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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Psychology’

The nerd therapist is in.

May 12, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Psychology 40 Comments →

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To recover from a very intense month I am going to my lovely dermatologist Dr Mary Anne Amon at Derma 360 in Rockwell (which is under renovation so I have to go to her clinic at Makati Med) to get my warts zapped. Afterwards I will look like a chocolate chip cookie so I’m taking myself out of human society and declaring quarantine in my library. My wonderful, cluttered, neglected but deeply comforting library. Where would I be without the consolations of literature? And the second season of Better Call Saul.

Are you glum, dispirited, boggled? Do you need to talk? Post your issues in Comments and let’s see what we can do.

Duterte is your walking, talking id.

April 19, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Election News Junkies Support Group, Psychology 5 Comments →

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You wish you could point to the criminal scum and order them to be shot. Someone cuts ahead of you in traffic? Bang! You wish you could make rape jokes. They’re just words, right? Why don’t these wimps get how funny it is to say you want to violate a woman? Your mother, your wife, your sisters, your friends: why don’t they get it?

Clearly, Duterte has struck a vein in the Pinoy psyche. He is the figurehead of a genuine people’s movement. As a social scientist would put it, his rise is based not on a political machine, but on Keynes’s “animal spirits”. That this unpredictable outsider may soon be president of this republic speaks to how well the candidate and his campaign team understand the deepest, most primal fears and needs of the Pinoy.

Duterte’s words are not calculated to impress the voters. He doesn’t have to calculate. He’s just saying the words that are already in your head. He is your walking, talking, preening, strutting id. The id is the part of your personality that contains your most basic instincts. It is where your needs, wants, desires, impulses, sex drives, aggressive drives come from. It is not affected by reality, logic, right or wrong. It only has one master, and that is the pleasure principle. It wants immediate satisfaction, it does not care how.

Read our column at InterAksyon.

If you’ve ever cheated or been cheated on, watch this TED talk on infidelity

January 07, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, Re-lay-shun-ships No Comments →

Thanks to Ricky for the alert.

Living by your wits: no security, but less stress

October 08, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Money, Psychology, The Workplace No Comments →

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Saffy had dental surgery two weeks ago. We noticed that she’d been swatting her face and snarling, and figured she had a toothache. The excellent vets at Makati Dog and Cat Hospital extracted five rotten teeth (Saffy is 15 and has never brushed her teeth in her life, being a cat). Saffy has recovered completely and is slightly nicer than she was when she was in pain, though she could still be the reincarnation of Josef Stalin. She’s even started eating hard kibble again, after having demanded paté-type cat food for the last year or so.

If we had a “normal” work schedule and went to the office everyday, we might not have noticed that our feline overlord needed medical attention. The great advantage of being freelance, i.e. living by our wits, is that we can decide how we’re going to spend our time. In the 21st century, time is a luxury that even the rich and powerful can barely afford. They’re over-scheduled and have to hoard their holidays. As long as we finish our assignments, we can go to the movies in the middle of the afternoon.

In our observation, people who live by their wits are less stressed than people with high-paying jobs or successful businesses. We don’t have real financial security, and we’re always aware that periods of liquidity can suddenly give way to penury. We’re accustomed to uncertainty and chaos, so we’ve learned to ride out the lean periods. This does not mean we’re lazy. Freelancers who are lazy cannot pay the rent or buy cat food. We toil, but we get to decide when to toil, usually in intense bursts.

Living by your wits isn’t for everybody, but if you know how to improvise and you don’t have ten children to buy braces for, we recommend it.

On uncontrollable urges, Oliver Sacks’s last article

September 05, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Psychology, Science No Comments →

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Royal Library, Windsor Castle. Detail of a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1510–1511

Walter B., an affable, outgoing man of forty-nine, came to see me in 2006. As a teenager, following a head injury, he had developed epileptic seizures—these first took the form of attacks of déjà vu that might occur dozens of times a day. Sometimes he would hear music that no one else could hear. He had no idea what was happening to him and, fearing ridicule or worse, kept his strange experiences to himself.

Read it.

Boredom is actually good for you

June 11, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology No Comments →

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Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. Image: Robert Plutchik

Although boredom is essential for human development it’s been given a bad rap. “Boredom has traditionally been associated with a range of negative outcomes, both within the workplace and outside it,” Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman of the University of Central Lancashire write in their 2014 paper. Mann and Cadman examined the relationship between boredom and creative potential on a range of tasks in two studies.

In the first study, 80 eager volunteers visited their lab only to be given the dull, monotonous chore of copying out lengthy lists of telephone numbers, or to be excluded from it (this was the control group), followed by the creative task of thinking of as many possible uses for a pair of plastic cups.

In the second study, a further 90 volunteers were split into three groups, each group being assigned to various types of boring activities (copying numbers, reading the numbers, or being excused from the whole thing – again, a control), followed by a creative task.

“Results suggested that boring activities resulted in increased creativity and that boring reading activities lead to more creativity in some circumstances,” the authors write.

Read it at New Statesman.