Monthly Archives: December 2013

One Way and Another: New and Selected Essays by Adam Phillips – review

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“How should we read psychoanalysis? Many of its great theorists – Sigmund Freud, Donald Winnicott, Jacques Lacan – trained as doctors, and their successors tend to follow the rigid formulae of academic papers. However, for Adam Phillips, a practising psychoanalyst who is also a perceptive literary critic, it is “more illuminating” to consider psychoanalysts as poets “rather than failed or aspiring scientists”. “

“This attitude is characteristic of how, since the publication of On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored 20 years ago, Phillips has distinguished himself from most psychoanalytical writing. He is fond of playfully addressing subjects (freedom, boredom) that he feels his colleagues have neglected, and in a form – the literary essay – far removed from clinical studies. After 17 books, this collection brings together pieces that span Phillips’s career, arranged chronologically, although it excludes his writing on literature.”

See link: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/01/adam-phillips-essays-one-way-review

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Three reasons why we’re drawn to faces in film

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What makes the human face so compelling?

“Even newborns are drawn to faces. In a classic study by Robert Fantz, young infants stared twice as long at a black-and-white simplified human face than black-and-white concentric circles. Even though a bull’s-eye target is eye-catching, babies spent twice as much time gazing at a simplified face.

The vision of the newborn is sharpest at about 8 inches away—perfect for gazing at a caregiver’s face while feeding. This is an important face to learn by heart, for provision of all the basic needs of life. By around eight months, infants search the faces of those they trust for clues as to whether something new is safe to explore—or a threat from which to quickly withdraw (social referencing).

The ability to orient to, and accurately read, human faces has high survival value throughout our lives. We must register quickly if there is a stranger in our midst, and sense if this is a friendly or threatening presence. In short, we may be hard-wired to focus on faces as they provide information that is fundamentally important to our physical and social survival.”Image

http://blog.oup.com/2013/12/3-reasons-why-were-drawn-to-faces-in-film/

– See more at: http://blog.oup.com/2013/12/3-reasons-why-were-drawn-to-faces-in-film/#sthash.lK0QhaaZ.dpuf

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Complex Relations – Correspondence 1904-1938: Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud

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“These letters are as much snapshots of extraordinary historical and cultural times as they are revelations of the heart – of meeting and reading Rilke; the ups and (many) downs of the economy, war and fragile peace, all in the face of the hideous politics of central Europe”

“Their letters, postcards and occasional telegrams to one another, spanning a 34-year period, have been assembled in this remarkable book, just translated from the German. In that same teenage letter mentioned above, Anna expressed her fears that Sigmund’s then travelling companion and colleague, Sándor Ferenczi, was not looking after him.”

See the entire review: 

http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/pick_12_13.php

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The Ebenezer Scrooge Effect

Free psychology

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“Classic studies in positive psychology show that expressing and experiencing gratitude bring peace of mind, satisfying personal relationships, and well-being. 

So what stops us from being more grateful? Research suggests that certain attitudes are incompatible with gratitude, such as an overemphasis on materialistic values. Rather than appreciating what we have in life we are focused on what we don’t have.

Imagining our own mortality can help us appreciate what we have and compel us to set new and less materialistic goals.”  See link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-doesnt-kill-us/201311/the-ebenezer-scrooge-effect

To read the delightful story, see this marvelously illustrated link: 

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/24022/24022-h/24022-h.htm  

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Art Elevates the Mind by Increasing Empathy, Critical Thinking and Tolerance

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Joan Miro

“A new large-scale experiment on over 10,000 students finds that a one-hour tour of an art museum can increase empathy, tolerance and critical thinking skills…

…The results showed that, compared with those who had not been to the museum, students who had visited:

  • Thought about art more critically.
  • Displayed greater empathy about how people lived in the past.
  • Expressed greater levels of tolerance towards people with different views.”   See link

http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/12/art-elevates-the-mind-by-increasing-empathy-critical-thinking-and-tolerance.php#utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PsychologyBlog+%28PsyBlog%29

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The madeleine effect

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‘Why is the smell and taste of some foods so evocative of the past? I spent a day eating childhood favourites to find out’ – Julian Baggini 

“Proust was right, then, to see smell and taste as providing emotional and evocative links to the distant past, but not a direct portal to our autobiographical histories. Experimental psychology has shown us that memory is never simply a question of bringing sights, sounds, smells and tastes back into consciousness. Remembering turns out to be an iterative process in which every recollection slightly changes what is remembered, a kind of internal Chinese whispers in which, if a consistent story or image is settled on, the chances are it is significantly different from what originally took place. What’s more, the accuracy of memory is, if anything, inversely proportionate to our confidence in its truth. Studies of eyewitness testimony show that the people who are most certain of what they saw are most likely to be wrong, but also, alas, most likely to be believed.”

Link to article:  

http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/why-is-food-so-potent-in-evoking-the-memories-of-childhood/?utm_source=Aeon+newsletter&utm_campaign=752c337a80-Weekly_newsletter_December_6_201312_6_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_411a82e59d-752c337a80-64036721

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Mindfulness and your health

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“…psychology and healthcare experts are turning to a strategy developed in a much earlier age. Mindfulness meditation has been around for over 2000 years, and courses which teach it are springing up everywhere. As we describe in our book The Mindful Manifesto, this is largely because a growing body of scientific research shows that mindfulness can make a real difference to people’s quality of life. Studies have found that mindfulness training can protect people from depression, reduce their stress levels, help them manage chronic pain, let go of compulsive behaviours like smoking and over-eating, and even enable them to cope better with cancer and other serious illnesses. Mindfulness has also been shown to boost the immune system, and induce changes in the brain that are linked to better moods. Academic papers detailing its benefits are now published in their hundreds every year.”

http://www.mindful.org/in-body-and-mind/health-and-healing/mindfulness-and-your-health

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