Tag Archives: psychology

ZOMFG kkkonspiracy!!1

Wired has a run-down of the ten most popular conspiracy theories, which will either raise a wry chuckle out of you or fire you up into a paranoid rant-fest, depending on your personal belief systems.

I’m kind of fascinated by conspiracy theories, and when I was younger used to subscribe to quite a few (mostly the UFO-related ones, I’m ashamed to admit – a classic case of wishful thinking). Curiously, the book that completely cured the problem for me was Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s conspiracy classic, The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

It’s apparently the innate pattern-recognition functions of the human mind that create conspiracy theories wherever we find a vacuum of fact surrounded by unexplained events … how long do we have to wait until Occam’s Razor becomes hardwired, I wonder?

[tags]conspiracy, theories, psychology, philosophy, logic[/tags]

Torture manuals available online

psychological tortureIt’s amazing what you can find on the internet – should you have a use for it, a ‘classic’ handbook manual of psychological torture techniques, written by leading shrinks and psychologists in the early sixties, is just waiting for you to download it. I have yet to check through and see whether soap operas and bureaucracy made the cut … but given the age of the document, I think we can assume that YouTube lip-sync videos aren’t mentioned. [Image by lunchtimemama]

Is political stance hardwired in the brain?

I mentioned the first rumblings of this story back in the spring, but I think it’s worth mentioning again because we can be pretty sure that politico types are going to get a lot of mileage out of it over the next week or so: new neurological research suggests there are fundamental differences in the brain functions of people with conservative and liberal attitudes. My money says we’ll hear both sides of the political divide using these results as grist for their mill … which leads me to conclude it’s so self-evident as to be largely useless. Of course, your mileage may vary!

Peter Watts on altruism

If you’ve read his fiction, you’ll probably be aware that Peter Watts doesn’t hold to the romantic notions that pervade around the idea of human altruism. He gets asked about it a lot, apparently, and so Watts decided to explain his reductionist position on human altruism publicly. Warning – unless you have a healthy cynicism about your own species, you’re not going to like what he has to say. Which leads me to believe he’s probably correct.