Category Archives: Psychology

Priming shared human experiences may reduce prejudice, even in the face of existential fears

Science direct


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Consciousness we’ve got, free-will probably not, and neither seem to do a lot

Free-will and consciousness are both strikingly different and curiously similar:

Difference: Its very difficult to demonstrate scientifically that free-will exists, but we certainly know (e.g. from Descartes and others) that consciousness exists.

Similarity: Neither seem to have any purpose; presumably evolution would proceed quite naturally without them.



Three types of meaningfulness/aliveness:

1 ‘Thinking’ is fascinating, but what are thoughts and what is reality? And if thoughts/beliefs/values give you ‘meaning’, you must defend those thoughts

2 ‘Emotion’: Drama can make you feel alive, but without it there’s meaningless boredom

3 ‘Consciousness’: the ‘capacity to experience’ is taken to be the source of meaningfulness, not its contents e.g. thought and emotion


Analogy as the Core of Cognition – talk by Douglas Hofstadter:

(Especially for those who enjoy ‘blending words’ i.e. Benji, the rest of the de Burca’s and others who have picked up the disease from them 😉 )

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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Linguistics, Psychology


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What if we were to think of happiness ‘spatially’? e.g. I am not happy, but happiness feels ‘close’. I am ‘in’ happiness now / in the presence of happiness now, but yesterday happiness felt like it was a million miles away.

This is not an ‘original’ idea, but I have not yet seen it used it in surveys or in psychology.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=bb87acda14707407&biw=1007&bih=427

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Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Measurement, Psychology


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It sometimes takes communicating a thought in writing or speech, to realise how wrong it was. Unexpressed, there’s no reality-test.


Toward a psychology of ‘non-self’

Is it possible that questioning the existence of a ‘self’ could become part of mainstream psychology and perhaps even mainstream society? Perhaps with the help of a spiritual philosopher-neuroscientist-atheist-polemicist?…


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Three ways we attempt to deal with objects of desire/addiction (two more traditional, one more modern):

1) Banish or ‘cover up’ the object of desire e.g. ban alcohol, force woman (and men) to hide most of their bodies from public view,

2) Remove or distance oneself from the object e.g. become a monk in a monastery, keep no alcohol or junk food in the house,

3) Permit oneself to be in the presence of the object of desire, and rely on self-discipline or mindfulness to engage with this object in a ‘responsible’ healthy way.

This last way seems to involve the most ‘freedom’ and yet so many of us are hooked on at least *something* e.g. overeating, smoking, alcohol or other drugs …


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I never meet ‘you’, I meet ‘you as you are with me’


Worry expands to the problems* available

* Or: ‘work’


Something absolutely terrible could happen, and you worry. Fortunately that thing doesn’t happen. You are convinced that after that – nothing small will bother you any more. You are not going to ‘sweat the small stuff’.

A few weeks later – you are in a situation where something slightly serious could happen (but not in any way ‘terrible’). Nevertheless you find yourself worrying quite a lot anyway.



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