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Attitudes Toward Asexuals (ATA) Prejudice Scale In a past post I discussed bias against asexuals (those without enduring sexual attraction directed toward men or women). Here I discuss a newly validated scale that captures prejudice toward asexuals, providing a more nuanced understanding of biases against sexual minorities and the challenges such individuals face.
Paleo diet: Big brains needed carbs Understanding how and why we evolved such large brains is one of the most puzzling issues in the study of human evolution. A new study argues that carbohydrate consumption, particularly in the form of starch, was critical for the accelerated expansion of the human brain over the last million years. Eating meat may have kick-started the evolution of bigger brains, but cooked starchy foods together with more salivary amylase genes made us smarter still.
What is the Link between Narcissism and Selfies? New research shows that selfies are linked to narcissism in men, but not women, and that some aspects of narcissism are better predictors of selfie-posting than others.
Yelling at Your Child: Anger Management for Parents We love our little kids, and our big ones, too. Why then, do we spend so much time fighting and screaming with our children who are supposed to make us … ...
The #1 Question Therapists Forget to Ask There is a simple question I ask of any person that is interested in working with me, regardless if it is life coaching, business coaching or psychotherapy. While we as mental health professionals are well versed in assessment, the initial phone consultation is a crucial part … ...
Getting Honest with Ourselves When No One is Watching On Tuesday, I shared my interview with Sharon Jones, author of the self-reflective journal Burn After Writing. The premise of this journal is to get honest with ourselves. Really honest. … ...
Falling Off the Wagon With Facebook Online support groups for substance abuse not as effective as meetings for maintaining sobriety
Shrugging off the Legacy of the Overbearing Parent I listened to a podcast yesterday where a man described his overbearing, authoritarian mother. Some of the ways she controlled him were strange, inexplicable, and sounded remarkably like my father. His mother had called the police and gone through all his things because he drove his … ...
The Modern Parenting Techniques That Hinder Brain Development ...plus the ancient parenting practices repeatedly linked to positive brain development. » Continue reading: The Modern Parenting Techniques That Hinder Brain Development » Read HealthiestBlog.com, the new site from PsyBlog's author Related articles:The Amazing Effect of Mother’s Mere Presence on Infant Pain and Brain Development Family Problems In Childhood Affect Brain Development Same-Sex Parenting Does Not Harm Children, Research Review Finds Spanking Children Promotes Antisocial Behaviour and Slows Mental Development 22% of Children Have Underdeveloped Brains From This Social Circumstance
Siblings of children with schizophrenia show resilience to the condition as they grow up Fundamental differences between how the brain forms during adolescence have been discovered in children with schizophrenia and their siblings, a new study shows.
How emotions influence learning and memory processes in the brain The scientific explanation behind the saying "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" has been uncovered by a groundbreaking new study. The work has found, for the first time, that emotions are not only the product of the processing of information by the brain, but that they also directly influence processes of learning and memory in the brain.
How I Use `Expansion’ to Find the Right Path... For those who experience trauma in the pre-verbal stage of childhood, life seems more challenging than for those who have not. As such a child, I carried the longings and hopes natural to all children, yet I was instinctively cautious and I lived with a … ...
Walking thru Situational Depression Not all depressions are created equal. Some depressions are major, chemical, hormonal, cyclical, seasonal, chronic, psychotic, persistent, or medical with each having a level from mild to severe/suicidal. But another common type of depression is situational, better known in counseling as adjustment disorder with depressed … ...
Dealing with Rejection When You Have Depression When you’re already struggling with depression — a difficult illness that batters your self-esteem — you might take rejection hard. Really hard. Whether you were turned down for a job, excluded from an event or had a disagreement with a friend, the rejection may confirm … ...
Survival of the Playfullest What if playfulness were a survival skill?
Three Reasons Why You Can’t Trust Romantic Instincts When it comes to dating, we’re often told that we should trust our instincts: If it feels right, go for it, but if you get a bad feeling from someone, steer clear. These instincts can certainly be helpful at times, but they’re also subject to a number of biases that can lead us to trust the wrong people and overlook the right ones. Here are just three ways that our romantic instincts can lead us astray. 1. We see old people in new people. Have you ever met someone and felt immediate warmth and affection toward them, only to realize later that he or she reminds you of one of your closest friends? Or have you gotten inexplicably bad vibes from someone and then noticed that he or she just happens to share certain (annoying) mannerisms with your ex? The thing is, a lot of the time we don’t consciously notice these similarities, but they shape our perceptions and behaviors nonetheless. This phenomenon is called transference, and it’s not limited to a psychoanalytic context: esearch suggests that it’s a common experience in everyday life, and can occur in a range of relationships. In a number of clever experiments, researchers manipulated transference by introducing participants to a new, unknown person who in some subtle way resembled a significant person in participants’ lives. They found that participants tended to perceive the unknown person through the lens of the known person, attributing the known person’s traits and motivations to them, all without conscious awareness of this connection. In addition, participants’ feelings, expectations, and behaviors in relation to the new person often mirrored those that they had experienced with the known person. In other words, our instincts about new people are often influenced by their incidental resemblance to other people in our lives. Our desire to fill in the blanks and make our social worlds more predictable, though useful at times, can also make it difficult to see new people for who they really are. As a result, we may find ourselves attracted to people for the wrong reasons—specifically, because we attribute positive qualities to them that they don’t actually possess. By the same token, we may feel repulsed by people who are in reality not guilty of any of the offenses we associate with them. 2. Some of our instincts are stuck in the (evolutionary) past. Gut feelings aren’t just influenced by past relationships—they’re also influenced by our evolutionary past. Evolutionary psychologists have found evidence to suggest that attraction in modern humans is shaped by factors that may have aided our hunter-gatherer ancestors but have little bearing on what makes for a satisfying relationship in modern life. For example, research shows that women tend to be attracted to socially dominant, masculine-looking men during ovulation and to less dominant, less masculine-looking men at less fertile times of their cycle. Some have speculated that this attraction pattern evolved as a dual mating strategy, in which women reproduce with socially dominant men (who presumably have good genes), but settle down with commitment-oriented types (who can be trusted to stick around and help raise the kids). Supporting this hypothesis, research suggests that women are more likely to fantasize and engage in extramarital affairs with more masculine men during ovulation. Needless to say, following these types of romantic instincts is probably not advisable in modern times. Men, for their part, are believed to have evolved an instinctive preference for younger women, because such partnerships can increase their likelihood of passing on their genes. To the extent that these youth-seeking instincts are blindly followed, though, they can cloud the consideration of factors that may prove more relevant for lasting relationship satisfaction, not least of which is similarity in age. It’s important to note that when people experience these types of romantic instincts, they aren’t typically aware of why they are experiencing them. Women aren’t consciously thinking, I’m ovulating, so I should probably hook up with that masculine-looking guy and trick my husband into thinking the baby is his; and men aren’t thinking, Wow, that woman looks really fertile today! Rather, these instinctual preferences are more likely to be experienced as general feelings of attraction and chemistry—the kinds of feelings that we tend to assume must reflect our true desires. 3. Automatic judgments are often prejudiced ones. Perhaps the most destructive way our instincts can lead us astray is through their association with prejudice and discrimination. Decades of research on intergroup processes has shown that our reactions to people from different racial or ethnic groups are driven to a large degree by automatic processes—processes that take place outside of conscious awareness. For example, one study found that European-Americans were more likely to attribute hostile intentions to the same ambiguous behavior if they associated it with African-Americans as opposed to European-Americans. Other studies showed that participants in a video-game simulation were more likely to mistakenly shoot an unarmed targe—and faster to shoot an armed target—if the target was African-American versus European-American.  These biases can also be seen on a neurological level: When viewing other-race faces, people tend to show greater activation of the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for processing threat. For many people, racial bias is not driven by malicious intentions, but rather by deeply-ingrained stereotypes about different groups. A lifetime of exposure to negative stereotypes can condition people’s fear responses and make them less trusting of others, and this distrust can interfere with the development of friendships and romantic relationships across groups. Like other forms of bias, automatic prejudice isn’t typically consciously experienced as such. Rather, it may be experienced as a vague negative feeling about someone, something you can’t quite put your finger on. Because the source of this feeling is often not consciously accessible, it can be difficult to recognize that it’s a form of bias (i.e., it feels like an accurate assessment), making it all the more powerful. The lesson here is that we can’t always trust our instincts about others, especially when we’re evaluating members of other groups, since it’s possible that automatic prejudice is playing a role in shaping our judgments. By becoming more aware of the potential for our instincts to be biased, we can consciously choose not to heed them blindly and instead strive to take a more open-minded, trusting approach, one that defaults to seeing individuals as individuals rather than simply group representatives. In sum, instincts may have evolved to protect us from perceived danger and increase our odds of successfully passing down our genes, but the context in which they evolved is very different from the world in which we now live, where the things we want in our lives tend to extend far beyond what was desirable—or possible—for our ancestors. Instincts are not useless, but they’re often a lot less meaningful than they feel.
Three Reasons Why You Can’t Always Trust Romantic Instincts When it comes to dating, we’re often told that we should trust our instincts: If it feels right, go for it, but if you get a bad feeling from someone, steer clear. These instincts can certainly be helpful at times, but they’re also subject to a number of biases that can lead us to trust the wrong people and overlook the right ones. Here are just three ways that our romantic instincts can lead us astray. 1. We see old people in new people. Have you ever met someone and felt immediate warmth and affection toward them, only to realize later that he or she reminds you of one of your closest friends? Or have you gotten inexplicably bad vibes from someone and then noticed that he or she just happens to share certain (annoying) mannerisms with your ex? The thing is, a lot of the time we don’t consciously notice these similarities, but they shape our perceptions and behaviors nonetheless. This phenomenon is called transference, and it’s not limited to a psychoanalytic context: research suggests that it’s a common experience in everyday life, and can occur in a range of relationships. In a number of clever experiments, researchers manipulated transference by introducing participants to a new, unknown person who in some subtle way resembled a significant person in participants’ lives. They found that participants tended to perceive the unknown person through the lens of the known person, attributing the known person’s traits and motivations to them, all without conscious awareness of this connection. In addition, participants’ feelings, expectations, and behaviors in relation to the new person often mirrored those that they had experienced with the known person. In other words, our instincts about new people are often influenced by their incidental resemblance to other people in our lives. Our desire to fill in the blanks and make our social worlds more predictable, though useful at times, can also make it difficult to see new people for who they really are. As a result, we may find ourselves attracted to people for the wrong reasons—specifically, because we attribute positive qualities to them that they don’t actually possess. By the same token, we may feel repulsed by people who are in reality not guilty of any of the offenses we associate with them. 2. Some of our instincts are stuck in the (evolutionary) past. Gut feelings aren’t just influenced by past relationships—they’re also influenced by our evolutionary past. Evolutionary psychologists have found evidence to suggest that attraction in modern humans is shaped by factors that may have aided our hunter-gatherer ancestors but have little bearing on what makes for a satisfying relationship in modern life. For example, research shows that women tend to be attracted to socially dominant, masculine-looking men during ovulation and to less dominant, less masculine-looking men at less fertile times of their cycle. Some have speculated that this attraction pattern evolved as a dual mating strategy, in which women reproduce with socially dominant men (who presumably have good genes), but settle down with commitment-oriented types (who can be trusted to stick around and help raise the kids). Supporting this hypothesis, research suggests that women are more likely to fantasize and engage in extramarital affairs with more masculine men during ovulation. Needless to say, following these types of romantic instincts is probably not advisable in modern times. Men, for their part, are believed to have evolved an instinctive preference for younger women, because such partnerships can increase their likelihood of passing on their genes. To the extent that these youth-seeking instincts are blindly followed, though, they can cloud the consideration of factors that may prove more relevant for lasting relationship satisfaction, not least of which is similarity in age. It’s important to note that when people experience these types of romantic instincts, they aren’t typically aware of why they are experiencing them. Women aren’t consciously thinking, I’m ovulating, so I should probably hook up with that masculine-looking guy and trick my husband into thinking the baby is his; and men aren’t thinking, Wow, that woman looks really fertile today! Rather, these instinctual preferences are more likely to be experienced as general feelings of attraction and chemistry—the kinds of feelings that we tend to assume must reflect our true desires. 3. Automatic judgments are often prejudiced ones. Perhaps the most destructive way our instincts can lead us astray is through their association with prejudice and discrimination. Decades of research on intergroup processes has shown that our reactions to people from different racial or ethnic groups are driven to a large degree by automatic processes—processes that take place outside of conscious awareness. For example, one study found that European-Americans were more likely to attribute hostile intentions to the same ambiguous behavior if they associated it with African-Americans as opposed to European-Americans. Other studies showed that participants in a video-game simulation were more likely to mistakenly shoot an unarmed target—and faster to shoot an armed target—if the target was African-American versus European-American.  These biases can also be seen on a neurological level: When viewing other-race faces, people tend to show greater activation of the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for processing threat. For many people, racial bias is not driven by malicious intentions, but rather by deeply-ingrained stereotypes about different groups. A lifetime of exposure to negative stereotypes can condition people’s fear responses and make them less trusting of others, and this distrust can interfere with the development of friendships and romantic relationships across groups. Like other forms of bias, automatic prejudice isn’t typically consciously experienced as such. Rather, it may be experienced as a vague negative feeling about someone, something you can’t quite put your finger on. Because the source of this feeling is often not consciously accessible, it can be difficult to recognize that it’s a form of bias (i.e., it feels like an accurate assessment), making it all the more powerful. The lesson here is that we can’t always trust our instincts about others, especially when we’re evaluating members of other groups, since it’s possible that automatic prejudice is playing a role in shaping our judgments. By becoming more aware of the potential for our instincts to be biased, we can consciously choose not to heed them blindly and instead strive to take a more open-minded, trusting approach, one that defaults to seeing individuals as individuals rather than simply group representatives. In sum, instincts may have evolved to protect us from perceived danger and increase our odds of successfully passing down our genes, but the context in which they evolved is very different from the world in which we now live, where the things we want in our lives tend to extend far beyond what was desirable—or possible—for our ancestors. Instincts are not useless, but they’re often a lot less meaningful than they feel.
Mental Illness is Not an Invisible Illness   Working as a speaker and writer in the mental health field, I hear a lot of things over and over. Stigma, for example, comes up a lot, as do … ...
Test Your Organizational and Communication Skills What are the most sought after skills by employers? They are many, but some of the most common requirements is to be able to communicate effectively as well as to organize your work and to be able to handle difficult situations. This test measures how well you score in this area at the moment.
APA Adopts Guidelines for Working With Transgender, Gender Nonconforming People Aim is to ensure well-informed care, treatment and research