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Understanding the Imposter Syndrome

Understanding the Imposter Syndrome

I first witnessed the disturbing force of the imposter syndrome while doing research on young people at the cusp of adulthood.  As they leave the family home and their long term friends for the wider world - either of higher education or employment – the familiar comparators shift, and with it, their comfortable place in the pecking order of peers.  The fear that your true ineptness will be exposed. In defence, some act like peacocks, displaying confidence to attract attention and mark status.  With lots of people around them also strutting their stuff, they may be taken in...
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"Head in a Car Crusher": Understanding Autism

"Head in a Car Crusher": Understanding Autism

When I first started to work with people on the autistic spectrum, I was given a very bad piece of advice: because the brains of people with autism were damaged, one should not listen to what they had to say. The implication was that they had nothing useful to contribute. I repeat this now only because it highlights how completely our perspective on autism has been challenged and redirected by the autobiographical accounts of such courageous people as Temple Grandin, Donna Williams and many others, presenting us with the view from the inside. Starting as a...
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Want to Know Yourself? Take Our Test

Want to Know Yourself? Take Our Test

“If I knew myself, I’d run away,” said Goethe, who, incidentally, was Freud’s favourite writer. You might imagine that knowing yourself would be one of the key goals of psychology.  Often it has not been, however. When I was young one of the most distinguished experimental psychologists of his generation Donald Broadbent told me students should realise it was an illusion that psychology would teach them to know themselves better. Perhaps that’s why a paper on Experiential Self Monitoring which I reported in 1980 made such an impression on me. It was given by E J...
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