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

Why Do Men Cross Dress?A small number of men cross dress and many movies and broadway shows feature cross dressers (the DSM5 refers to as 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”


Information on TransvestismHere are my notes for this episode in concept map form: Transvestism

Resources on Transvestism

Here’s a video called “Transgender Basics” which was suggested by Gabrielle (see the comments below)

Sex Blogs by Experts

Ep 197: Using the Word Guys for Women, Robots Helping the Elderly and Supernormal Foods

Should we stop using “Guys” to refer to groups of women and mixed sex groups? Why do we (particularly men) refer to many objects – like cars and boats – as “she”? Are everyday foods actually “SuperNormal” foods – created to be absolutely irresistible and therefore causing us to be overweight? Is it okay to employ robots to care for our elderly? And finally, how come the ending of a movie can “ruin the whole thing” if it’s not a good ending? After all, you enjoyed most of the movie. In this episode I try to address these questions. We’ll talk about all these things in this episode of The Psych Files.

Bandit is one of a growing number of social robots designed to help humans in both hospitals and homes. There are robots that comfort lonely shut-ins, assist patients suffering from dementia, and help autistic kids learn how to interact with their human peers. – Falling in love with a bot

Disruptions: Helper Robots Are Steered, Tentatively, to Care for the Aging
Uncanny valley

Ep 196: What Men Need to Do to End Violence Against Others

Are jail time and new laws the only answers to men’s violence against women, children, and other men? Or is there something every man can do to end these tragedies? In an earlier episode of The Psych Files in which I discussed Blaming the Victim, I talked about why there’s a tendency to blame victims and to overlook the Optimism Bias that we all share (particularly younger folks). But podcast listener and psychotherapist Jackie Henry felt that I didn’t go far enough in that episode, and she was right. We – especially men – need to think carefully about the way we talk about women in our everyday lives. Was that joke really funny? Or was it one of the small ingredients that eventually adds up to – or contributes to – the ongoing violence and lack of empathy that those with power express toward those without it. We take up this important issue in this episode of The Psych files.

We say to ourselves, ‘What can I do? I’m only one person. How can we change the system?’ I think you move through that and you realize that there are small things you can do. Once we work on the individual level eventually that’s how bigger things change – Jackie Henry

Ep 179: Lipstick Effect, Stereotype Threat and other Gender Matters

photo credit: beast love via photo pin cc

Do women who work in typically male dominated jobs “play down” their femininity in order to be gain more respect from their male co-workers?

In this episode we’ll explore stereotype threat (also known as stereotype vulnerability) as well as something you may not have heard of: the lipstick effect. How do men and women change their appearance or their behavior during times of economic depression? In this all-gender episode we look at these issues as well as why the new Volkswagen Beetle has changed its appearance. Yes, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has become more masculine, but why? … Read more

Ep: 166: The Secret Life of Pronouns – an Interview with James Pennebaker

What do you reveal about yourself in the way you use the smallest and seemingly most insignificant words you use every minute? That’s the focus of Dr. James Pennebaker‘s fascinating book and one of the most interesting psychology books of 2011: The Secret Life of Pronouns. If you’re fascinated by language then you’ll find this episode especially interesting.

When we’re trying to find out what people are thinking and feeling we usually focus on what Pennebaker refers to as “content words”, examples of which are nouns, verbs and adjectives. Do you say that you’re “happy” or “sad” or “angry”?

But what about the tiny words you use in between these content words? What do they reveal about you and others? What does the way you use function words:

  • pronouns: I, me, you, he, she
  • prepositions (to, for, of)
  • negations: no, not, never
  • articles: a, and, the

reveal about how you feel and how you think about the world?

Function words make up a small percent of our vocabulary, but we use them at a very, very high rate. How could you speak without them?

In this fascinating interview with Dr. Pennebaker he discusses some of what you’ll find in The Secret Life of Pronouns: the differences between men and women, our emotional states, indeed our very personalities are revealed in our use of these seemingly insignificant words.

James Pennebaker and The Secret Life of Pronouns