Author Archive

Mind Matters: Why hate

Are there ways to dismantle hate? This question was addressed recently in the American Psychological Associate Monitor (January 2018). Social psychology research aids in identifying both the factors that incite hostility and hatred, as well as those factors which have the opposite effect. While hatred of others is not new, "identifying ways to counter hate and unite ...

 
 

Mind Matters: Gratitude, pass it on

Ever wonder how your life would have been different if you hadn’t made certain choices? What opportunities did you take or not take? Did you move away from family or never move beyond your neighborhood? I’ve been mulling these questions over myself — sort of my post-Christmas/post-Holiday card reflection time of year. Old Christmas photo-cards of friends and family ...

 

Mind Matters: Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood revisited

In this new year of 2018, I unearthed a treasure from the last century. That is, watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood once again. More than 35 years ago, my children would sit in rapt attention to Mr. Rogers soothing songs and now it’s my granddaughter who carries on the tradition. I remember looking forward every day to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood which aired in the ...

 

Mind Matters: A solstice message

Hanukkah, Christmas, whatever festival of light is celebrated, is a push against the dark. Our northern hemisphere experiences solstice when we reach the darkest day of the year and we respond to this by celebrating the Light with lots of lights. Nevertheless, we can’t deny the darkness or death. Just as the solstice is part of the cycle of the seasons, so too is ...

 

Mind Matters: Mothers are our most important resource

“Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters,” by psychologist Erica Komisar, confronts our beliefs about the importance of motherhood. Using the latest scientific research on neonatal development, neuroscience, genetics, and hormonal differences between men and women, Komisar makes her case that mothers in the first three years of a ...

 

Mind Matters: The human need for nature

On our way to Washington, D.C., for Thanksgiving, my spouse and I did a quick stopover in Chester County to visit friends. While he got a chance to work with his colleagues directly (not by telecommuting from Massachusetts), I relished being back in nature. Living in a community where houses do not share walls, but where they do seem to almost touch, I long for ...

 

Mind Matters: The APA and the state of the nation

“No matter their age, more than half [59 percent] of Americans believe this is the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” This is the notable finding of the American Psychological Association’s August 2017, survey, “Stress in America: The State of Our Nation.” The APA has been examining stress in America for over a decade in conjunction with ...

 

Mind Matters: Awake or asleep

In 1967, just seven months before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered an historic address to the American Psychological Association Convention. At that time, MLK pointedly urged social scientists to confront “race-based problems plaguing the country.” On the 50th anniversary of this keynote, the APA Monitor on Psychology published the reflections of ...

 

Mind Matters: Idealizing versus reality

Ah, families! If you have a belly button, you can rest assured you have had an umbilical cord that connected you to a woman and her womb. Biologically speaking, she was your mother. She may also have been your familial mother — the person who raised you along with your father. That is the stereotypical family, where biological mother and father and children live ...

 

Mind Matters: The connecting human condition

Riding on the subway—called the “T” in Boston—the other day, I looked around at all the faces, the feet, the eyes, the shapes, the clothes, the hair. We are all packed together, elbows and hips crammed in narrow seats and jammed standing too. I muse that it would be hard to believe in anything but in inclusivity and the commonality of being human. There is hardly ...

 

Mind Matters: Critical thinking meets compassion

Elizabeth Minuchin, in “The Evil of Banality,” argues that when people don’t think critically, they simply “follow” and can become agents of evil without questioning the morality of their actions. An evil system, she says, only works when ordinary people carry out its orders. The work of Philip Zimbardo corroborates her premise. He and his colleagues devised the ...