Willingness is a core concept of addiction recovery programs, and a paradoxical one. Twelve-step programs emphasize that individual addicts cannot will themselves into recovery and healthy sobriety, indeed that the ego and self-reliance are often a root cause of their problem. Yet recovering addicts must be willing. That is, they must be open to the… Read more
Psychologist Christopher Peterson at Psychology Today has a nice Thanksgiving piece on mental subtraction–the idea that “imagining away” our blessings may be a better route to gratitude and happiness than the much-touted “counting our blessings.” I discuss this prescription–also called the “George Bailey effect”–in the book’s chapter on the Futuristic Heuristic, excerpted here: “Psychologists have… Read more
On Second Thought is getting some kind and thoughtful reactions from readers on the Amazon page. Here’s an example.
Is foodist celebrity Michael Pollan the new Edith Wharton? In an excellent Newsweek cover story this week, Lisa Miller makes the case that foodists are elitists. Whether they are quinoa-chewing vegans or free-range locavores–those who are passionate about food are advocating for a life that is out of most Americans’ financial reach. Her article does… Read more
The Calorie Heuristic is our ancient and automatic tendency to entwine food and money–a cognitive bias that can skew our diets in many unhealthy ways. Consider this bit of trivia, plucked from my book, On Second Thought: Americans typically eat yogurt out of 8-ounce containers. By contrast, the typical yogurt in a French market weighs… Read more
The ancestral world was a perilous place, and many of our cognitive biases are rooted in the cautious ways we learned to navigate that world. I don’t write about the ‘wolfpack heuristic’ in On Second Thought, but here is some intriguing evidence that we may carry in our neurons the vestiges of our early and… Read more
This Huffington Post piece builds on On Second Thought’s chapter on the Caricature Heuristic, specifically our tendency to embrace negative caricatures of aging. As Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer has demonstrated again and again, we constantly stereotype even ourselves as we get older–with unhappy results. But we don’t have to.
On Second Thought is “new and notable” in health, mind and body!