Take Two #151: Groupthink vs. Group Think

by Kyra-lin Hom

The term 'groupthink' was first coined in 1952 by William H. Whyte, Jr. to imply a type of rationalized conformity. Twenty years later, Dr. Irving Janis published the first compendium of early research on the topic. Since then, with the popularization of layman's sociology and psychology, 'groupthink' has become a social buzzword. But what exactly is it and why should any of us care? Let's explore.

Groupthink is what psychologists and other fancy-pants people call a logical or formal fallacy. In other words, it is an invalid pattern of reasoning. Usually a logical fallacy is something that seems true but isn't. For example: all girls drink tea; Nancy is a girl; therefore, Nancy never drinks coffee. This fallacy in particular is called the fallacy of the inverse. There are several, and they're pretty fun to play around with. Then again, I am a self-admitted nerd.

More ›

Take Two #149: The Art of Gift Giving

By Kyra-lin Hom

Unless someone gives you extremely specific, play-by-play instructions, there is no such thing as a perfect gift. There is no infallible checklist, no users' guide, and certainly no set amount of money you have to spend. It is, in fact, this very freedom that makes us flounder. We scour the internet and implore everyone we know, hunting for hints about what might be the proper way to do this thing. Because while there is no perfect way, anyone who has ever given or received a bad gift knows that there is definitely a wrong way.

The most common mistakes in gift giving are self-centeredness, a failure to communicate, getting too fixated on a theme, or just plain over-thinking. The best gift givers instinctively navigate these minefields like bomb sniffing dogs. The rest of us need to tread a bit more carefully.

More ›

Take Two #150: Prevent Holiday Stress

By Kyra-lin Hom

As every Hallmark card proclaims, the holiday season is a time for families and feel goods. But the rest of us know that those things don't always come so easy. Forced dysfunctional family gatherings are even common fodder for many a comedy or drama. You know the trope: shove a bunch of grudge-bearing people who barely like each other into close quarters then sit back and watch the fires ignite. And though few of us are at those Weasley (before book seven) vs. Lannister levels of extreme, the point still stands: holiday stress is a real thing.

More ›