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Bering in Mind

Bering in Mind

A research psychologist's curious look at human behavior


Imaginary Presidents and Imaginary Gods: The Real "Empty Chair" Effect

If you were to have told me just last week that one of my psychology experiments would soon be brought to life on stage by none other than Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention, all to the fêted laughter and applause of tens of millions of people who, in the true spirit of literalism for which so many of them are accustomed to thinking, would fail to see the irony of their own rapturous enjoyment of the scene before them, I’d have thought you were insane...

September 4, 2012

My Angry, Anti-Christian Rant Against Chick-fil-A on Slate: A Brief Backstory

Last week, in an opinion piece at my Slate column, I dove headfirst into a political cesspool. In what some referred to as an angry rant against Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy and his company s funding of antigay causes or in what I would prefer to call an act of unbridled reason I sought to move the focus away from all the frivolous accusations of Christian persecution and onto the countless at-risk or closeted gay youth undoubtedly following this story...

August 15, 2012

Autistic Savants: Geniuses of Obscure Devotions

(The following is a companion piece to the Slate article, "Eugene Hoskins Is His Name: The long-forgotten story of a black autistic man in Oxford, Miss., who crossed paths with William Faulkner." You can read that story by clicking here.)When Professor Hiram Byrd opened up the autistic savant Eugene Hoskins' private notebook back in Oxford, Mississippi in 1920, here's what he described seeing: "Mississippi Division, Jackson District." Then follows the names of stations leading from Jackson, Tenn - (Just as they were spelled out in his book) Bemis, Melases, Medon, Teag, Toone, Shandy, Bolivar, Hickery Valley, Temper, Grand Junction, Michigan City, Hudsonville, Holly Springs, etc...

February 14, 2012

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