Author Archive

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 ...

 

Mind Matters: Psychology Is everywhere

There is no dearth of topics where research in psychology doesn’t have relevant input. I recently unearthed the December 2016, issue of the American Psychological Association Monitor from my pile of journals and discovered the following “print-bites” of knowledge. Here are a few. According to a study in Health Psychology, researchers found that tweens and teens ...

 

Mind Matters: The wisest investment

In high school, I discovered Maria Montessori and her theories of childhood education that she developed in the early 1900s. She stressed how important the early years of childhood, 0 to 5, were in the development of the healthy individual. She considered the young mind to be an absorbent mind, rapidly developing and in need of great nurturing and care. Since her ...

 

Mind Matters: Writing to heal

In the sturm und drang of adolescence, I remember sitting alone on the living room sofa or in my bedroom writing about my wretched state of being in a stream of consciousness fashion. After doing this for 20 minutes or so, I could hardly read these tomes and so would tear them up with a: “blah.” However, I felt relief in pouring out my soul on paper and could get ...

 

Mind Matters: Research nuggets in psychology

Allow me to glean some nuggets of psychological research reported on in the American Psychological Association Monitor (see http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/05/index.aspx). The articles include research on belief versus fact; how green buildings help cognitive ability, thereby promoting productivity; and also an editorial on how psychologists are concerned about both ...