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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Words always matter

The run-up to the recent mid-term elections saw commentators across the political spectrum claiming that “words matter.” Much of this was in response to violent acts – in particular the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre and the pipe bombs sent to Democrats – that some argued was a consequence of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Words always matter of course. But due to the timing and the stakes – in this instance, an upcoming mid-term election of considerable consequence – it turned into a literal war of words. Language was weaponized to an extent not seen before.

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How video may influence juror decision-making for police defendants

In recent years, these videos [depicting police brutality] have become increasingly available to the public and widely disseminated, fueling the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement demanding justice for minority victims of police violence. Yet, little research has explored how video is impacting juries when police actually go to trial as defendants.

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What is “toxic” about anger?

What is anger? In essence, anger is a subjective feeling tied to perceived wrongdoing and a tendency to counter or redress that wrongdoing in ways that may range from resistance to retaliation. Like sadness and fear, the feeling of anger can take the form of emotion, mood, or temperament.

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Stan Lee on what is a superhero

What is a superhero? What is a supervillain? What are the traits that define and separate these two? What cultural contexts do we find them in? And why we need them? Editors Robin S. Rosenberg, PhD and Peter Coogan, PhD collected a series of essays examining these questions from both major comic book writers and editors, such as Stan Lee and Danny Fingeroth, and leading academics in psychology and cultural studies, such as Will Brooker and John Jennings.

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Stress management in the work place [infographic]

Employees in the modern work force are faced with obstacles every day that prompt stress. These work-related stressors can lead to different kinds of strains that affect both the health and the well-being of the employee and the organization. Various types of stress management interventions, guided by organizational development and work stress frameworks, may be […]

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Learning from nature to save the planet

Our planet is out of balance as the result of our technologies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global temperatures could reach a frightening plus +3° by the end of the century, our ocean ecosystems risk being overwhelmed by non-degrading plastic waste, open rubbish tips scar the landscape and pollute our water supplies […]

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The ABCs of successful aging

Despite some people saying that the secret to longevity is all in the genes (so pick your parents wisely!), there is a lot we can to do age well. In fact, most of these secrets are really good things to do at any age in life.

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Consent on campus [podcast]

As students head back to university to start their fall semester, the conversation of consent will no doubt surround them on campus. But what can actually be defined as consent? Where do students learn what consent actually means? From the time of adolescence, students are taught the notion of consent, which impacts how they view the term in their later life.

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Is the American special education system failing children with autism?

We sat down with Dr. Bryna Siegel and asked about the effectiveness of the modern special education system. In the video below, Dr. Siegel discusses how the push for academic inclusion may actually be putting children with autism at a disadvantage, and offers advice to help parents and educators build better futures for these students as they enter adulthood.

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Dental students and the smell of fear

Human communication takes many forms, but picturing humans using chemical mechanisms to send messages leaves us skeptical. However, this concept becomes more plausible when we think of communication mediated via pheromones in animals.

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How the mindful brain copes with rejection

Whether it’s being left out of happy hour plans or being broken up with by a significant other, we can all relate to the pain of social rejection. Such “social pain” is consequential, undermining our physical and mental health. But how can we effectively cope with the distressing experience of being left out or ignored? Mindfulness may be an answer.

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World Humanitarian Day [podcast]

On this episode of The Oxford Comment, we take a look at the challenges faced by humanitarians today. Host Erin Katie Meehan sat down with Health & Social Work editorial board member Sarah Gehlert, Belinda Gurd and Alexandra Eurdolian of the UNOCHA, and esteemed psychologist Robert J. Wicks to explore important questions about humanitarianism.

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Seven myths about feigning

Defendants may feign psychiatric disorders to reduce their criminal responsibility. From its detection and prevalence, to its connections with psychopathy, this extract from Finding Truth in the Courtroom debunks seven common myths about feigning, and why people do it.  

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