Category Archives: Psychology


The Menu: The Narcissism of High-End Dining

The Menu, a new Netflix film starring Ralph Fiennes, is a brutal satire of class division. It is also a study of the narcissism that characterizes the gastro-tourism business and its celebrity chefs. For example, Noma, the Copenhagen restaurant that has repeatedly topped lists of the world’s best restaurants, is currently serving grilled reindeer heart on a bed of fresh pine and saffron ice cream in a beeswax bowl.카지노사이트

A new class of gastro tourists schedules first-class flights and entire vacations around the privilege of paying a minimum of $500 per person for its multicourse tasting menu of things that most of us would not even characterize as “food.” René Redzepi, Noma’s chef, and creator, has been hailed as his era’s most brilliant chef.

Chef Redzepi has decided to close the restaurant because it, like many other elite restaurants, is facing scrutiny of the treatment of their workers, many of them paid poorly or not at all, who produce and serve these exquisite dishes.

Chef Kim Mikkola, who worked at Noma for four years, said that fine dining, like diamonds, ballet, and other elite pursuits, often have abuse built into it. The style of fine dining that Noma helped create and promote around the world–wildly innovative, labor-intensive, and inordinately expensive–may be undergoing a sustainability crisis.

What is it that cannot be sustained? It is a level of perfectionism and obsessiveness that becomes destructive to the staff and self-destructive to the chef. As brutally demonstrated in The Menu, cooking becomes dissociated from the pleasure of eating. Compulsive innovation trumps exploring culinary adventure.

The restaurant that is the centerpiece of The Menu is set on Hawthorn, an island of the same name, in the Pacific Northwest. Patrons must take a boat and cannot leave until the hours-long tasting menu is served.

Every dish comes with a side of self-satisfaction and a lecture on its provenance by Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), a rock-star chef with an authoritarian demeanor. In his dining room, mere feet from an army of assistants, drooling gastro tourists have each dropped $1,250 to wrap their gums around Slowik’s fabled tasting menu.

Among them are a star-struck foodie and his last-minute date, Margot; an arrogant restaurant critic; three odious tech workers; and a fading movie star hoping to pitch a culinary travel show. All except Margot have been carefully chosen and are about to become players in Slowik’s elaborate opera of humiliation, sadism, revenge, and self-destruction. This is no joke. There are several suicides in the film. While the restaurant industry, in general, does not have a high suicide rate, the top rungs of it do.

In 2003, a short time after becoming a member of the Relais & Châteaux association, Bernard Loiseau was downgraded from 19/20 to 17/20 in the Gault et Millau guide and received a strong negative media review from the gastronomic critic François Simon in the newspaper Le Figaro. But he still had three stars in the Michelin Guide. As the criticism continued to pour in and the media speculated about a possible future loss of a Michelin star, he died by suicide by self-inflicted gunshot without giving any explanation.바카라사이트

Joseph Cerniglia, the 39-year-old owner of Campania in Fair Lawn, was the second chef to commit suicide after appearing on one of three-star chef Gordon Ramsay’s high-heat, reality-cooking series. The first was 41-year-old Rachel Brown, who shot herself after appearing on the show. Cerniglia was deeply in debt when his Italian eatery was featured in the first season of Kitchen Nightmares in 2007.

During the series, foul-mouthed celebrity foodie Ramsay verbally abused restaurateurs in hopes of getting them back on track. “Your business is about to f–king swim down the Hudson,” the brash Brit berated Joseph Cerniglia, a married dad of three.

In 2010, the New Jersey restaurateur jumped off the George Washington Bridge.

In 2016, three-star Michelin chef Benoît Violier committed suicide the day before the prestigious Michelin guide was to announce its ratings for 2016. Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville at Crissier, Chef Violier’s restaurant, was named in December 2015 as “the best in the world.” A $380 tasting menu included purple sea urchin served in a champagne sauce.

The fictional Chef Slowik is work-addicted and surrounded by a similarly afflicted staff. One sous-chef kills himself when told he will never be “great.” Many actual great chefs have their sense of self so intertwined with their cuisine that they cannot bear the narcissistic wound of being anything less than the greatest.

Mr. Redzepi, 45, has been on a spiritual journey to get beyond the famously rageful, mercurial, and workaholic young chef he was when he opened Noma in 2003. He said that process brought him to this breaking point. He has realized that financially and emotionally, as an employer and human being, the model he created doesn’t work.

Perhaps Chef Redzepi has the wisdom to quit before he becomes Chef Slowik.온라인카지노


Emotions We Must Deal with to Defend Democracy

The 2022 midterm elections raise questions about our psychological lives. For large numbers of Americans there is a sense of loss of the world we had known, of much that has defined our lives and our sense of reality. At issue are our collective forms of loss, and hopeful expressions of overcoming that loss.카지노사이트

We are used to discussing reverberations of individual loss. But we have less knowledge of its collective forms, of the effects of what I call psychohistorical dislocation. Such dislocation can be brought about by significant societal change of any kind. That change often involves a disruption of social and institutional arrangements that ordinarily anchor human lives: our larger symbol systems having to do with family, religion, social and political authority, sexuality, birth and death, and the overall life cycle. Dislocation is increased by the relatively new presence of social media, which magnify attacks on democratic procedure and contribute greatly to the loss of decency in public discourse.

Both sides in our present historical struggle—election deniers and defenders of democracy—insist on their own sense of loss. Here dislocation becomes politicized as election deniers experience a loss of white hegemony in a Christian society, and defenders of democracy, Democratic and Republican, struggle with the loss of a nonviolent political process.

In this way our public and private worlds are consumed by claims of loss, by compensatory behavior in response to those claims. And everyone is enraged at opponents they blame for bringing about their loss.

“Polarization” is the wrong term, however, because the word can suggest equal responsibility for extreme positions. It is more accurate to say that a large block of people has mounted a seditious attack on the concept of free elections and the rule of law, and with it the political world of democracy.

We need to explore the psychological effects of that attack on democracy on the rest of us—the emotions we experience in our efforts to cope with it. I would emphasize emotions of astonishment, confusion, helplessness, fear, despair, rage, and alienation. Each can be experienced alone and intermittently, but they are mostly simultaneous in ways that we can find overwhelming.

Our astonishment has to with the brazenness of the sedition and the violence in relation to the Big Lie. Behavior so extreme and unprecedented that we find it hard to believe it is happening. I am reminded of a talk I had with a Jewish physician-survivor of Auschwitz in which he said: “You know Robert, I’ve been involved in this problem for more than forty years, and I still can’t believe that it really happened—that anyone would try to round up all the Jews in Europe and send them to a place to kill them.” Of course this Auschwitz example is of a very different dimension, but it does exemplify the difficulty we have believing what is unimaginable and therefore “unthinkable.”

Our confusion has to do with deep uncertainty, especially in our relationship between self and world in what we understand to be fact, evidence, reality, truth. The confusion is further fueled by what has been called the “chaos machine” of social media.

Our sense of helplessness has to do with the persistence of conspiratorial falsehood and the Big Lie along with the feeling that we are unable to prevail over that falsehood now or in the imaginable future. Feelings of helplessness have been considerably mitigated by the pro-democracy accomplishments of the recent elections, including an impressive turnout of young people. Feelings of helplessness have by no means disappeared, but we have experienced a clearly improved sense of collective agency.

Our fear is in direct response to threats and intimidation, including death threats and acts of violence. It has manifested itself in the resignation of large numbers of civil servants, notably vote counters, concerned about their own safety and that of their families. That externally induced fear can be sufficiently pervasive to connect with inner sources of fear and anxiety that exist in everyone.바카라사이트

The same is true of a sense of despair: an absence of hope. There are pockets of fear and despair that are both personal and collective. They can be related to such democratic fault lines as anti-government attitudes, racism, and antisemitism. In that way we’re never sure whether what is wrong with us is caused by the larger society or by our personal conflicts. Fear and despair are also magnified by specific violence towards minority groups and by legislation that diminishes human rights.

Perhaps the most difficult feeling for us to cope with is simple rage, at Trump himself as the perpetrator of the Big Lie and at those who support him. We experience their behavior as immoral to the point of obscene. One commentator describes his own feelings toward Trump and Big Lie accomplices like Marjorie Taylor Greene as “something between rage and anger” to a degree he has never felt toward public officials before. He wonders how to get rid of such disturbing feelings.

My immediate answer is not to get rid of them too quickly. There can be an animating relation to rage of a kind I have described in past work for animating guilt. Just as Vietnam Veterans could convert feelings of guilt into an anxiety of responsibility with focused opposition to the war, so can American defenders of democracy channel their rage in ways that convert it into forms of nonviolent activist outrage.

Many people experience a sense of alienation from society and attempt to distance themselves from political and other forms of involvement. They seek to separate themselves from the larger society and its widespread complicity with the extreme Trumpist immorality. That alienation can become an immobilizing form of personal “stuckness.”

To overcome such alienation one must allow oneself to undergo the societal pain that affects one’s immediate environment, as opposed to protecting oneself from that pain. Going further, one must acknowledge the pain in others. And translate the pain into new actions.

Of course, people struggle to divert themselves from these seemingly unmanageable emotions, whether holding to ordinary personal and family routines, traditional cultural events, or passions for sports. But the tsunami of threat and loss can break through whatever protective actions the self may undertake.

I myself have gone through this sequence of pain, acknowledgement of pain of others, and using it to fuel new action. I remember how during the Vietnam War I could share some of the pain students were experiencing in connection with being drafted and possibly killed in a war they despised and opposed. As a Yale professor, I found myself writing letters to draft boards, explaining how problems with authority could render particular students unfit for military service. I was struggling to find a truth that I might express in a way that could be helpful to these students.

I went further in performing civil disobedience and organizing a group of professionals and intellectuals who could share that commitment. Now, with loosened ties to a university, I can resist a sense of alienation through writing and taking stands with others. None of this frees me from periodic feelings of alienation but it does enable me to avoid stuckness.

These emotions—astonishment, confusion, helplessness, fear, despair, rage, and alienation—are expressions of self-defense in the face of the onslaught of falsehood. But they can also be sources of truth that are mobilized and transformed into actions that combat the Big Lie and its conspiratorial claims. For that to happen, for us to recover collective forms of reality based on evidence, we must acknowledge and address the emotions that we experience.온라인카지노


Unique therapy that alters memory processes could reduce psychological disturbances following romantic betrayal

A novel technique that uses a beta blocker to interfere with memory reconsolidation shows promise in the treatment of adjustment disorder following romantic betrayal, according to new research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.카지노사이트

Adjustment disorder is a condition that can occur in response to a significant life event or change. While it is normal to feel some degree of anxiety or distress in such situations, people with adjustment disorder experience more intense and long-lasting symptoms that interfere with their ability to cope. These may include difficulty sleeping, depressed mood, social withdrawal, and difficulty concentrating. In severe cases, adjustment disorder can lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

“There is no recognized empirically-based treatment for adjustment disorders,” said study author Alain Brunet, a clinical psychologist and psychiatry professor at McGill University. “This is an oddity. We were interested in determining if the good clinical results we had obtained in treating PTSD with Reconsolidation Therapy applied to a broader set of trauma-like conditions, hence our interest for adjustment disorder.”

“Romantic Betrayal (a form of adjustment disorder) seemed like an interesting topic to study because, first, it is very distressing. Second, it is one of the most common reason why individuals seek professional help. Finally, there is very little help available for romantically betrayed individuals who do not wish to return with their partner.”

Propranolol is a beta blocker that is often prescribed for high blood pressure, migraines, and certain anxiety disorders. But the drug has also been shown to weaken the emotional tone of memories by blocking adrenergic pathways.

Reconsolidation Therapy consist in recalling a bad memory under the influence of propranolol with the help of a trained therapist,” Brunet explained. “This treatment approach is a translational treatment stemming from the research in neuroscience which stipulates that a recalled memory needs to be saved again to long-term memory storage in order to persist. Interfering with the storage process will yield a degraded (less emotional) memory.”

In the new study, Brunet and his colleagues recruited adults who met the DSM-5 criteria for adjustment disorder. The participants had all experienced a romantic betrayal event, such as infidelity, that occurred during a monogamous long-term relationship.

The researchers asked the participants to write a first-person narrative of their romantic betrayal/abandonment event. The participants were told to focus on the most emotionally provocative aspects of the event and to include stress-related reactions, such as feeling tense, trembling, and sweating. During treatment sessions, the participants ingested propranolol before reading their narrative out loud once. Fifty-five participants completed at least one treatment session, while 48 completed all five sessions.바카라사이트

To assess clinically significant symptoms, the participants completed a widely used questionnaire known as the Impact of Event Scale — Revised (IES-R) before, during, and after the treatment phase. The researchers observed a large drop in IES-R scores immediately following the first treatment. The declines in IES-R scores continued over the course of the treatment phase. Thirty-five participants who completed a follow-up survey provided evidence that the improvements in symptom endured up to 4 months.

“Our study suggests that Reconsolidation Therapy works with adjustment disorder, in that it is clearly superior to a wait-list group (subjects were their own control),” Brunet told PsyPost. “The magnitude of the pre-post treatment improvement compares to results we obtained in our PTSD research.”

Brunet said he was surprised by how high the IES-R scores were prior to treatment. “Looking at the severity of symptoms, were surprised at how painful adjustment disorder can be,” the researcher explained. “Adjustment disorder is no ‘wimpy’ disorder. This is clearly a misconception.”

The study utilized a within-subjects open-label design, which limits the ability to draw strong conclusions about causality. However, the findings provide an important foundation for future research. “In spite of its moderate size, the study is important in that it provides the treatment ‘effect sizes’ required to launch a placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial,” Brunet said.

The study, “Treatment of adjustment disorder stemming from romantic betrayal using memory reactivation under propranolol: A open-label interrupted time series trial“, was authored by Michelle Lonergan, Daniel Saumier, Sereena Pigeon, Pierre E. Etienne, and Alain Brunet.온라인카지노


3 common thinking traps and how to avoid them, according to a Yale psychologist

The mind is a tricky thing. It can lead us to believe that we can confidently sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at karaoke even though we haven’t heard the song in years, or that one terrible review on Yelp is reason enough not to go to a 4-star rated restaurant.카지노사이트

These thinking errors are what people in the psychology community call cognitive biases. And that’s the focus of a new book out this month, Thinking 101: How to Reason Better to Live Better, by Yale psychology professor Woo-kyoung Ahn. In the book, Ahn highlights some of the most pernicious cognitive slip-ups we make — and how biases can cloud our judgment and affect the people around us.

Researchers suspect that many of these biases are evolutionary, says Ahn. During times of scarcity, our ancestors had to make quick judgments in order to survive among predators or thrive in a difficult environment. But in a time of abundance, she adds, these quick judgments don’t always do us good.

However, we can do our best to try to correct these thinking traps, says Ahn, which she teaches her students how to do in her popular undergraduate course at Yale. In general, she says, the key is to pause before making assumptions — and be aware of our tendencies for different kinds of bias.

The bias: We overestimate our abilities

This is known in the field of psychology as an “illusion of fluency,” which describes our tendency to be overconfident in our abilities without sufficient evidence. This can lead us, for example, to bungle career-altering presentations because of inadequate preparation, or dramatically underestimate the time it takes to complete projects.

In her class at Yale, Ahn uses an experiment to illustrate this phenomenon with her students. She shows them a dance clip from the song “Boy with Luv” by the K-pop group BTS. After watching six seconds of the easiest choreography moves over and over again, she invites the students who believe they have the dance down to do it themselves. One after another stumbles.

“People can have overconfidence about what they can accomplish by watching other people do it so fluently,” Ahn says. When the pros dance in a way that looks effortless, they think they can do it effortlessly too.

How to counteract it: You can correct this bias, she says, by doing what the Yale students did: Try it out yourself. It will quickly put any feelings of overconfidence to rest.

You can also fight this tendency by over-preparing and considering potential obstacles beforehand, says Ahn. For example, if you’re working on a home remodeling project for the first time and have no idea how long it will take, don’t try to guess. Talk to friends who went through a recent remodel or consult with a few contractors to understand how long the project might take and what problems may arise. The more information you have, the better and more accurately you can assess a situation.

The bias: We tend to fixate on the negative

The concept of “negativity bias” illustrates our propensity to weigh negative events a lot more heavily than an equal amount of positive events. It explains why a friend’s unenthusiastic review of an Oscar-nominated movie, for example, might spur you to watch something else. Or why you might be less inclined to hire a potential employee after hearing one negative thing about them, despite positive referrals.바카라사이트

Negativity bias can be dangerous because it can lead us to make the wrong choices. It can hold us back from making a decision about something, say a big purchase like a house, or even a political candidate, out of fear there was once a negative event associated with an otherwise good choice.

How to counteract it: When making a choice, play up the positive attributes of your options, says Ahn. Marketers use this tactic all the time. For example, instead of saying that ground beef contains 11% fat, they label it is as 89% lean. These are both true and accurate descriptions of the same product, but flipping the framing of it can make it a more attractive choice for buyers concerned with fat intake.

The bias: We cherry-pick data to fit our worldview

Ahn considers “confirmation bias” — the tendency to seek out or interpret information to support what we already believe — the worst bias of all. That’s because of its potential to lead us to miss an entire range of possibilities for ourselves and others.

Ahn and Matthew Lebowitz, a psychology professor at Columbia University, conducted an experiment in 2017 to illustrate the pitfalls of this bias. They gathered a group of participants and told some of them they had a genetic predisposition to depression – even though they did not. The results of that group’s depression self-assessments showed much higher levels of depression than people in a control group who were told they did not have the predisposition.

Because of confirmation bias, the participants who were told they had a genetic risk of depression retrieved “only the evidence that fit with that hypothesis,” says Ahn. And in doing so, they managed to convince themselves that they were actually depressed. The study shows that if we believe something is a fact, even if it isn’t, our mind can find information to support those views.

Now imagine this bias at work on a societal level. Ahn says it can lead to under- or over-representation in say, leadership in politics, business and other industries, which can feed gender or racial inequality.

She shares an example. Let’s say you’re a male scientist and you’re looking to hire other scientists to join your company. Because you see that the most prominent scientists in your field are currently men, you’ve convinced yourself that the next generation of great scientists will also be men. This colors your decision-making in hiring — and so you fill the positions with men.

That choice will continue to have a ripple effect, says Ahn. For others looking at the new hires, it might perpetuate the idea that “only men can be great scientists — and that’s exactly how prejudice and stereotypes get formed in society.”

How to counteract it: Allow yourself to examine all possible explanations before you make a judgment. For example, if an actor landed a part but her parents were also in the entertainment business, many of us might attribute her employment to nepotism. Since we’ve seen many examples of parents giving their kids a leg up in business or politics, another example of a child benefiting from their parents’ success would fit that theory.

But could it also be true that she gave the best audition? By looking at the issue from many different viewpoints – not just your own – it challenges your confirmation bias. And you might realize that perhaps there is another side to the story.온라인카지노