Pinker tackles everything from the fallacy of the blank slate to the psychology of indecent proposals and why he's catching flack for arguing that violence is decreasing.
In one particularly interesting bit he makes the case for defending the rights of dissenters as a way to help avoid "collective delusions," such as Hilter's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union or the European witch hunts which tortured to death 150,000 woman who were suspected of causing ships to sink and crops to fail by casting spells.
"You look at them retrospectively and you wonder, 'How could everyone have been so mad?' On top of being evil these ideas seem patently ludicrous. How can you have a collective delusion overtaking an entire society? And it looks like one of the answers is that if dissenters are punished and can anticipate they're going to be punished, then you might have a situation where no one actually believes something, but everyone else believes that everyone else believes it. Therefore no one is willing to be the little boy that says the emperor is naked. And this 'pluralistic ignorance' as it's sometimes called is easily implemented when you have the punishing or censoring of unpopular views."
Our autonomic nervous system influences internal organs and governs key functions such as heart rate, digestion, and temperature regulation. Psychosomatic diseases are those without clear physical basis, and are presumed to have a mental component. They are often viewed with suspicion by modern medicine because a neural link between brain areas of cognitive function and the autonomic nervous […]
In Amritsar, India, surgeons removed 40 knives from a police officer complaining of stomach pain. “Patient’s ultrasound revealed a growth in his stomach,” Dr. Jatinder Malhotra, managing director of The Corporate Hospital, told the Times of India. “To confirm the diagnosis, an endoscopy was done which showed a few metallic knives inside the stomach. After […]
Josh P. Davis, a psychology professor at the University of Greenwich estimates the 1% of the population are “super-recognizers” of faces. From Science Alert: In 2009, a team of neuroscientists from Harvard did one of the first studies of super-recognisers. In it, they looked at just four people who claimed to have an unusually good […]
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