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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. He said the trick was offering "mobility with dignity".



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. Alas, it doesn’t take long before the stairmasters are once again sitting empty and those same dirty T-shirts are piling up at the back of the closet. We start binging on pizza and beer — sorry, Jenny — and forget about that pledge to become a kinder, gentler person.

Human habits, in other words, are stubborn things, which helps explain why 88 percent of all resolutions end in failure, according to a 2007 survey of over 3,000 people conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman. The reason our resolutions end in such dismal fashion returns us to the single most important fact about human willpower — it’s incredibly feeble. Here’s where the results get weird. Is there a way out of this willpower trap? The same lesson applies to adults. 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! Escaping the Clutches of the GenesThe Pivotal Insight: Putting People First Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. 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. A. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. Q. A. 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. 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. 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. Lakoff came up with a widely influential framework for understanding American politics, contrasting the “strict father” morality of conservatives with the “nurturant parent” morality of liberals.

Portrait of René Descartes by Frans Hals. 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?

Robert Stickgold: Answering these two together, I'd say that Freud was probably 50 percent right and 100 percent wrong! Having said that, dreams can act as a window to our unconscious. Having said that, I think that dreaming also is looking for new ways to connect these associative networks, and it isn't a problem for the brain if some or even most of these explorations end up being useless or blatantly wrong. Q: It has been suggested that dreams are therapeutic—therapeutic in that dreams help solve emotional conflicts. Stickgold: No. 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?