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.

Living in suspense

A few weeks ago, I was eagerly awaiting the final episode of Sanditon. It was a Masterpiece Theater series based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of the same name – she’d introduced the characters and the setting, but didn’t live … Continue reading

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Is it “good”? Or is it “sweet”?

This year on Easter, after a lovely dinner with my partner and son, and after we each looked to see what the Easter Bunny had put in our Easter baskets, we settled down to consider playing the board game Bunny … Continue reading

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Thinking like a rose

I wonder what roses think about wildflowers that “volunteer” to share their garden without an invitation? That’s a comment one of my readers made in response to my last blog post. I loved that comment, because it sends us off … Continue reading

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Wildflowers or weeds?

Wildflowers! Today I got a break from the massively complicated paper I’m writing, and we also had a break in the rain, so I went out to check in with the neighborhood wildflowers. A few years ago, I set myself … Continue reading

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Overcoming the temptations of conservatism, with the good people of Cranford

Even for progressives, being “conservative” is not necessarily a bad thing. A great many of us are conservative in at least some ways. Maybe we don’t like to try new foods, or we have some routines we really don’t want … Continue reading

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Beyond love/hate binaries

Quick! What do e-cigarettes, fossil fuels, and Downton Abbey all have in common? E-cigarettes are great – if you used to be a heavy smoker and managed to switch your nicotine addiction entirely to e-cigarettes, which are much less likely … Continue reading

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When Principles meet Loyalty, who wins?

I was probably right there on the Berkeley campus when the package arrived. I’d finally resumed work on my bachelor’s degree, and I also had a university office job, so I spent much of my time there. Thankfully, the package … Continue reading

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From clickbait to transcendent meaning

This evening the weather was perfect for reading outside, and that’s what we were doing, enjoying the rustling leaves overhead, the trickle of water from our little fountain, and the antics of four of our cats, when my phone gave … Continue reading

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Fantasy worlds as thought experiments

Reading a fantasy or science fiction novel gives your imagination a good workout. Not only are you constantly watching for clues to help you paint a coherent picture of the story world and how it works, you’re sharing the viewpoint … Continue reading

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Growing up “meta”

Our young friend Maddie recently celebrated her first birthday. Maddie loves berries and books! We do too! And thus, my partner and I gave her three books about berries. One is a book about colors of fruit. One is a … Continue reading

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