Psychology Links

Here’ are some links to articles about psychology that caught my interest in the past several months.

News Philosophy Psychology

Fiber is Bad for Sex

The idea of eating more fiber was invented to give you constipation so you wouldn’t enjoy sex. Just one of Kellogg’s sadistic ideas that also included circumcision for the prevention of masturbation and Prussian-style schools for transforming curious kids into mindless factory drones.

Dietary Fiber Is Bad for Sex – That’s the Only Claim About It That Isn’t a Myth | Mark’s Daily Apple

Does dietary fiber contain anything of nutritional value? No, it doesn’t. Zero vitamins… Zero minerals… Zero protein… Zero fat… Nothing, zilch, not even digestible carbohydrates. Why, then, is it considered a healthy nutrient? As the story goes, you can thank Dr. John Harvey Kellogg for that:

“Dr. Kellogg was obsessed with chastity and constipation. True to principle, he never made love to his wife. To “remedy” the sin of masturbation, he advocated circumcision without anesthetic for boys, and mutilation of the clitoris with carbolic acid for girls. He blamed constipation for “nymphomania” in women, and lust in men, because, according to Kellogg, impacted stools inside one’s rectum were stimulating the prostate gland and the female vagina into sexual proclivity.” [link]

News Philosophy Psychology

Two Guided Meditations from Sam Harris

Click through to grab the MP3s or listen in the page. Tre, Henry and I all tried the 9-minute version, and I was proud of Henry for lasting at least 7 mintues without fidgeting.

The Mirror of Mindfulness : Two Guided Meditations : Sam Harris

I wrote an article on meditation two years ago, and since then many readers have asked for further guidance on how to practice. As I said in my original post, I generally recommend a method called vipassana in which one cultivates a form of attention widely known as “mindfulness.” There is nothing spooky or irrational about mindfulness, and the literature on its psychological benefits is now substantial. Mindfulness is simply a state of clear, nonjudgmental, and nondiscursive attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Developing this quality of mind has been shown to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression; improve cognitive function; and even produce changes in gray matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation, and self-awareness. I will cover the relevant philosophy and science in my next book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, but in the meantime, I have produced two guided meditations (9 minutes and 26 minutes) for those of you who would like to get started with the practice. Please feel free to share them. – See more at:

News Philosophy Psychology Science

The Bicameral Mind Theory

I recently read Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind and really enjoyed it. You need nothing more to recommend it than the following quote from Richard Dawkins.

“It is one of those books that is either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between! Probably the former, but I’m hedging my bets.”

Wikipedia offers a fine description of bicameralism, Jaynes’ theory of a human consciousness split into two parts. He argues in the book that ancient man may have experienced the world in what we would consider an unconscious state. Instead of an integrated consciousness we take for granted, he suggests until perhaps 2000 BCE, people’s left and right hemispheres communicated indirectly through auditory hallucinations similar to those of schizophrenics.

It’s fascinating how this theory is nearly forty years old, not widely accepted but still hanging in there.

Julian Jaynes Society | Exploring Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind Theory Since 1997

Why are gods and idols ubiquitous throughout the ancient world? What is the relationship of consciousness and language? How is it that oracles came to influence entire civilizations such as Greece? If consciousness arose far back in human evolution, how can it so easily be altered in hypnosis and “possession”? Is schizophrenia a vestige of an earlier mentality? These are just some of the difficult questions addressed by Julian Jaynes’s influential and controversial theory of the origin of subjective consciousness or the “modern mind.”

News Psychology

Online psychotherapy may be better than in-person consultations

We already know it’s better if our therapists keep session notes in a Web app. It looks like there’s good evidence that talking to them on Google Hangouts is a good idea, too.

UZH Mediadesk – Psychotherapy via internet as good as if not better than face-to-face consultations

Online psychotherapy is just as efficient as conventional therapy. Three months after the end of the therapy, patients given online treatment even displayed fewer symptoms. For the first time, clinical researchers from the University of Zurich provide scientific evidence of the equal value of internet-based psychotherapy.