Monday Miscellany: Vice, Vox, Venti Mocha

1. Fed up with futile internet arguments, a bunch of psychologists investigated how best to correct false ideas. Intros like that always bode well.

2. This week’s cool chart: what makes us sick in our old age.

3. Mental illness is to a brain disease as this analogy is to…. We should probably pick a new way to reduce stigma, as for this one it appears that our intuitions are leading us astray and might be making things worse.  Particularly interesting: the onset/offset explanation, which I hadn’t seen before.

4. Dear Dana: on resolving crushes.

5. Pranksters on suicide hotlines.

But the film doesn’t delve into other common experiences volunteers go through, such as how it feels to listen to and empathize with a desperate-sounding 12-year-old girl for seven devastating minutes, only to hear her — and the friends who have apparently been in the room with her the whole time — crack up with laughter, revealing her whole soul-crushing story of sexual abuse to have been a prank.

The problem is, after you’ve hung up angrily on the masturbator or the slumber-party pranksters, your phone is inevitably going to ring in another minute or five, and you have to somehow return to that place of empathy and openness, because the next person who calls may really need your help.

6. Something delightful: one of the researchers on a new altruism study corrects misconceptions and adds to the story; all in an approachable tone.

7. Cosmo, of all places, captures my feelings.

I love pink and ruffles and stockings and lipstick and high heels and nail polish and cleavage and basically everything that has ever been arbitrarily coded “girly.” I love jewelry. I wear skirts and shave my legs. […]

I am a queer woman and I’m not interested in hiding that fact, but it’s often challenging and complicated to try to be visible in public as queer. The cultural presumption of straightness is deeply ingrained, and many — perhaps most — people assume that everyone is heterosexual, despite any cues to the contrary. I’ve had people glance at my wedding photos — two women holding hands wearing white silk formalwear — and ask, “Oh, is that a friend of yours?” Queer people, particularly queer women, have to work hard to show up as queer in the course of their day-to-day lives.

8. What’s the relationship between emotion regulation and eating disorders? Open access paper on my favorite topic.

Eating disorder cognitions were significantly associated with multiple forms of emotion dysregulation; however, only lack of emotional awareness was independently related to these symptoms. In contrast, impulse control difficulties when upset was the only emotion regulation impairment associated with the presence of recurrent objective binge eating and recurrent purging in AN. No significant relationships between emotion regulation and BMI or subjective binge eating were detected.

9. Literary Starbucks: your favorite authors and characters just really need that double mocha frappucino.

Benedick and Beatrice go up to the counter and order two different flavors of mochas. The barista purposefully mixes up their drink orders, writing the wrong names on each cup. When they receive their drinks, they realize the mistake, and that they were in love with each other the whole time.

Darcy goes up to the counter and orders a caramel flan latte. He drinks it and is displeased. Then again, he has only had half a dozen acceptable Starbucks drinks in his life.

Ralph Ellison goes up to the counter and tries to order a drink. The barista doesn’t notice him.


Things I read this week:

Stories of Your Life and Others, Ted Chiang
I don’t usually like short stories. I don’t usually like math-based fiction. I adored these. Chiang plays with psychology, time, math, and is generally brilliant. My favorite was about the ethics of calliagnosia—the inability to determine the beauty of faces—as told through the eyes of college student activists one each side.

Bad Pharma, Ben Goldacre
Book story: I ended up briefly in the bowels of a bus storage area after I got so distracted by a chart (and chart description) that I failed to notice that the bus was at the end of the line and the driver failed to notice me. Read with caution, but do read.

Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay
I don’t often agree with Gay (and particularly disagree with her view on trigger warnings) but enjoyed this collection of informal essays on media, college, teaching, relationships, and life.

The Virtues of Our Vices: A Modest Defense of Gossip, Rudeness, and Other Bad Habits, Emrys Westacott
The books this week were particularly excellent, so it hardly seems fair that this isn’t my first recommendation. It would be on any other week. (My favorite was The Ethics of Gossip, but probably because it reinforced my own beliefs.)

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