Thursday, May 6, 2010

this is so cool I have to post it.

It'd be fun to teach a music/psychology/anthropology/writing/science class where we could explore some of these dynamics. Octaves and perfect fourths and perfect fifths are the language of birds and cultures everywhere. Plus music is a beautiful demonstration of our humanity.


Robert M. Sapolsky, Investigations, “Open Season,” The New Yorker, March 30, 1998, p. 57

ABSTRACT: INVESTIGATIONS about why we reject novelty as we age. The writer, a professor of neuroscience at Stanford University, irritated by his young administrative assistant’s eclectic taste in music, tested whether there any maturational time windows during which we form cultural tastes. He and his research assistants called oldies radio stations, sushi restaurants in the Midwest, and body-piercing parlors and asked the managers when their service was introduced, and how old their average customer was. They found that if you’re more than thirty-five years old when a style of popular music is introduced there’s a greater than ninety-five per cent chance that you will never choose to listen to it. For sushi restaurants, the window of receptivity closed by age thirty-nine; for body-piercing, by twenty-three. The findings were reminiscent of studies that show that creativity declines with age. These studies also indicate that great creative minds not only are less likely to generate something new but are less open to someone else’s novelty. Einstein, in his later years, fought a rear-guard action against quantum mechanics. Psychologist Dean Keith Simonton has shown that the decline in creativity and openness among great minds isn’t predicted by age so much as by how long people have worked in one discipline. Scholars who switch disciplines seem to have their openness rejuvenated. That may be because a new discipline seems fresh and original, or because a high achiever in one discipline is unusually open to novelty in the first place. Or maybe changing disciplines really does stimulate the mind’s youthful openness to novelty. Or it may just be that established generations resist new discoveries because they have the most to lose by them. The explanation is not neurological: in most brain regions there isn’t any dramatic neuron loss as we get older, and there is no such thing as a novelty center in the brain. Given that aging contracts neural networks and makes cognition more repetitive, it would be a humane quirk of evolution if we were reassured by that repetition. There may even be some advantage for social groups if their aging members become protective archivists of their cultural inheritance. But the writer remains dispirited by the impoverishment that comes with this closing of the mind to novelty. If there’s a rich, vibrant world out there, he figures it’s worth putting up a bit of a fight, even it means forgoing Bob Marley’s greatest hits every now and then.

Read more:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


a person with a hard-to-pronounce name (cheeks-ahn-me-hi): a nice "flow" redux: figure 1 ties nicely to "abnormal" psych...anxiety/depression/etcetera)
(he talks about hearing Jung talk when he was a teenager)
at 4 minutes-in he shows a graph that shows the general non-correlation of money & happiness.

and another "interesting" talk:
"experiencing self" vs. "memory self" (20 minute video)

many fine resources here:

a flow article by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CDC maps on depression & anxiety... anxiety & depression connections to Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Asthma, etcetera.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


fine fine books:">In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Mate">The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness by Jerome Groopman

Before Prozac: The Troubled History of Mood Disorders in Psychiatry

The Loss of Sadness


a simple semi-diagnostic self-test for major DSM categories:

easy to find categories with lists and quick symptoms

DSM full index

the numbers of those officially diagnosed:

a critique of many aspects of the DSM

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Depression - Fishbowl articles

"The Anatomy of Melancholy" by Andrew Solomon.
It's a great article that got blown up into his National Book Award-winning book Noonday Demon.

"Manufacturing Depression" (from Harper's) isn't readily online, but an article that covers some of the material can be found at: by Louis Menand about Gary Greenberg and had some amazing insights both emic-ally and etic-ally.

a review of Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon.

and something by Andrew Solomon that came out about the same time as Noonday Demon.

Friday, April 9, 2010


From our discussions in class, I was reminded of this interview with the author of Healing through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Beautiful Mind

Beautiful Minds Can Be Reclaimed, op-ed in the New York Times reveals how many folks afflicted with schizophrenia recover and/or function well

Schizophrenia - Elyn Saks

Apparently Elyn Saks has done some fine reporting of how schizophrenia has affected her life. Her book is called The Center Cannot Hold.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Zimbardo on abnormal psych (Rosenhan, schizophrenia, etcetera)
click to the right of "View the program:" (the VoD button)

"The Real Story..."(5 minutes)

Gerald case study Part I (8 minutes)

Gerald case study Part II (7 minutes)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010