Psychology

Many of my clients are expressing deep fears about the future. They are concerned quite naturally about their families, personal finances, and so forth, but also about global affairs. I am pleasantly surprised that so many people are now keeping up with current events, but it does add another problematic dimension for my clients who are already overwhelmed with issues.

Without exception, they feel powerless with regard to decisions made behind closed doors by those in authority. As a therapist, my task is to help people learn how to help themselves.

I stumbled upon the song “Conquistador” today and was stunned by the parallels between Procol Harum’s lyrical references to the Vietnam War and current US military actions.

How many decisive victories can the United States claim since WWII?  The only clear success I can think of was the invasion of Grenada in 1983 to protect and evacuate American medical students after a military coup.  We were in Grenada for a total of 52 days.  Our forces invaded, did their job, and then left.  

“Conquistador, a vulture sits upon your silver shield”

Mabel and Shermer

Parents are always looking for new treatments to help their children with autism; it can be daunting to keep up with the multitude of new therapies constantly popping up on the internet, many with similar sounding names. There are several different “listening therapies” or auditory integrative training programs available online promising relief for autism symptoms. According to Sinha, Silove, Wheeler, and Williams (2006), “treatments to overcome variations in auditory sensitivity commonly encountered in people with autism have been developed and are collectively called auditory integration therapies. They include auditory integration training (AIT), the Tomatis method and Samonas sound therapy.”

Empathy erosion is a logical response. You know it is. Or you wouldn't be able to eat meat. If you turn the dial up all the way on empathy, you end up like that strange offshoot of Hinduism, walking around with your mouth covered for fear a fly will fly in and you'll swallow it. You'll do silly things like only eat fruit after it's fallen on it's own to the ground cuz you don't want to hurt the tree.

An article on Science 2.0 addresses a new study  on just how easy it is to create false memories. According to the article, researchers "show a unique pattern of brain activity when false memories are formed – one that hints at a surprising connection between our social selves and memory." The conclusion of the article is that "social reinforcement could act on the amygdala to persuade our brains to replace a strong memory with a false one." (video on study available here.)


The role of spirituality and religion in individuals' lives has been studied since the beginning of modern psychology. It's not been a consistent examination, nor always a useful one, but the desire to understand both why people believe in gods and how these religious beliefs can be adaptive and helpful in their lives is a relevant one, since over 70% of Americans profess religious beliefs.

I hope you didn't see my first-to-worst performance in last night's hotties vs. nerds edition of ABC's WIPEOUT. If you did, you know what happened: after winning the round of 24 by almost a minute and then winning the round of 12 by the equivalent of a furlong, I got stuck in the round of six trying one element over and over -- the wrong way -- as people I had beaten in the first two rounds passed and eventually eliminated me.

Nuts--'twas a very good shot at $50k that my family of four surviving on my writer's salary could've used.

 By James Todd (in italics) and Kim Wombles
A study in Canada says Canadian pre-schoolers prefer to play with kids more like them.

Are Canadian parents ingraining bias in their kids?  Or French-Canadians?  Hard to know. Participants were recruited from six daycares located in Montreal and its suburbs: 30 mostly second-generation Asian-Canadians and 30 French-Canadians. Children were paired with peers they had known for at least three months. According to the research team, social mores likely prompted a lack of interaction between cultures.