Random Links: Narcissism, Erring, and Exercising

picnic_area_signHere’s a question I’ve long pondered: do narcissists understand how others view them? According to the authors of an interesting new study, narcissists have insight into the facts that 1) others aren’t as enamored with them as they are with themselves, 2) others are often impressed with them at first, but that admiration fades, and 3) others view them as arrogant. You Probably Think This Paper’s About You (via MindHacks).

Narcissists will have little interest in this presentation by Kathryn Schulz about the value of being wrong. She suggests that we explain away opposing arguments by 1) assuming our opponents are uneducated, 2) that they are idiots, or 3) that they are evil. Instead of defending ourselves against being wrong, she says, we should embrace it. “Our capacity to screw up is not some kind of embarrassing defect in the human system.” (Go easy on her if you watch the video. She seems nervous.)

If this new study is correct, Kathryn Schulz is swimming against the tide because being right is an end unto itself. The theory described in this New York Times piece suggest that the positions we take are of secondary importance to winning the argument. Dialectic victory comes with a survival advantage regardless of the topic, says the theory. (As an aside, the author of the Times article laments the “endless stalemates” among American lawmakers. Personally, I thank the heavens for those stalemates. Without them, we’d have so many laws it would be illegal to breathe.)

I have said it at least 100 times: exercise is a magic brain pill. Here is more unsurprising evidence that exercise protects the brain, and some interesting evidence that sitting is bad for you.

Finally, in keeping with the times, I am posting a nude photo of myself on the Internet. Enjoy, ladies! Rowr!

naked psychologist

Next up: here’s a recent question from an anonymous reader: “Duke University conducted a study that ‘shows’ that born again Christians have smaller brains than other protestants. I am curious to know how ‘solid’ the science is, if you have time to look at it.”

I have noticed a spate of news stories criticizing religious folks based on these supposed findings. Perhaps it’s time to look into this. Until then, keep the faith.