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Books

Brush Up On Your People Skills, Read a Novel

“I never read fiction,” is a point of pride for many people, along the lines of “I never watch TV.”

The implication is that nonfiction is a higher calling, that fiction is a frivolous pastime while nonfiction is a serious education. This has been a push-pull throughout the history of the novel, especially since early novels tended towards salacious or scandalous, more Danielle Steel than Ian McEwan.

Poet Samuel Coleridge, (1712 to 1835) stated his...
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Anxiety

Imagery and the Mind and Mindfulness

I’ve only just started reading the new book by fellow PyschCentral blogger Elisha Goldstein, and I’ve already found something useful.

Goldstein is a psychologist in private practice, and his excellent blog is about mindfulness. His book, The Now Effect: How This Moment Can Change the Rest of Your Life, is a manual for learning mindfulness. The book is short, quick-read chapters that leave you with lots to think about and try.

“See, Touch,...
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Books

Complaining About Complaining

Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

I picked up The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way To Get Results, Improve Your Relationships, Enhance Self-Esteem, by psychologist Guy Winch, in hopes of learning something about the chronic complainers in my life.

But the book taught me as much about myself as others.

Despite the many years that have passed since, I still wince...
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Aging

Good Stuff I’ve Learned In A Year Of Real World Research

This blog celebrated its first anniversary on January 1, so I am therefore compelled (it's the law) to reflect on the past year.

Writing Real World Research has been fun and also a lot of work. I read a lot more research than I end up writing about. Academic writing is no easy read and I am eternally grateful to those researchers who manage to slip a little joke in here and there. Some papers...
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Books

The Irrational Pleasure of Exchanging Gifts

What is your favorite kind of gift to receive?

My favorite is useful gifts. Socks, for example. A nice sweatshirt—nicer than I might buy myself. Something related to one of my hobbies. Food gifts are nice. They always fit and don’t take up space.

My least favorite is gift cards, which stress me out a little because then I have to decide what gift to buy myself. That’s a lot of pressure. And I’m at an...
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Books

Audio Books vs. Book Books: Which Does the Brain Prefer?

I’ve recently started listening to audio books. The idea never appealed to me much because I’ve never liked being read to. Reading is a solitary experience for me and being read to always seemed a little icky, though I couldn’t tell you why.

Certainly being read to has a venerable history. At one time, all writing was meant to be read aloud, since few people could read. And reading aloud was family entertainment in...
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Aging

How Researchers Are Getting It Wrong

Much has been made in recent years of research indicating that willpower is an exhaustible resource. This research suggests that if we exercise self control for a few hours to resist Facebook and do our work, for example, we will have a hard time resisting that oh-really-I-shouldn’t brownie sundae. There’s a whole book based on this research:  Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength is by one of the leaders in this...
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Books

Women and Negotiation: Damned If They Don’t, Damned If They Do

You know how some women are afraid that if they toot their own horns, people won’t like them?

Silly, right?

Actually, no, it’s not. Research finds that this is, in fact, the case.

I recently wrote an article about self-promotion for GradPSYCH, an American Psychological Association publication, and what I learned was one big ol’ bummer.

Women face a double-bind. If they don’t promote themselves, they risk not getting ahead. But if women do promote themselves, they turn...
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Anthropology

Research Happens: “Post Secret” As An Archive Of Our Id



Since I wrote this post, Frank Warren has had to withdraw the Post Secret app because people just couldn't play nicely. 

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When Frank Warren launched the Post Secret blog in 2004, it was a lark. “A creative prank,” he calls it. He gave out 3,000 postcards to strangers around Washington , and asked each person to write a secret on it and mail it to him. And they did....
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