Web Roundups

Web Roundup: Empathy in the news

The capacity of individuals to imagine another’s perspective or personal agenda, and our own ability to feel anger, despondency or frustration in response to their pain and distress, has been singled out as something to consider in multiple stories and studies found on the web this month. Is empathy a choice, or something less conscious? Is it always a good …


Jamie Cohen-Cole’s The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature

The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature

by Jamie Cohen-Cole

University of Chicago Press, 2014, 368 pages.

The Closed World of the Open Mind

In Jamie Cohen-Cole’s hands, the concept of the open mind becomes an effective historiographical tool with which to trace some of the intersections of the social sciences and American political culture …


Daniel P. Todes’ Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science

9780199925193Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science

by Daniel P. Todes

Oxford University Press, 2014. 880 pages.


It is going to be difficult for reviewers to avoid clichés about this wonderful biography – and wonderful it is, as both a work of scholarship and as a highly readable story of a truly ‘Russian life in science’. Some basic things …


Psychiatry After Ferguson

What role should mental health care professionals play in helping heal psychical wounds exposed in the aftermath of Ferguson and New York?

This question lies at the heart of calls that emerged from within psychiatry, psychology, social work, and other mental health professions over the weeks since grand jury deliberations ended, and protests began, in cities across the country. Professional …


Johan Asplund’s The Elementary Forms of Social Life

This article is part of the series:

Det sociala livets elementara formerDet sociala livets elementära former [The Elementary Forms of Social Life]

by Johan Asplund

Bokförlaget Korpen, 1987/2000, 268 pages.


Johan Asplund, whose work has been rather underrepresented in the international academic arena, is frequently seen as the “father” of contemporary Swedish social psychology. Remarkably productive, Asplund gained popularity in the 1970–1980s, and his books are still widely used in …


Autism, sociality, and human nature

There are, I believe, a few reasons to suppose that autism is a particularly fascinating area to be studying at the moment.  What are those reasons?  Firstly, prevalence rates of autism have soared in recent decades, from 1:2,500 in 1978 to around 1:100 today: a staggering 25-fold increase.  Secondly, and simultaneously, the nature of those receiving a diagnosis of autism …