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psychology

Dispelling Myths About the Brain and Consciousness

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Why do we have consciousness?   The mainstream view, expressed by Carl Sagan in 1977, is: “[The brain’s] workings – what we sometimes call mind – are a consequence of its anatomy and physiology and nothing more.”  But what in its anatomy and physiology?  Said neuroscientist Sam Harris in 2015, “There is nothing about a brain, studied at any scale, that even suggests that it might harbor consciousness.” So is mainstream science trying to find the harbor? Not very much. Said physicist Lee Smolin in 2013, “…whereas there are real mysteries about consciousness, they’re beyond what science can tackle with present knowledge.” Since they supposedly can’t be tackled?  Dr. Eben Alexander, formerly a Harvard Medical School associate professor in brain…

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5 Myths About Depression We Need to Shut Down Immediately

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Originally posted on Psychology Today. Depression, like art, can never be adequately described in words alone, though Andrew Solomon comes close in his memoir Noonday Demon. In it, he writes: “I felt as though I had a physical need, of impossible urgency and discomfort, from which there was no release—as though I were constantly vomiting but had no mouth. My vision began to close. It was like trying to watch TV through terrible static, where you can’t distinguish faces, where nothing has edges. The air, too, seemed thick and resistant, as though it were full of mushed-up bread.” Through metaphor and allegory, Solomon draws a vivid picture of the ineffable, as have writers and artists throughout history, from the paintings of Edvard Munch…

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Excerpt: The Must-Read Guide for Anyone Dealing with Crippling OCD and Anxiety

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Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of Adam Shaw and Dr. Lauren Collaghan’s Pulling the Trigger: The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach to OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression. Introduction COURAGE NOT FIGHT Accept Your Mind, Own It For What It Is. This Takes Courage, Not Fight All my life, from being a little boy to a fully grown man, I tried to suppress my thoughts and anxiety because I knew no better and because I felt compelled to fight them. I was frightened, ashamed of and appalled about my mind and my crippling thoughts. It was terrifying, lonely and debilitating. I constantly felt that I was on the edge of madness and that no one or…

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Diagnosing Literary Characters, One Murderer at a Time

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Murder is contextual. Meaning, the action of killing by itself tells us nothing about underlying motivation. A murder in war, for example, has an entirely different motive than a serial killer’s compulsive, methodical kills. It’s apples and oranges, really: both fruit on the outside, but very different on the inside. If we want to understand the mind of a murderer, real or fictional, we need to understand motivation. Truth is, murderers have motivations for their kills and they usually have a moral code, too. A skewed moral code, but it’s one which makes their kills make sense to them, nonetheless. And hey, when you’re driven to kill, who cares what everyone else thinks. Right? These three fictional villains certainly don’t.…

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Author Interview: The Bitch in Your Head needs to be silenced

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“You look fat. How could you be so stupid? You really blew it! No one wants to hear what you have to say. Don’t even try—it’ll never work!” In The Bitch in Your Head: How to Finally Squash Your Inner Critic (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2015), Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez introduces us to “The Bitch”—that nagging voice that questions our capabilities, undermines our confidence, and fosters regret and self-doubt. Over the course of her research, Dr. Plumez, an award-winning psychologist, spoke with hundreds of women, all of whom had stories about the self-critical voice they heard on a regular basis. We recently talked with Dr. Plumez about The Bitch and how we can finally silence her. BookTrib: In the book you…

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Exploring American life and values through our love of dogs

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As Benoit Denizet-Lewis reports in his new book Travels with Casey: My Journey Through Our Dog-Crazy Country (Simon & Schuster), America has the highest rate of dog companionship in the world. These animals—loyal and protective, eager and unconditionally loving—perhaps represent something fundamental about the American spirit. They are, as Denizet-Lewis writes, “relentless optimists,” just like we are. There is something to be learned then about American life and values—especially at a time when the country is polarized and it seems impossible for anyone to agree on anything—by examining our national love of dogs. What do our dogs say about us?” This is what Denizet-Lewis set out to explore when he hopped in an RV with his lab Casey for a…

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