Freud Was a Fraud: A Triumph of Pseudoscience

Psychiatry is arguably the least science-based of all the medical specialties, and Freudian psychoanalysis is arguably the least science-based psychotherapy. Freud’s theories have been widely criticized as unscientific, and treatment of mental disorders has increasingly turned to psychotropic medications and effective therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Freud’s impact on 20th century thought is undeniable, but

Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?

When we get sick we naturally want to understand what is happening to us. Our first question is: What is it? We want to put a name to our suffering by establishing a diagnosis. Then we ask: “Why is this happening to me?” “What caused it?” “Could I have done something to prevent it?” For

Psychology and Psychotherapy: How Much Is Evidence-Based?

Despite all those Polish jokes, Poland has its share of good scientists and critical thinkers. A superb new book illustrates that fact in spades: Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Side of Science and Therapy, by Tomasz Witkowski and Maciej Zatonski, http://www.amazon.com/Psychology-Gone-Wrong-Science-Therapy/dp/1627345280  Witkowski is a psychologist, science writer, and founder of the  Polish Skeptics Club; Zatonski

Who’s Crazy Now? DSM-5 and the Classification of Mental Disorders

What does it mean to be crazy? We use the word loosely. In casual conversation we might say “He’s crazy” or “That’s insane!” but that doesn’t mean we really think the person is certifiable. Sometimes all it means is “He doesn’t agree with me.” What does it take to be formally diagnosed with a mental

How to Think

Robert Todd Carroll, the author of The Skeptic’s Dictionary, has a new book out: The Critical Thinker’s Dictionary: Biases, Fallacies, and Illusion and what you can do about them. Since some of our commenters and most of the CAM advocates we critique are constantly committing logical fallacies, a survey of logical fallacies is a good idea both for us

Gender Differences: What Science Says and Why It’s Mostly Wrong

Men and women don’t come from Mars and Venus, but they are undeniably different. Vive la différence! Without it life would be far less interesting. It’s not just the anatomical differences like chest bumps versus dangly bits; there are also differences in psychology and behavior. My daughters and I are frequently mystified by men behaving

Multiple Personality Delusions

The “News of the Weird” recently reported that a man had turned himself in to the police for a crime he thought he must have committed because he didn’t remember doing it! He claimed to have a split personality. He remembered becoming angry at a waiter in a Chinese restaurant and the next thing he

The Mythbusters of Psychology

Karl Popper said “Science must begin with myths and with the criticism of myths.” Popular psychology is a prolific source of myths. It has produced widely held beliefs that “everyone knows are true” but that are contradicted by psychological research. A new book does an excellent job of mythbusting: 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: