Psychology/society

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Not just horsing around … psychologists put their faith in equine therapies. In a Sussex field, a large bay horse is galloping around, tail held high.

Not just horsing around … psychologists put their faith in equine therapies

This magnificent creature is one of a new army of animals that is helping therapists to treat everything from addiction to autism to post-traumatic stress disorder. Reports last week showed that dogs, already known to be invaluable helpmates for blind, deaf, diabetic and epileptic owners, were also being trained to help dementia patients. Now the psychological benefits of working with horses are being recognised by growing numbers of therapists who work with autistic children, young people with behavioural problems, adults with depression or celebrities with addictions.

"The horse is the perfect mirror, they are very emotional beings; we're only starting to realise how intelligent they are," said therapy counsellor Gabrielle Gardner, of Shine For Life, watching the horse dance around his pen at a farm in Blackstone, a village a few miles north of Brighton. ADD.

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Neuroscience

Autistic Girl Expresses Unimaginable Intelligence. The Willpower Trick. January is the month of broken resolutions.

The Willpower Trick

The gyms are packed for a week, Jenny Craig is full of new recruits and houses are cleaned for the first time in ages. We pledge to finally become the person we want to be: svelte, neat and punctual. The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin, Stanovich. PrefaceAcknowledgmentsChapter 1.

The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin, Stanovich

Staring into the Darwinian AbyssWhy Jerry Falwell Is RightThe Replicators and the VehiclesWhat Kind of Robot Is a Person? Whose Goals Are Served by Our Behavior? All Vehicles Overboard! Your Genes Care More about You than You Should Care about Them! Daniel Kahneman Answers Your Questions. Two weeks ago, we solicited your questions for Princeton psychology professor and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, whose new book is called Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Daniel Kahneman Answers Your Questions

You responded by asking 45 questions. Kahneman has answered 22 of them in one of the more in-depth and wide-ranging Q&A’s we’ve run recently. It’s a great read. As always, thanks for your questions, and thanks to Daniel Kahneman for taking the time to answer so many of them. Q. The Unselfish Gene. The Idea in Brief Executives, like most other people, have long believed that human beings are interested only in advancing their material interests.

The Unselfish Gene

However, recent research in evolutionary biology, psychology, sociology, political science, and experimental economics suggests that people behave far less selfishly than most assume. Evolutionary biologists and psychologists have even found neural and, possibly, genetic evidence of a human predisposition to cooperate. These findings suggest that instead of using controls or carrots and sticks to motivate people, companies should use systems that rely on engagement and a sense of common purpose. Several levers can help executives build cooperative systems: encouraging communication, ensuring authentic framing, fostering empathy and solidarity, guaranteeing fairness and morality, using rewards and punishments that appeal to intrinsic motivations, relying on reputation and reciprocity, and ensuring flexibility.

Emotional Power Broker of the Modern Family. Explain yourself: George Lakoff, cognitive linguist. As part of our research on explanatory journalism, we’re interviewing experts in fields outside journalism about their approaches to explaining complex systems to non-specialtists.

Explain yourself: George Lakoff, cognitive linguist

Our first expert is cognitive linguist George Lakoff, who did groundbreaking research on the embodiment of thought and language and the way people think using metaphors. For Lakoff, language is not a neutral system of communication, because it is always based on frames, conceptual metaphors, narratives, and emotions. Political thought and language is inherently moral and emotional. The basic phrases journalists use every day—words like “liberty” “freedom” “immigrant” “taxes”— are essentially contested concepts that have radically different meanings for different Americans.

What the science of human nature can teach us. After the boom and bust, the mania and the meltdown, the Composure Class rose once again.

What the science of human nature can teach us

Its members didn’t make their money through hedge-fund wizardry or by some big financial score. Theirs was a statelier ascent. Dreams: Expert Q&A. On November 30, 2009, Robert Stickgold graciously answered dozens of wide-ranging questions about dreams and sleep.

Dreams: Expert Q&A

Q: Is there any truth to dreams being a window to our "unconscious"? Perhaps the question should be: What level of consciousness is expressed in our dreams? Do they "represent" anything of our feelings, moods, attitudes? Jose Lopez, Brooklyn, New York Q: Are Freud's teachings on dreaming still valid amongst new scientific findings? Which Traits Predict Success? (The Importance of Grit) What are the causes of success?

Which Traits Predict Success? (The Importance of Grit)

At first glance, the answer is easy: success is about talent. It’s about being able to do something – hit a baseball, play chess, trade stocks, write a blog – better than most anyone else. That’s a fine answer, but it immediately invites another question: What is talent? How did that person get so good at hitting a baseball or trading stocks? For a long time, talent seemed to be about inheritance, about the blessed set of genes that gave rise to some particular skill.