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

Do you remember your dreams?

April 22, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Childhood, Psychology 4 Comments →

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Dream diary by Roman Muradov, via biblioklept.

We don’t seem to. We’re sure that at some point in our 8 or 9 hours of sleep every night (This is our real talent, sleeping) we have dreams, but when we wake up we usually don’t remember a single one. Which is too bad because the few we do remember would make some weird short stories. We’ve tried ordering ourselves to recall our dreams, and keeping a notebook by the bed, to no avail. (On the other hand we remember stories our friends have forgotten they told us years ago.)

But if we get up after dawn to go to the bathroom and then go back to sleep, we remember the dreams we have in the next 2-3 hours.

The dream we remember most vividly is the one where a vampire flies into the kitchen while we’re having breakfast with our parents. We had it when we were 10 or so. In the dream the vampire grabs us, and in our terror we look at our mother and father, and they wave, “Buh-bye! Buh-bye!”

Did your memories happen to you, or to someone else?

February 06, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology 1 Comment →

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London Blitz

From Speak, Memory by Oliver Sacks

It is startling to realize that some of our most cherished memories may never have happened—or may have happened to someone else. I suspect that many of my enthusiasms and impulses, which seem entirely my own, have arisen from others’ suggestions, which have powerfully influenced me, consciously or unconsciously, and then been forgotten. Similarly, while I often give lectures on similar topics, I can never remember, for better or worse, exactly what I said on previous occasions; nor can I bear to look through my earlier notes. Losing conscious memory of what I have said before, and having no text, I discover my themes afresh each time, and they often seem to me brand-new. This type of forgetting may be necessary for a creative or healthy cryptomnesia, one that allows old thoughts to be reassembled, retranscribed, recategorized, given new and fresh implications.

Read the whole essay at NYRB.

“I will not let you go”: A story of stalking

January 25, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Psychology No Comments →

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Image by Holly Gressley

“I Will Ruin Him”
How it feels to be stalked
By James Lasdun

Some years ago, I found myself, to my surprise, the victim of a campaign of malicious e-mail stalking and online defamation by a former M.F.A. student.

Nasreen (all names here have been changed) was a talented writer, and she had an interesting story to tell about her family’s experiences in Iran at the time of the revolution. During the term I taught her, I’d made it clear I thought highly of her work.

Two years after she graduated, she contacted me, asking me to help edit her novel. I was too busy at the time, but I put her in touch with my agent, who in turn introduced her to a freelance editor. Nasreen seemed grateful for the help, and an amicable correspondence began between us…

Read the full article in The Chronicle Review.

Fake it till you become it.

January 13, 2013 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology No Comments →

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.

Apparently actors have it right: posing works.

Take the Psychopath Challenge

October 16, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology 3 Comments →

The Wisdom of Psychopaths

Read What psychopaths teach us about how to succeed in the Scientific American.

In our observation the people who think they’re crazy tend to be sane. It’s the people who insist they are normal that we worry about.

Memory exercises

October 09, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Psychology, Science 3 Comments →


Now you can stop taking Polaroids of everything. Ubud connection: Guy Pearce starred in The Proposition which was written by Nick Cave who is in the Writers’ Festival.

3. Make a gesture

There are also more leisurely ways to engage your body during learning, as the brain seems to find it easier to learn abstract concepts if they can be related to simple physical sensations. As a result, various experiments have shown that acting out an idea with relevant hand gestures can improve later recall, whether you are studying new vocabulary of a foreign language or memorising the rules of physics.

It may sound dubious, but even simple eye movements might help. Andrew Parker and Neil Dagnall at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, have found that subjects were better able to remember a list of words they had just studied if they repeatedly looked from left to right and back for 30 seconds straight after reading the list – perhaps because it boosts the transfer of information between the two brain hemispheres. It’s worth noting, however, that this only seems to benefit right-handers. Perhaps the brains of left-handed and ambidextrous people already engage in a higher level of cross-talk, and the eye-wiggling only distracts them.

Read Memory: Six Tips to Master Yours in New Scientist.

We can vouch for tip #3. Our “gesture” is note-taking. We find that if we’ve written something down, it’s sealed in the memory. If you have a good memory you don’t have to study for exams, and in the real world your instant access to facts gets you mistaken for an intelligent person.