Category Archives: Reflection

The Bystander Effect, Cognitive Biases, and Standing Up for Good

What happened last week in Portland was shocking. After a man on the light-rail train began yelling what has been described as “hate speech” at two teenage girls, he stabbed three men who tried to intervene and help. Two of them, Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, died. A third, Micah Fletcher, was critically injured. As the world learns what happened, one line of comment I’ve seen is along the lines of: This is why you don’t step in to help. Continue reading The Bystander Effect, Cognitive Biases, and Standing Up for Good

Empathy: The Wrong Tool?

empathyEmpathy. Understanding. Bridging the gap. A lot of progressive conversation following the election has been around these topics, and how to have productive conversations with people who at best, determined that a candidate’s racism, sexism, and xenophobia were not sufficient grounds to vote otherwise (and at worst, co-signed them). I’ve made some overtures toward that goal myself, and have been following the dialogue around how and whether to do that. One way in which my opinion has clarified in the last few weeks:I don’t think winning hearts and minds is the only goal, and it shouldn’t necessarily be prioritized.

Continue reading Empathy: The Wrong Tool?

Keep Change Alive: Three Psychology-Based Tactics

keep-change-aliveEarlier this week, a friend of mine asked me what, as a psychologist, I thought we could do to ensure that the commitment to action stirred up by the presidential election results doesn’t fall by the wayside. I answered her quickly but the question lingered on my mind. I think there are a few general strategies anyone, regardless of the issues close to their heart, can use to maintain accountability and action over time and effect change for midterm elections in 2018 and the next presidential race in 2020.

Continue reading Keep Change Alive: Three Psychology-Based Tactics

What’s So Scary About GMOs? Science Says: Nothing.

What's SoIn general, I try not to share my political opinions on social media or anywhere else where it might disrupt from the type of interaction I’m trying to have. It’s been difficult during election season, with what I perceive as a particularly shall we say passionate presidential race, and finally I have something I must say. I didn’t expect that the thing that would push me over the edge would be the Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein. But then she went and started pandering to the anti-science crowd. In the words of Hall and Oates, I can’t go for that. Continue reading What’s So Scary About GMOs? Science Says: Nothing.

Engagement Is Everything. (That’s My Excuse.)

Engagement Is EverythingFormer US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop famously said that “drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.” (C. Everett Koop also bears the distinction of being someone I confused with Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken regularly throughout the 1980s.) Likewise, it doesn’t really matter how great an experience is if you can’t get someone to engage with it in the first place. Continue reading Engagement Is Everything. (That’s My Excuse.)

The Good Thing About a Bad Grade

The Good Thing About a Bad GradeThe subject of “bad” grades has been on my mind lately. With many university semesters drawing to a close, I’m watching my friends who teach at the college level cope with the by now routine requests from students to elevate their grades, whether through extra credit, re-grading an assignment, or just because. Based on stories from my friends, students can be quite aggressive in their pursuit to enhance a grade. Continue reading The Good Thing About a Bad Grade

It’s Marathon Monday!

It's Marathon Monday!Congratulations to all of the runners in today’s 120th Boston Marathon. You’re going to feel amazing after you cross that finish line.

I had a little bit of a hard time not signing up again because it was such a fulfilling experience to run the marathon last year in support of Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. As the day has drawn closer, I’ve found myself feeling grateful that I overcame that initial temptation. Continue reading It’s Marathon Monday!

Knocked to the Bottom of the Pyramid

Knocked to the Bottom of the PyramidI had big plans this week. I was going to log some major running miles, get ahead of my blog posting, run all manner of errands, and possibly try my hand at a cake NPR warned was a “pain in the butt” to make (a glance at the recipe suggests no one at NPR has ever baked before). None of this happened.

Instead of carrying out these grand plans, I picked up an unpleasant cold. My most impressive accomplishment this week was a four hour nap (it was glorious). I didn’t get my Monday long run in. By today, Wednesday, I’d decided to just focus on feeling better and altered my to-do list accordingly. Continue reading Knocked to the Bottom of the Pyramid

Measured Authenticity for Art that Resonates

Measured Authenticity for Art that ResonatesI’m very interested in the concept of how much a person’s self-expression for an audience (whether it’s writing, performance, art, or something else) should be personal.  I’ve certainly struggled with it on this blog, which I intended to be a professional project but is ultimately informed by my personal experiences and interests. I want this to reflect who I am (both personally and professionally) but definitely prefer to hold back highly personal information, especially since it would rarely advance my purpose which is to geek out about psychology, health, and happiness in everyday life.

Continue reading Measured Authenticity for Art that Resonates

Resolutions for the New Year (NOT New Year’s Resolutions!): Mind, Body, Soul

Resolutions for the New Year (NOT New Year's Resolutions!)For the last couple of years, I’ve had some defined goals beginning in January. I wouldn’t call them New Year’s resolutions–in fact, I think that approach can be counter-productive. Even so, the new year is a good reminder to thoughtfully evaluate one’s life. In 2014, I resolved to do one awesome thing each quarter. The result was my Year of Awesome. In 2015, I hooked into an initiative at work and picked goals for mind, body, and soul. Continue reading Resolutions for the New Year (NOT New Year’s Resolutions!): Mind, Body, Soul