How to Be There for Someone: Words of Wisdom

In a scene from Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, one driver, Wizard (played by Peter Boyle), is trying to offer advice to Travis, another cab driver (played by Robert De Niro). Wizard tries to but ultimately fails to communicate words of wisdom to Travis, who then hesitantly says, “Yeah, I don’t know. That’s about the dumbest thing I ever heard.” Wizard replies, “I’m not Bertrand Russell. Well, what do ya want, I’m a cabbie, you know.”


What Is Cognitive Dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance

Originally proposed by Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance theory suggests we experience an unpleasant and uneasy state of mind whenever we become aware of major conflicts between our values, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, etc. Cognitive dissonance can occur in many situations, especially when we need to choose among important options.


How Do SSRI Antidepressants Work?

In today’s post, I discuss the workings of one particular group of antidepressants. Specifically, I focus on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are antidepressants commonly prescribed to treat depression and sometimes anxiety disorders. Please note that what follows is a simplified version of complex biological events, so if you like to learn more about a particular aspect of this process, leave me a comment and I will try to direct you to a helpful resource that provides more detailed information (e.g., article, book, video).


What Is Folk Psychology?

In my last post, I asked what readers of my Psych Central blog would like me to discuss in my future posts. I received a couple of responses on my personal website (which were regarding topics I had covered already) and two on my blog here, which are new topics; I address one of these two subjects in today’s post (folk psychology) and the other in next month’s (the psychology of science/religion debates).