How does aging shape our narrative identity?

It's not just our flesh and bones that change as we get older. In 2010, Dan McAdams wrote a biography about George W. Bush analyzing the former American president using the tools of personality psychology. It was, in his own words, a flop. "I probably had three readers," McAdams laughs. But an editor from The Atlantic happened to read it, and asked McAdams to write a similar piece analyzing Donald Trump. It was a hit, attracting 3.5 million readers. "So something good came out of it," McAdams tells me. He used the case in class. And, he explains, he has always been interested in politics anyways. "I'm kind of a political junkie going back into the '60s. That's my autobiographical reasoning." Autobiographical reasoning gets far more sophisticated as you age. By autobiographical reasoning, McAdams means finding and attaching meaning using...

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Discovering the link between gender identity and peer contagion

The following is excerpted, with permission, from Abigail Shrier's newly published book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, Regnery Publishing (June 30, 2020) 276 pages. In 2016, Lisa Littman, ob-gyn turned public health researcher, and mother of two, was scrolling through social media when she noticed a statistical peculiarity: Several adolescents, most of them girls, from her small town in Rhode Island had come out as transgender — all from within the same friend group. "With the first two announcements, I thought, 'Wow, that's great,'" Dr. Littman said, a light New Jersey accent tweaking her vowels. Then came announcements three, four, five, and six. Dr. Littman knew almost nothing about gender dysphoria — her research interests had been confined to reproductive health: abortion stigma and contraception. But she knew enough to recognize that the numbers were much higher...

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How addressing so-called ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘unwitting racism’ could be the first step to brainwashing

The idea that all white people are unconsciously racist and need training to correct this has gained momentum. But doesn't this colonisation of thought processes take us into dangerous territory? These days we are told that, unless you can prove otherwise, you are presumed to be a racist. This is why Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer announced that he was going to introduce unconscious bias training for all the officials in his party. And just to demonstrate that he meant business, Starmer declared, "I'm going to lead from the top on this and do that training first." No doubt Harry and Meghan - otherwise known as the Prince and Princess of Sussex - would approve of Starmer's actions. Not long ago, the royal couple gave a little sermon about the need to uncover your unconscious bias to a carefully...

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Interview with James Carpenter: First Sight, Psi, and Consciousness

What is the nature of psi? How does it relate to consciousness? Today on MindMatters we interview Dr. Jim Carpenter about his "first sight" theory, the subject of his revolutionary book by the same name. Carpenter's theory not only accounts for all the experimental data relating to psi; it also integrates current psychological research and a wider understanding of consciousness as a whole. Psi is not an anomaly or a special ability - it is fundamental to mind itself. Dr. Jim Carpenter is both a clinical psychologist and a research parapsychologist. He is a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, ABPP, and a Fellow in the American Academy of Clinical Psychology He formerly taught at the University of North Caroline in the departments of psychology and psychiatry. He has been active in the governance of several professional organizations, and carries on an...

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Try Not To Lie: The Value Of Honesty With The Self And Others

As the old adage goes, "The truth shall set you free." But if that's true then why do we quite often have such a difficult time of being honest with ourselves? And just as importantly, why do we struggle so much in being honest with others? Programmed or wired to deny that we have personal shortcomings - or fearing the consequences of honest communication about others' failings - we quite often opt for the easy out, keeping things to ourselves and attempting to avoid the potential pain and discord that may come of telling it like it is. Like a festering wound, the lies we tell ourselves and accept from others infects the very quality and well being of our selves and the lives of those around us. On this week's MindMatters we discuss why one should have less fear...

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Internet trolls: The motivations of malcontents

Disruption is reinforcing to trolls Internet trolling can be thought of as a deliberate behaviour to produce conflict or distress, or both, by posting material that is discourteous, provocative, inflammatory, or intimidating. The prevalence of trolling behaviour is hard to estimate, but at least 1% of social media users have experienced this personally over the last year. This figure can be as high as 70%, depending on the study consulted, and the methods used to collect these data. Trolling used to be conceptualised as an activity in which an individual was engaged, being targeted from one person usually to another; however, increasingly we are seeing a rise in what might be termed "societal trolling" — disruptive tactics targeted from one group to another, often in a political context. The questions that arise are: Why is trolling done? Are the motivations...

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SOTT FOCUS: Does Not Complying With Social Distancing Rules Mean You’re a Psychopath? The Answer is Obvious

Here's another junk psychology paper to add to the heap. It follows a trend common in academia, but especially in the field of psychology. That trend is to come up with some dull and patently obvious hypothesis that anyone's grandmother would already know to be true, design a "scientific study" to demonstrate it, then claim victory when your prediction is supported. You know the drill, something along the lines of "new study shows people don't like it much when they're punched in the face", "...99% children choose cake over boiled vegetables every time", "...loud noises startle babies". Not only are such studies idiotic to begin with; pop science blogs then either misrepresent the actual studies or hype the results in headlines way out of proportion. The result is a populace dumber than it was to begin with, despite the best...

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Turns out brain scans aren’t as useful as scientists thought

Hundreds of published studies over the last decade have claimed it's possible to predict an individual's patterns of thoughts and feelings by scanning their brain in an MRI machine as they perform some mental tasks. But a new analysis by some of the researchers who have done the most work in this area finds that those measurements are highly suspect when it comes to drawing conclusions about any individual person's brain. Watching the brain through a functional MRI machine (fMRI) is still great for finding the general brain structures involved in a given task across a group of people, said Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who led the reanalysis. "Scanning 50 people is going to accurately reveal what parts of the brain, on average, are more active during a mental task, like counting or...

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SOTT FOCUS: Archbishop Breaks Ranks to Support Trump: ‘Covid-19 Emergency And Riots an Infernal Deception by Children of Darkness’

Life Site News editor's note: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has released this powerful letter today to President Trump warning him that the current crises over the coronavirus pandemic and the George Floyd riots are a part of the eternal spiritual struggle between the forces of good and evil. He encourages the president to continue the fight on behalf of the "children of light." Read the letter in PDF form here. June 7, 2020 Holy Trinity Sunday Mr. President, In recent months we have been witnessing the formation of two opposing sides that I would call Biblical: the children of light and the children of darkness. The children of light constitute the most conspicuous part of humanity, while the children of darkness represent an absolute minority. And yet the former are the object of a sort of discrimination which places them...

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BEST OF THE WEB FLASHBACK: Moral Outrage is Actually Self-Serving, NOT Altruistic, Say Psychologists

Perpetually raging about the world's injustices? You're probably overcompensating When people publicly rage about perceived injustices that don't affect them personally, we tend to assume this expression is rooted in altruism — a "disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others." But new research suggests that professing such third-party concern — what social scientists refer to as "moral outrage" — is often a function of self-interest, wielded to assuage feelings of personal culpability for societal harms or reinforce (to the self and others) one's own status as a Very Good Person. Outrage expressed "on behalf of the victim of moral violation" is often thought of as "a prosocial emotion" rooted in "a desire to restore justice by fighting on behalf of the victimized," explain Bowdoin psychology professor Zachary Rothschild and University of Southern Mississippi psychology professor Lucas...

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