Posted by & filed under Clinical Neuropsychology, Consciousness, Health Psychology, Neuroscience, Sensation-Perception, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: In most jurisdictions we recently “fell back” as we turned out clocks back an hour and returned to Standard Time after spring, summer and fall on Daylight Saving Time. What was somewhat different about this most recent “fall back” is that many states and provinces and countries are contemplating perhaps never doing that again and moving to and staying on Daylight Saving time. A choice opportunity exists in that we could decide to stay on Standard Time or move to and then stay on Daylight Saving time. The difference subjectively? Well, with Daylight Saving time we get daylight later in the morning and keep it longer into the afternoon or evening compared to Standard Time. Which would you prefer? You should, consider, in your reflection, how far north (or south) of the equator you live as the seasonal variation in Daylight “On” and “Off” times is greater the further you are from the equator. So, for example, on the equator the sun rises at 6 am and sets at 6 pm every day. By comparison, in San Diego on December 22 the sun rises at 6:47 and sets at 4:47 while in Calgary, where I live, on that same day the sun rises at 8:37 and sets at 4:32. So, if you focus on when we might think of daylight being personally usable (after work or after school) it would appear both Calgarians and San Diegans would benefit roughly equally from permanent Daylight Savings time. So, we should go for that right? Well, maybe think again. Think about what the difference might be between Social Time (Schedule) and Circadian Time (Schedule) and if you are not sure what that distinction might add to this question give the article linked below a read. Circadian science won a Nobel Prize a couple of years back so maybe there is some stuff there we really should factor into this question BEFORE we make a permanent time decision.

Source: Time to Show Leadership on the Daylight Saving Time Debate, Nathaniel F. Watson, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Vol 15, No. 6, 2019.

Date: November 17, 2019

Photo Credit: The Spokesman Review

Article Link:

So now what do you think? Did it surprise you to see that the significant findings of circadian science relating to the time shift question have clearly NOT been considered by legislators? Is retail spending more important tan mental and physical health? That is NOT a facetious question. Maybe we need to think about the time shift issue a bit more AND have a look at some more data! We clearly need morning light rather badly.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do most legislators and many people seem to prefer the idea of staying permanently on Daylight Saving rather than Standard Time?
  2. What is the difference between Social Time (schedules) and Circadian Time (schedules) and why does the difference matter?
  3. What is your decision about the best was to proceed with regards to time shifting?

References (Read Further):

Watson, Nathaniel F. “Time to show leadership on the daylight saving time debate.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 15.06 (2019): 815-817.

Facer-Childs, E. R., Campos, B. M., Middleton, B., Skene, D. J., & Bagshaw, A. P. (2019). Circadian phenotype impacts the brain’s resting-state functional connectivity, attentional performance, and sleepiness. Sleep, 42(5), zsz033.

Kotchen, M. J., & Grant, L. E. (2011). Does daylight saving time save energy? Evidence from a natural experiment in Indiana. Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(4), 1172-1185.

Kantermann, T., Juda, M., Merrow, M., & Roenneberg, T. (2007). The human circadian clock’s seasonal adjustment is disrupted by daylight saving time. Current Biology, 17(22), 1996-2000.

Carey, R. N., & Sarma, K. M. (2017). Impact of daylight saving time on road traffic collision risk: a systematic review. BMJ open, 7(6), e014319.,5&scillfp=142018851570072385&oi=lle

Lahti, T. A., Leppämäki, S., Lönnqvist, J., & Partonen, T. (2008). Transitions into and out of daylight saving time compromise sleep and the rest-activity cycles. BMC physiology, 8(1), 3.

Lewis, P., Foster, R. G., & Erren, T. C. (2018). Ticking time bomb? High time for chronobiological research. EMBO reports, 19(5).,5&scillfp=994473244608805565&oi=lle

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Emerging Adulthood, Human Development, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, mental illness, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: What do you know about self-harm? I do not mean, do you engage in self-harm but, rather, what have you heard of it? Over a relatively short number of years (20 tops) there has been a marked increase in the rates of self-harm (cutting etc.) among young people and particularly among teenaged and young adult females. While considered a risk factor associated with suicide there is much opinion (and data) suggesting that self-harm is not the same as suicide. In fact, Self-harm has typically been considered more of a symptom or other disorders rather than a diagnosis in and of itself. What it is, where it comes from, and how to treat it are all questions that have really only recently begun to be addressed. Have a read through the article linked below to get an overview of the ways in which these related questions are beginning to be addressed. Oh and for a fascinating mix of self-harming person perspectives and general and professional views, read though the comments linked at the bottom of the article itself.

Source: Getting a Handle of Self-Harm, Benedict Carey, New York Times.

Date: November 11, 2019

Photo Credit: Keith Nagley, New York Times

Article Link:

Self-harm is on the increase and it is not isolated to teenaged and emerging adult females.  It is an important example of a phenomenon that needs research done looking BOTH in towards possible neurological factors (e.g., pain response etc.) AND outward beyond the individual to the social and recent historical factors that may be at play, particularly among teens and emceeing adults. The often dismissive phrase “kids these days” urgently needs some serious unpacking and research focus.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is self-harm?
  2. How is (or just Is) self-harm related to suicide and suicidal ideation?
  3. What treatment options are currently emerging in relation to self-harm and how do they relate to the question of whether self-harm is a symptom of other things or something to be addressed directly on its own??

References (Read Further):

Swannell, S. V., Martin, G. E., Page, A., Hasking, P., & St John, N. J. (2014). Prevalence of nonsuicidal self‐injury in nonclinical samples: Systematic review, meta‐analysis and meta‐regression. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior, 44(3), 273-303.

Chan, M. K., Bhatti, H., Meader, N., Stockton, S., Evans, J., O’Connor, R. C., … & Kendall, T. (2016). Predicting suicide following self-harm: systematic review of risk factors and risk scales. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 209(4), 277-283.

Crawford, M. J., Thomas, O., Khan, N., & Kulinskaya, E. (2007). Psychosocial interventions following self-harm: systematic review of their efficacy in preventing suicide. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(1), 11-17.

James, A. C., Taylor, A., Winmill, L., & Alfoadari, K. (2008). A preliminary community study of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) with adolescent females demonstrating persistent, deliberate self‐harm (DSH). Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 13(3), 148-152.

Mehlum, L., Tørmoen, A. J., Ramberg, M., Haga, E., Diep, L. M., Laberg, S., … & Grøholt, B. (2014). Dialectical behavior therapy for adolescents with repeated suicidal and self-harming behavior: a randomized trial. Journal of the American Academy of child & adolescent psychiatry, 53(10), 1082-1091.

Iyengar, U., Snowden, N., Asarnow, J., Moran, P., Tranah, T., & Ougrin, D. (2018). A Further Look At Therapeutic Interventions For Suicide Attempts And Self-Harm In Adolescents: An Updated Systematic Review Of Randomised Controlled Trials. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 583.



Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Child Development, Clinical Neuropsychology, Depression, General Psychology, mental illness, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Psychological Health, Schizophrenia, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: You have likely heard about the data that is piling up regarding the relationship between Adverse Childhood Experiences and beyond childhood incidences of mental and physical illness (if not there are a couple of links in the Reference section below that will provide you with an overview of that work). An obvious question to ask is why is that the case? Physical illness can be partly explained by the longer-term impacts of stress on the functioning of the immune system but what about the increases in mental illness rates, especially of schizophrenia and depression? What else might be involved? Think about that for a minute and then read the article linked below to see what a recent PET scan study suggests as a possible contributing factor.

Source: Long-term Exposure to Adversity May Dampen Dopamine Production, Christopher Bergland, The Athlete’s Way, Psychology Today.

Date: November 13, 2019

Photo Credit: Psychology Today, igorstevanovic/Shutterstock

Article Link:

The possibility that long-term exposure to adversity may affect the fiction of the dopamine system is interesting, particularly and it might relate to issues of mental illness. Such research is usefully broadening our understanding of the long-term effects and impacts of the stress/adversity response system. The researchers do a good job of pointing out the limitations of their study and indicating what they think is needed in the way of additional research into this question. Oh, and did you have any thoughts (ethical thoughts) about their suggestions that longitudinal research is needed in this area? It worth some thought.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are stress and adversity related to long-term mental and physical health?
  2. What physiological systems, alterations and effects may contribute to the findings you may have considered in responding to the previous question?
  3. If the findings of this line of research hold up under replication and extension what might be some of the things we could/should do to address their implications in the population of those who are experiencing or experienced adversity?

References (Read Further):

Bloomfield, M. A., McCutcheon, R. A., Kempton, M., Freeman, T. P., & Howes, O. (2019). The effects of psychosocial stress on dopaminergic function and the acute stress response. eLife, 8, e46797.

Freeman, D. (2007). Suspicious minds: the psychology of persecutory delusions. Clinical psychology review, 27(4), 425-457.

Anda, R. F., Felitti, V. J., Bremner, J. D., Walker, J. D., Whitfield, C. H., Perry, B. D., … & Giles, W. H. (2006). The enduring effects of abuse and related adverse experiences in childhood. European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, 256(3), 174-186.

Chapman, D. P., Whitfield, C. L., Felitti, V. J., Dube, S. R., Edwards, V. J., & Anda, R. F. (2004). Adverse childhood experiences and the risk of depressive disorders in adulthood. Journal of affective disorders, 82(2), 217-225.

Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., … & Marks, J. S. (2019). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American journal of preventive medicine, 56(6), 774-786.

Posted by & filed under Memory, Neuroscience, Physiology, Research Methods.

Description: If you want to drive for Uber (well drive for yourself through the Uber App) the process to get started will take a couple of weeks (mostly made up of waiting for a background check to be processed). Compare that to what it takes to become a London Taxi driver. To do that you must acquire “The Knowledge” which essentially means you need to become a human GPS in relation to London, UK. How do you do that? Well you get a scooter, because it is inexpensive to operate and will get you through London traffic, and you spend two to four years driving around London committing it to memory. Your memory will be extensively tested before you will be deemed ready to drive one of those classic black London taxis. What you will also do, as part of the process, is grow your hippocampus (the area of the brain thought to be involved in memory processing) to a size significantly larger than that of most other people. Now, doesn’t that sound a bit like the old Phrenology argument that the brain is a kind of mental muscle and if we “work” function-specific parts of it they get bigger. Phrenologists believe these size increases could be read in the external bumps on one’s head and that is what Phrenologists claimed to be able to do. No, they were not really doing that, but that is a whole other story. But, after acquiring “The Knowledge” London taxi driver’s hippocampi ARE larger than they were before they started driving around London on their scooters. So, what is in that larger sized hippocampus? Is it stored knowledge (an atlas of London) or is it superior navigation skills? Think about that and then read through the article linked below that discusses research looking at this question.

Source: GPS in the Brain, Anjan Chatterjee, Brain, Behavior, and Beauty, Psychology Today.

Date: November 6, 2019

Photo Credit: “Bacon’s New Map of London Divided into Half Mile Squares and Circles” by George Washington Bacon, from Wikimedia.

Article Link:

So, people with superior navigation skills, who can pick up map information more quickly than others, do not have larger than average hippocampi. Research on rats suggest that a “map” actually may get stored in the hippocampus as specific nerves seem to fire when the rats are in specific locations. As well Alzheimer’s patients seem to lose the ability to navigate previously familiar environments. So, perhaps the hippocampus IS a sort of neuro-spatial muscle. Work it out, build a map, and navigate more effectively. Interesting, and in need of further study.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does the hippocampus do for us in memory tasks?
  2. How are navigation skills and spatial knowledge likely related in the brain?
  3. What line or lines of further research (looking at London taxi drivers and those wishing to BE London Taxi drivers) would help us to better understand how navigation talent and specific spatial  information are managed in the brain?

References (Read Further):

O’keefe, J., & Nadel, L. (1978). The hippocampus as a cognitive map. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Woollett, K., & Maguire, E. A. (2011). Acquiring “the Knowledge” of London’s layout drives structural brain changes. Current biology, 21(24), 2109-2114.

Weisberg, S. M., Newcombe, N. S., & Chatterjee, A. (2019). Everyday taxi drivers: Do better navigators have larger hippocampi?. Cortex, 115, 280-293.

Knight, R. T. (2007). Neural networks debunk phrenology. Science, 316(5831), 1578-1579.

Friston, K. (2002). Beyond phrenology: what can neuroimaging tell us about distributed circuitry?. Annual review of neuroscience, 25(1), 221-250.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Language-Thought, Legal Ethical Issues, Research Methods, Research Methods in ADA, Research Methods in AP, Research Methods in ChD, Research Methods in CP, Research Methods in SP, Social Psychology.

Description: What does ESP have to do with science? Well, the typical response to that question is to say that the more tightly controlled experimental tests of Extra Sensory Perception are, the less significant results we find supporting the existence of ESP. Then along came Darrell Bem, a social psychologist/researcher of powerful reputation, who ran a number of studies looking at people’s ability to predict the future. In one study he showed participants a computer image of two screens and explained that there was a picture behind one of the screens and asked participants to predict which screen hid a picture. He also told participants that sometimes the picture would be erotic (pornographic) and sometimes it would not. What happened? Well the published article indicates that when the picture that was to be revealed was erotic, people correctly predicted its location at a rate that was statistically significantly greater than chance. This seemed to suggest that in that condition people were able to read their future minds and correctly predict where the erotic picture was going to appear more often than chance responding would predict (50% on average). WOW. If that finding were “real” would the world seem like a different place to you that it seemed before you heard that finding? I bet it would. BUT before you rush off to start trying to predict pornographic stick prices or whatever wait a minute. The OTHER thing Bem’s article did was precipitate a crisis within Psychology about the replicability of not just his study but of Psychological research in general. Yes, the word crisis was and has continued to be used. You must have heard about replicability in an intro-Psychology class or somewhere. If you try and repeat exactly what another Psychological researcher did in a study, as described carefully in the methods section of their published research article, would you get the same results? Well you would expect to, most of the time, if the original results were statistically significant. Researchers tried that with Bem’s study and guess what? – No significant results. How come? No, Bem did not fake anything. Understanding what happened has important implications for how we things about and particularly how we conduct Psychological research (yup that is the crisis part). So, what is going on? Well, gather your own hypotheses and then go and listen to the podcast that is accessible from the link below and here a very nicely organized, clear discussion of this issue and its implications for Psychological research. It is important.

Source: Psychologists confront impossible finding, triggering a revolution in the field, Alexander B. Kim, Ideas, CBC Radio.

Date: November 1, 2019

Photo Credit: CBC Radio, SolStock/iStock

Article Link:

So, what do you think now? It certainly (should) give one pause in relation to Psychological research and it indicates some very clear things that Psychology researchers ought to be doing to address the issues that were raised by the call to crisis. I do not think this means we give up on Psychology as a science, but it does mean that need to do something many of us have a hard time doing (according to research data) and that is listening more closely to statistics and research methodology.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What did Darrell Bem find in his pre-cognition research?
  2. What concerns have been raised about that research and what are the implications of those concerns for Psychology research methodology?
  3. What should Psychology researchers be doing to address the concerns raised by this crisis of replicability?

References (Read Further):

Bem, D. J. (2011). Feeling the future: experimental evidence for anomalous retroactive influences on cognition and affect. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(3), 407.

Ritchie, S. J., Wiseman, R., & French, C. C. (2012). Failing the future: Three unsuccessful attempts to replicate Bem’s ‘Retroactive Facilitation of Recall’Effect. PloS one, 7(3), e33423.

Wagenmakers, E. J., Wetzels, R., Borsboom, D., & Van Der Maas, H. L. (2011). Why psychologists must change the way they analyze their data: the case of psi: comment on Bem (2011).

Franklin, M. S., Baumgart, S. L., & Schooler, J. W. (2014). Future directions in precognition research: more research can bridge the gap between skeptics and proponents. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 907.

Real, I. P. (2016). P-Hacker Confessions: Daryl Bem and Me. Skeptical Inquirer.




Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Classification Diagnosis, Clinical Assessment, Clinical Neuropsychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Neuroscience, Psychological Disorders, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Do we (Psychologists and Psychiatrists) know what caused mental illness? When I teach the Psychological Disorders and Treatments sections on my Introductory Psychology course, after talking about the drugs used in treating the symptoms of various mental disorders (like depression or schizophrenia) I will usually ask if people think that because there are drugs that seem to ameliorate the symptoms of mental illnesses that this means we understand the causes of mental illness and that the drugs represent “cures.” What do you think? It is important to understand and to keep in mind what we DO NOT know about mental illnesses despite all the neuroscience being applied to the topic. A historical perspective on what how our understanding of the causes of mental illness has evolved is very useful in understand where we are REALLY at with regards to understand the causes of mental disorders. If you go to the link below you will find a podcast you can listen to that provide just such an historical overview and, importantly, you will also hear discussion of the need to look more closely at how people are coping and even thriving while dealing with mental disorders beyond (or with) whatever particular treatment regime they are involved with.

Source: What psychiatrists still don’t know about mental illness, Ideas, CBC Radio.

Date: October 28, 2019

Photo Credit: CBC Radio, Shutterstock / SeanidStudio

Article Link:

The meaning of mental illness and of mental health is a complex, multifaceted issue. A neurobiological approach to mental illness is a part of this but it is not all of it. Understanding how humans deal with the entirety of their mental illnesses is a vital part of how we understand, support and help them.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Are the drugs used to treat mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder cures?
  2. If you answered No to the previous question, why not?
  3. What sorts of things are left out of a neurologically focused perspective on mental health issues?

References (Read Further):

Double, D. (2002). The limits of psychiatry. Bmj, 324(7342), 900-904.

Stastny, P., Lehmann, P., & Aderhold, V. (2007). Alternatives beyond psychiatry. Peter Lehmann Pub.

Murthy, R. S. (2019). Social psychiatry can “Empower” the individuals, families, and communities for mental health. World Social Psychiatry, 1(1), 67.;year=2019;volume=1;issue=1;spage=67;epage=69;aulast=Murthy

Bracken, P., Thomas, P., Timimi, S., Asen, E., Behr, G., Beuster, C., … & Downer, S. (2012). Psychiatry beyond the current paradigm. The British journal of psychiatry, 201(6), 430-434.

Deacon, B. J. (2013). The biomedical model of mental disorder: A critical analysis of its validity, utility, and effects on psychotherapy research. Clinical psychology review, 33(7), 846-861.

Kirmayer, L. J., & Gold, I. (2012). Re-socializing psychiatry. Critical neuroscience, 305-330.


Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Neuroscience, Persuasion, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: OK quick, answer this question: can someone become addicted to video gaming? Now, do you mean addicted as in the general use that suggests that many people like many different things a bit too much? Or do you mean addiction as in addicted to heroin or nicotine? And, is this distinction one we need to very clearly maintain? Well, it may not surprise you to hear that both the basic categorical definition of addiction and the rapidly growing understanding of how things that may or may not be “addictions” seem to play out neurologically are being vigorously debated. Catch up on where the domain is at and see some well described examples of the subjective experience of addiction as it relates to video gaming in the article linked below.

Source: Can You Really Be Addicted to Video Games? Ferris Jabr, the New York Times Magazine.

Date: October 27, 2019

Photo Credit: Concept by Pablo Delcan. Photo Illustration by Justin Metz, The New York Times

Article Link:

So, do you have it all sorted out now? Well, there is still a lot of work to be done theoretically, conceptually and in  terms of health care policy in relation  to the question of what is involved in addiction and how broadly does the concept need to be stretched to properly map research reality and make clearer the boundaries between addiction issues, character issues and issues of life-style and choice.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Can video gaming “really” be addictive?
  2. What is going on neurophysiologically within video gaming and how might that be related to addiction?
  3. What sorts of changes might we need to consider to health policy in light of recent theory and research in relation to possible video gaming addiction?

References (Read Further):

WHO International Classification of Diseases: Gaming Disorder

APA Internet Gaming in DSM-5

Bean, A. M., Nielsen, R. K., Van Rooij, A. J., & Ferguson, C. J. (2017). Video game addiction: The push to pathologize video games. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 48(5), 378.,%20PPRP.pdf

Kuss, D. J., Pontes, H. M., & Griffiths, M. D. (2018). Neurobiological correlates in internet gaming disorder: A systematic literature review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 166.

Yuan, K., Yu, D., Cai, C., Feng, D., Li, Y., Bi, Y., … & Qin, W. (2017). Frontostriatal circuits, resting state functional connectivity and cognitive control in internet gaming disorder. Addiction biology, 22(3), 813-822.

Olds, J., & Milner, P. (1954). Positive reinforcement produced by electrical stimulation of septal area and other regions of rat brain. Journal of comparative and physiological psychology, 47(6), 419.

Volkow, N. D. (2011). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (Vol. 12, No. 4180). DIANE Publishing.

Yau, M. Y. H., & Potenza, M. N. (2015). Gambling disorder and other behavioral addictions: recognition and treatment. Harvard review of psychiatry, 23(2), 134.

Posted by & filed under Cultural Variation, Genetics: The Biological Context of Development, Human Development.

Description: Think about this question: What does it mean to say that a trait or a behavioral tendency is genetic and what does it mean to say that particular trait or behavior is acquired through observation, teaching, or learning. Now with your answers to the various parts of that question in mind consider this research situation. Researchers took a bunch of mice who like almonds and taught them to fear the smell of almonds using conditioning when gave the mice electric shocks while they were able to smell almonds.  The trained (educated) mice quickly developed a fear of the smell of almonds. Now it gets odd because to everyone’s surprise, the children and grandchildren of those trained to be almond smell averse mice ALSO were fearful of the smell of almonds. What is up? Learning that is passed along genetically? Genetic evolution instantly in one generation? Telepathy in mice (nope)? Now think about this. What is culture? The different flavors we bring to the human experience based on local learning and practices, right? And THAT means that culture is uniquely human right? Well, what if it NOT? What if animal species get caught up in “fads” like a pod of killer whales all swimming around for a few weeks with a salmon sticking out of their mouths like toothpick and then stopping even when one of their pod tries to keep it going. What does this all mean? Epigenesis, the blending of genetics, cultural learning, and developmental adaptation is trending as a concept and theory and potentially putting a significant challenge before our comfort with current theories and principles of genetics and evolution. BIG revolutionary, paradigmatic, changes? Maybe yes maybe know but fascinating to consider. Dive into the linked article (with the killer whales) and see where this all may be going.

Source: Evolution Unleashed, Kevin Laland, Aeon

Date: November 3, 2019

Photo Credit: Mike Korostelev / Getty Images

Article Link:

I have to say that I am still working at getting my own head around this stuff, but several parts of the debate jump out clearly to me. First, the back seat to which Psychology has assigned culture in a theoretic vehicle driven by evolution, genetics, and sociobiology has been seriously challenged in recent years. The idea that evolutionary change is slow and cultural adaptation is local and passing and neither are linked to the other makes it harder to see individual or local development as the profoundly flexible adaptation that is can be AND that can be carried forward somehow by “culture” or by epigenesis or what? The concise discussion of Popper’s notion of falsifiability and Kuhn’s notions of paradigm shifts in light of how science “typically” proceeds is very smoothly laid out and potentially opens ground for discussions of epigenesis and adaptation to take rot and grow. Do we need a revolution in evolutionary theory? I have no idea but oh my there is lot of intriguing new views here to try and wrap one’s brain around. Stay tuned in, it is going to be an interesting ride!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are evolution (genetics) and culture distinct for one another (or how have been viewed as distinct until recently)?
  2. What does the existence of fads in animal groups suggest and why is that interesting?
  3. So, do we need a revolution in evolutionary theory?

References (Read Further):

Extended Evolutionary Synthesis

Rechavi, O., Minevich, G., & Hobert, O. (2011). Transgenerational inheritance of an acquired small RNA-based antiviral response in C. elegans. Cell, 147(6), 1248-1256.

Jablonka, E. (2017). The evolutionary implications of epigenetic inheritance. Interface focus, 7(5), 20160135.

Whiten, A., Ayala, F. J., Feldman, M. W., & Laland, K. N. (2017). The extension of biology through culture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(30), 7775-7781.

Laland, K. N., Odling-Smee, J., & Myles, S. (2010). How culture shaped the human genome: bringing genetics and the human sciences together. Nature Reviews Genetics, 11(2), 137.

Laland, K. N. (2018). Darwin’s unfinished symphony: how culture made the human mind. Princeton University Press.

Badcock, P. B., Constant, A., & Ramsteade, M. J. D. (2016) Tinkering with cognitive gadgets: Cultural evolutionary psychology meets active inference.

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, General Psychology, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Memory, Motivation-Emotion, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: Even if you have not taken a single Psychology course you certainly have heard of Freudian slips. A Freudian slip is where someone misspeaks, and the “error” actually exposes a deeper meaning or intention buried somewhere in the speaker’s unconscious that they themselves may be trying to remain unaware of. For example, if you bump into your workplace manager who you seriously dislike, while out on the weekend and, somewhat startled say something like “So sad (glad) to see you”.  Now, if you HAVE had a psychology course you likely recall seeing or hearing some version of a statement to the effect that Freud’s view of the unconscious has no empirical support which may have included or implied the conclusion that Freudian slips are like Freud’s general theory, without empirical support. All well and good except that Parapraxis is still discussed today in reference to situations where intensely emotional events in someone’s past can give rise to errors or slips in speech or to selective memory loss. After all, while we do not see Freud as a contemporary theorist, we do remain interested in motivated forgetting, Fugue states and memory processing issues in cases of PTSD. If you are interested in hearing an analysis of why it might have been that Elvis Presley, in the latter part of his career had significant difficulty with the words in the spoken bridge in his hits song Are You Lonesome Tonight listen to the podcast (by Malcom Gladwell) that can be found at the link below. It is fascinating stuff.

Source: Analysis, Parapraxis, Elvis, Revisionist History Season 3, Episode 10, Malcolm Gladwell.

Date: Nov 2, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

There are many areas where Psychology is developing deeper understanding of the role of emotions in cognition and memory processing. Emotionally charged life events can lead both to flashbulb memories (that we feel like we will never forget – though our memories there may not be as veridical as we believe – see the second Gladwell podcast linked in the reference section below) and to trauma induced forgetting. There WAS a lot going on in Elvis` life but the analytic hypothesis about his consistent difficulties with the spoken portion of Are You Lonesome Tonight seems to clearly point to the impact of strongly felt emotions on memory.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is Parapraxis?
  2. How might the concept of Parapraxis make sense out of the consistent errors Elvis made when performing Are You Lonesome Tonight?
  3. Can you think of any other ‘old’ psychological concepts that still bear investigation today even if their original theoretic contexts are disproved or otherwise out of favor?

References (Read Further):

Malcolm Gladwell, Free Brian Williams, Revisionist History Podcast Season 3 #4

Elms, A. C., & Heller, B. (2005). Twelve Ways to Say” Lonesome”: Assessing Error and Control in the Music of Elvis Presley.

Steven Wright (2012) A short violent history of parapraxis, Overland,

Anderson, M. C., & Hanslmayr, S. (2014). Neural mechanisms of motivated forgetting. Trends in cognitive sciences, 18(6), 279-292.

Anderson, M. C., & Huddleston, E. (2012). Towards a cognitive and neurobiological model of motivated forgetting. In True and false recovered memories (pp. 53-120). Springer, New York, NY.

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Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Cultural Variation, Health Psychology, Indigenous Psychology, Social Influence, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: One of the challenges involved in trying to Indigenize Psychology is tied to fact that western Psychology is rather deeply grounded in the same a-cultural, individualistic perspective that defines the western or settler perspective. What this can mean is that while Psychology as a discipline CAN consider issues of culture, stigma and social stereotypes and prejudice, these are secondary and not typically seen as constitutive of what it means to be a person of a non-mainstream cultural heritage. Matters of truth and reconciliation tend to be discussed at “peoples” or national perspective levels. While critically important, these sorts of discussions do not easily get us down to the individual levels where Psychology is largely conceptualized. What to do? Well, one potentially informative line of enquiry would be to ask indigenous persons about their personal lived experiences. The article linked below describes a research enterprise that utilized a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate and articulate the racism experiences urban indigenous women in their day to day lives and in circumstances where they sought housing or health care. In provides a rich starting place for us to begin to build an understanding of how racism and a lack of cultural safety infects the psychological functioning wellbeing and development of urban aboriginal women.

Source: Benoit, A., Cotnam, J., O’Brien-Teengs, D., Greene, S., Beaver, K., Zoccole, A., & Loutfy, M. (2019). Racism Experiences of Urban Indigenous Women in Ontario, Canada:“We All Have That Story That Will Break Your Heart”. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 10(2), 1-27

Date: October 27, 2019

Photo Credit:

Article Link:

There is a wealth of take-aways available in the above linked article, informative of how racism impacts health and access to and experience within services by urban Indigenous women. The Mi’kmaq principle of Two-Eyed seeing is a particularly powerful way to begin to consider individual experiences from culturally informed psychological perspectives. A good starting point for Indigenizing Psychology.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why might it be useful to pay close attention to the experiences of urban Indigenous women with racism and a lack of cultural safety, especially in relation to the health care system?
  2. What is “Two Eyed seeing” and how could it help in developing a more culturally informed Indigenous Psychology?
  3. What role might a more Indigenously informed Psychology play in the development culturally safe policies (and in moving Truth and Reconciliation forward)?

References (Read Further):

Benoit, A., Cotnam, J., O’Brien-Teengs, D., Greene, S., Beaver, K., Zoccole, A., & Loutfy, M. (2019). Racism Experiences of Urban Indigenous Women in Ontario, Canada:“We All Have That Story That Will Break Your Heart”. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 10(2), 1-27. (link above)

Allan, B., & Smylie, J. (2015). First Peoples, second class treatment: The role of racism in the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Retrieved from

Duckitt, J. (2001). Reducing prejudice: An historical and multi-level approach. In M. Augoustinos & K. J. Reynolds (Eds.), Understanding the psychology of prejudice and racism

(pp. 253-271). Beverley Hills, CA: Sage. doi:

Martin, D. H. (2012). Two-Eyed Seeing: A framework for understanding Indigenous and non-Indigenous approaches to Indigenous health research. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research

Archive, 44 (2), 20-42. Retrieved from

Goodman, A., Fleming, K., Markwick, N., Morrison, T., Lagimodiere, L., Kerr, T., & Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (2017). “They treated me like crap and I know it was because I was Native”: The healthcare experiences of Aboriginal peoples living in Vancouver’s inner city. Social Science & Medicine, 178, 87-94.