology, Suite101, travel, travel writing

The New Yorker, “Why Smart People Are Stupid”:

Self-awareness was not particularly useful: as the scientists note, “people who were aware of their own biases were not better able to overcome them.” This finding wouldn’t surprise Kahneman, who admits in “Thinking, Fast and Slow” that his decades of groundbreaking research have failed to significantly improve his own mental performance. “My intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy”—a tendency to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task—“as it was before I made a study of these issues,” he writes.

Ahh, that’s unnerving. I would like to think that being aware of my own cognitive bias makes me able to recognize it in different but similar situations.

The classic example:  A bat and ball cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? Apparently, most people say 10 cents automatically.

I would like to think that because I have practiced conceptualizing it as 2x+ 1.00 = 1.10, x=0.05, it will make me more self-aware when encountering different but similar math word problems. Does this study suggest that would not be the case?

I dunno. I’m not sure what they mean by more “cognitively sophisticated” or how exactly they determine bias. I want to continue my “reading and criticizing primary sources” kick today, but I am very poor and the study .pdf costs $12.

The fine denizens of the Internet who have read the study, however, are criticizing The New Yorker article for overstating things. They’re saying that the smarter people only overestimated their own ability to overcome bias. This is a different kind of bias than performing poorly on the tests, and the association was weak anyway. With such a grandiose title like “Why Smart People are Stupid,” this accusation of blowing things out of proportion isn’t surprising.

Categories: human nature, Knowledge has vagina dentata so don’t you fuck with it Tags: cognition, cognitive bias, Jonah Lehrer, psychology, smart people, The New Yorker, Why Smart People are Stupid

Oh hey, a PubMed article with the full text available.

It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains–that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.

This was published in a 1992 Journal of Medical Ethics.  It was obviously never taken up on by the overlords of the DSM-IV, published in 2000.  The guy who wrote it is a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the UK with a specialization in the psychotic aspects of mental illness.

——

So the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scheduled for a republication (fifth edition) in May 2013, and there’s been a fair amount of media controversy about some of the changes, mostly around lower standards for addiction disorders.

I skimmed over the Proposed Changes part of the website that the APA set up for the new edition and didn’t find anything egregious. Etiology of a disorder doesn’t matter much beyond understanding how to fix it.  But how behaviors are treated by society do matter. (In my relativist opinion, psychologists know nothing about feelings, except for their own.  They only know behavior.*)

By changing a medical text of authority, I have a feeling it will lower stigma and help erase the false emotional/physical dichotomy model of symptoms that people, including mental health professionals, seem to acknowledge as a gauge for importance during treatment.  And these results would, uncontroversially, be a good thing.

*I’m using “know” here in a sort of vague, philosophical context.  I mean, we’re never going to have a better scale for pain, emotional or physical, beyond a subjective “Pick a number 1-10.”

Categories: human nature, Knowledge has vagina dentata so don’t you fuck with it Tags: addiction, APA, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM 5, DSM-IV, happiness, mental disorder, psychiatry, psychology