Posts Tagged ‘gun control’

How does a behavioral psychologist think?

January 17, 2013

All my professional life I was a professor of developmental psychology. I retired in 1998, four years before Dr. Daniel Kahneman, another professor of psychology, got his Nobel Price in – Economics – in 2002. I will speak at the University of Valencia this month on his research on the behavior of the economic man: Is he as rational as society believes? Behavioral Economics was born the moment empirical evidence replaced rationality in the decision-making about money. Hey, young dude, join me on the edge of discovery? Today is only 10 years since the new profession began and people associated with the Symposium (and here in Canada) are already thinking of Behavioral Politics, Behavioral Medicine, etc. as the next step in the evolution of solutions and human success. I want to thank Hippocrates for asking the question 2500 years ago: Should Medicine be rational or empirical. I also want to thank Plato and Aristotle 2400 years ago for asking the question: Should language be rational-logical or natural-empirical?


The beauty of adding behavioral in front of any name of a discipline is that solutions become clear. For example, for years as a psychologist I struggled with the issue, “Does man kills or do guns kill?” On the day I became a behavioral thinker the answer became clear. Man kills, not guns. As a behavioral psychologist I know very clearly that the problem is not a billion gun in every home, its behavior. American society needs to look at how it raises its kids! What behaviors are rewarded and what behaviors are punished by parents, schools, etc.

I just came from the mall. I saw a mother screaming at her daughter, “Don’t shout at me,” she screamed. You know something, dude, Buddha once said that the word perfect means awareness, not  the absence of errors. Now I understand what he meant. Hey dude, have a better day!


What about people who shoot people?

July 24, 2012

As a psychologist I wasn’t going to waste my time giving you the real solution to violence in America that I think behavioural psychologists know about, but an “expert” commentator on CNN just said, “Gun control won’t make a difference. An angry person intent on shooting people will find a way.”  The low-level discussion on CNN was about the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.  That did it to me because here are young people and kids dying in a theater and “experts” who would probably sink the Titanic – are giving you their mind-set stuff. Do me a favor. I care about dying kids, memorize the following:

People shoot people with guns, thus you have to know about weapons and  behaviors and never separate them.

About weapons you have to obey the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution that allows a militia to carry arms to protect citizens against a government becoming an oppressive dictatorship. The role of Congress is to specify the kinds weapons allowed to be carried in order to meet the constitutional requirement. Congress never did that. The NRA would probably support such a law. Get your Congress to do that tomorrow or kick the jerks out the next election. Many weapons freely sold today in America are categorically outside the 2nd Amendment jurisdiction. Get to work!

About behaviour the issue is a bit more complex but still easily understood by most people. Know the following rules, (1) All weapons sold in the US must be registered with the FBI, (2) A background check of the individual must be done before the sale, (3) The number of forms the customer is required to fill out must be at least five, if not more, (4) The salesman must be trained to critically observe the behavior of the weapon purchaser, (5)  The background check must include behavioural profile and criminal record, (6) People in the business must be retrained to understand that educational level, poverty, wealth, race, age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation oe religion are not why people shoot people, (7) The only category where you will find the answer and the prevention is in Behaviour. People who may (not a sure thing) some day shoot people will manifest certain unacceptable behaviors throughout their lives, and (8) Two of these behaviours are paramount:  (a) They tend to behave too negatively in their relationships  and eventually lose or quit, and (b) They tend to have repeated trouble at work and sooner or later quit, get fired, go bankrupt, stop working and lose motivation to try again, and (9) The solution is to call the mayor!  A community should provide a nice room for people to gather, where a frustrated young person can walk in free, sit down, and join a free facilitation group called, “Learn to love and work the natural way.”