Etikettarkiv: New York Times

Neuropolitics Hits The Mainstream

In his New York Times Sunday column Nicholas D Kristof delves briefly into the ever-so multiplex world of cognitive politics, or neuropolitics. He cites the study ”The Ick Factor: Disgust Sensitivity as a Predictor of Political Attitudes” by political scientists Kevin Smith and  John Hibbing. There was an especially poignant sentence on gender and the brain:

”Interestingly, women say that they feel more disgusted on average when they see such images, but they do not secrete more skin moisture than men do. One possibility is that women are raised to affect more revulsion than they feel, because it is considered feminine, while men are socialized to pretend that they are never grossed out.

Hm, is there something called social construction theory that we could utilize here?

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Organically Grown Capitalism

When foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman’s first bestseller The World is Flat came out a few years ago, he hailed himself as the Man with The Answer. hot-flat-and-crowdedNow, he proclaimed, he would solve all major obstacles in society and redirect world politics using his neologism ”Flat”. He was speaking about a world where the ”middle” of everything was growing fast, thus leveling the playing field on the global scene. This thrice pulitzerized columnist for The New York Times has since been both rhetorically destroyed by a few writers but also compared to the likes of Walter Lippmann, who had a similar job back in the days.

Lippmann was as bright as a lighthouse but also a fierce critic of the concepts of politics and journalism themselves. Friedman here, sounds more like a PR-agent for the global crisis as well as haters of current disaster capitalism when he writes. In his latest book Hot, Flat and Crowded he develops his arguments for a greener economy by literary scaring us to complience. In my review of it I am both impressed and scared. Jump the link for the review in Tidningen Kulturen.

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Do You Love Your Child Unconditionally? ”Experts” Say You Shouldn’t

The psychologist Carl Rogers suggested in the 50’s that merely loving your children wasn’t enough. You have to love them unconditionally – never for what they do or perform, but because they are themselves. I am all with this, as my little boy Neo just turned 4 weeks old, but as Alfie Kohn argues in NY Times, many popularized methods like that of Dr Phil or the Supernanny Jo Frost are propagating to conditionally give them your love and attention. Meaning you would show them more love and affection when they behave as seems appropriate to you, as a parent.DSC_0101

Seems like bull****, smells like bull****, but is it bull? What can we learn from science?

A study conducted on Israeli students and mothers indicated that Firstly, the children who felt pressure to perform tended to resent and dislike their parents in the long run. Second, these youngsters were more likely to say that the way they acted was often due more to a “strong internal pressure” than to “a real sense of choice.”  They often felt guilty or ashamed.

In a companion study the same Israeli researchers interviewed mothers of grown children:

Those mothers who as children, sensed that they were loved only when they lived up to their parents’ expectations now felt less worthy as adults. Yet despite the negative effects, these mothers were more likely to use conditional affection with their own children.

It seems we as parents form the basis of how our children value themselves and their actions toward others. We would need to protect both them and future generations from our sense of peace and quiet. I you cannot handle your child – get help! There is always someone you can learn from, but I would not start off my research into the child’s mind with Dr Phil.

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How Spinmeisters are Taking Over Science

We try to be critical in our daily lives, but the ownership of criticality is a constant bargaining. The NY Times reported recently that a pharmaceutical company paid to have a review article written by a consulting company, and got a well-known scientist to agree to sign on as the “author”. These ”ghost writers” produced a total of 26 scientific papers backing the use of hormone replacement therapy in women, ”suggesting that the level of hidden industry influence on medical literature is broader than previously known.”


How the s*** goes down even within science

Never in history have we seen a bigger need for media criticism and scrutiny of our public and semi-public institutions. As DN reported today, many patient organizations receive hefty sums of money from the pharmaceutical industry. Of course the moneygrabbers deny that any influence is taken place from the big companies. But a look into their political engagement proves that they are somewhat aligned with a more liberal approach to big business and the drugs industry.

From the perspective of PR, the spinmeister himself, Edward Bernays, used similar takes in the beggning of the century in order to sell Lucky Strikes and other canceroids. One writer have commented this kind of (un)scientific spin as ”the science of ballyhoo”. Lets beware of the this science. I suggest everyone starts by reading Unscientific America, about a populace that do not really belive in reality.

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