Category Archive: General Ranting

Apr 23 2014

Some Musings on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

 Robby Bensinger told me to finish a post on CBT, so hark! A post on CBT. Many, many thanks also to Miri for critiques and help with the composite example in Part Three.  Recently, I’ve been on this kick where I read books about therapy and self-help not because I think they’re going to be …

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Apr 13 2014

No, You Probably Don’t Want ‘Peer Reviewed Evidence for God’

I have a story to tell you about Daryl Bem. Daryl Bem is known for a variety of things–in part for, along with Sandra Lipsitz Bem, raising his children in as gender-neutral a household as possible. He’s a professor at Cornell, and has authored papers on, among other things, group decision making and psi. You …

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Apr 12 2014

Measles and the Inoculation Effect

I gave a talk at Illinois-Wesleyan earlier today about marketing, persuasion, and pseudoscience. As part of the notes, I mentioned that I had heard recently, but wasn’t sure of the veracity, that the measles outbreaks that were getting so much skeptic attention, were being wrongly blamed on anti-vaxxers. A few hours later, my RSS feed …

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Mar 30 2014

Psychology For Gryffindors

This should work if you’ve read canon Harry Potter or Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, and is some blending of the two. You can probably make sense of it with one or the other, but let me not fail to remind you that Methods is here and you should read it. Psychology for …

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Mar 27 2014

Counterintuitive Underreactions and Overreactions

The quality of not reacting in an upset way to new information has been on my mind recently. People seem to tell me things regularly—a driving force, if not the initial impetus behind my career choice–and something I’ve noticed as a skill is knowing when to react strongly to emotionally-loaded information…and when to treat an offhand …

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Feb 28 2014

Adoption: Legality and Journalistic Hype

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So, there’s this article in The New Republic. Meet the New Anti-Adoption Movement: The surprising next frontier in reproductive justice. And I, being the sort who dutifully reads any instance of Someone Wrong On The Internet that crosses my field of vision, clicked. It’s not bad. The title, fortunately, seems to be butchering the aims of the …

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Feb 23 2014

[Sunday Assembly Chicago] Talk Notes, Citations, Oddments

[General version of what I'm saying at Sunday Assembly Chicago today. Yes, the footnotes start at 2. I edited and didn't want to go fix all superscripts at 6 am this morning.] Good morning! I’m Kate Donovan, and in about two sentences, I’m going to stop talking. I’m going to smile (see?) and stare pleasantly back at you, …

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Jan 22 2014

Ask, Guess, Throw Up Hands in Confusion?

[Credit for this post goes to Robby Bensinger, for posting his usual though-provoking Facebook statuses. I accidentally wrote him a novel, which turned into this blog.] Around my corner of the internet, there’s a post that’s reappearing: Ask Culture and Guess Culture. The point isn’t so new–people relate to each other in different ways, and …

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Dec 20 2013

Some ‘Exercise for Mental Health!’ Headscratching

[CN: Brief mention of eating disorders, exercise for weight loss] “Even a little bit of exercise can improve mental functioning!”  The little display-quotes at the top of Psychology Today’s page always make me a touch antsy. The thing about writing popular psychology is that you want to to actually be popular, and “well, we tested …

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Oct 17 2013

Real Women

I was very taken with this piece from Disrupting Dinner Parties: Every boy I’ve ever dated had visible intercostals, because they were all athletes of a particular type. You can find it in the wild. They were all real men. Men with 4% body fat are real men. Men with a 35% body fat real men. …

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