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Top 10 Psychology blogs for the Curious Minds

I feel honored to have been asked by blogs.com to compile a list of top 10 psychology blogs for the curious minds. Any list , such as this, is necessarily subjective and being limited in nature, cannot do justice to all the other psychology blogs that I equally love and follow on a regular basis or other interesting blogs, which I am perhaps not aware of. 

The top 10 blogs are presented in an alphabetical order and reflect those that I find most interesting, insightful or fun to read.  Hopefully the mouse trap community would concur and benefit from following these blogs as well. Do check out the list and by the way of comments to this post,  add some other blogs that you think are equally interesting and catering to the curious amongst us.

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The Sculptor and the Sandman: A novel as much about psychosis as about the human condition

Last night I somehow got inspired, brushed my manuscript that was written about 6 yrs earlier, and in a span of just 4-5 hrs was able to create a sell able paperback book out of it, all thanks to new publishing tools like the lulu.com. Of course, the manuscript, had been read/ re-read, revised and edited by me, all these years, so I’m sure the quality of the product would be great.

Some of you may be aware that I write prose and poetry and have a poetry focussed blog called The Fools Quest. Perhaps, the right place to promote my novel, The Sculptor and the Sandman, would be that blog, instead of the mouse trap; but then again, that novel is as much a piece of fiction, as it is a psychological treatise- my view of what psychosis is, how it manifests and what some of the triggers may be. The tale is grounded in my undersantding of the psychotic condition and I am sure that my readers with exclusive interest in the psychologcial aspects would still find reading that novel worthwhile. Of course, I know that many of your are multi-dimensional, and value arts, as much as science, and reading the novel would be an artistic pleasure in itself- even when not being bogged down by the psychological aspects and the truth or falsity of my depiction of the psychotic condition – the novel can be enjoyed in its own right . Reading it may also help you connect with me on a different level- exposing aspects of myself that were never apparent while reading the mouse trap.

As always I would love feedback, reviews etc and would sincerely request that you give the novel a try. The paperback edition is priced at $10.80 and a downloadable version is priced at $2.50; I am sure it would prove value for money and you will end up buying further copies for your friends and recommending it to others. It is at present just available at lulu.com , but soon will be available at all other major stores like amazon.com.

You can read an excerpt from the novel at the lulu.com site and here is the blurb from the back cover:

The sculptor and the sandman is a fable set in the India of the twenty first century. A tale of passion, obsession, madness and rebellion, the story revolves around how the protagonists move in and out of madness, competing as well as caring for each other, and how their life becomes inextricably twined with that of the narrator, a coconut water vendor.

A tale in which episodes of frank psychosis seem more understandable and reasonable than the unbearable normality of everyday life, the tale is a grim reminder of how misunderstandings and malice work together to weave the different strands of our life together and how silver linings are present in the darkest of clouds hovering over the horizon.

Seen from another perspective, the tale documents different approaches to find meaning and value in this modern world, a world devoid of absolutes. One approach may seem more absurd and futile than the other, but perhaps it is not so much about the ‘right’ value system or frame of meaning, as it is about the need for ‘a’ value system or a frame of meaning- to each his own cross.

Please, Please, Please do read the novel (for that you’l need to buy it!), share it with others( if you indeed like it) , recommend/review it on your blogs and do send me comments, either using this page, the lulu reviews page etc or by directly sending your comments to me at sandygautam@yahoo.com, even if the comments are not positive or encouraging. Any feedback is much better than no feedback. Depending on the feedback, I have the sequel to the sculptor and sandman already in draft stage but I need some reassurance as to whether the efforts are worthwhile and whether  there is a need and appreciation for this type of writing.

Child Psychology: The Mouse Trap turns 3

The Mouse Trap turns 3 today. It was exactly three years and 334 posts earlier that the Mouse Trap was born. The Mouse Trap has indeed learnt to walk on its own and has also developed adequate linguistic skills in the meantime. The toddler years are all but over, as it now becomes more playful and enters play age of early childhood. Already people are demanding that it not be developmentally delayed, but start indulging in rich imaginative pretend play with topics being requested like symbolic interactionsim and social epistemology.

Some stock taking and reality check is in store. The wiki page on toddler lists the following last milestones for 25-36 months and I hope the Mouse trap is doing fine. To recap:

  1. Speaking in sentences: Hopefully the strands of mouse trap blog posts now form more cohesive sentences (like the theme of autism-psychosis, stage theories etc) and are not disjointed phrases and one-off utterances.
  2. Ability to be independent to primary care giver: I hope that the reader partcipation has increased and with more reader participatory initiatives like Skribit suggestions, Google FriendConnect etc., the Mouse Trap is able to become more and more independent of its primary caregiver, that is me, and instead make deep attachments with other secondary caregivers like its prized readers and subscriber base.
  3. Easily learns new words, places and people’s names: Hopefully as the Mouse trap matures, it is learning to expand its horizons and foraying into topics left hitherto untouched; with better reader connect features , like twitter/Frinedfeed etc it is surely remembering peoples names and where they come form!
  4. Anticipates routines: The mouse trap hopefully has learnt to anticipate the routine articles and topics that its readership likes to read and is doing a decent job on that score. do suggest your topics if the mouse trap doesn’t anticipate them!
  5. Toilet learning continues : Once th emouse trap might have been suffering from blogorrehea, but now it knows that passing motion (posting articles) once a week is adequate enough an dthat one should write a article only when one is full of it! There does exist scope for more routinized daily motion passing though!!
  6. Plays with toys in imaginative ways: I am experimenting a lot with social media (my favorite web 2.0 toy) so as to engage more readers in a conversation. If you have any imaginative ideas of how to play with this toy, do let me know!!
  7. Attempts to sing in-time with songs: Hopefully, the mouse trap has learnt to sing in tune with the zeitgeist of the day; though here I believe Mouse trap more has an original, unsynchronised with others voice and singing profile. Hope to change that and be more in sync with what others in the science blogosphere are singing (but definitely not the atheism/evolution debate which just bores me)

So, the Mouse trap is just about doing fine. It has been consistently featured in wikio top 100 science blogs, is amongst the top 5 blogs in India as ranked by Indiblogger.in, has a google page rank of 6 and has a subscriber base of close to 450 dedicated RSS feed subscribers, besides those that visit it daily on web via search. Also , the twitter followers of @sandygautam are increasing steadily and have reached 450 and the rate at which they are growing it seems they’ll grow way beyond the Mouse trap feed subscribers. With micro-blogging and twitter/ FriendFeed, I have found a new way to share links and ideas and deepen conversations and connect with my readers, that was not possible with just the Mouse Trap.

I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage all feed subscribers to join me at twitter (@sandygautam) to keep up to date on links that I don’t find exciting enough to write a blog post about or do not have much to add to, but which still are related to theme of what I write about and would make for a good read and need to be shared. I would also encourage new as well as veteran readers and subscribers, just for today,  to visit the mouse trap blog on the web and not in their feed readers (to celebrate its B’day, you are invited to the party at the web) so that they can become familiar with new social media tools I have put together on the Mouse Trap blog, like the ‘recommended by readers’ widget, the ‘top posts by PostRank’ widget or the ‘suggest topics to write’ widget.

Lastly as a primary caregiver, though my investment in the mouse trap has been more and my pride consequently in its progress has been immense; I must also thank all the other caregivers like you , the reader, or the peers like the other science blogs that have provided a safe and playful environment in which the Mouse Trap could flower or learn by peer play/ imitation learning. You all are a part and parcel of the Mouse Trap blog, so thanks everyone and take pride in your child’s development and maturation and now that it becomes more independent come forward and supplant the primary caregiver and let it achieve its full potential! Amen!

Read the Mouse Trap on your Kindle

Amazon today broadened their kindle blog offerings and I have used that facility to make the Mouse Trap blog feed available on the Kindle. I am not sure how many of the Mouse trap blog readers do indeed possess a kindle and whether they would find it useful to read the blog with a monthly subscription fee of 1.99 dollars; but there was no option to have a say and make the Mouse Trap blog feed available for free, so that’s what we have ended up with. You can always continue to read the blog freely using other means, but experimenting with a 14 day free kindle trial may be a good idea! More details here.

If you do subscribe using kindle , do let me know your experience via the comments.

101 Fascinating Brain blogs

OEDB has put together a list of 101 fascinating Brain blogs and it is an excellent list with most of the usual suspects and some new ones too. The descriptions of the blogs are good and informative. The Mouse trap has been featured under Multidisciplinary blogs and I cannot agree more. The focus of this blog has been multi-disciplinary and I am by nature drawn to anything and everything that is remotely tied to brain, no matter what the discipline or the methods.

On a related note, I had thought that the mouse trap being featured in WIKIO Science top 100 was a one-off affair, but it seems that the ranking has only improved this month (the mouse trap is up at #78 this month); so thanks again to all the readers of this blog for continuing to read and link. BTW, I saw a significant drop (about 10%) in the number of RSS feed subscribers after my 26/11 and ‘Beyond revenge’ post; maybe the subscribers thought that I had decided to leave science blogging for good and thus unsubscribed; political blogging for me may lie in the future, but not for now; for now I intend to continue blogging about brains only. The Mouse Trap blog, at the least, will always remain focussed on psychology and neuroscience only. If  I do decide to blog about political matters I’ll maybe start a new blog, just like The Fool’s Quest blog which I use for poetry and literature.

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