"Internet Addiction" may soon spread like wildfire. All the elements favoring fad generation are in place… the profusion of alarming books; the breathless articles in magazines and newspapers; extensive TV exposure; ubiquitous blogs; the springing up of unproven treatment programs; the availability of millions of potential patients; and an exuberant trumpeting by newly minted "thought leading" researchers and clinicians.
There is no doubt that most of us have become hooked on our electronic devices and that some people are gravely harmed by what develops into an unhealthy and uncontrollable attachment to them. The question is how best to understand, define, and deal with this. What does the term “addiction” mean and when is it a useful way of describing our passions and needs? We don’t consider ourselves addicted to our cars, TV’s, refrigerators, or air conditioners. Is attachment to the Internet fundamentally different?

Internet Addiction—The Next New Fad Diagnosis by Allen Frances.

The whole concept of behavioral addictions is highly controversial and has never heretofore been given any official status. There is a good reason for this. It is extremely difficult to distinguish the relatively few people who are really enslaved by shopping, sex, work, golf (or the Internet) from the huge army of those who are attached to these as pleasurable recreation. It should not be counted as a mental disorder and be called an “addiction” just because you really love an activity, get a lot of pleasure from it, and spend a lot of time doing it. To be considered  “addicted,” you should be compulsively stuck doing something that is no longer fun, feels out of control, serves no useful purpose, and is certainly not worth the pain, costs, and harms. The unfavorable cost/benefit ratio should be pretty lopsided before mental disorder is considered. 

We all do dumb things that offer short-term pleasures but cause bad long term consequences. It is not “addiction” whenever someone gets into trouble because of over-spending, golfing too much, or having repeated sexual indiscretions. That’s our human nature—derived from many millions of years of evolutionary experience where life was short, opportunities for pleasure rare, and the long term didn’t count for nearly as much as it does now. There is a risky slippery slope if we medicalize our pleasure seeking, irresponsible selves.  


: lol wait, you think psychotherapy is bad?

salixj asked something similar:

I don’t think psychotherapy is bad, I think it can be bad. In certain conditions, psychotherapy is harmful. Some form of psychotherapy are harmful and other are more likely to be harmful. A form of psychotherapy could produce a positive effect on a problem/disorder, but negative on others. Some kind of therapeutic relationships could be detrimental for some people. It’s quite a complex subject really.

My opinion is that psychotherapy is more likely to produce a negative effect when the therapist thinks the theory he embraces/the methods he uses is the best. When a psychoanalist (or CBT therapist or any kind of therapist) think psychoanalysis (or CBT or any other form of therapy) is the best of all, the probability of something going wrong increases a lot.

Let me give a simple example.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing is a form of psychotherapy designed to prevent PTSD and related anxiety disorders among individuals exposed to extreme stressors. It’s administered in group within 24 to 72 hr of the traumatic event. The therapist talks about  the PTSD symptoms that the group members are eventually going to experience and encourage them to discuss and ‘‘process’’ their negative emotions. This is based on the assumption that to talk about the stressful experience and the associated emotions is good for you and it will prevent you to experience mental health problems.

That’s not true. The fact is, research shows the CISD can heighten risk for posttraumatic stress. So basically CISD produce the exact effect it is supposed to prevent. 

There are several reasons to why that could happen (for example, many people could be not ready to discuss their emotions, talk about your emotions is not always good.) But the main reason is that this program are thought to be useful to every person who had an extremely stressful experience because they’re expected to be more at risk, more in need for help, and when you’re stressed what’s better than talking about how you feel? Right?

No. Not always. Not for everyone.

So, the topic is complex and I don’t think I can explain it in details on tumblr, but, yes, psychotherapy can be bad. It’s not always bad. I think it can be very useful, really. But it can also be bad. That’s the truth.

BJ Fogg: Psychology of Persuasion


Pseudoscience is a morphing monster of undue credulity; an “unsinkable rubber duck,” as some skeptics have called it. The reality is that we will always be burdened with the irrational and the unscientific. Believing in weird things isn’t unnatural; rather it is an extension of a highly adapted mind. But to move accurately through today’s world, a healthy scientific skepticism is warranted. With New Age beliefs making a resurgence, the anti-vaccination movement gaining strength, creationist bills passing US state legislatures, promises of personal genomics spawning new and dubious treatments, and health gurus sprinkling the word “quantum” on everything like an over-used spice, skepticism should be, now more than ever, a liberally applied tool. For the critical thinker, discovering and understanding our cognitive foundations is tantamount to a new beginning, a fresh way to look at the world. Learning how to think about thinking, learning how to navigate the perils of human cognition, is the way through.
Skepticism And The Second Enlightenment

Proponents of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) claim that certain eye-movements are reliable indicators of lying. According to this notion, a person looking up to their right suggests a lie whereas looking up to their left is indicative of truth telling. Despite widespread belief in this claim, no previous research has examined its validity.

The Eyes Don’t Have It: Lie Detection and Neuro-Linguistic Programming by Richard Wiseman et al.

They conducted 3 experiments finding no evidence to support the claim that certain eye-movements can be used to say if someone is lying.

This is in line with findings from a considerable amount of previous work showing that facial clues (including eye movements) are poor indicators of deception.

Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness

Recently, a friend posed a question: If there were a pill I could take that would instantly cure me, would I take it? The poet Rainer Maria Rilke was offered psychoanalysis. He declined, saying, “Don’t take my devils away, because my angels may flee too.” My psychosis, on the other hand, is a waking nightmare in which my devils are so terrifying that all my angels have already fled. So would I take the pill? In an instant.

Your everyday experience tells you that your thoughts cause you to behave in certain ways. Feeling happy makes you smile, and feeling sad makes you frown. However, decades of research have revealed that the exact opposite is also true - behaviour creates thoughts. When you smile you feel happier, and when you frown you feel sad. The same effect applies to belief. Get people to behave as if they hold a certain belief and bingo, they start to actually believe.
Richard Wiseman tells the the truth about mind control: to get someone to believe in something you just have to make them behave as if they do and their mind will eventually develop beliefs that are consistent with those behaviours.

Simply that it is wrong to look the other way. If there’s a tool to detect fake data, I’d like people to know about it so we can take findings that aren’t true out of our journals. And if it becomes clear that fabrication is not an unusual event, it will be easier for journals to require authors to publish all their raw data. It’s extremely hard for fabrication to go undetected if people can look at your data.
↳ Social psychologist Uri Simonsohn answering to what’s his motivation to be a data detective that search and uncover wrongdoing in psychological research. I love people like him.