"The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well."

— Alfred Adler (via psychotherapy)

A follow up of sorts to my post on evolution being a pop psychological god.

They found that the gender difference in mate preferences predicted by evolutionary psychology models “is highest in gender-unequal societies, and smallest in the most gender-equal societies,” according to Zentner.

These results were confirmed in a second study based on mate preferences reported by 8,953 volunteers from 31 nations. Again, Zentner and Mitura found that there were fewer differences between men and women’s preferences in more gender-equal nations compared to less gender-equal nations.

Because increasing gender equality reduces gender differences in mate selection, these studies indicate that the strategies men and women use to choose mates may not be as hardwired as scientists originally thought.

"These findings challenge the idea proposed by some evolutionary psychologists that gender differences in mate-preferences are determined by evolved adaptations that became biologically embedded in the male and female brain," says Zentner.

"… Anyone who wants to know the human psyche will learn next to nothing from experimental psychology. He would be better advised to abandon exact science, put away his scholar’s gown, bid farewell to his study, and wander with human heart through the world. There, in the horrors of prisons, lunatic asylums and hospitals, in drab suburban pubs, in brothels and gambling-hells, in the salons of the elegant, the Stock Exchanges, socialist meetings, churches, revivalist gatherings and ecstatic sects, through love and hate, through the experience of passion in every form in his own body, he would reap richer stores of knowledge than text-books a foot thick could give him, and he will know how to doctor the sick with a real knowledge of the human soul… ."

— Carl Gustav Jung. The Psychology of the Unconscious  (via heartmindspirit)

(Source: seeyoulateraggregator, via heartbloodspirit)

"The very essence of the creative is novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it."

— Carl R. Rogers, American psychologist

"When we engage with people who have different assumptions about what is right, wrong, good, bad, beautiful, ugly – whose fundamental beliefs and values are different – it challenges our thinking. People stop and think, ‘If they can be right, how can I be right?’ People don’t like that imbalance, so they have to reconcile those differences and those thoughts. It leads to more complex minds, and makes people more cognitively complex."

Why demographic diversity is key to the fight for the creative class (via curiositycounts)

(via sociolab)

For the first time a therapist has been found guilty of malpractice for trying to “cure” a gay person.

Watch the video first.  It is enjoyable and fascinating on many levels to see how people react— or don’t— to the surprising discovery of money literally growing on trees.

This video once again confirms the “invisible gorilla” trick, which I wrote about on my blog Broke is Beautiful.  There is another even more stunning experiment in which a clerk ducks behind a counter and a different man pops up and most people do not notice the change at all.  (I could not quickly recall how to find the video, but you should be able to find it on Youtube with a little effort.)

In another experiment I read about several years ago, subjects were asked to rate how lucky they were. Then they were given a task. They had to read a newspaper and count the number of times a particular word appeared. In big block lettering in the paper was a line saying “Congratulations! You have won $100, come up to the experimenter to collect your prize!”

Most of the subjects were so focused on their counting task that they did not even notice the message. There was a correlation, however, between calling yourself “lucky” and seeing the message. The self-described “lucky” spotted it and won. The self-described unlucky did not. The moral as I understood it was that being open to the unexpected makes you lucky.

If you have a mental framework that allows for money growing on trees, you can see it.  If you do not— you will walk right by.

I have been generally critical of the positive thinking school that claims that visualizing an outcome vividly enough will draw it to you like magic.

Barbara Ehrenreich challenged this culture in Bright-Sided:

"In the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, positive thoughts were flowing out into the universe in unprecedented volumes… If anyone— deity or alien being— possessed the means of transforming these emanations into comprehensible form, they would have been overwhelmed by images of slimmer bodies, larger homes, quick promotions, and sudden acquisitions of great wealth.  But the universe refused to play its assigned role as a ‘big mail order department.’  In complete defiance of the ‘law of attraction,’… things were getting worse for most Americans, not better."

Experiments like the ones above have made me rethink my position on creative visualization a bit.  There is something to it- but it is not magic.  (Although I see nothing wrong with using the language of religion, mysticism and angels to describe it if you’re comfortable with that.)

There is a perfectly logical explanation as to why creative visualization might work, and some circumstances under which it will not work.  It does not work when the “request” or the visualization is too goal oriented, too concrete and too inflexible.

If you visualize a promotion and focus all your energies on that, you may not see opportunities to get what you really want— more security, more responsibility, more respect—from other avenues.

If you are determined not to diverge from your chosen path, you will fail to recognize the slightly different opportunity that is right in front of you. 

On the other hand, if you visualize what you would like to do in your life, and see yourself as someone who can do it— your mind is primed to see things related to this focus. That is why people often have the experience of finding an want ad for an ideal job on a newspaper they would normally have thrown away.  The person is looking for it, and it catches their eye.

It’s all about finding the right balance.  Being less rigid in goals can give a broader view, and keep you from having blinders, but articulating what you really desire, believing it is out there and there is a way to have it, allows you to spot opportunities. 

A mystically inclined friend calls it “intention without striving.”  This is the same sort of thing that people talk about when they “say a prayer and leave it in God’s hands.” Or when they say “believe in miracles.”

Be open to surprises.  They happen every day.