Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Exclusion and the LGBT life course

By Phillip L. Hammack
Few scenes in one’s life evoke vivid imagery. A generation’s historical memory can be reduced to a single significant moment—think Pearl Harbor, JFK’s assassination, 9/11. For gay and lesbian Californians of my generation, the State Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage seemed initially like it might just be such a moment.

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Psychocinematics: discovering the magic of movies

By Arthur Shimamura
Like the great and powerful Oz, filmmakers conceal themselves behind a screen and offer a mesmerizing experience that engages our sights, thoughts, and emotions. They have developed an assortment of magical “tricks” of acting, staging, sound, camera movement, and editing that create a sort of sleight of mind. These techniques have been discovered largely through trial and error, and thus we have very little understanding of how they actually work on our psyche.

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Antisocial personality disorder: the hidden epidemic

By Donald W. Black, M.D.
It may be hard to believe, but one of the most common and problematic mental disorders is ignored by the public and media alike. People — and reporters — breathlessly talk about depression, substance abuse and autism, but no one ever talks about antisocial personality disorder. Why?

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What is ‘the brain supremacy’?

Q: What is the brain supremacy? A: I use the phrase ‘the brain supremacy’ to describe the increasing relevance of neuroscience. It foresees an era – whose birth is already well underway – when the balance of power within the sciences will shift from the natural to the life sciences, from physics and chemistry to the fast-moving sciences of the mind and brain.

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Re-introducing values clarification to the helping professions

By Howard Kirschenbaum, Ed.D.
In the 1960s, about the same time that Albert Ellis was developing his original cognitive-behavioral therapy approach and William Glasser was developing his reality therapy (a cognitive behavior approach that evolved into Choice Theory), an educator named Louis Raths was developing a new affective-cognitive-behavioral counseling approach that eventually came to be called “values clarification.”

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Hypnosis for chronic pain management

By Mark P. Jensen
How can hypnosis affect pain management? The results from three lines of research have combined to create a renewed interest in the application of hypnosis for chronic pain management. First, imaging studies demonstrate that the effects of hypnotic suggestions on brain activity are real and can target specific aspects of pain. Hypnosis for decreases in the intensity of pain result not only in significant decreases in pain intensity, but also decreases in activity in the brain areas that underlie the experience of pain intensity.

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A history of psycholinguistics in the pre-Chomskyan era

By Willem Levelt
How do we speak and how do we understand language? It is widely believed that the scientific study of these uniquely human abilities was launched during the 1950s with the advent of Noam Chomsky’s generative linguistics. True, modern psycholinguistics received a major impulse from this “cognitive revolution,” but the empirical study of how we speak and listen and how children acquire these amazing skills has its roots in the late 18th century

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The connection from physical to mental

By Robert Kirk
Physicalists like me think everything in the world is ultimately physical, and that the physical facts provide for all the facts, including consciousness. But how should we conceive of the link between physical and mental?

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Home clutter, confusion, and chaos

Spring cleaning is just around the corner. In this excerpt from Pursuing the Good Life (originally published on Psychology Today), the late Christopher Peterson reflects on his own clutter and the detrimental effects of clutter on people.

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Descartes’ dogs

By Robert V. McNamee and Daniel Parker
It is well known in the history of psychology that Descartes was an early thinker on what we would now call classical conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning, which he referred to as “reflex”. However, an early epistolary reference seems generally to be missed: his letter to his friend Marin Mersenne, 18 March 1630.

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The best of times? Student days, mental illness, and gender

By Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman
Students are often told — perhaps by excited friends or nostalgic parents — that university is the best time of their life. Well, for some people these years may live up to their billing. For many others, however, things aren’t so straightforward. College can prove more of a trial than a pleasure.

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Based on a “true” story: expecting reality in movies

By Arthur P. Shimamura
This year’s academy award nominations of Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty, attest to our fascination of watching “true stories” depicted on the screen. We adopt a special set of expectations when we believe a movie is based on actual events, a sentiment the Coen Brothers parodied when they stated at the beginning of Fargo that “this is a true story,” even though it wasn’t.

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Why football cannot last

By Anthony Scioli, Ph.D.
“Just look at the gladiators… and consider the blows they endure! Consider how they who have been well-disciplined prefer to accept a blow than ignominiously avoid it! How often it is made clear that they consider nothing other than the satisfaction of their [coach] or the [fans]! Even when they are covered with wounds they send a messenger to their [coach] to inquire his will.

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Psychological adaptive mechanism assessment and cancer survival

By Thomas P. Beresford, M.D.
Psychological treatment studies that did not measure the maturity of psychological adaptive mechanisms in cancer patients have reported conflicting cancer survival results. Widely publicized studies noted increased survival rates among cancer patients who underwent psychotherapeutic treatment. However, more recent multicenter study could not replicate improved survival after behavioral treatment, and other studies have reported similarly conflicting results.

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Could my child be responsible for the next tragedy?

By Karen Schiltz, Ph.D.
Like many of you, I was in shock and horrified about the slaughtering of 20 little children and 6 adults. I wondered: why did Adam Lanza not receive help for his condition or, if he did, was he misdiagnosed? Did his parents not follow through with providers? Did providers fail to address his problems? Were the parents in denial? Were teachers in denial?

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A better New Year’s resolution: commit to hope

From late December to the middle of January it is obligatory for people to make one or more New Years’ resolutions. Recent surveys reveal that the most common resolutions made by Americans include losing weight, getting fit, quitting smoking, quitting drinking, reducing debt, or getting organized.

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