The virtuous narcissist

Amara touted herself as a spiritual healer versed in sundry esoteric techniques such as holographic resonance and cathartic release work. She seemed wise and encouraging. It took me years to see the back-stabbing egomaniac that lurked beneath her mystical new age facade. By the time I woke up to the truth I was privy to the way she smeared my name to clients I sent her way, and recognized how her ‘inspirational mentorship’ was designed to disempower me. When she attempted to lure me back in with her seductive overtures of contrition I refused to be baited. It was a hard lesson finally learned after a decade of friendship. Those like myself who were groomed in childhood to be narcissistic supply, desperately sought to break the insidious pattern of falling prey to malignant narcissists. In spite of our efforts we inevitably traversed a torturous phase of recovery, in which we attracted the more polished seemingly altruistic, ‘special’, successful, and even ‘spiritual’ narcissists….

SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Mary Balogh: The Meaning and Purpose of Romance

Today on MindMatters we have the pleasure of speaking with multiple New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh. Mary is the author of over ninety historical romance novels and dozens of novellas. In this wide-ranging discussion Mary shares her thoughts on romance, her writing process, the nature of inspiration, and the meaning and purpose with which she imbues her novels. There’s a reason romance is the bestselling genre of fiction, and there’s a reason Mary Balogh is among the best of the best. And if you’re not already a fan, tune in, and check out her books! You won’t regret it. Mary’s website: marybalogh.com/ Mary on Facebook: facebook.com/AuthorMaryBalogh/ MindMatters on LBRY: lbry.tv/@MindMatters:4 Running Time: 01:58:11 Download: MP3 — 96.6 MB

Anesthesia works by changing the brain’s rhythms says new research

Simultaneous measurement of neural rhythms and spikes across five brain areas in animals reveals how propofol induces unconsciousness. In a uniquely deep and detailed look at how the commonly used anesthetic propofol causes unconsciousness, a collaboration of labs at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT shows that as the drug takes hold in the brain, a wide swath of regions become coordinated by very slow rhythms that maintain a commensurately languid pace of neural activity. Electrically stimulating a deeper region, the thalamus, restores synchrony of the brain’s normal higher frequency rhythms and activity levels, waking the brain back up and restoring arousal. “There’s a folk psychology or tacit assumption that what anesthesia does is simply ‘turn off’ the brain,” said Earl Miller, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and co-senior author of the study in eLife. “What we show is that propofol dramatically changes and controls the dynamics of the brain’s rhythms.”…

Mice master complex thinking with a remarkable capacity for abstraction

Categorization is the brain’s tool to organize nearly everything we encounter in our daily lives. Grouping information into categories simplifies our complex world and helps us to react quickly and effectively to new experiences. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology have now shown that also mice categorize surprisingly well. The researchers identified neurons encoding learned categories and thereby demonstrated how abstract information is represented at the neuronal level. A toddler is looking at a new picture book. Suddenly it points to an illustration and shouts ‘chair’. The kid made the right call, but that does not seem particularly noteworthy to us. We recognize all kinds of chairs as ‘chair’ without any difficulty. For a toddler, however, this is an enormous learning process. It must associate the chair pictured in the book with the chairs it already knows – even though they may have different shapes or colors. How does the child do that? The answer is…

Taking sex differences in personality seriously

Few topics in psychology are more controversial than sex differences [1]. Debates can be classified into two main types: (a) The description of sex differences, including both the size and variability of sex differences across a multitude of physical and psychological traits, and (b) The origins and development of sex differences, including the complex interplay between social, cultural, genetic, and biological factors that influence sex differences. These lines often get blurred. Researchers who emphasize sociocultural factors in their research tend to conceptualize sex differences as small and worry that if we exaggerate the differences, then all hell will break loose in society. On the other side, those who emphasize biological influences tend to emphasize how differences in personality and behavior can be quite large. I believe that this blurring between the descriptive and the explanatory levels of analysis has stunted the field and distorted public debates over these complex…

How dreams change under authoritarianism

When the Nazis came to power, the writer Charlotte Beradt began collecting dreams. What did she learn? Not long after Hitler came to power, in 1933, a thirty-year-old woman in Berlin had a series of uncanny dreams. In one, her neighborhood had been stripped of its usual signs, which were replaced with posters that listed twenty verboten words; the first was “Lord” and the last was “I.” In another, the woman found herself surrounded by workers, including a milkman, a gasman, a newsagent, and a plumber. She felt calm, until she spied among them a chimney sweep. (In her family, the German word for “chimney sweep” was code for the S.S., a nod to the trade’s blackened clothing.) The men brandished their bills and performed a Nazi salute. Then they chanted, “Your guilt cannot be doubted.” These are two of about seventy-five dreams collected in “The Third Reich of Dreams,” a strange, enthralling book by the writer Charlotte Beradt. Neither scientific study nor psychoanalytic text, “The…

SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Interview with Tom Costello: Yes, Virginia, There Is a Left-wing Authoritarianism!

Today on MindMatters we interview Thomas Costello, Emory University PhD candidate and lead author of a groundbreaking new study on leftwing authoritarianism. Long thought by social psychologists to be the exclusive of social conservatives (RWA), studies of authoritarianism on the left have been few and far between. Until now. Despite the almost willful ignorance about the subject in the field, LWA really does exist, and Costello and colleagues are clarifying its structure as a valid construct. It turns out that rightwing and leftwing authoritarians have a lot in common – and some differences too. Join us as we pick Tom’s brain about the history of the study of authoritarianism, how it became associated exclusively with conservatism, and what the latest studies are revealing about authoritarians on the left: those anti-conventionalists who channel their aggression against existing hierarchies and favor top-down censorship, and who are more willing to participate in political…

Dunning-Kruger Effect: New study says ignorance and overconfidence affect intuitive thinking

In a newly published study, researchers say the Dunning-Kruger Effect can cause low-performers to overestimate their judgments during the intuitive decision-making process. According to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology on April 8, 2021, researchers found that persons with the highest number of errors demonstrated the highest degree of miscalibration, or overconfidence, in their actual performance on the cognitive reflection test. Researchers say study results have potential implications for the theoretical cognitive bias that persons with low abilities tend to overestimate their actual capabilities, also known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Speaking with The Debrief, Dr. Justin Couchman, professor of psychology at Albright College and co-author of the recent study, says the ability to make correct intuitive decisions is increasingly becoming one of the most critical skills to have in the modern information-technology age.

New study reveals brain basis of psychopathy

According to a Finnish study, the structure and function of the brain areas involved in emotions and their regulation are altered in both psychopathic criminal offenders and otherwise well-functioning individuals who have personality traits associated with psychopathy. Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by persistent antisocial behavior, impaired empathy, and bold, disinhibited and egotistical traits. However, similar antisocial traits are also common, yet less pronounced, with people who are well-off psychologically and socially. It is possible that the characteristics related to psychopathy form a continuum where only the extreme characteristics lead to violent and criminal behavior. The collaborative study of Turku PET Center, Karolinska Institutet, and Psychiatric Hospital for Prisoners in Finland examined the brain structure and function in psychopathic prisoners and healthy volunteers. Brain structure was measured with magnetic resonance imaging. The…

The Slave, The Orator & The Emperor: Stoicism in the age of Covid and other insanities

A trio of Stoics from Ancient Greece offer philosophical opposition to today’s turbo capitalism in this excerpt from Raging Twenties, Great Power Politics Meets Techno-Feudalism. Stoicism, in Ancient Greece, was pop culture — reaching out in a way that the sophisticated Platonic and Aristotelian schools could only dream of. Like the Epicureans and the Skeptics, the Stoics owed a lot to Socrates — who always stressed that philosophy had to be practical, capable of changing our priorities in life. The Stoics were very big on ataraxia (freedom of disturbance) as the ideal state of our mind. The wise man cannot possibly be troubled because the key to wisdom is knowing what not to care about. So the Stoics were Socratic — in the sense that they were striving to offer peace of mind to Everyman. Like a Hellenistic version of the Tao. The great ascetic Antisthenes was a companion of Socrates — and a precursor of the Stoics. The first Stoics took their name from the porch — stoa — in the…