Article Description
Quail breeding discoveries shed light on human sexuality Researchers are studying quail to understand the underlying mechanisms involved in their breeding behaviors.
Are Conformity Effects Necessarily Social? People tend to do what the people around them are doing. Walk onto an elevator, and most everyone stands facing forward. People talking to each other tend to match their speech rate and even the pitch of their voices. The judgments made by a group also tend to converge.
Can Women be as Violent as Men? Gender equality is making strides in most occupations, including violent ones such as the military and police. If violent crime is a “job,” as Woody Allen referred to bank robbery in Take the Money and Run, can we expect to see gender equality there also?
A Simple Tool for a More Meaningful Relationship We lead more meaningful lives when we think through our needs, values and purpose in this world and let those things guide our actions and decisions. The same is true for romantic relationships. Psychologist Susan Orenstein, Ph.D, helps her clients craft mission statements to become … ...
How To Spot a Toxic Perfectionist The worst type of perfectionists are toxic to other people. » Continue reading: How To Spot a Toxic Perfectionist » Read HealthiestBlog.com, the new site from PsyBlog's author Related articles:A Highly Valued Personality Trait That Sadly Increases The Risk of Suicide The Best 3 Ways to Deal With Failure (Plus 5 Painful Ones To Avoid) Comedians Have Psychotic Personality Traits Dementia: The Brain’s Weak Spot Found Are Narcissists As Sexy As They Think?
Nature-Assisted Kinhin There are a lot of Eastern tent caterpillars (Malacasoma americanum) in my backyard.  Before I would have thought this to be a nuisance.  My 2.0 self sees this as a … ...
The Importance of Meaning in Health Research shows the importance of connecting healthy habits to what deeply matters to you.
Small Ways to Embrace Yourself Every Day Yesterday I read this beautiful post from one of my favorite bloggers, Aidan Donnelley Rowley. She writes about attending a party and resisting the urge to drink in order to … ...
The Critical Difference Between Explanations and Excuses Explanations help you learn from your mistakes. Excuses will damage your relationships and sabotage your chances of success.
How Mindfulness Can Defeat Racial Bias This article is the third in a series exploring the effects that unconscious racial biases have on the criminal justice system in the United States. When I was promoted to tenured full professor, the Dean of my law school kindly had flowers sent to me at my home in Pacific Heights, an over-priced neighborhood almost devoid of black residents. I opened the door to find a tall, young, African-American deliveryman who announced, “Delivery for Professor Magee.” I, a petite black woman, dressed for a simple Saturday spent in my own home, reached for the flowers saying, “I am Professor Magee.” The deliveryman looked down at the order and back up at me. Apparently shaken from the hidden ground of his preconceptions, he looked at me again. Incredulous, he asked, “Are you sure?” Let me be clear. I’ll never know what exactly it was that caused the deliveryman to conclude, on seeing me, that I must not actually be the person to whom the flowers were to be delivered. I am not privy to what was going on inside his head. But it seems inescapable that his confusion had something to do with features of my social identity that had, for him, been coded instantly, if not unconsciously, as inconsistent with the identity of “professor” and “resident” of a home in the upscale San Francisco neighborhood. We are each reminded almost daily of the way that race intersects with judgment in our daily lives, leading to bad decisions and over-reactions—which in the context of criminal justice can have deadly consequences. As the story of my encounter with the black deliveryman indicates, none of us is immune: black people may be as conditioned as anyone else by stereotypes and unconscious expectations.  Is there a solution? Research shows that mindfulness practices help us focus, give us greater control over our emotions, and increase our capacity to think clearly and act with purpose. Might mindfulness assist police and other public servants in minimizing the mistaken judgments that lead to such harms? Might they help the rest of us—professors and deliverymen alike—minimize our biases as well? In a word, yes. The good news is that mindfulness and related practices do assist in increasing focus and raising awareness, and have been shown to assist in minimizing bias. While the research is ongoing, studies are beginning to show that mindfulness meditation and compassion practices serve as potent aids in the work of decreasing bias. When we consider these new findings along with some of the already proven benefits of mindfulness, and combine them with teachings about contemporary forms of racism, the outlines of an effective set of new mindfulness-based interventions—for police, doctors, educators, and the full range of others—have already begun to emerge. I call these Mindfulness-Based ColorInsight Practices. Colorblindness vs. mindfulness It might sound counterintuitive to some, but both insight and analysis suggests that implicit bias may actually be heightened by the societal emphasis on colorblindness, a notion that dates at least to the Plessy v. Ferguson case in the late 19th century (Justice Harlan, dissenting), and played an important role in the civil rights movement of the mid-20th.  When embraced by conservatives in the late 20th century, however, it became a basis for largely shutting down effective understanding of race and its impact in our lives.  As most of us know from simple, everyday experience, none of us is actually blind to race or color. In fact, research confirms common disconnects between explicit and implicit cognition around race and color. Even if we try to act adopt a colorblind view in the world, it doesn’t work because our brains don’t actually work that way. Indeed, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dissonance results from implicit and explicit efforts to comply with social norms against recognizing race and color.  Despite professing to be more or less colorblind, social psychologists have found that when confronted with a racial Other, anxieties cause us to, for example, arrange seats farther apart than we might otherwise, to over-anticipate disagreement and conflict, to avoid potentially charged topics that actually lead to enhanced understanding. Professing to be colorblind amidst all such evidence to the contrary has been deemed by some to be a new form of racism—colorblind racism.  Obviously, we need a new way of dealing with these dynamics in our lives.  What, if anything, might we do to help minimize with these pervasive reactions? How to minimize bias Enter mindfulness. A decade of research indicates that mindfulness and compassion practices assist in raising awareness of our emotions and sensations in a given moment, regulating emotional responses and specifically reducing anxiety, increasing empathy and perspective-taking, and increasing overall gratitude and well-being. This all suggests that mindfulness and compassion practices may be important to creating the general conditions that support minimizing bias. For example, a recent study found that compassion practice, specifically a traditional meditation known as “lovingkindness practice,” increased the sense of wellbeing among students and thus led to more effective learning in a classroom environment. Further, one study suggested that even a 10-minute mindfulness practice reduced race and age bias on the Implicit Attitude Test, possibly by reducing participants’ tendencies to automatically activate associations. And where such bias may exist, studies have shown that performance may suffer. Here again, mindfulness may assist—in this case, by supporting those vulnerable to having their performance negatively impacted by the threat of confirming a stereotype during a given exercise, providing protection against this so called “stereotype threat.” In another study, a mere five-minute practice session appeared to reverse the impact of stereotype threat and prevent lower performance when compared to what would have otherwise occurred to students facing such threats in a classroom environment.  Introducing “ColorInsight” In my own work, I identify, develop and examine the efficacy of a set of practices that intentionally link inner and outer work to raise awareness about race and racial experience in our lives, with a focus on personal, interpersonal, and systemic or structural levels.  The resulting “ColorInsight Practices ” combine mindfulness-based practices with teaching and learning about race and color to increase awareness of how race and color impact us all, and give rise to insight and greater understanding. They pave the way to new experiences that help us loosen our attachments to narratives and other forms of suffering that give rise to biases along the way. By identifying and creating personal, interpersonal and systemic teachings and practices which increase and deepen experiences of interconnection across lines of real and perceived difference, Mindfulness-Based ColorInsight Practice increases our actual capacities not only for acting in less biased ways, but also for making more authentic, positive and effective cross-race relationships in these re-segregated times.  While still under construction, the approach so far combines teaching and learning about race (including whiteness), bias, privilege and historical conditions that have contributed to their ongoing operation in our lives with regular experiential practices for opening awareness and increasing capacity for new ways of being with and minimizing racism and color-related suffering. Such practices include sitting with awareness, compassion, self-compassion and lovingkindness practices, mindful communication practice, narrative practices, circle practice, vows practices, and more, some of which are described in the sidebars that accompany this piece. Practices such as these should become a part of basic mindfulness practice for each of us, to help each of us work more effectively with others in increasingly diverse and conflict-laden environments. They create pathways—neural, emotional, and relational—to engagements that promote not merely personal, but relational and systemic changes that support real social justice. While more research is needed, studies show that our conscious, explicit beliefs about race and color are only part of the story about how these social facts impact our everyday lives and life chances.  Fortunately, mindfulness practices actually do help in the fight against implicit bias and its capacity to cause explicit suffering in our lives. While they won’t end racism, mindfulness and other contemplative practices do support ways of being in the world that reflect less of the biases that each of us holds, whether we are deliverymen, students, teachers—or men and women with badges, authorized to shoot to kill. And that is truly good news.
Get Over It: Why Emotional Reactions Resurface If a person endures a severely stressful situation, he or she may become emotionally hyperactive to future events that are reminiscent of the original, triggering situation. For example, a client … ...
Psychosis: The Common Myth That Many Believe The media regularly contributes to this myth about how delusions and hallucinations affect behaviour. » Continue reading: Psychosis: The Common Myth That Many Believe » Read HealthiestBlog.com, the new site from PsyBlog's author Related articles:The Mental Quality Which Helps Protect Against Schizophrenia 4 Very Common Medicines Newly Linked to Irreversible Dementia Risk Signs of Depression: 10 Common Symptoms You Should Know A Common Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Depression in Women Marijuana Does Not Cause Schizophrenia
Three Ways To Survive A Setback     We’d all really just like to avoid them. Actually life would be much easier. But it might also be much more stagnant. Because as much as setbacks hurt, … ...
Every bite you take, every move you make, astrocytes will be watching you Chewing, breathing, and other regular bodily functions that we undertake “without thinking” actually do require the involvement of our brain, but the question of how the brain programs such regular functions intrigues scientists. Scientists have now shown that astrocytes play a key role. Astrocytes are star-shaped glial cells in our brain. Glial cells are not neurons – they play a supporting role.
3 Crucial Factors You MUST Look for in a Yoga Studio I’m considering attending a yoga class I haven’t been to in a while. It’s a little intimidating (like I said, I haven’t attended it in a while), but I did … ...
When Talking About Mental Illness, Words Matter I was helping out at an event recently for a program called “I Still Matter.” We were raising money to provide art programs around the city for those who cannot afford therapy. Part of the promotional campaign was for an art installation called “Inside Out.” … ...
How to Be Happier In the last twenty years, epidemiological studies have consistently revealed a strong association between certain behaviors and health & wellbeing. This article is about those specific behaviors. How healthy are … ...
Bullying: What We Know Based On 40 Years of Research APA journal examines science aimed at understanding causes, prevention
Parenting With Mental Illness Is Hard I believe I’m stating the obvious here. We all know parenting alone is hard, but when having any form of mental illness we’ve now raised those stakes a little more … ...
Study finds that various financial incentives help smokers quit Four different financial incentive programs, each worth roughly $800 over six months, all help more smokers kick the habit than providing free access to behavioral counseling and nicotine replacement therapy. Further, the way in which equally-sized payouts are structured influences their effectiveness. The findings are the result of a year-long randomized trial among CVS Caremark [...] The post Study finds that various financial incentives help smokers quit appeared first on PsyPost.