How poverty stops you thinking straight (and other things) cover image

How poverty stops you thinking straight (and other things)

Dorian Minors • June 15, 2015

This is an archived article from our predecessor website, The Dirt Psychology. The idea there was to take psychological scholarship and turn it into wisdom. The Armchair Collective tries to go a little further than just psychology. As such, these articles live here in archive form, until they're updated.

The Weekly Dispatch

We curate the best psychological dirt from all over the web each week so you don’t have to. Get a jumpstart on the week, over your cup of morning coffee or on the way to work with The Weekly Dispatch.

The psychology behind ethnic fraud

Learn how the story of a person 'pretending to be black' is really not so uncommon and how NAACP President Rachel Dolezal isn't necessarily an example of superficial narcissism, but something more sinister and deep. For some people, switching between power and victimhood can become a defining character feature. It can be a method of controlling their self-image and their life. By ritualising an abuse experienced or witnessed, you are exerting your power over it and by making it a part of your self, you can even gain pleasure from it.

Narcissists might be born out of praise

Narcissists are born out of a low-self image, balanced by a grandiose sense of self. They exaggerate their importance because deep down they are ashamed of themselves. This means that they tend to use people as tools, rather than compatriots because their need is more important than yours. You probably know someone that has a little of this quality (although most of you won't meet a full-on clinical Narcissist). Well, scientists are still exploring how this façade develops but one thing they've learned is praise not tied to actual accomplishments seems to be very related.

Therapy beats insomnia better than pills (and is cheaper)

Over the last decade, researchers have been noticing a trend. Behavioural therapy seems to be as effective, if not more, than sleeping pills at treating chronic insomnia. This comes as a surprise, because traditionally insomnia has been treated as a chemical problem and not a mental one. So if you have trouble sleeping, you might think about ditching the prescription and pick up a psychologist instead.

The Stanford Prison experiment is still teaching us lessons

Not long ago, we published an article that looked into new research that suggests that the cause of the infamous results of that infamous experiment was not about the horrible nature of humans to follow authority blindly but the actual leadership of those in power that was to blame. Well, the lessons keep coming. This time it looks like not only does the leadership influence our acting, but also when we expect the outcome, we follow along too.

Poverty strips your brain of power

Not only does scarcity strain the brain so much that it loses the ability to perform as well, new research has shown that poverty is very closely related to a decrease in brain activity. That doesn't mean that being poor itself strips you of your ability, but it certainly suggests that the strains that go along with it stop you from functioning as well as you could. What's even more interesting is once you breach past the poverty line, the effect disappears. So it's not the money that does it. It's the strain on those who can't provide for themselves. Depressing way to close, so here's some puppies romping. Turning scholarship into wisdom without the usual noise and clutter, we dig up the dirt on psychological theories you can use. Become an armchair psychologist at The Dirt Psychology.

Turning scholarship into wisdom we can use at The Armchair Collective.

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Dorian Minors

I mostly do brain science. Sometimes I train honeybees. I promise they're related. I made this site because there's no reason why scholars should be the only ones to own knowledge. My special interests are interpersonal relationships, the science of community, spirituality and the brain, and the neural basis of complex behaviour. I hope this stuff is as interesting to you as it is to me. You can find out more about me here.