Ep 237: What is Misophonia? More on La Cage, Empathy, and the Milgram Studies

MisophoniaDoes the sound of other people’s mouth noises really drive you crazy? Honestly, it does to me. Things like lip smacking, swallowing, cracking and crunching really annoys me. If it annoys you too then you’re not alone. Learn about misophonia in this episode. Also, a little more about my experiences playing Albin/Zaza in the musical La Cage Aux Folles, more on how we develop empathy for others and finally a new interpretation for what really was going on in the Stanley Milgram shock studies.



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Resources on Misophonia

Triggering stimuli were all sounds produced by humans. Animal or other sounds usually did not cause distress, nor did sounds made by the patients themselves. Symptoms in 34 patients (81%) were triggered by eating-related sounds like lip smacking. 27 patients (64.3%) mentioned (loud) breathing or nose sounds as provocative. 25 patients (59.5%) could not tolerate the sound of typing on a keyboard or pen clicking sounds.



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Empathy

Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer

That immersion is supported by the way the brain handles language rich in detail, allusion and metaphor: by creating a mental representation that draws on the same brain regions that would be active if the scene were unfolding in real life. The emotional situations and moral dilemmas that are the stuff of literature are also vigorous exercise for the brain, propelling us inside the heads of fictional characters and even, studies suggest, increasing our real-life capacity for empathy.

Observing young people’s attachment to digital devices, some progressive educators and permissive parents talk about needing to “meet kids where they are,” molding instruction around their onscreen habits. This is mistaken. We need, rather, to show them someplace they’ve never been, a place only deep reading can take them.






Milgram



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Ep 236: My Cross-Dressing Experience in La Cage Aux Folles

LaCageReview_webI was recently cast as “Albin” in the musical La Cage Aux Folles and it has given me the unique opportunity to have to learn how to act more effeminate and to cross dress. As a psychologist who obsesses about the “psychology of everyday life” you can imagine how I’ve been thinking about what there is to learn from this experience. The show goes up in less than a week but I wanted to share my experiences thus far and talk about issues such as gender roles and why I think the movie (La Cage Aux Folles or the American version which is called “The Birdcage“) and the musical have been so popular.

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Ep 235: Want to Swap Bodies?

What if you could swap bodies with someone else? What would it be like to be someone of the opposite sex? A different race? We’re getting darn close to being able to do that with new techniques like the Rubber Hand Illusion, the Enfacement illusion, and now the Full body illusion. You can now virtually switch bodies with someone else and thanks to our mirror neurons and other brain systems, you can have a very different sense of body ownership. Come listen to me talk about the latest research on this topic and some potential intriguing applications to problems like bullying.


Resources on Body Swapping

Ep 234: Transvestism – Is It Normal? What Is Normal Anyway?

A small number of men cross dress and many movies and broadway shows feature cross dressers (transvestites), so obviously many people find it fascinating and those who cross dress typically enjoy it. Why? What does it mean about the people who do it? I was recently cast as Albin/ZaZa in the musical version of the movie “La Cage Aux Folles” so I’ve been doing a lot it recently. I decided to take a closer look at cross dressing and see what psychologists think about it. Along the way, I’ll also look at some of the ways we determine how or if a behavior, thought or feeling is “abnormal”



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Here are my notes for this episode in concept map form: Transvestism

Resources on Transvestism



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Sex Blogs by Experts

Ep 233: White Policemen and Young Black Men – What’s Really Going on?

In the US, we’ve experienced a number of recent incidences of white policemen shooting black men. What’s going on? Are these more examples of prejudice and discrimination or unprovoked attacks on police? How do we know what really happened? In this episode of The Psych Files we look at how key social psychological theories are on display in these incidences: false memories, attribution biases, blaming the victim and social identity theory.


the criminal justice system that, flawed as it is, still insists that indictments be based on facts instead of emotions, which are fed by long-simmering prejudices and all the cognitive biases and memory distortions that come packaged in the human mind. – Michael Shermer, What Really Happened in Ferguson?

Resources for this Episode