This list is sure to include a few of your favorite pop-psychology myths

Do you believe there’s an epidemic of autism in America? Have you heard that opposites attract? Do you think dreams have symbolic meanings? How about the theory that music by Mozart can make your baby a genius? Well, these and other claims are disputed, if not refuted,...

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Certain ethnic and religious groups are more successful and prosperous than others

It might be considered politically incorrect to say so, but Americans of certain ethnic groups or religious backgrounds seem to prosper more than others, as we see HERE: Indian-Americans earn almost double the national figure (roughly $90,000 per year in median household income versus $50,000). Iranian-, Lebanese- and Chinese-Americans are also top-earners. In the last 30 years, Mormons have become leaders of corporate America, holding top positions in many of America’s most recognizable companies. These facts don’t make some groups “better”...

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The most annoying, overused and abused words of the year

Timothy Egan makes a good case HERE for getting rid of certain words, including this one: GLUTEN-FREE It’s a public service to warn the less than 1 percent of the population who suffer from celiac disease that bakery products might contain something that could make them sick. But putting this label on things that have no connection is a cynical corporate play for clueless consumers who buy something simply because they think it’s healthy. Red Bull boasts of being gluten-free. So is paint...

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The name you give your child might have an effect on his or her future

Among the countless factors for which I’m eternally grateful to my late parents is that they didn’t saddle any of their five children with trendy or unusual first names. We Cunningham children were born between 1937 and 1947, but our names — in chronological order: Mary, Ann, Patrick, Timothy and Kathleen — weren’t especially evocative of those times. Those names were given to millions of other kids born long before or long after we were. This subject came to mind as I read THIS PIECE about how first names can...

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How soon after a tragedy is it OK to joke about it?

The funny thing about most tragedies and disasters is that they eventually become the subject of jokes. A classic example of this phenomenon is this chestnut: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” But, of course, as any comedian will tell you, when it comes to humor, timing is everything. You don’t want to be too soon with your jokes about tragedies. Julie Beck has an instructive piece HERE about some serious research into the use of such jokes: Humor is a real and helpful coping strategy. From the darkest...

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