Essential Reads

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How Do We Improve Sexual Harassment Training?

Sexual harassment training has been ubiquitous for many years, despite being ineffective. A scientifically-grounded alternative could help change this.

Will Robots Ever Have Emotions?

By Paul Thagard Ph.D. on December 14, 2017 in Hot Thought
To be emotional like human beings, robots would have to approximate our cognitive appraisals, physiological perceptions, and linguistic and cultural contexts. How could they?

Cultural Group Selection

By Glenn C. Altschuler Ph.D. on December 14, 2017 in This Is America
In addition to genetic differences and individual learning, a process called cultural group selection may help explain the ecological success of human beings.

Toward a More Self-Correcting Psychological Science

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on December 14, 2017 in Rabble Rouser
How to make psychology the true science it has always aspired to be.

More Posts on Ethics and Morality

Lessons Learned from the Year of Really Bad Behavior

Hopefully, we can learn how not to behave in 2018 after witnessing the really bad behavior of 2017. Observational learning can go both ways in helping us.

Two Cheers for Empathy

By Robert J King Ph.D. on December 12, 2017 in Hive Mind
Paul Bloom has recently (and one suspects slightly provocatively) called for a rejection of empathy. But he has left us little grounds for his alternative "rational compassion."

The Costs of Publishing in Some Journals

Low impact, vanity e-journals flood the inboxes of academic scientists every day with flattering emails in search of new articles to publish for a fee.
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What Sexual Harrassment Does to All of Us

By Elizabeth Young on December 10, 2017 in Adaptations
That’s a weird sentence, so I’m going to repeat it for emphasis. I am privileged: I have never been threatened, assaulted, or raped. 

Moral Relativism Is Tricky, but Smarter Than the Alternative

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 09, 2017 in Ambigamy
When push comes to shove, we dig in our heels, pretending that nature or the supernatural stands for what we stand for. That's a problem worth keeping an eye on.

How Cyberspace Turned a Decent Man into a Sex Offender

People feel free to say and do things online they otherwise never would do.

What's Wrong With This Religious Wedding?

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on December 07, 2017 in Am I Right?
Getting married in a religious ceremony when couples don't really believe can create serious problems, for the couple and the religion.

How Careful Should a Parent Be?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on December 06, 2017 in Fighting Fear
A discussion of some of the issues surrounding the sexual abuse of young women.

A Psychological Perspective on Human Destructiveness

By Robert Firestone Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in The Human Experience
Exploring the source of unethical, harmful behaviors and how they are manifested in personal relationships between men, women, couples, and families, and in the social arena.

How "Pet-tie" Are Dogs? What About Goldfish and Lizards?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on December 05, 2017 in Animals and Us
Our concepts of animal "pet-ness" raise ethical issues and have implications for the unconditional love theory of pet-keeping.

What's Truly Hot: Desire and Consent

Six years ago a woman accused me of rape.

Professional Self-Care to Prevent Ethics Violations

Little is known about the association between physician stress and ethical errors like boundary violations or lack of professionalism in the workplace.

10 Evolutionary Psychological Concepts That People Don’t Get

Evolutionary psychology is a powerful framework for understanding human behavior. Unfortunately, the field is woefully misrepresented. Here's how.

Be An Organ Donor

By Temma Ehrenfeld on December 01, 2017 in Open Gently
Donating your organs could be the most charitable act of your lifetime. But only half of Americans are signed up.

Sycophancy in Middle Earth

It takes a wizard to banish sycophancy from Middle Earth.
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What's the World Coming to?

By Alex Pattakos Ph.D. on December 01, 2017 in The Meaningful Life
Where would Aesop be if he had been unable to craft his stories, each fable fitting a definite moral?

Alabamians Should Not Vote for Roy Moore

By Michael W. Austin Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Ethics for Everyone
What could a Republican pro-life candidate do to disqualify him or her from office in the minds of philosopher Tully Borland and others who share his view? Anything?

Mental Masturbation Deserves More Appreciation

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 30, 2017 in Ambigamy
We can't help but fantasize, often with great vision often with dangerous delusion. Since right or wrong, fantasy is our human birthright, we have to get good at it. Here's how.

Future Harassers Beware! We'll (Eventually) Learn About You

How can some of those who harass others stay under the radar for such a long time? What is the appropriate response to these cases? What could prevent them in the first place?

How Companies Can Help Prevent Sexual Harassment

By Victor Lipman on November 29, 2017 in Mind of the Manager
Here's one tangible step all organizations can take: Build zero-tolerance harassment-related language into every manager's performance objectives.

Roy Moore and Sexual Abuse of Young Women

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on November 29, 2017 in The Human Beast
Conservative politicians seem compelled by a malicious elf to behave in ways that expose their rabid hypocrisies in public.

What If We Are Wrong About What Is Supposed to Bring Us Joy?

By Jennifer Baker Ph.D. on November 28, 2017 in For the Love of Wisdom
Epicurean ideas are still shocking today. But do we have good reasons for rejecting their views on happiness?

The Original Sex Scandal

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on November 24, 2017 in The Political Animal
Sexual predators are having a hard time. Over 200 years ago, Alexander Hamilton anticipated them.

Me Too and Misogyny

By Josephine Ensign DrPH on November 18, 2017 in Catching Homelessness
If you are tired of the current focus on gender-based violence, think again and consider the underlying misogyny affecting us all.

Use Scientific Methods to Detect Fake News

Both fake news and science became salient issues during last year’s presidential election. Understanding the principles of scientific methods can help detect false information.

Why is #Me Too everyone’s story?

How and why are the many accusations of sexual assault going viral at this time?

Who’s Afraid of Roy Moore? Incongruence in the Age of Trump

By Kyle D Killian Ph.D., LMFT on November 17, 2017 in Intersections
If ethical principles and moral codes really have a bearing in voters' daily lives, then they should probably not overlook the nine allegations, and problematic stances, of Moore.

Oh No! Not Louis C.K.! A Star Admits to Sexual Misconduct

By Deborah L. Davis Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in Laugh, Cry, Live
Louis C.K. is a talented and lauded comedian. What makes a good guy behave like a bad guy? And how can we come to terms with his grossly inappropriate sexual impositions on women?

Why Don't Victims of Sexual Harassment Come Forward Sooner?

No wonder victims of sexual harassment keep quiet. It is time we supported them, rather than question them.

Masturbation: Self-Abuse or Biological Necessity?

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on November 16, 2017 in How We Do It
Masturbation has slowly lost its evil reputation from previous centuries. Human studies and primate research both indicate that it brings benefits rather than health risks.