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behavioral psychology

eSkeptic for January 25, 2017

In this week’s eSkeptic, we announce three upcoming Science Salons with Dr. Carol Tavris, Dr. Andrew Shtulman, and Derren Brown; plus, Derek interview Bo Bennett on Skepticality about his latest book, Uncomfortable Ideas.

A Token Thought for the Ancient Seeds of Science

ancient greek coin

Mike McRae describes how the development of Ionian coinage may have provided a metaphorical scaffold for considering an economics of nature—a rules-based system, upon which science is built.

14-05-28

In parts of Asia and the Orient entire regions are occasionally overwhelmed by terror-stricken men who believe that their penises are shriveling up or retracting into their bodies. Episodes can endure for weeks or months and affect thousands. Psychiatrists are divided as to the cause of these imaginary scares. Some believe that it is a form of group psychosis triggered by stress, while others view it as mass hysteria. How can groups of people come to believe that their sex…

14-01-29

Much of postmodern writing is deliberately obscure and nonsensical, indistinguishable from parody. It’s easy to mistake obscurity for profundity. What is so enticing about a scholarly approach that results in texts that can scarcely be understood? Why would a whole scholarly subculture prefer to write and read unclear prose? What are they getting out of it? In this week’s eSkeptic, Jim Davies shares his ideas on the psychological attraction of postmodern nonsense. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 17.4…

10-02-24

In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr Harriet Hall, MD, (aka the Skepdoc) reviews 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, and Barry L. Beyerstein.

The Enemy Within

The term “witch-hunt” is used today to describe everything from political scandals to school board shake-ups. Long before the Salem witch trials, women and men were rounded up by neighbors, accused of committing horrific crimes using supernatural powers, scrutinized by priests and juries, and promptly executed. The belief in witchcraft — and the deep fear of evil it instilled in communities — led to a cycle of accusation, anger, and purging that has occurred repeatedly in the West for centuries…

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell? Renowned social psychologist Dr. Carol Tavris takes a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification…

07-04-11

In this week’s eSkeptic, Jennifer McKevitt reviews by Philip Zimbardo’s book entitled The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

How is it possible for ordinary, average, even good people to become perpetrators of evil? Dr. Zimbardo, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, ran the famous “Stanford Prison Experiment” in the late 1960s that randomly assigned healthy, normal intelligent college students to play the roles of prisoner or guard in a projected 2 week-long study that he was forced to terminate after only 6 days because it went out of control, with pacifists becoming sadistic guards, and normal kids breaking…

07-03-21

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer tries out some new ideas at a free lecture on evolutionary economics; and Dr. Philip Zimbardo lectures at Caltech on the topic of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

07-02-07

In this week’s eSkeptic, the Skeptics Society is pleased to announce its Spring 2007 season of the Skeptics Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech.

06-11-29

In this week’s eSkeptic, we announce: Julia Sweeney’s new CD Letting Go of God, now available at shop skeptic; James Randi compiles a remarkable line-up of speakers for The Amazing Meeting 5; and Michael Shermer sheds some light on Kramer’s Conundrum, in an LA Times op-ed on racism.

06-06-01

In this week’s eSkeptic, Kenneth W. Krause reviews Laurence R. Tancredi’s book, Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals About Morality.

The Bridge to Humanity: How Affect Hunger Trumps the Selfish Gene

Anthropologist Walter Goldschmidt argues that culture is the product of deep biological mechanisms that came into being by an evolutionary process. Central to Dr. Goldschmidt’s thesis is the recognition of the separate evolutionary origin of what we call love: sexual and nurturant…

05-05-12

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer reviews Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.

Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception & and the Unconscious Mind

Philosopher and evolutionary psychologist David Livingstone Smith elucidates the essential role that deception and self-deception have played in human — and animal — evolution and shows that the very structure of our minds has been shaped from our earliest beginnings by the need to deceive…

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