As mentioned here before, psychologists have conducted quite a bit of research on altruism but very little on the overlapping concept of heroism. We sometimes have to look at how people respond to fictional examples as we struggle develop a science of heroism. Here, heroism expert Zeno Franco shares his thoughts about the concept as exemplified in the award-winning Star Trek episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever," which science fiction master Harlan Ellison scripted (original airdate: April 6, 1967). Source: "The City on the Edge of Forever." Original screen capture. Q: First, for those readers who don't know every episode of Star Trek by title, what happens in "The City on the Edge of Forever"? Franco: In “The City on the Edge of Forever,” Enterprise encounters time disturbances emanating from a planet. In the turbulence, Dr. McCoy accidentally injects himself with a hypo causing paranoid psychosis. McCoy beams himself to the planet. … [Read more...] about Psychology’s Final Frontier: Understanding Heroism
Alizeh in living on the edge
Source: Mike Birkhead, used with permission. This first glance of a soul which does not yet know itself, is like dawn in the heavens; it is the awakening of something radiant and unknown. –Victor Hugo The first two interviews in this series on Elephant psychology and experience provided a historical perspective on the evolution and nature of the captive trade. Both interviews focused on specific Elephants, two in Nepal where Carol Buckley, Elephant Aid International founder and director, has been working the past five years, and one in the U.S. at the Los Angeles Zoo, Billy, for whom Kiersten Cluster, attorney and Special Education teacher, is seeking sanctuary. We now shift attention from Elephant psychological trauma to Elephant trauma recovery. The discussion of recovery and treatment of Elephant PTSD begins with Michele Franko, Kerulos Center Research Associate and a senior sanctuary Elephant carer. Here, she shares lessons and insights into Elephant psyche that build … [Read more...] about Something Radiant and Unknown
Source: Wikimedia/Creative Commons Evidence continues to mount that there is a correlation between growing up in poverty, brain development, and lower academic achievement. The link between socioeconomic status and academic achievement has been well documented. Children living in poverty tend to have lower scores on standardized tests, lower grades, and are less likely to graduate from high school. Recent brain imaging studies show that growing up in a low-income household also impacts brain structure as reflected by less gray matter volume. The majority of children attending public schools in the United States come from low-income households. Data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2013 found that 51 percent of students across US public schools were from low-income families. Socioeconomic stratification creates an uneven playing field. The longer children live in … [Read more...] about Childhood Poverty Has Detrimental Impacts on Brain Structure
Source: Eugène Delacroix/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain) Thomas Piketty’s dry academic tome, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, reached the top of the NY Times bestseller list in 2014. Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money in the 2016 presidential primaries. New Yorker Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, also a self-described Democratic Socialist, defeated a high-ranking Democratic incumbent to win the nomination for a seat in Congress in 2018. Meanwhile, middle and working class followers of Donald Trump remain enthusiastic despite ballooning budget deficits, costlier health care, and massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Is open class warfare part of our future? Among the many books to appear in this increasingly fraught environment is The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality, by Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel. He argues that war, revolution, state collapse, … [Read more...] about Inequality and Violence
What makes something erotic? Sex is not new; nor the idea that erotic taste varies from person to person. Some like big, some small, wild, or cultured, vixen or modest, ripped or boy next door, tall, or short, settled or a nomad, in charge or submissive, loving or selfish. Personality counts as well. Pick up Plato’s 2500 year old dialogue on love called The Symposium. The main character, Socrates, had no money, no looks and no position. But he was charismatic, brilliant and compelling, and others found him exciting. Or to be more modern, consider a scene by Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin. In it, Jon Snow, the son of a Lord, finds nomadic Ygritte, truly compelling: At a lord’s court the girl (Ygritte) would never have been considered anything but common, he (Jon) knew. She had a round peasant face, a pug nose and slightly crooked teeth, and her eyes were too far apart…Lately, though he was noticing some other things. … [Read more...] about What Makes Something Sexy?