Mind of a Rock – New York Times

30 11 2007

The New York Times Magazine has an interesting piece on panpsychism—the notion that consciousness is ubiquitous in every piece of matter.

Mind of a Rock – New York Times:

So vexing has the problem of consciousness proved that some of these thinkers have been driven to a hypothesis that sounds desperate, if not downright crazy. Perhaps, they say, mind is not limited to the brains of some animals. Perhaps it is ubiquitous, present in every bit of matter, all the way up to galaxies, all the way down to electrons and neutrinos, not excluding medium-size things like a glass of water or a potted plant. Moreover, it did not suddenly arise when some physical particles on a certain planet chanced to come into the right configuration; rather, there has been consciousness in the cosmos from the very beginning of time.

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Freud – Humanities, not sciences

25 11 2007

The New York Times has an article about Freud’s theories and how they are increasingly being ignored in psychology departments, yet they are alive and well in the humanities…

Freud Is Widely Taught at Universities, Except in the Psychology Department – New York Times:

The primary reason it became marginalized, Ms. Eagly, said, is that while most disciplines in psychology began putting greater emphasis on testing the validity of their approaches scientifically, “psychoanalysts haven’t developed the same evidence-based grounding.” As a result, most psychology departments don’t pay as much attention to psychoanalysis.

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Hypnosis and surgery

12 11 2007

In Introduction to Psychology, we were recently discussing consciousness and non-ordinary consciousness. Hypnosis is one of those non-ordinary states of consciousness which can show some very important changes in perceptual experience, including pain relief. Mind Hacks has an interesting article on a research study underway…

Mind Hacks: Hypnosis as a surgical tool:

Patients were randomly assigned to either a brief 15-minute hypnosis condition, or to another where the patient discussed their concerns with an empathic psychologist (to make sure the effects weren’t just due to having someone their to ‘calm their nerves’).

The study found that patients given hypnosis needed less painkilling medication, were less nauseous, less emotionally upset, and experienced less pain intensity than the patients in the ‘empathic listening’ condition.

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Don’t use red in those exam questions!

12 11 2007

It is always surprising when what might seem to be the most innocuous things have an effect on performance…

Cognitive Daily: Does the color red really impair performance on tests?:

In these carefully controlled experiments, the researchers have demonstrated that even brief exposure to the color red does appear to impair performance in a variety of different types of tests!

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Psychiatry’s stigma toward mental illness

6 11 2007

In Abnormal Psychology, we finished discussing Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, in which she writes about the stigma associated with having a mental illness, within research and clinical psychiatry. The British Psychological Society has a blog posting about a recent article which looked at this very issue:

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Psychiatrists who treat themselves:

the most common reasons the psychiatrists gave for treating themselves were to keep a clean health insurance record, followed by concerns about the stigma associated with mental illness. This latter finding echoes previous observations about the pervasive stigma associated with mental illness in the medical profession.

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