Category Archives: Togetherness

The real history of the ‘safe space’

There’s much debate in the media about a culture of demanding ‘safe spaces’ at university campuses in the US, a culture which has been accused of restricting free speech by defining contrary opinions as harmful. The history of safe spaces is an interesting one and a recent article in Fusion cited the concept as originating […]

What do children know of their own mortality?

We are born immortal, as far as we know at the time, and slowly we learn that we are going to die. For most children, death is not fully understood until after the first decade of life – a remarkable amount of time to comprehend the most basic truth of our existence. There are poetic […]

A social vanishing

A fantastic eight-part podcast series called Missing has just concluded and it’s a brilliant look at the psychology and forensic science of missing people. It’s been put together by the novelist Tim Weaver who is renowned for his crime thrillers that feature missing persons investigator David Raker. He uses the series to investigate the phenomenon […]

From school shootings to everyday counter-terrorism

Mother Jones has a fascinating article on how America is attempting to stop school shootings by using community detection and behavioural intervention programmes for people identified as potential killers – before a crime has ever been committed. It is a gripping read in itself but it is also interesting because it describes an approach that […]

The Quiet Room

This month’s British Journal of Psychiatry has a brief but fascinating article about a 1979 Marvel comic featuring and written by rock legend Alice Cooper which depicts his real-life admission to a psychiatric ward. The comic was timed to coincide with the release of his concept album From The Inside which describes his experiences as […]

Hold infinity in the palms of your hand

A rare documentary about three people who have had hallucinatory and profound revelatory experiences is now available online. Those Who Are Jesus examines the borders between revelation and psychosis and hears people recount their intense experiences while looking at how they can be understood in terms of sociology, neuropsychiatry, religion and radical mental health. Julian […]

Wanted: political diversity in social psychology

A fascinating article on why social psychology needs more political diversity is due to be published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Sadly the full article is locked behind a paywall but the abstract gives an excellent summary of the article and the wider problem itself. Political Diversity Will Improve Social Psychological Science. Duarte JL, Crawford […]

Context Is the New Black

The New Yorker has one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the Stanford prison experiment – the notorious and mythologised study that probably doesn’t tell us that we ‘all have the potential to be monsters’. It’s a study that’s often taught as one of the cornerstones of psychology and like many foundational stories, […]

Hallucinating children

I’ve got an article in The Observer about childhood hallucinations which are much more common than we previously imagined. You tend to get one of two reactions when you discuss children hallucination: that’s obvious – children live in a fantasy world, or that’s horrendous – there must be something very wrong with them. The answer […]

A less hysterical reaction

There’s a fascinating article in The Guardian about one of the least understood aspects of human nature: experiences like blindness, paralysis and seizures that seem to mimic gross damage to the nervous system but aren’t explained by it. People can experience profound blindness, for example, but have no detectable damage to their visual system. These […]

A brief and unlikely scenario

The Independent have been running a series called ‘If I were Prime Minister’ where they’ve asked a diverse range of people what they would do if they were PM. I written a brief piece for them where I talk about why we need to make hospital care for people with psychosis much less distressing. It’s […]

Vice on mental health

Somewhat unexpectedly, Vice magazine has just launched a series of articles, videos and interviews on mental health, and it’s really very good. The VICE Guide to Mental Health covers the science of mental illness, what it’s like being sectioned, recovering from suicide or being severely anxious, and the social issues in getting mental health care, […]

She’s giving me hallucinations

Last year I did a talk in London on auditory hallucinations, The Beach Boys and the psychology and neuroscience of hallucinated voices, and I’ve just discovered the audio is available online. It was part of the Pint of Science festival where they got scientists to talk about their area of research in the pub, which […]

How is the brain relevant in mental disorder?

The Psychologist has a fascinating article on how neuroscience fits in to our understanding of mental illness and what practical benefit brain science has – in lieu of the fact that it currently doesn’t really help us a great deal in the clinic. It is full of useful ways of thinking about how neuroscience fits […]

Trauma is more complex than we think

I’ve got an article in The Observer about how the official definition of trauma keeps changing and how the concept is discussed as if it were entirely intuitive and clear-cut, when it’s actually much more complex. I’ve become fascinated by how the concept of ‘trauma’ is used in public debate about mental health and the […]

A love beyond illusions

Articles on people’s experience of the altered states of madness often fall into similar types: tragedy, revelation or redemption. Very few do what a wonderful article in Pacific Standard manage: give an account of how a young couple learn to live with psychosis. It’s an interesting piece because it’s not an account of how someone […]


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