Psychology Today

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Psychology Today is a print and online magazine that publishes popular psychology articles. Some articles cite scientific research and others are based on opinion or observation. Many of its contributors are qualified, though their articles don't undergo peer review.

Some of its articles veer into pseudoscience territory, so don't believe everything you read.


Psychology Today was founded by Nicholas Charney, Ph.D. in 1967, and publishes issues every other month.[1]

Recent history[edit]

Psychology Today has a large web presence, featuring many blogs with popular psychology articles. It also includes a large online therapist directory where patients can find a specialist who suits their needs.

Its covers feature white people 88% of the time—usually skinny, conventionally attractive white women.[2] They are often wearing makeup and "sexy" clothes.


Media Bias/Fact Check lists Psychology Today as pro-science with high factual reporting. It notes that while individual writers show bias, the publication is scientific overall.[3]

The good[edit]

Psychology Today explains scientific concepts in accessible language, educating the general public in facets of psychology. The language is plain enough that teens as well as adults can read it and learn new things.

The magazine includes articles about issues that affect the general public, such as self-esteem, identifying and treating mental illnesses, and identifying abusive relationships. This knowledge can make a difference to people who need it. For instance, this article by Dev Roychowdhury lists evidence-based actionable steps that people can take to practice mindfulness during COVID-19 confinement and lockdowns.

Psychology Today employs a diverse group of contributors with different specialties and backgrounds. This includes hiring people with certain psychological conditions to write about those conditions, such as people with ADHD and autism writing articles that help others understand them better.

The bad[edit]

Psychology Today has a diverse team of writers, and sometimes that includes people with ideas that really shouldn't get published. A few articles are biased, non-factual, or even straight up rotten.

The article saying black women aren't pretty[edit]

Obviously Kanazawa needs to get his eyes checked.

In 2011, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa pubished an article entitled "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" on Psychology Today. Yes, really. He used "research" to prove his point, though he didn't disclose sample size or confounding factors.[4]

Other contributing writers, understandably horrified that their colleague could publish such an article, quickly wrote refutations that pointed out the many[5][note 1] holes in his research. Finally, editor-in-chief Kaja Perina issued an apology for allowing the article's publication, saying that it had been taken down and that they had "taken measures to ensure that such an incident does not occur again."[6]

Some people felt that the apology was not enough. A petition called upon Psychology Today to apologize more deeply, dismiss Kanazawa, clarify what "measures" are being taken to prevent future incidents, and post articles debunking scientific racism.[7]

Autism and schizophrenia stereotypes[edit]

See the main articles on this topic: AutismSchizophrenia, and Stereotype
In other words, while autistics don't mentalize enough, psychotics mentalize too much; where autistics don't seem to have minds at all, psychotics suffer from cancers of the minds they do have.
Christopher Robert Badcock,[8] who doesn't seem to realize that he's talking about actual human beings
Who gave this violent feral shell of a human being a microphone?

In 2016, Psychology Today published two articles by Christopher Robert Badcock, Ph.D., claiming that autistic people were "undomesticated humans"[9] (using "evidence" like head size and ear shape and the debunked[10][11][12] claim that autistics are violent) and people with schizophrenia were "hyper-domesticated humans."[13]

Badcock has also published articles with other "fun" claims, like:

Presenting pseudoscience as real[edit]

Psychology Today includes articles on neurolinguistic programming (NLP), a pseudoscientific technique that claims to cure all kinds of mental and physical ailments. It displays articles treating NLP as a valid method for treating mental illness[27][28] and its therapist directory includes NLP therapists.[29]

Defence of inspiration porn[edit]

Another article in 2016[30] suggested that inspiration porn was acceptable because there was a need for more encouraging news in such turbulent times. This being in the context of a particularly dirty political campaign which was widely agreed to be one of the most negative in recent history. The fact that disabled people don't exist for the purpose of making the able-bodied comfortable is lost on the author.

The comments, thankfully, did point this out, by explaining how such porn helps to turn disabled people into objects of pity rather than autonomous human beings.


  1. Lupita Nyong'o. Tyra Banks. Naomi Campbell. Janelle Monáe. Winnie Harlow. Beyoncé. We could go on.
  2. The tl;dr is that we're getting a lot better at diagnosing autism in people who would have otherwise been missed
  3. Individuals on the Autism spectrum tend to be less influenced by or responsive to societal expectations or constraints so maybe more likely to identify with their LGB attraction or gender dysphoria.[24] Some research indicates that androgen exposure in the womb may cause autism.[25] Prenatal androgen exposure is also a factor in development of non-heterosexual attraction (see Prenatal hormones and sexual orientationWikipedia) You could argue there may be be some overlap, however autistics tending not to care what others think is just as convincing.


  1. Was There Really a Popular Science 'Boom'?
  2. Psychology Today Magazine Loves White People. Especially Beautiful and Thin White Women.
  3. Psychology Today - Media Bias/Fact Check
  4. Satoshi Kanazawa's racist nonsense should not be tolerated - The Guardian
  5. The Data Are In Regarding Satoshi Kanazawa - Scientific American
  6. Psychology Today Apologizes for 'Black Women Less Attractive' Post - The Atlantic
  7. Psychology Today: Stop Publishing Racist & Sexist Articles -
  8. Autistic Brains Function Oppositely to Psychotic Ones - Psychology Today
  9. Autistics as Undomesticated Humans - Psychology Today
  10. Aggression in children with autism spectrum disorders and a clinic-referred comparison group - Autism
  11. Autism Is Not Psychosis - The Atlantic. Though psychotic breaks don't usually cause violence.
  12. Toronto attack: Autism does not increase risk of violence - The Conversation
  13. Schizophrenics as Hyper-domesticated Humans - Psychology Today
  14. Hyper-mentalism in Children Reporting Psychotic Experiences
  15. Empirical Failures of the Claim That Autistic People Lack a Theory of Mind
  16. The Right Incentive Can Erase an Autism Deficit - Scientific American. Maybe autistic kids just aren't that interested in answering strangers' weird questions.
  17. Debunking the Theory of Mind - Huffington Post
  18. Clinically Significant Disturbance: On Theorists Who Theorize Theory of Mind - Disability Studies Quarterly
  19. Why Affluence Is the True Cause of the Real Autism Epidemic
  20. Three Reasons Not to Believe in an Autism Epidemic - Current Directions in Psychological Science
  21. Large Swedish study casts doubt on autism 'epidemic' - Spectrum News
  22. The CDC just announced one in 59 children are autistic. Here's why that's not evidence of an epidemic.
  23. A Diametric Diagnosis of the New British Disease
  24. Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Asperger/Autism Jamie Freed, Autism Network
  25. Male susceptibility to autism linked to male hormones in early-stage brain development
  26. Being Female: Protected From Autism But at Risk of Psychosis - Psychology Today
  27. Neuro-Linguistic Programming Therapy - Psychology Today
  28. NLP Experts Speak Out - Psychology Today
  29. Find a Neuro-Linguistic Therapist - Psychology Today
  30. Lutz, Amy S.F. (Oct 19, 2016). Bring on the "Inspiration Porn". Psychology Today. Retrieved April 5, 2020.