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Posts published in May 2018

The Malleability of Mind

How many of us have felt dismay over a friend or family member’s stubborn resistance to our arguments or evidence showing (we believe) that Donald Trump is (or isn’t) making America great again, or that immigrants are (or aren’t) a…

How Self-Compassion Can Fight Perfectionism

“Be kind to one another.” You don’t need to be a die-hard Ellen DeGeneres fan to appreciate the value of that motto. And while we’re reminded how kindness goes a long way in our everyday interactions with others, we often…

How Misreading Bodily Signals Causes Anxiety

It’s 9 AM Monday morning. You’ve just pulled into work and are ready to pitch your presentation to the senior management team. Your PowerPoint slides are damn near perfect and you’ve gone over the script dozens of times. You’ve got…

Persuasive Speaking: Why Michael Curry’s Royal Wedding Sermon Worked

The British, American, and Australian press—and hundreds of millions of royal wedding viewers—were unexpectedly enthralled by Bishop Michael Curry’s 13.5 minutes of fame: “Stole the show” (Telegraph and Vox). “Electrifying” (New York Times). “Wholly un-British, amazing, and necessary” (Esquire). “Will…

Why We Don’t Remember Early Childhood?

Although early experiences are important for personal development and future life, as adults we recall nothing or very little of those early formative events, such as making first steps or learning first words. In fact, when adults are asked about…

An Unplanned, Self-Administered “Gratitude Intervention”

Gratitude works. A genuinely positive and repeated observation of positive psychology is that keeping a gratitude journal (literally counting one’s blessings), or writing a gratitude letter, benefits the giver as well as the receiver. For the gratitude recipient, there is…

Implicit Bias at Starbucks

On April 12, 2018, a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called police on two African American men for doing nothing (not buying coffee while awaiting a friend). Was this but “an isolated incident”—as 48 percent of White and 10 percent of Black…

Nerve Agents: What Are They and How They Can Hurt Us?

Chemical weapons keep making headlines these days, be it the use of sarin in Syria or Novichok in the UK. An interesting fact hardly ever covered by the media is that the chemical structure of these compounds is relatively simple.…

The Power of Habit

On the same day last week, two kind colleagues sent unsolicited photos. In one, taken 21 years ago at Furman University, I am with my esteemed friend/encourager/adviser, Charles Brewer (who sadly died recently).  The others were from a talk just…

“Non-gene” Mutations and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Every year, thousands of children are born with neurodevelopmental issues. This is not just about lagging intellectual growth or autism: in fact, many of the psychiatric illnesses in later life have been blamed on neurodevelopmental problems. These conditions are more…