Wednesday, May 25, 2011

From "Cognitive Dissonance: A History in Tweets"

In the beginning:
seeker7: Feeling excited, nervous. End of the world tomorrow.
About 57 years ago

seeker7: Still excited. In a few hours the world will end in cataclysmic flood. We await Guardians’ spacecraft to take us away.
About 57 years ago

seeker7: Confused. No flying saucer; no cataclysm. WTF? But
wait! It’s OK: We have been saved by our unflagging faith!
About 57 years ago

Leon: Working hard. ‘‘When Prophecy Fails’’ provides great
example of the theory in action. Writing new book about the
theory itself.
About 56 years ago
And later:
heartlessbastard: @newlooker3: What, you think we should
be using the IAT instead? LOL.
About 10 years ago

newlooker3: @heartlessbastard: Ignoring you. Generating
boatloads of results and counting thousands of citations instead.
So yeah: LOL.
About 10 years ago
Excerpted from a journal article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, LOL. Here's the pdf:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We are all Newt Gingrich

Well, not quite, but the idea that some people aren't hypocrites is difficult to sustain:
Take hypocrisy. Increasing amounts of research show convincingly that the label hypocrite is not only reserved for politicians like Mr. Gingrich or ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer. As research from our lab has repeatedly shown, hypocrisy appears to be a fundamental part of the human condition. To demonstrate this, we often present individuals with two tasks that need to be completed: one long and onerous, the other short and fun. We give them a coin to flip to decide whether they or the person waiting in the room outside to go next will complete the onerous task. We then leave them alone while viewing their subsequent actions on hidden video surveillance. Once left to their own devices, 90% of people do not flip the coin; they simply give themselves the good task dooming the next person to drudgery. When they're later asked anonymously how fairly they behaved, they judge their actions as acceptable. However, when people are asked to judge the exact same action committed by another person, they universally condemn his or her not flipping the coin and taking the pleasant option for themselves. After all, the mind has no need to rationalize away another person's bad behavior. " --- From "Newt Gingrich and the Vicissitudes of Character" by David DeSteno, Northeastern Univ.
It's worth reading the rest of DeSteno's post, and his blog on character. I expect hypocrisy (and evil) to be big topics in social psychology and liberalism over the next few decades, especially in terms of treating them as things to be managed rather than as things to be destroyed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Can Psychotherapy Be Too Evidence Based?

In this review of a review of Sex in Psychotherapy: Sexuality, Passion, Love, and Desire in the Therapeutic Encounter, Eddie Clark tackles this question. It's unfortunate that the question is worded this way because the real issue under discussion is implicit intuition vs. explicit rule-based monitoring of therapy. Explicit rule-based monitoring is usually based on evidence, but intuition developed over the course of several years of experience can be particularly incisive.