email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
A Theory of Feelings Addictions"Intimate" Violence against Women1001 Solution-Focused Questions101 Healing Stories101 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Using Hypnosis50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God8 Keys to Body Brain BalanceA Brief History of Modern PsychologyA Conceptual History of PsychologyA Conceptual History of Psychology: Exploring the Tangled Web A Cooperative SpeciesA Guide to Teaching Introductory PsychologyA History of Modern Experimental PsychologyA History of Psychology in AutobiographyA History of Social PsychologyA History of the BrainA History of the MindA Hole in the HeadA Matter of SecurityA Mind of Its OwnA Natural History of Human ThinkingA Place for ConsciousnessA Short Introduction to Promoting Resilience in ChildrenA Social History of PsychologyA Stroll With William JamesA System Architecture Approach to the BrainA Theory of FreedomA Very Bad WizardAbductedAbout FacesAccounts of InnocenceAction, Emotion and WillAdapting MindsADHD & MeADHD in AdultsAdieu to GodAdolescence and Body ImageAdult Bipolar DisordersAdvances in Culture and PsychologyAdvances in Identity Theory and ResearchAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAffective MappingAgainst HappinessAges and StagesAll Joy and No FunAll Out!All We Have to FearAlterations of ConsciousnessAmerican Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical NeurosciencesAn Argument for MindAncient Bodies, Modern LivesAnimal Tool BehaviorAnimals in TranslationAnomalous CognitionAping MankindArtificial ConsciousnessAspects of PsychologismAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAssisted Suicide and the Right to DieAttachedAttention is Cognitive UnisonAutism and the Myth of the Person AloneAutopsy of a Suicidal MindBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBehavingBehavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic EraBeing No OneBelievingBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond BlueBeyond BullyingBeyond MadnessBeyond the BrainBeyond the DSM StoryBig DreamsBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar ChildrenBipolar DisorderBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBlind SpotsBlindsight & The Nature of ConsciousnessBlubberlandBlushBodiesBody ConsciousnessBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBody SenseBody WorkBorderline Personality DisorderBorderline Personality Disorder and the Conversational ModelBorn DigitalBorn to Be GoodBorn Together - Reared ApartBounceBoundaries in Human RelationshipsBounded RationalityBozo SapiensBrain and CultureBrain and the GazeBrain Arousal and Information TheoryBrain BugsBrain Change TherapyBrain Circuitry and Signaling in PsychiatryBrain FictionBrain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive ScienceBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-WiseBrainstormBrainstormingBraintrustBrainwashingBrandedBreaking Murphy's LawBright-SidedBuddha's BrainBullying and TeasingBuyologyCaptureCare of the PsycheCartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCerebrum 2007Cerebrum 2010Cerebrum 2015Cerebrum Anthology 2013Changing the SubjectCharacter Strengths and VirtuesCheating LessonsChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness Chomsky NotebookClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyClinical Psychology in Practice ClosureCognition and PerceptionCognition and the BrainCognitive BiologyCognitive DissonanceCognitive FictionsCognitive Mechanisms of Belief ChangeCognitive PragmaticsCognitive ScienceCognitive ScienceCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Therapy of Anxiety DisordersCognitive Unconscious and Human RationalityCold-Blooded KindnessComing of Age in Second LifeCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchComprehending ColumbineConfessions of a SociopathConquering Shame and CodependencyConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousness ConsciousnessConsciousness and Its Place in NatureConsciousness and LanguageConsciousness and Mental LifeConsciousness and MindConsciousness and the NovelConsciousness and the Social BrainConsciousness EmergingConsciousness RecoveredConsciousness RevisitedConsciousness, Self-Consciousness, and the Science of Being HumanContemporary Debates in Cognitive ScienceConversations on ConsciousnessConviction of the InnocentCooperation and Its EvolutionCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCredit and BlameCritical New Perspectives on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderCritical PsychologyCritical Thinking About PsychologyCross-Cultural PsychologyCrowdsourcingCrueltyCultural Assessment in Clinical PsychiatryCuriousDamasio's Error and Descartes' TruthDangerous and Severe Personality DisorderDaniel DennettDaughters of MadnessDeafness In MindDeath and ConsciousnessDeath of a ParentDecomposing the WillDeep Brain StimulationDeep ChinaDefining DifferenceDefining Psychopathology in the 21st CenturyDelusion and Self-DeceptionDelusions of GenderDennett and Ricoeur on the Narrative SelfDeparting from DevianceDescartes' BabyDescartes's Changing MindDescribing Inner Experience?Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Destructive EmotionsDevelopment of Geocentric Spatial Language and CognitionDevelopment of PsychopathologyDialogues on DifferenceDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Digital HemlockDirty MindsDisgust and Its DisordersDisorders of VolitionDo Apes Read Minds?Do Fish Feel Pain?Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?Doing without ConceptsDrunk Tank PinkEducating People to Be Emotionally IntelligentEffective IntentionsEffective Writing in PsychologyEffortless AttentionEmbodied Minds in ActionEmbracing MindEmbracing UncertaintyEmotion and ConsciousnessEmotion ExperienceEmotion RegulationEmotion, Evolution, And RationalityEmotional IntelligenceEmotionally InvolvedEmotionsEmotionsEmotions and LifeEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions RevealedEmotions, Aggression, and Morality in ChildrenEmotions, Stress, and HealthEmpathyEnjoymentErotic MoralityEscape Your Own PrisonEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthically Challenged ProfessionsEveryday Mind ReadingEvidence for PsiEvidence-Based Mental Health PracticeEvil MenEvolution and Human BehaviorEvolution and LearningEvolution, Games, and GodEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolutionary Psychology as Maladapted PsychologyExacting BeautyExperiences of DepressionExperimenterExplaining the BrainExplaining the BrainExplorations in Neuroscience, Psychology and ReligionExploring TranssexualismExpression and the InnerExtending Self-Esteem ResearchExtraordinary BeliefsFact and Value in EmotionFaking ItFatigue as a Window to the BrainFavorite Activities for the Teaching of PsychologyFeeling GoodFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFinding Meaning, Facing FearsFitting In Is OverratedFlourishingFlow: The Psychology of Optimal ExperienceFolk Psychological NarrativesFooling HoudiniForever YoungFormulation in Psychology and PsychotherapyFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Psychological ThoughtFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom EvolvesFrom Axons to IdentityFrom Madness to Mental HealthFrom Neurons to Self-ConsciousnessFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrom Symptom to SynapseFrontiers of ConsciousnessGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGenerosityGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGenetic Nature/CultureGeniusGetting Under the SkinGlued to GamesGoing SaneGot Parts?Group GeniusGrowing Up GirlGuilt, Shame, and AnxietyGut ReactionsHallucinationHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Closeness and IntimacyHandbook of Critical PsychologyHandbook of Emotion RegulationHandbook of EmotionsHandbook of Personality DisordersHandbook of PsychopathyHandbook of Self and IdentityHandbook of Self and IdentityHandbook of Spatial CognitionHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness at WorkHappiness Is.Happy at LastHard to GetHardwired BehaviorHatredHealing the SplitHidden ResourcesHope and DespairHot ThoughtHot ThoughtHouse and PsychologyHow Animals Affect UsHow Animals GrieveHow Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Doctors ThinkHow Enlightenment Changes Your BrainHow Families Still MatterHow History Made the MindHow Infants Know MindsHow Many Friends Does One Person Need?How Professors ThinkHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Change Someone You LoveHow We ReasonHow We RememberHughes' Outline of Modern PsychiatryHumanHuman BondingHuman Reasoning and Cognitive ScienceHypnotismHysteriaiBrainIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIdentifying the MindiDisorderImagination and the Meaningful BrainImitation and the Social MindImpulse Control DisordersImpulsivityIn an Unspoken VoiceIn Defense of SentimentalityIn DoubtIn Search of HappinessIn the Wake of 9/11Individual and Collective Memory ConsolidationInner Experience and NeuroscienceInner PresenceInside the American CoupleIntegrated Behavioral Health CareIntegrating Evolution and DevelopmentIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntellectual DisabilityIntelligenceIntelligence, Destiny, and EducationIntentions and IntentionalityInterdependent MindsInterpreting MindsInto the Minds of MadmenIntoxicating MindsIntrospection VindicatedIntuitionInventing PersonalityInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIs There Anything Good About Men?Issues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJane Sexes It UpJoint AttentionJoint AttentionJudgment and Decision MakingJust a DogJust BabiesJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKarl JaspersKey Thinkers in PsychologyKidding OurselvesKids of CharacterKilling MonstersLack of CharacterLanguage OriginsLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw, Mind and BrainLess Than HumanLet Kids Be KidsLet's Talk About DeathLiving NarrativeLiving with Mild Cognitive ImpairmentLonelinessLooking for SpinozaLossLOT 2Love at Goon ParkMachine ConsciousnessMacrocognitionMade for Each OtherMadnessMaking a Good Brain GreatMaking Habits, Breaking HabitsMaking Minds and MadnessMaking Up the MindMale SexualityMan and WomanMan's Search for MeaningMan, Beast, and ZombieManic MindsManlinessMapping the MindMarking the MindMarvelous Learning AnimalMasculinity Studies and Feminist TheoryMeaningMeaning, Mortality, and ChoiceMedical MusesMeditating SelflesslyMeetings with a Remarkable ManMemoryMemory and DreamsMemory and EmotionMemory And UnderstandingMental BiologyMental IllnessMental Time TravelMetacognitionMetacognition and Theory of MindMethods in MindMindMindMind and BrainMind and ConsciousnessMind Games:Mind in LifeMind TimeMind to MindMind, Brain and the Elusive SoulMindful AngerMindfulnessMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMinding AnimalsMinding MindsMindreadersMindreading AnimalsMinds, Brains, and LawMindsightMindworldsMirrors in the BrainMistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)Models of MadnessMoodMoral Development and RealityMoral MindsMoral Psychology, Volume 1Moral Psychology, Volume 2Moral Psychology, Volume 3Mothers and OthersMotivation and Cognitive ControlMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMovies and the MindMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultiplicityMuses, Madmen, and ProphetsMy Family AlbumMyths about SuicideNarrative IdentitiesNarrative PsychiatryNarratives in PsychiatryNaturalizing Intention in ActionNature and NarrativeNature Via NurtureNeither Bad nor MadNerveNeurobiology and the Development of Human MoralityNeurochemistry of ConsciousnessNeurodiversityNeuroethicsNeuroLogicNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neuroscience and PhilosophyNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNot By Genes AloneNot Much Just Chillin'Not So Abnormal PsychologyNurturing the Older Brain and MindOn AnxietyOn Being HumanOn Being MovedOn Deep History and the BrainOn DesireOn KillingOn Nature and LanguageOn PaedophiliaOn PersonalityOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOn the Origins of Cognitive ScienceOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOnflowOpen MindsOpening Skinner's BoxOrigin of MindOrigins of PsychopathologyOther MindsOut of Our HeadsOut of the WoodsOvercoming Depersonalization DisorderPanpsychism and the Religious AttitudePanpsychism in the WestParenting and the Child's WorldPassionate EnginesPathologies of the WestPatient-Based Approaches to Cognitive NeurosciencePediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople Types and Tiger StripesPerception & CognitionPerception beyond InferencePerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPersonal Development and Clinical PsychologyPerspectives on ImitationPhantoms in the BrainPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhrenologyPhysical RealizationPhysics in MindPieces of LightPlaying with FirePositive PsychologyPositive PsychologyPostcards from the Brain MuseumPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPoverty and Brain Development During ChildhoodPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical Management of Personality DisorderPractical Management of Personality DisorderPredicative MindsPredictably IrrationalPreference, Belief, and SimilarityPrenatal Testosterone in MindPrivileged AccessProcrastinationProust Was a NeuroscientistPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsychological AgencyPsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychological Dimensions of the SelfPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychologyPsychologyPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology for ScreenwritersPsychology of Women: A Handbook of Issues and TheoriesPsychology's GhostsPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology's TerritoriesPsychopathologyPsychopathyPsychosis and EmotionPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyPutnam CampPutting a Name to ItQuantum Memory PowerQuietRadical DistortionRadical Embodied Cognitive ScienceRadical ExternalismRadical GraceRapeRe-Visioning PsychiatryReal MaterialismReality CheckReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecovery in Mental IllnessRecreative MindsRedirectReducing Adolescent RiskRegulating EmotionsRelational BeingRelational Mental HealthRelational Suicide AssessmentReliability in Cognitive NeuroscienceRemembering HomeRemembering Our ChildhoodResearch Advances in Genetics and GenomicsResearching Children's ExperienceResilience in ChildrenRestoring ResilienceRethinking ADHDRethinking Learning DisabilitiesRethinking Middle YearsRethinking the Western Understanding of the SelfRevolution in PsychologyRoadmap to ResilienceRomance and Sex in Adolescence and Emerging AdulthoodSchizophrenia RevealedSchizophrenia, Culture, and SubjectivityScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologyScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond NatureSecond NatureSecond That EmotionSecond-order Change in PsychotherapySecrets of the MindSee What I'm SayingSee What I'm SayingSeeing and VisualizingSeeing RedSelf and SocietySelf Comes to MindSelf Control in Society, Mind, and BrainSelf-Awareness Deficits in Psychiatric PatientsSelf-CompassionSelf-RegulationSelf-Representational Approaches to ConsciousnessSelfless InsightSelvesSerial KillersSex at DawnSex on the BrainSex, Time and PowerSexual Coercion in Primates and HumansSexual DisordersSexual FluiditySexual ReckoningsSexualized BrainsShame and GuiltShatteredSimulating MindsSisyphus's BoulderSNAPSocial NeuroscienceSocial NeuroscienceSocial NeuroscienceSocial Psychology and DiscourseSome We Love, Some We Hate, Some We EatSoul DustSparkSpiral of EntrapmentSplendors and Miseries of the BrainSports Hypnosis in PracticeStanding at Water's EdgeStich and His CriticsStillpowerStop OverreactingStructure and Agency in Everyday LifeStructures of AgencyStuffStumbling on HappinessSubjectivity and SelfhoodSubstance Abuse and EmotionSupersizing the MindSweet DreamsSynaptic SelfTales from Both Sides of the BrainTalking Oneself SoberTalking to BabiesTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeleological RealismTen Years of Viewing from WithinThat's DisgustingThe 5 Elements of Effective ThinkingThe Accidental MindThe Age of EmpathyThe Altruism EquationThe Altruistic BrainThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Clinical PsychiatryThe Anatomy of BiasThe Anxious BrainThe Archaeology of MindThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Art InstinctThe Art of HypnosisThe Asymmetrical BrainThe Bifurcation of the SelfThe Big Book of ConceptsThe Big DisconnectThe Birth of IntersubjectivityThe Birth of the MindThe Blackwell Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge ManagementThe Blank SlateThe Body Has a Mind of Its OwnThe Bounds of CognitionThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe BrainThe Brain and the Meaning of LifeThe Brain SupremacyThe Brain That Changes ItselfThe Brain's Way of HealingThe Brain: Big Bangs, Behaviors, and BeliefsThe Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive ScienceThe Cambridge Handbook of Situated CognitionThe Character of ConsciousnessThe Chemistry Between UsThe Choice EffectThe Clinical Science of Suicide PreventionThe Cognitive Approach to Conscious MachinesThe Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step ProgramThe Cognitive NeurosciencesThe Cognitive-Emotional BrainThe College Fear FactorThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe Compass of PleasureThe Concepts of ConsciousnessThe Conscious BrainThe Conscious SelfThe Consuming InstinctThe Creating BrainThe Creative BrainThe Crucible of ConsciousnessThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure WithinThe Dao of NeuroscienceThe Developing MindThe Developing MindThe Development of PsychopathologyThe Disappearance of the Social in American Social PsychologyThe Dissolution of MindThe Duty to ProtectThe Educated ParentThe Ego TunnelThe Elephant in the RoomThe Emotional Journey of the Alzheimer's FamilyThe Encultured BrainThe Encyclopedia of StupidityThe Enduring Self in People with Alzheimer'sThe Epidemiology of SchizophreniaThe Essential DifferenceThe Ethical BrainThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Evolution of CooperationThe Evolution of LanguageThe Evolution of MindThe Evolving BrainThe Executive BrainThe Faces of TerrorismThe Feeling BrainThe Feeling of What HappensThe First IdeaThe Folly of FoolsThe Folly of FoolsThe Folly of FoolsThe Foundations of Cognitive ArchaeologyThe Fundamentalist MindsetThe GapThe Gender TrapThe Geography of BlissThe Gift of ShynessThe Good LifeThe Good LifeThe Happiness HypothesisThe Happiness of PursuitThe Health Psychology HandbookThe Healthy Aging BrainThe High Price of MaterialismThe History of PsychologyThe Human FaceThe Human SparkThe Hypomanic EdgeThe Imagery DebateThe Immeasurable MindThe Imprinted BrainThe Incredible Shrinking MindThe Innate MindThe Innate MindThe Integrated SelfThe Intentional BrainThe Language of ThoughtThe Languages of the BrainThe Lexicon of Adlerian PsychologyThe Lie DetectorsThe Lives of the BrainThe Lonely AmericanThe Lust for BloodThe Madness of WomenThe Male BrainThe Man Who Lost His LanguageThe Man Who Shocked the WorldThe Man Who Tasted ShapesThe Man Who Wasn't ThereThe Matter of the MindThe Mature MindThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Meaning of OthersThe Meaning of the BodyThe Measure of MadnessThe Measure of MindThe Medicalization of Everyday LifeThe Mind and the BrainThe Mind in ContextThe Mind of the ChildThe Mind of the HorseThe Mind's EyeThe Mind, the Body and the WorldThe Mind-Gut ConnectionThe Mindful BrainThe Misleading MindThe Moral MindThe Most Dangerous AnimalThe Most Human HumanThe Mother FactorThe Myth of ChoiceThe Myth of Depression as DiseaseThe Myth of Mirror NeuronsThe Myth of Self HelpThe Myth of Self-EsteemThe Myth of the Spoiled ChildThe Nature of the SelfThe Necessity Of MadnessThe Neuro RevolutionThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe Neuroscience of Human RelationshipsThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New BrainThe New Science of DreamingThe New Science of the MindThe New UnconsciousThe Normal PersonalityThe Origins of FairnessThe Overflowing BrainThe Oxford Companion to the MindThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of MindThe Paradoxical PrimateThe Perfectionist's HandbookThe Peripheral MindThe Phenomenology ReaderThe Philosopher's Secret FireThe Philosophical BabyThe Political MindThe Politics of HappinessThe Positive Side of Negative EmotionsThe Postnational SelfThe Postpartum EffectThe Power of PlayThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Primate MindThe Prism of GrammarThe Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience Across the LifespanThe Psychological Construction of EmotionThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe Psychology of HappinessThe Psychology of LifestyleThe Psychology of Religious FundamentalismThe Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific MindThe Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific MindThe Psychology of SpiritualityThe Psychology of StereotypingThe Psychology of SuperheroesThe Psychophysiology of Self-AwarenessThe Pursuit of PerfectThe Quest for Mental HealthThe Rational ImaginationThe Ravenous BrainThe Reasons of LoveThe Righteous MindThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of PsychologyThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of PsychologyThe Science of EvilThe Science of Intimate RelationshipsThe Science of Shame and its Treatment The Second SelfThe Secret History of EmotionThe Secret Lives of BoysThe Self and Its EmotionsThe Self-Sabotage CycleThe Sensitive SelfThe Shape of ThoughtThe Social AnimalThe Social Nature of Mental IllnessThe Social Neuroscience of EmpathyThe Social Psychology of Good and EvilThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Story of Intellectual DisabilityThe Structure of ThinkingThe Survivors ClubThe Talking ApeThe Teenage BrainThe Tell-Tale BrainThe Temperamental ThreadThe Tender CutThe Tending InstinctThe Time ParadoxThe Trauma MythThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe True PathThe Truth About GriefThe Turing TestThe Uncertain SciencesThe Unhappy ChildThe Upside of IrrationalityThe War for Children's MindsThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the MonsterThe Winner's BrainThe Wisdom in FeelingThe Woman RacketThe World in My Mind, My Mind in the WorldThe Wow ClimaxThe Yipping TigerThemes, Issues and Debates in PsychologyTheoretical Issues in Psychology: An IntroductionTheory of AddictionTheory of MindThings and PlacesThink CatThink Confident, Be ConfidentThinking about AddictionThinking and SeeingThis Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves...and HappinessThought and LanguageThought in a Hostile WorldTo Have and To Hurt:Toward an Evolutionary Biology of LanguageToward Replacement Parts for the BrainTrauma and Human ExistenceTrauma, Tragedy, TherapyTreating Attachment DisordersTreating Self-InjuryTreating Self-Injury: A Practical GuideTrue to Our FeelingsTrusting the Subject?Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality DisorderUnderstanding ConsciousnessUnderstanding ParanoiaUnderstanding PeopleUnderstanding TerrorismUndoing Perpetual StressUnlock the Genius WithinUnsettled MindsUnstrange MindsUnthinkingUs and ThemViolent PartnersVirtue, Vice, and PersonalityVision and MindVisual AgnosiaWarrior's DishonourWe Who Are DarkWednesday Is Indigo BlueWelcome to Your BrainWhat Do Women Want?What Dying People WantWhat Have We DoneWhat Intelligence Tests MissWhat Is an Emotion: Classic and Contemporary ReadingsWhat Is Emotion?What is Intelligence?What Is Mental Illness?What Is Thought?What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite What the Best College Students DoWhat the Dog SawWhat We Know about Emotional IntelligenceWhat We Say MattersWhat's Wrong With Morality?When Boys Become BoysWhen Perfect Isn't Good EnoughWhen the Impossible HappensWhen Walls Become DoorwaysWho's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWho's in Charge?Why Humans Like to CryWhy Love MattersWhy Lyrics LastWhy People CooperateWhy People Die by SuicideWhy Sex Matters: A Darwinian Look at Human BehaviorWhy Smart People Can Be So StupidWhy the Mind is Not a ComputerWhy Us?Why We LieWhy We LoveWider than the SkyWilliam James at the BoundariesWilling, Wanting, WaitingWittgenstein And PsychologyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWorking MindsYoga and PsychologyYou Are What You RememberYoung Minds in Social WorldsYour Brain on CubsYour Brain on FoodYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Brain on YogaYour Child in the BalanceZombies and Consciousness
"Do you not see," wrote John Keats, poet of melancholy, "how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a Soul?" According to Eric Wilson, this is a lesson that we Americans, obsessed with happiness at the expense of all those more somber, soul-making states of mind-- melancholy, sadness, gloomy introspection-- are fast forgetting.
Lured by the "gaudy glow of the pervasive American dream," we chase easy comforts and the smug trappings of conventional success. Bombarded with self-help books and prescriptions for Prozac, we think that every pang of sorrow, every lapse into gloom, must be either a sign of disease or a personal failing, something to be overcome in the quest for perfect bliss. But the pursuit of happiness-- drafters of the Declaration of Independence be darned-- is not all that it's chalked up to be. Or so Wilson argues.
In our drive to see the world at all costs as a bright, shiny place of hugs and smiley faces--these days, "to be a patriot is to be peppy," Wilson quips-- we are becoming a shallow culture of "muted souls" and "paper-thin minds," a "dystopia of flaccid grins." Worse yet, in turning our backs on melancholia, in treating even ordinary sadness as an "aberrant state that should be cursed as weakness of will or removed with the help of a little pink pill," we are at risk of eradicating a major cultural source for creativity and innovation, the inspiration for much art and music and literature. "Soon, perhaps, with the help of pharmaceuticals, we shall have no more unhappy people in our country," Wilson worries. But "without the agitations of the soul, would all our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?"
Despite the book's title, it turns out that Wilson is not against happiness in general. For example, he doesn't object, he says, to the "unbearable exuberance that suddenly emerges from long suffering" or to the "slow-burning bliss that issues from a life spent helping those who hurt." Instead, Wilson's beef is with what he calls American-style happiness, that bland, feel-good variety peddled by Hallmark cards and suburban shopping malls-- "happiness as immediate gratification, happiness as superficial comfort, happiness as static contentment."
The vices of so-called "happy types"-- those who subscribe to this allegedly American brand of happiness-- are, apparently, legion. Happy types are shallow, "zombielike beings" who mindlessly accept the status quo and live stunted, one-sided, inauthentic lives. They are obsessed with "joy without tumult" and seek "bliss without discomfort, bright noon with no night." They treat the world like a vast playground or a giant department store. They want life to be like a string of perfect Kodak moments, every rough patch and jagged edge airbrushed away. Afraid to face "the world's complexity, its vagueness, its terrible beauties," they hide behind "tepid clichés" and "murmured truisms," "reduc[ing] the world's terrible tragedies... to mindless talk on the television screen." They flee from hard reality, distracting themselves with their bubble dreams, their airy, empty optimism. They are more likely to be bigots. They may even be to blame for the Iraq War.
Their melancholy counterparts, by contrast, have almost all the opposing virtues, according to Wilson, a fellow melancholic himself. Unlike those happy types "ensconced in their solipsistic silos," gloomy souls are realists. They recognize the real world for what it is: "mixed, blurred, messy, and contradictory," shot through with tragedy, uncomfortably ambiguous. They do not delude themselves with the myth of perfect contentment; they know that there's no joy without sorrow. They do not hide behind "painted grins" and false platitudes, pretending, as those chirpy, peppy people do, that everything is always A-Okay! In their sadness, they can appreciate the fragile, haunted beauty of transient things. Indeed, they find more beauty in "gloriously dilapidated buildings" and "wrinkled faces born of strain" than in the comfortably bland McMansion or the perfect model's face, "Botoxed to the max." Their turbulent hearts stoke their imagination, provoking "new ways of being and seeing." Their pensive moods incline them to be thoughtful and reflective. And above all, Wilson says, melancholics are creative.
As proof, Wilson gives us an "honor roll of brilliant men and women"-- van Gogh, Beethoven, Handel, Herman Melville, Virginia Woolf, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Keats, Coleridge, Blake-- all up to their necks in sorrow, but creative geniuses nonetheless. "Far from a mere disease or weakness of will," Wilson concludes, melancholia is an "almost miraculous invitation to transcend the banal status quo and imagine the untrapped possibilities for existence."
Regrettably, Wilson's discussion tends to suffer from his penchant for delivering up ponderous overgeneralizations in which nuance is sacrificed for the sake of coining some catchy, often highly alliterative, phrase. ("The happy man is the hollow man." "Neurosis is knowledge." "Frowning is flourishing." "To hug happiness is to hate life...The embrace of gloom stokes the heart.") His discussion of so-called "happy types," in particular, borders on caricature. Who are all these people seeking "joy without tumult" and "bliss without discomfort"?
Wilson claims to find evidence that the "push for earthly bliss is at the core of the American soul" in our rampant consumerism, in the prefabricated houses and gated communities of suburbia, in the vapidity of political discourse, in our recourse to quick fixes-- Botox, liposuction, Lunesta-- and in our readiness to pop pills to dispel the blues. He finds it in the excesses of the digital age-- thanks to which we are "more likely to witness pixels than people," more likely to be gazing at web pages than the "morning strands, shiny with dew, of the garden spider"-- and in the fact that our liberal arts institutions are turning into vocational schools. Most of all, though, he seems to find it in the masses of superficial, frivolous people he sees all around him: people who, for example, adore "smarmy" poems like Mary Stevenson's "Footprints in the Sand," are inspired by "bestsellers about the wisdom of children and coaches," go ga-ga over cute puppies and babies, enjoy the Lifetime channel, and believe in the "power of positive thinking." (Oddly, even Jell-o and Cool Whip and Book-of-the-Month clubs get indicted as signs of our dangerous addiction to happiness.)
Each of these things, Wilson argues, in some way represents the American impulse to flee from reality, to retreat into the sanctuary of the self, where you can block out the messy, bewildering world and pretend that everything is safe and easy and predictable. But isn't this analysis too quick, too facile? When we slaves to the digital age are staring at our high-tech web pages, for example, we may be missing out on the simple beauty of the spider's gauzy web, but perhaps we're reading up on the genocide in Darfur or investigating ways to help the victims of the cyclone in Burma.
In the end, Wilson's catalog of complaints against contemporary American life is just too sweeping, too oversimplified, too driven by glib generalizations to be trenchant cultural analysis. I'm not a big fan of suburbs, vapid political discourse, unfettered consumerism, or smarmy, inspirational poems, either, but are all these very different and complicated phenomena really connected? And what exactly is the link to happiness? I would guess that there are a lot of decidedly unhappy types in the suburbs, surely not all of whom are stoked up on Prozac, and no doubt many of Mary Stevenson's fans recite "Footprints in the Sand" over and over precisely because they are down in the dumps. Melancholia is no guarantee of good taste or subtlety of mind.
This is a point that gets lost in Wilson's heady rhetoric. Since he identifies "happy types" in large part by their superficiality-- they're the ones reading trite bestsellers and bad poetry instead of Keats and Blake-- he makes it seem that, by definition, all unhappy people, simply by virtue of their unhappiness, will be possessed of smoldering intellects and souls of quivering beauty, their rare sensibilities in danger of being crushed by the giddy, giggling masses.
"If you are right now suffering constant melancholia, you are included in this fascinating litany of profound men and women," he writes after reciting a long list of vaunted names, including Michelangelo, Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy, and Kierkegaard-- as if mere gloominess is an instant entry ticket to brilliance. But of course most of the depressed people in the world are not creative geniuses, or even brighter than average. They are just miserable.
Wilson insists that he doesn't want to romanticize depression, but romanticize he does. Fond of a rather high-flown style of prose, he saves his most melodramatic turns of phrase for rhapsodizing about melancholy folk-- those "gloomy souls who long for clouds above high windows," those yearning hearts in tune with the "great interplay of the living cosmos, its luminous gloom, its terrible beauty."
Forget raw anguish and shattering pain; forget dark despair and numb hopelessness. These depressives are all about moonlit nights and dusky landscapes. They seek out the "half-lighted room, the twilight forest, the empty cafe;" they long for "gorgeous lonely roads and the grandeur of desolate hotels." Their sadness inspires them to imagine, most alliteratively, "poems more beautiful than the quiet cruising of devious sharks and symphonies more sonorous than those songs of the aloof birds of summer." Their full-hearted sensitivity makes them alert to the fleetingly beautiful riches of nature, which apparently include "furious owls swoosh[ing] luridly from the horizon," "curious thrushes moving among autumn's brownish indolence," "desperate starlings," "toads that glisten" and "mica shining at noon." (Happy types, by contrast, are presumably too busy surfing the web, gulping down their Happy Meals, and -- since they are too shallow to appreciate the "beautiful ruins of aged buildings" -- fixing up their prefab houses to notice such things. "They've probably never moved among autumn's multihued lustrousness, through the serrated forms of orange and amber and crimson, with hearts irreparably ripped," Wilson laments. "They've probably not stared steadily at the sparrow lying stiff on the soiled snow.")
These passages are rather silly, but they're easy to dismiss as overwrought hyperbole. But Wilson also romanticizes depression in a more dangerous way. In the introduction, he draws a distinction between melancholia and depression, and assures his readers that he does not oppose medical treatments for severe clinical depression. "I realize that there are many lost souls out there who require medications to keep from killing themselves or harming their friends and families, he writes. "I don't want to question the pharmaceutical therapies of the seriously depressed... [or] argue against medications that simply make life bearable for so many with biochemical disorders." Yet Wilson makes no attempt to observe this distinction in the rest of the book, often using the terms "melancholia" and "depression" interchangeably and including in his list of "melancholy creatures [who] constitute a fascinating team of mentors" several cases of suicides, extreme depression, serious addictive disorders, and mental illness. "One of the great and enduring tragedies of our planet," he says after musing on several such examples, is that "people must suffer for beauty." Then, a few pages after vividly describing Rothko's act of suicide, committed in the depths of despair, he leaves us with this incongruously insipid thought: "Creating doesn't make us unhappy, unhappiness makes us creative."
Despite these criticisms, I do think that Against Happiness raises important issues. Certainly Wilson is right that there is much that is superficial, shallow, and dangerously self-absorbed about our culture, and any attempt to call us out on it is worth applauding. Moreover, in a culture so enamored of extroverts and go-getters and positive thinkers, as ours no doubt is, a paean to the more melancholy side of life is much appreciated. Always the imperative of perky optimism, always the enjoinder to Smile! But sometimes we just want to be left alone with our own dark thoughts.
Wilson is also wise to remind us that superficial comfort and easy pleasures are not the same thing as real joy or real fulfillment, and that the real joys often come mixed with turmoil, edged with melancholy. Incidentally, this is a point recognized by the philosopher J.S. Mill, a melancholy man who nonetheless praised happiness. "Better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied," as he put it, famously. He also wrote, less famously, that "in this condition of the world... the conscious ability to do without happiness gives the best prospect of realizing such happiness as is attainable"-- a point that complements Wilson's observation that once we accept sadness as an inevitable part of life, then "the paradox comes truly alive. We actually feel, in the midst of our sorrow, something akin to joy."
Philosophers have noted a paradox about pleasure, the so-called paradox of hedonism: deliberately seek pleasure, and you'll probably fail to find it. The same thing goes for happiness, as Wilson reminds us. Make the pursuit of your own happiness your mission in life and you're bound to be thwarted. Better to aim at something other than your own happiness; aim at filling your life with things independently worth pursuing -- fraught with difficulty as they may be -- and you may find fulfillment. Glance at the self-help section of your local bookstore, where you'll see titles like Happiness Now! Timeless Wisdom for Feeling Good FAST! and you'll see that this is indeed a reminder we need.
Yet for all these virtues, the book as a whole doesn't work. Wilson lets himself get too carried away with overblown rhetoric and ends up being sloppy with the hard work of argumentation. For example, as evidence of the "American craze for happiness," Wilson relies heavily on a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, showing that almost 85% of Americans claim to be happy. "How can so many people be happy in the midst of all the problems that beset our globe?" he wonders. Yet the results look rather different when one consults the actual numbers. According to the Pew report, 50% of those respondents identified themselves merely as "pretty happy," an answer hardly inconsistent with the occasional, perhaps even frequent, bout of melancholy. That leaves only 34% of respondents identifying themselves as "very happy" -- not exactly evidence of an epidemic of flaccid grins. (Moreover, as the Pew report explains, these results have stayed remarkably consistent since the poll was first conducted in 1972 -- long before the Age of Prozac, and so hardly good support for Wilson's claim that melancholia is being medicated out of existence by an overzealous pharmaceutical industry.)
Most of all, there is something disconcertingly out of touch about the book. Wilson describes his nightmare vision of masses of pill-popping, tummy-tucking, blissed-out Americans, "Botoxed to the max" and beaming big self-satisfied grins -- "thousands of glowing, perfect teeth lighting the American landscape." "We wonder if the wide array of antidepressants will one day make sweet sorrow a thing of the past," he writes. "We wonder if soon every single American will be happy." But he doesn't seem to realize how far-fetched that sounds to anyone who remembers that millions of uninsured Americans can't even afford basic healthcare, let alone a tummy tuck or cosmetic dental surgery. Wilson waxes eloquent about the "sweet decadence" of his "decomposing abode," which he likes to admire in the flickering twilight when he comes back from "melancholy walks in the neighborhood;" he gets nostalgic for the "seductive mixture of divas and drugs, gloriously dilapidated buildings and grim rings of illegal sex" that Times Square used to be before we turned it into just another bland and benign, family-friendly place. But this just sounds like the naive romanticizing of someone who has never known real squalor. Wilson accuses "happy types" of self-indulgence, of retreating into their "solipsistic silos," and fleeing from reality. "There is of course something soul-deadening about being overly in love with oneself," he says. At times, however, Wilson can seem overly in love with his own melancholy, and he shows that even gloomy souls have their own way of evading reality.
© 2008 Elisabeth Herschbach
Elisabeth Herschbach has a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and teaches in Rhode Island.