Author Archives: Laura Akers, Ph.D.

About Laura Akers, Ph.D.

I'm a research psychologist at Oregon Research Institute, and I'm writing a book about meta-narratives, the powerful collective stories we share about who we are and where we're headed. My interests include beliefs and worldviews, ethics, motivation, and relationships, both among humans and between humans and the natural world.

Real-life hopepunk

I’ve been meaning to write about hopepunk. One of my online friends, Susan Kaye Quinn, is a novelist in this newly recognized genre, and today she posted “A Brief History of Hopepunk.” Another online friend, the novelist P.J. Manney, has … Continue reading

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In love with the land – the real clash of civilizations

What does it mean to love the land? Two very different things, apparently. Today I was reading Ezra Klein’s column in the New York Times, where he was talking about anti-liberalism. Remember, we have multiple meanings for “liberal,” and this … Continue reading

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Mindset and “genius” – life lessons from the Schumanns

One of the most popular – and practically useful – concepts to emerge in psychology in recent decades has been Carol Dweck’s concept of “fixed” versus “growth” mindsets. Dweck, a Stanford researcher, found that in any given context, people tend … Continue reading

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Putin, Ukraine, and the “glory” trap

As Russia, under the determined leadership of Vladimir Putin, shocks the world with its invasion of Ukraine, Americans find ourselves wondering: Why???? Here’s what the New York Times says about Putin’s position. “Mr. Putin has described the Soviet disintegration as … Continue reading

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All the “porns”

The last time I was in our neighborhood supermarket, I narrowly avoided buying the latest special issue of Good Housekeeping, full of recipes for the Mediterranean diet. Although I was tempted, $13.99 was non-trivial, and I reminded myself that if … Continue reading

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Every voice counts

I heard a fascinating talk today by Martha Bayless, who is one of our university’s folklore professors, and whose CV is full of awesome things, like medieval humor and games, food, and magic. She also curated the ongoing exhibit on … Continue reading

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Wordle, fast and slow

Like so many others on the fun, quick games bandwagon, my partner and I are regular players of Wordle. We’ve been playing for 20 days, and we each have 20 wins. In Wordle, you’re guessing the identity of that day’s … Continue reading

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Why we keep hanging onto the past – and what that costs us

For a couple days this week, I found myself highly motivated to hold my head relatively still, so as not to aggravate the massive headache that had wrapped itself relentlessly around it. I needed a fairly mindless way to pass … Continue reading

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Fighting injustice with fantasy fiction

I read a great trilogy this past week, and I’m going to tell you all about it, but bear with me a moment – first I want to share a personal story. My late step-dad, Arnold, was in many respects … Continue reading

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What it means to be a “we”

Today I read a really interesting idea in the New York Times. Columnist Jay Caspian Kang proposed that maybe it’s time to treat the “unhoused” (a.k.a. “homeless”) as a protected group. If this were to happen, he foresees three main … Continue reading

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