New research: a mystical experience on psilocybin can transform your personality

Ice_Spirit_Eye

“Ice Spirit Eye~” by Piucca io

New research finds that a single high dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can lead to lasting personality change.

Read moreNew research: a mystical experience on psilocybin can transform your personality

Hereafter UK: Spiritual beliefs and near-death experiences in Britain

HEAVEN_by_Telstar2000

PHOTO: Telstar2000 @ Flickr

A recent survey of spiritual beliefs in the UK has led me to the fascinating research of Dr. Penny Sartori into near-death experiences (NDEs).

Read moreHereafter UK: Spiritual beliefs and near-death experiences in Britain

Pyramid scam? – Evolutionary psychologists take on the Hierarchy of Needs

raiders of the lost maslow by Laurence Simon (isfullofcrap) Flickr.com

“raiders of the lost maslow” by Laurence Simon (isfullofcrap) — Flickr.com

Abraham Maslow must be turning in his grave. In a recent paper, a group of evolutionary psychologists has set out to replace his famous humanistic theory of motivation with something a lot less … human.

You have probably heard of the Hierarchy of Needs. It looks like a pyramid, and it’s one of the most popular images to come out of modern psychology.

But recently, a group of evolutionary psychologists has sought to overhaul the model. Or as they put it, to “renovate the pyramid”.

The result is a perfect illustration of the fundamental division within psychology itself.

Read morePyramid scam? – Evolutionary psychologists take on the Hierarchy of Needs

New Zealand near death experiencers needed for first Kiwi study

Dr Mary Murray and Dr Natasha Tassell

Personal accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs) are wanted for the first large-scale study of the phenomenon in New Zealand.

The study is being undertaken by Massey University‘s Dr Mary Murray, a sociologist and senior lecturer, and Dr Natasha Tassell, a psychology lecturer. They have set up the Massey University NDE Research Group whose purpose is to investigate NDEs in New Zealand and is the first research group of its kind in the country.

Read moreNew Zealand near death experiencers needed for first Kiwi study

Successful psychopaths [update]

Psychologists have recently started taking notice of so-called “successful psychopaths”. These are people who have the same kinds of disturbed personalities as regular psychopaths — but, remarkably, they have no history of criminal prosecution. In fact, they can live seemingly successful lives in normal society.

Read moreSuccessful psychopaths [update]

The Character Project: Templeton Foundation funds study into the nature of human character

University awarded $3.67 Million to study the nature of character.

The Character Project

The past 30 years have seen a resurgence of interest in character, particularly in the areas of psychology, philosophy, and theology. This work has given rise to a number of challenging questions, such as:

  • Do character traits such as honesty or compassion really exist?
  • If they do exist, how prevalent are they, and what is their underlying psychological nature?
  • Should character traits such as the virtues be the centerpiece of our best ethical theory?
  • How should we go about improving our characters and overcoming our character flaws?
  • For those working in theology, should thinking about human and divine character be central to theological ethics?

The goal of the Character Project, a research project funded by  the John Templeton Foundation, is to address these questions and to foster new advances in the study of character.

Read moreThe Character Project: Templeton Foundation funds study into the nature of human character

Near-death experiences explained by carbon dioxide? [or: How journalism works]

Has a simple rational explanation for near-death experiences finally been found?

First there came a Google news announcement:

CO2 may explain ‘near-death experience’: study (AFP)

Then other news outlets repeated the story, essentially word-for-word but with increasingly emphatic headlines.

Read moreNear-death experiences explained by carbon dioxide? [or: How journalism works]

Being spiritual (but not religious) makes children happier: new research

Newly published research from Canada finds that spirituality is strongly linked to the happiness of children aged 8 to 12, but religiousness is not.

— photo: D Sharon Pruitt

A new study by the University of British Columbia, Canada, shows that children who feel that their lives have meaning and value and who develop deep relationships — both aspects of spirituality — also feel happier. It would appear, however, that religious practices have little effect on their happiness.

Read moreBeing spiritual (but not religious) makes children happier: new research