Category Archives: Psychology

William James: Free will requires that we be able to exorcise habits

Gordon Marino writes: William James (1842–1910) is arguably one of the most brilliant and fecund minds this nation has ever produced. James and his friend Charles Sanders Peirce were the progenitors of the only distinctly American philosophical movement, pragmatism. The Principles of Psychology, published in 1890, marked James as the first prominent American psychologist. His… Read More »

Do we have free will? Maybe it doesn’t matter

Jim Davies writes: Belief is a special kind of human power. Agustin Fuentes, an anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame, eloquently claims as much in his recent book Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being. It’s the “most prominent, promising, and dangerous capacity humanity has evolved,” he writes, the power to… Read More »

The voice in your head

Sophie McBain writes: Patsy Hage began hearing voices when she was eight years old. She was playing with her brother in the attic when her scarf caught alight on a candle. She would always remember running downstairs to her mother, her clothing on fire, convinced she was going to die. She was rushed to hospital… Read More »

The Nazi-fighting women of the Jewish resistance

Judy Batalion writes: In 1943, Niuta Teitelbaum strolled into a Gestapo apartment on Chmielna Street in central Warsaw and faced three Nazis. A 24-year-old Jewish woman who had studied history at Warsaw University, Niuta was likely now dressed in her characteristic guise as a Polish farm girl with a kerchief tied around her braided blond… Read More »

Martin Luther rewired your brain

Joseph Henrich writes: Your brain has been altered, neurologically re-wired as you acquired a particular skill. This renovation has left you with a specialized area in your left ventral occipital temporal region, shifted facial recognition into your right hemisphere, reduced your inclination toward holistic visual processing, increased your verbal memory, and thickened your corpus callosum,… Read More »

We live in a wake-centric world out of touch with our dreams

Rubin Naiman writes: In the Old Testament, Jacob, on the run for his life from the twin brother he betrayed, beds down for the night in the wilderness and there dreams of a ladder stretching between heaven and Earth, of angels ascending and descending, and of God assuring him of an auspicious future. With his… Read More »

Being kind to others is good for your health

Marta Zaraska writes: Newspapers started writing about Betty Lowe when she was 96 years old. Despite being long past retirement age, she was still volunteering at a cafe at Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester, UK, serving coffee, washing dishes and chatting to patients. Then Lowe turned 100. “Still volunteers at hospital”, the headlines ran.… Read More »

People depolarize after elections as their attachment to their preferred political party weakens

PsyPost reports: Affective polarization — one’s level of animosity towards political rivals – tends to decline in the wake of elections, according to new research that examined data from 42 countries. The study, published in the journal Electoral Studies, indicates that this depolarization is partially the result of citizens becoming less strongly attached to political… Read More »

The value of uncertainty

Mark Miller et al write: Understanding our own relationship with uncertainty has never been more important, for we live in unusually challenging times. Climate change, COVID-19 and the new order of surveillance capitalism make it feel as if we are entering a new age of global volatility. Where once for many in the West there… Read More »