background preloader

A Developmental Tour of the Imagination: What Children's Use of Metaphor Reveals about the Mind

A Developmental Tour of the Imagination: What Children's Use of Metaphor Reveals about the Mind
by Maria Popova “Metaphorical thinking … is essential to how we communicate, learn, discover, and invent.” “Children help us to mediate between the ideal and the real,” MoMA’s Juliet Kinchin wrote in her fascinating design history of childhood . But first, Geary examines the all-permeating power of metaphor: Metaphor is most familiar as the literary device through which we describe one thing in terms of another, as when the author of the Old Testament Song of Songs describes a lover’s navel as “a round goblet never lacking mixed wine” or when the medieval Muslim rhetorician Abdalqahir Al-Jurjani pines, “The gazelle has stolen its eyes from my beloved.” Children, it turns out, are on the one hand skilled and intuitive weavers of original metaphors and, on the other, utterly (and, often, humorously) stumped by common adult metaphors, revealing that metaphor is both evolutionarily rooted and culturally constructed. This is one of the marvels of metaphor. Donating = Loving Share on Tumblr

Freud’s Life and Legacy, in a Comic by Maria Popova “You have to listen carefully. The unconscious mind is crafty.” While Freud may have engineered his own myth and many of his theories may have been disputed in the decades since his heyday, he remains one of the most influential figures in the history of psychiatry and psychology. And yet for many, Freud is more metaphor than man and his name summons only a vague idea of his work — “something to do with penises,” our marginally informed collective conscience might whisper — rather than a true understanding of just how profoundly he influenced contemporary culture, from our mechanisms of consumerism to our notions about the self. From how his own childhood informed his ideas to his most famous cases, the captivating story weaves its way through Freud’s life to shed light on both the man and his metaphors for the mind. Freud is absolutely fantastic from cover to cover. Images courtesy of Nobrow Donating = Loving Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. Share on Tumblr

The 13 Best Psychology and Philosophy Books of 2013 by Maria Popova How to think like Sherlock Holmes, make better mistakes, master the pace of productivity, find fulfilling work, stay sane, and more. After the best biographies, memoirs, and history books of 2013, the season’s subjective selection of best-of reading lists continue with the most stimulating psychology and philosophy books published this year. “How we spend our days,” Annie Dillard wrote in her timelessly beautiful meditation on presence over productivity, “is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Horowitz begins by pointing our attention to the incompleteness of our experience of what we conveniently call “reality”: Right now, you are missing the vast majority of what is happening around you. Minor clashes between my dog’s preferences as to where and how a walk should proceed and my own indicated that I was experiencing almost an entirely different block than my dog. The book was her answer to the disconnect, an effort to “attend to that inattention.”

How Our Minds Mislead Us: The Marvels and Flaws of Our Intuition by Maria Popova “The confidence people have in their beliefs is not a measure of the quality of evidence but of the coherence of the story that the mind has managed to construct.” Every year, intellectual impresario and Edge editor John Brockman summons some of our era’s greatest thinkers and unleashes them on one provocative question, whether it’s the single most elegant theory of how the world works or the best way to enhance our cognitive toolkit. One of the most provocative contributions comes from Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman — author of the indispensable Thinking, Fast and Slow, one of the best psychology books of 2012 — who examines “the marvels and the flaws of intuitive thinking.” In the 1970s, Kahneman and his colleague Amos Tversky, self-crowned “prophets of irrationality,” began studying what they called “heuristics and biases” — mental shortcuts we take, which frequently result in cognitive errors. System 1 infers and invents causes and intentions.

How To Actually Hear What Your Intuition's Telling You When I talk about intuition, I’m referring to that sense of knowing something without being able to explain why or even how you know it. It’s connecting with that feeling deep inside that tells you when something is right for you right now or when it’s not. Sometimes your intuition might whisper. So how can you access your intuition? 1. This may sound obvious, but so many of us forget. 2. Our bodies are amazing tools to help guide our decisions. Or maybe you made a decision that you were so excited about that you felt the excited butterflies? 3. When you have many ideas and voices bouncing around in your mind, take some time to just sit and write, even when you’re not really sure what to say. 4. Brainstorming and bouncing your ideas off someone may help you gain clarity. 5. Let’s say that you feel like you need to make a decision about something and you’re torn between two options, and you just can’t choose. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Should you trust your first impression? - Peter Mende-Siedlecki Social psychology is a branch of psychology focused on the scientific study of how people think about and relate to one another. One of the core research areas within social psychology concerns the question of how we learn about and evaluate other people based on their behavior. Expanding on the theories of early pioneers like Solomon Asch, Fritz Heider, and Harold Kelley, social psychologists have identified consistent patterns that govern how form stable impressions of the people around us. In more recent years, the field of social neuroscience has emerged at the intersection of social psychology and the biological sciences. I’m currently a graduate student, working under the guidance of Dr. For every aspect of human social life, there's a possible research topic for the fields of social psychology and social neuroscience. Finally, for a demonstration of how fMRI works, check out this video or take a look at this article! Selected References 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

The One Thing That Changes All Relationships. ~ Freya Watson We live in a vibrational world, where similar vibrations attract. “I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. It felt as if I was carrying everything myself, with my partner just not being there to support me… Being ‘self-aware,’ I thought I had reflected on myself sufficiently (a dangerous assumption to make!). I had looked at the situation from all angles, wondered what I was projecting onto my partner, wondered what I need to look at myself—but I still kept feeling let down and unsupported. Eventually, one day, the frustration hit a particular low, and I let all the unspoken feelings and criticisms come tumbling out—and it turned out to be the key that unlocked the door to understanding. That night, as we lay in bed, I laughed at the idea that there we were, the two fathers in bed together – but where were the ‘real’ us? (from The Beautiful Garden ) My thirties were a dramatic period of change in my life. I’m lighter in my engagement with others. I don’t keep secrets.

3 Ways to Access Everyday Intuition Many of us are raised to believe that logic is the best way to make a decision; weighing the pros and cons back and forth. The truth is “Life is Illogical.” We plan for A and B happens, we get upset and disappointed, because somehow we believe we have control over how each step goes, especially when we mapped it out so logically. Intuition is alway in operation 24/7, it nudges us in the direction we should go. It is simple, not complicated (as our logical decisions where we analyze everything to the nth degree). It’s our internal map, our friendly guide. Most of us simply don’t trust it, we think it must be more complicated and often, it goes against what our “brain” says the right thing to do is in many situations. The brain operates from experience and intuition from our truth. Our mind is an encyclopedia of past experiences, always drawing upon itself for information and this can keep us repeating patterns or abstaining from risk, because of the fear that the same thing will happen to us.

Do You Procrastinate? Maybe It's A Form Of Wisdom Procrastination can make us feel guilty, unproductive, riddled with failure. You know what it feels like and how it looks: Just one more round of checking social media. A spontaneous Netflix marathon. That closet that suddenly really needs to be organized. What if I told you that procrastination can be a form of wisdom? In an age of “instant” and “gotta-make-it-happen-now” productivity, our hesitation can (erroneously) be labeled as procrastination. Look, we all put things off. How can you actually benefit from your procrastination? 1. Are you hesitating because you doubt your abilities? 2. Ask yourself: What about these circumstances has me pausing? 3. Maybe you like the work you’re doing but not the client. Think about what you can change, quit, and delegate. When you examine your procrastination, you get clear. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com We're thrilled to present revitalize, a two-day summit with wellness experts from around the world. Go

Picasso on Intuition, How Creativity Works, and Where Ideas Come From by Maria Popova “To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing.” “Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work,” painter Chuck Close memorably scoffed. “Show up, show up, show up,” novelist Isabelle Allende echoed in her advice to aspiring writers, “and after a while the muse shows up, too.” Legendary composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky put it similarly in an 1878 letter to his benefactress: “A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.” Picasso having lunch at the Brasserie Lipp, chatting with Pierre Matisse, Henri Matisse's son. This was one of the questions the famed Hungarian photographer Brassaï posed to Pablo Picasso over the course of their 30-year-long interview series, collected in Conversations with Picasso (public library) — the same superb 1964 volume that gave us Picasso on success and why you should never compromise creatively. I don’t have a clue. Donating = Loving Share on Tumblr

The Book of Symbols: Carl Jung’s Catalog of the Unconscious by Kirstin Butler Why Sarah Palin identifies with the grizzly bear, or what the unconscious knows but doesn’t reveal. A primary method for making sense of the world is by interpreting its symbols. We decode meaning through images and, often without realizing, are swayed by the power of their attendant associations. Beginning in the 1930s, Jung’s devotees started collecting mythological, ritualistic, and symbolic imagery under the auspices of The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS), an organization with institutes throughout the U.S. You can browse through ARAS via a list of common archetypes, or search by word, producing a cross-indexed result with thumbnail images and a timeline of where and when that idea appeared throughout history. Nonetheless, to access this treasure trove you still have to be a member of ARAS online, or take trip to one of its four physical locations. Donating = Loving Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month.

Why We Ignore the Obvious: The Psychology of Willful Blindness by Maria Popova How to counter the gradual narrowing of our horizons. “Keep your baby eyes (which are the eyes of genius) on what we don’t know,” pioneering investigative journalist Lincoln Steffens wrote in a beautiful 1926 letter of life-advice to his baby son. And yet the folly of the human condition is precisely that we can’t know what we don’t know — as E.F. Schumacher elegantly put it in his guide for the perplexed, “everything can be seen directly except the eye through which we see.” What obscures those transformative unknowns from view are the unconscious biases that even the best-intentioned of us succumb to. The concept of “willful blindness,” Heffernan explains, comes from the law and originates from legislature passed in the 19th century — it’s the somewhat counterintuitive idea that you’re responsible “if you could have known, and should have known, something that instead you strove not to see.” Illustration from 'How To Be a Nonconformist,' 1968. Donating = Loving

Related: