Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PJTV: Psychology and Politics


Many people do not trust psychologists and with good reason. They exclude half of the population or more due to their leftist politics. Barbara Oakley, author of Evil Genes, shares her insights on the American Psychological Association (APA) and their discrimination and stereotyping of any of us who do not agree with their leftist views.

Is the APA a non-partisan 501(c)(3) or an organization of partisan hacks? Listen to the show and decide for yourself.

You can see the show here.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

The Rorschach exposed

The New York Times has an interesting article entitled, "Complaint Over Doctor Who Posted Inkblot Test" (thanks to the reader who emailed this):

The doctor who helped Wikipedia publish the 10 inkblots of the Rorschach test is being investigated by his local doctorsā€™ organization after it received complaints that his actions were unprofessional.

In a letter Wednesday from the group, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, the doctor, James Heilman, who works in an emergency room in Moose Jaw, was notified that two psychologists had filed complaints.


Psychologists are bound by ethics to protect test security. The doctor who put the Rorschach cards up on Wikipedia along with other information is apparently not a psychologist but I believe that he has damaged test security and made it harder for those of us who rely on the Rorschach to understand clients and others. He believes otherwise. But in the age of the Internet, it's hard to keep secrets. That's good and bad.

What do you think?

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"Fascists everywhere will love this article, anyone in favour of democracy will shake their head and sigh."

So says a commenter in response to this Guardian article: "In control? Think again. Our ideas of brain and human nature are myths:"

The notion of individual autonomy underpins our society, yet new research suggests this guiding principle is an illusion.

It was browsing in a bookshop that got me started. I was confronted by a bank of bestsellers on the brain: how it works and how we think. There were the books which have attracted huge attention, such as Nudge and Blink, but there were others popularising the new insights of a range of academic disciplines ā€“ social sciences such as evolutionary psychology as well as neuroscience ā€“ which are radically challenging the most fundamental assumptions on which human beings operate.


The author of the article seems to imply that all self-autonomy is a myth--that we are social creatures who conform to group norms. Could it be that it is just the fad now to conduct research that shows people are "collectivists" to justify the government telling us what to do more?

Perhaps some people are just lemmings but take a look at studies like the Ashe experiment that showed some people could not be persuaded to conform like others to endorsing incorrect information no matter what (about 25% of them never gave an incorrect response). How do we figure out how to teach people to be more accurate in spite of so many lemmings endorsing incorrect information? Because these types of non-conformists are the people we need to keep freedom flowing.