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behavioral science

Why Everyone Else is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind

WE’RE ALL HYPOCRITES. Why? Evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind’s design.

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.

Why People Behave Badly

One of the most difficult problems in the social sciences is understanding why some people intentionally inflict emotional and physical pain on others. Such intentional pain occurs not only on a local level — within families, with “friends,” or in work situations, but also on a national and international scale — Hitler’s Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, and Chairman Mao’s slaughter of millions. Neuroscience is providing the potential for a revolution in our understanding of why “bad” people do what they do…

07-07-25

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer proposes a market solution to the problem of tenure in this invited open peer commentary on an article entitled “Is Tenure Justified? An Experimental Study of Faculty Beliefs About Tenure, Promotion, and Academic Freedom” by Stephen J. Ceci, Wendy M. Williams, and Katrin Mueller-Johnson, published in a 2006 issue of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, volume 29, pages 553–569.

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 down emotionally…

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.

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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