EppsNet Archive: Psychology

How People Learn to Become Resilient

[Developmental psychologist Emmy Werner] found that several elements predicted resilience. Some elements had to do with luck: a resilient child might have a strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or other mentor-like figure. But another, quite large set of elements was psychological, and had to do with how the children responded to the environment. From a young age,… Read more →

EppsNet Book Reviews: Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Carol Dweck’s research is part of a tradition in psychology that shows the power of people’s beliefs. These may be beliefs that we’re aware of or unaware of but they strongly affect what we want and whether we succeed in getting it. This tradition also shows how changing people’s beliefs can have profound effects. Dweck’s insight into fixed mindset (bad)… Read more →

25 Concepts to Facilitate Judicious Use of Psychiatric Drugs

I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night . . . I also took a Colgate University class on medicating for mental health and judicious use of psychiatric drugs. A psychiatric medication is only one useful tool among a collection of useful tools. Remember to also… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Combating Procrastination

Students had a project due last week and I got a lot of messages and emails asking for help. Of course, when we handed out the assignment two months ago, we advised students not to wait till the last minute to work on it. Teachers and parents saying “Don’t wait till the last minute” is just an understood part of… Read more →

Big Fishes in Small Ponds

A colleague and I are discussing an article about too many kids quitting science because they don’t think they’re smart, in which Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, says, among other things: Being a good parent has become synonymous with giving out ability praise. Parents still think this is the greatest gift they can give to their children, and as… Read more →

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The notion that we have limited access to the workings of our minds is difficult to accept because, naturally, it is alien to our experience but it is true: You know far less about yourself than you feel you do.   A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from… Read more →

Why “We” Believed Jackie’s Rape Story

Embed from Getty Images That’s the title (minus the quotation marks) of an article on politico.com regarding Rolling Stone‘s retraction of a story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. The article is written by a female student at that university. “We” believed the story for the same reason Rolling Stone didn’t fact check it: because when you… Read more →

The Hedgehog and the Fox

Hedgehogs “know one big thing” and have a theory about the world: they account for particular events within a coherent framework, bristle with impatience toward those who don’t see things their way, and are confident in their forecasts. They are also especially reluctant to admit error. For hedgehogs, a failed prediction is almost always “off only on timing” or “very… Read more →

I Was Never More Hated Than When I Tried to Be Honest

I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I’ve tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied — not even I. On the other hand, I’ve never been more loved and appreciated than when I tried to “justify” and affirm someone’s mistaken beliefs;… Read more →

On the Evaluation of One-Sided Evidence

We examine predictions and judgments of confidence based on one-sided evidence. Some subjects saw arguments for only one side of a legal dispute while other subjects (called ‘jurors’) saw arguments for both sides. Subjects predicted the number of jurors who favored the plaintiff in each case. Subjects who saw only one side made predictions that were biased in favor of… Read more →

See You in Hell: The Fritz Pollard Edition

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE] The head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors diversity in the NFL, expects the league to institute a rule where players would be penalized 15 yards for using the N-word on the field. — NFL expected to penalize players for using racial slurs in games… Read more →

The ‘Why’ Technique

The usual purpose of ‘why’ is to elicit information. One wants to be comforted with some explanation which one can accept and be satisfied with. The lateral use of why is quite opposite. The intention is to create discomfort with any explanation. By refusing to be comforted with an explanation one tries to look at things in a different way… Read more →

Challenge Assumptions

General agreement about an assumption is no guarantee that it is correct. It is historical continuity that maintains most assumptions – not a repeated assessment of their validity. — Edward de Bono, Lateral Thinking Read more →

EppsNet Book Reviews: The Big Short by Michael Lewis

I worked in the information technology department of a mortgage bank in the run-up to the 2007 implosion of the subprime mortgage market . . . Given that it was fairly evident at the time that complicated financial instruments were being dreamed up for the sole purpose of lending money to people who could never repay it, it’s remarkable that very… Read more →

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not just surrounded by assholes. — William Gibson

Online Porn May Make You Forget

Pornographic Picture Processing Interferes with Working Memory Performance — Journal of Sex Research, 2012 Nov 20 Researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen found that looking at internet porn has a negative effect on working memory. Wait a second . . . did I already post this link? Read more →

Rough Layouts Sell the Idea Better Than Polished Ones

This was written by an ad man but I can see it applying to other endeavors, like designing a software interface: If you show a client a highly polished computer layout, he will probably reject it. There is either too much to worry about or not enough to worry about. They are equally bad. It is a fait accompli. There… Read more →

Politicians Making Things Happen

Now, if we want people to do certain things and if we are indifferent as to why they do them, then no affective appeals need be excluded. Some political candidates want us to vote for them regardless of our reasons for doing so. Therefore, if we hate the rich, they will snarl at the rich for us; if we dislike… Read more →

Accurate Self-Perceptions Considered Harmful

Consider a survey of nearly one million high school seniors. When asked to judge their ability to get along with others, 100 percent rated themselves as at least average, 60 percent rated themselves in the top 10 percent, and 25 percent considered themselves in the top 1 percent. And when asked about their leadership skills, only 2 percent assessed themselves… Read more →

If You Tolerate It, You Insist On It

Whenever you perceive that a virtue is missing or that a vice is present, you either tolerate the situation or try to change it. If you cannot “fix” it, you can at least withdraw your participation. The problem with tolerating the absence of virtue or the existence of vice is that this choice summons them into your life. You might… Read more →

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