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Muito comprido e muito bom. I cannot recommend it enough.

27.02.13

 

 

As Heine, Norenzayan, and Henrich furthered their search, they began to find research suggesting wide cultural differences almost everywhere they looked: in spatial reasoning, the way we infer the motivations of others, categorization, moral reasoning, the boundaries between the self and others, and other arenas. These differences, they believed, were not genetic. The distinct ways Americans and Machiguengans played the ultimatum game, for instance, wasn’t because they had differently evolved brains. Rather, Americans, without fully realizing it, were manifesting a psychological tendency shared with people in other industrialized countries that had been refined and handed down through thousands of generations in ever more complex market economies. When people are constantly doing business with strangers, it helps when they have the desire to go out of their way (with a lawsuit, a call to the Better Business Bureau, or a bad Yelp review) when they feel cheated. Because Machiguengan culture had a different history, their gut feeling about what was fair was distinctly their own. In the small-scale societies with a strong culture of gift-giving, yet another conception of fairness prevailed. There, generous financial offers were turned down because people’s minds had been shaped by a cultural norm that taught them that the acceptance of generous gifts brought burdensome obligations. Our economies hadn’t been shaped by our sense of fairness; it was the other way around.

The growing body of cross-cultural research that the three researchers were compiling suggested that the mind’s capacity to mold itself to cultural and environmental settings was far greater than had been assumed. The most interesting thing about cultures may not be in the observable things they do—the rituals, eating preferences, codes of behavior, and the like—but in the way they mold our most fundamental conscious and unconscious thinking and perception.

For instance, the different ways people perceive the Müller-Lyer illusion likely reflects lifetimes spent in different physical environments. American children, for the most part, grow up in box-shaped rooms of varying dimensions. Surrounded by carpentered corners, visual perception adapts to this strange new environment (strange and new in terms of human history, that is) by learning to perceive converging lines in three dimensions.

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Corrosion of Conformity

05.12.12

 

Understanding of the psychology of tyranny is dominated by classic studies from the 1960s and 1970s: Milgram's research on obedience to authority and Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment. Supporting popular notions of the banality of evil, this research has been taken to show that people conform passively and unthinkingly to both the instructions and the roles that authorities provide, however malevolent these may be. Recently, though, this consensus has been challenged by empirical work informed by social identity theorizing. This suggests that individuals' willingness to follow authorities is conditional on identification with the authority in question and an associated belief that the authority is right.


The banality of evil thesis appears to be a truth almost universally acknowledged.

Not only is it given prominence in social psychology textbooks [20], but so too it informs the thinking of historians political scientists [23], economists [24], and neuroscientists [25]. Indeed, via a range of social commentators, it has shaped the public consciousness much more broadly [26], and, in this respect, can lay claim to being the most influential data-driven thesis in the whole of psychology.

Yet despite the breadth of this consensus,in recent years, we and others have reinterrogated its two principal underpinnings—the archival evidence pertaining to Eichmann and his ilk, and the specifics of Milgram and Zimbardo’s empirical demonstrations—in ways that tell a verydifferent story [29].First, a series of thoroughgoing historical examinations have challenged the idea that Nazi bureaucrats were ever simply

following orders [19,26,30]. This may,have been the defense they relied upon when seeking to minimize their culpability[31], but evidence suggests that functionarieslike Eichmann had a very good understanding of what they were doing and took pride in the energy and application that they brought to their work.

Typically too, roles and orders were vague, and hence for those who wanted to advance the Nazi cause (and not alldid), creativity and imagination wererequired in order to work towards the

regime’s assumed goals and to overcomethe challenges associated with any given task [32]. Emblematic of this, the practical details of ‘‘the final solution’’ were nothanded down from on high, but had to beelaborated by Eichmann himself. He thenfelt compelled to confront and disobey his superiors—most particularly Himmler—when he believed that they were not

sufficiently faithful to eliminationist Naziprinciples [19].

Second, much the same analysis can be used to account for behavior in theStanford Prison Experiment. So while itmay be true that Zimbardo gave hisguards no direct orders, he certainly gavethem a general sense of how he expected them to behave [33]. During the orientation session he told them, amongst other things, ‘‘You can create in the prisonersfeelings of boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you can create a notion ofarbitrariness that their life is totallycontrolled by us, by the system, you, me… We’re going to take away theirindividuality in various ways. In generalwhat all this leads to is a sense of

powerlessness’’ [34]. This contradicts Zimbardo’s assertion that ‘‘behavioral scriptsassociated with the oppositional roles of prisoner and guard [were] the sole sourceof guidance’’ [35] and leads us to question the claim that conformity to these rolerelatedscripts was the primary cause ofguard brutality.

But even with such guidance, not all guards acted brutally. And those who didused ingenuity and initiative in responding to Zimbardo’s brief. Accordingly, after theexperiment was over, one prisoner confronted his chief tormentor with the observation that ‘‘If I had been a guard I don’t think it would have been such a masterpiece’’ [34]. Contrary to the banalityof evil thesis, the Zimbardo-inspired tyranny was made possible by the active engagement of enthusiasts rather than the leaden conformity of automatons.


 

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"I used to hear voices"

21.05.12

I used to hear voices. For years. It started when I'd walk into my room and say hello to my Lain poster (I've always over personified objects) and eventually she started responding. Over time I could talk to her elsewhere, I'd pull her up when I was sitting in class or riding the bus, and I'd put on headphones so nobody would notice I was talking to myself since it was barely audible. Eventually Lain told me she was a god and I was too, and there were two others, but they didn't really like me so they would almost never talk to me.

A long time later, maybe years, she started being really mean, and it turned out there was another voice who was just pretending to be Lain named Misery. This one was stereotypical, everything I did was wrong and I had to pay for my actions, I should cut myself if I was ungraceful, everyone hated me, etc. Lain split again, and this time she was sisterly. When I was upset and crying myself to sleep I could feel her holding me and telling me everything would be alright. Misery looked different but could look like Lain if she wanted to fool me (although she would turn back into herself when I called her out on it), and the two Lains all looked the same, so I could only tell who they were when they started responding to me.

After a while they all just disappeared. I guess I saned up, because during the peek it never occurred to me I was hearing voices, they truly were gods who were speaking to me, and later during the time period I realized that I was hallucinating with delusions of grandeur. Then at one point I realized that there was more of me and less of them, when I pulled them up it was a conscious effort and part of their responses were forced on my part. Then eventually I just gave them up, they were so weak that it was really just like talking to myself and not to other people that lived in my head.

That's not my secret, I've mentioned it to a few very select people that I truly trust. My secret is that I miss them. I miss them with with all my heart. Even Misery. They were friends and family, they were close to me, they understood me, and they were always there for me. Now even with real friends and family, there's nobody that close. I can't just pull up someone to talk to when I'm lonely, I have to call up a real person and that person never knows what I want to talk about or what I'm hiding from them, they only know what I say. Lain (the main one) would always call me on my bullshit and make me keep changing my answer until I told her the truth. Misery could always find my biggest weaknesses, which allowed me to work on strengthening them. Sisterly Lain could calm me down in a way that's unimaginable, you can't comprehend how good it feels to be hugged by someone inside of you.

And now I feel lonelier than I have in years because I almost never think of that time or remember how it felt, but tonight I'm sitting by myself at 2am and all I can think about is how much I want a voice to talk to and it's been so long since I had one and I'd give anything to have another psychotic break so I could get back all my friends that live in my head.

I once had a psychiotic episode where I could talk to clouds and I could feel how much they loved me, the clouds, the trees, the birds, they were all my friends and they all loved me and they all wanted me to be happy. I had that feeling on mushrooms once, everything in the world loved me, every single thing, the house, the ceiling, the lamp, each blade of grass, it all loved me and it was the best feeling I have ever known, that was the best night of my life. I can't tell you how much I want to feel that again, I just have no way of tracking them down again.

Being crazy feels amazing, whether it's good or bad. Even the bad crazy where I'd stay awake all night because I knew something was going to get me in my sleep and I'd try to claw the evil out of my skin, even that's preferable to being normal because the intensity is indescribable. I miss everything about being crazy. I miss it more than I can possibly describe.

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O medo de descobrir

05.12.11

 

 Earlier this year, Daryl Bem, a Professor at Cornel University, published a paper on Psi phenomena (also known as psychic phenomena). Bem's Paper was published in the premier journal of social-personality psychology, theJournal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP). In the paper, Bem presents results from eight experiments where he finds evidence for precognition(conscious cognitive awareness of future events) and premonition(affective apprehension about future negative events). 

(...)

What did Bem find? Well, he found that people were better at remembering words that they were about to learn than they were words that they wouldn't learn (precognition). He also found evidence that people tended to avoid neutral pictures that were followed by a subliminal negative stimulus prime (premonition). There you have it, the first experimental studies of psi phenomena!

(...)

I actually don't believe that the psi findings damage our field either, because other fields are full of unexplained effects. Take the notion of quantum entanglements in physics for instance (forgive my public high school physics education): Physicists readily admit that particles that become separate interact in ways that can't be explained by traditional understandings of time and space. Despite this lack of explanation, physics seems to be doing just fine as a science. Like physicists, maybe psychologists should come to terms with the fact that we won't always know why something happens.

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"The "Johnny Depp Effect" - An evolutionary explanation for homosexuality"

31.07.11

 

 

Overly simplified, this "tipping-point" model (originally introduced by G. E. Hutchinson in 1959, and then later popularized by Jim McKnight in 1997 and Edward Miller in 2000) posits that genes associated with homosexuality confer fitness benefits in their heterosexual carriers. If only a few of these alleles are inherited, a males' reproductive success is enhanced via the expression of attractive, albeit feminine traits, such as kindness, sensitivity, empathy, and tenderness. However, if many of these alleles are inherited, a "tipping point" is reached at which even mate preferences become "feminized," meaning males are attracted to other males. In explaining this model, Miller asked readers to imagine a genetic system in which there are five different genes that place an individual along a masculine-feminine continuum. Each of the five genes has two alleles, one that pulls the individual to the masculine side and one that pulls to the feminine side. If a man inherited all of the feminine-pulling alleles (of which he has a 3.125% chance: .55), he will become homosexual. If he inherited less than all five of the feminine-pulling alleles, however, he would not be homosexual. Although originally proposed in simple form in 1959, this model was finally empirically tested in 2008 and 2009.

Behavioral geneticists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research lead by Brendan Zietsch (joined by sexual orientation expert Michael Bailey and evolutionary geneticist Matthew Keller) found that psychological femininity in heterosexual men elevated the number of opposite-sex sexual partners, suggesting that their femininity was often attractive to women (think Johnny Depp). In addition, these researchers and those at Abo Akedemi University in Finland (lead by Pekka Santtila) independently predicted that if the "tipping point" model was correct, then heterosexual men with a homosexual twin should have more of the attractive feminine-pulling alleles and thus more opposite-sex sexual partners than members of heterosexual twin pairs. 

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"How Violent Sex Helped Ease My PTSD"

02.07.11

 

 

We'd done this sort of thing before. But at dinner I'd told him, voice shaking, about my PTSD. This time, the fight would be rougher and the stakes higher. And so he paused. "Okay," he said. "I love you, okay?" I said, I know, okay. And with that he was on me, forcing my arms to my sides, then pinning them over my head, sliding a hand up under my shirt when I couldn't stop him. The control I'd lost made my torso scream with anxiety; I cried out desperately as I kicked myself free. But it didn't matter how many times I managed to knock him over to the other side of the bed. He's got 60 pounds on me, plus the luxuries of patience and fearlessness. When I got out from under him and started to scramble away, he simply caught me by a leg or an upper arm or my hair and dragged me back. By the time he pinned me by my neck with one forearm so I was forced to use both hands to free up space between his elbow and my windpipe, I'd largely exhausted myself.

And just like that, I'd lost. It's what I was looking for, of course. But my body—my hard-fighting, adrenaline-drenched body—reacted by exploding into terrible panic. The comforting but debilitating blanket of tension that'd for weeks been wrapped around my chest solidified into a brick. Then the weight of his body, and of the inevitability of my defeat, descended on my ribcage. My worn-out muscles went so taut that they ached. I stopped breathing.

I did not enjoy it in the way a person getting screwed normally would. But as it became clear that I could endure it, I started to take deeper breaths. And my mind stayed there, stayed present even when it became painful, even when he suddenly smothered me with a pillow, not to asphyxiate me but so that he didn't break my jaw when he drew his elbow back and slammed his fist into my face. Two, three, four times. My body felt devastated but relieved; I'd lost, but survived. After he climbed off me, he gathered me up in his arms. I broke into a thousand pieces on his chest, sobbing so hard that my ribs felt like they were coming loose.

In a few months, I'd feel ready to go back to Haiti. It would become pretty rare for a movie rape scene to trigger immediate, whiplash-inducing weeping. The flashbacks and the gagging fits would, for the most part, have ceased. A few months after that, I would report from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where every interview would be about sexual violence or murder, but I would function just fine. I'd see the French peacekeeper again in another country, where his big weight would feel appropriately weighty as I engaged him in absurdly sweet—like, European-earnest—sex.

But at the moment, Isaac pulled my hair away from my wet face, repeating over and over and over something that he probably believed but that I had to relearn. "You are so strong," he said. "You are so strong. You are so strong."

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Profilers - Artigo longo, mas vale muito a pena

15.05.10

 

"For weeks I've been trying to track down Britton with no success. Although he had at one time been Britain's most renowned criminal profiler, he's become a lot less conspicuous these past years, ever since he became mired in what must surely be his profession's most notorious incident. In fact, if any man could be said to personify criminal profiling's soaring highs and terrible lows, it is him. Now I am grocery shopping when my phone rings. It comes up as "Blocked".

"I'm sorry," says the voice. "My name's Paul Britton. I'm aware you've been trying to… sorry…" He sounds hesitant, self-effacing. I ask him if he'd be willing to talk to me about his criminal profiling days. I hear him sigh."

(...)

"Will you talk to me about it anyway?" I ask.

"There's a new Premier Inn next to Leicester railway station," he says.

He arrives at the hotel wearing a dramatic long black coat. We order coffee. "I don't know if I should tell you a little about how it all began for me?" he says. "Is that OK? Sorry. You need to stop me trundling off if I'm being redundant. I won't be remotely offended by that. But may I…?"

"Yes, yes, please do," I say.

"It started back in 1984," he says, "when a chap called David Baker, one of the finest detectives you could ever come across, visited my office…"

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