Psychology News – 11 August, 2017

My brother is awful to my parents and we think he has mental health issues

He has had serious mood swings for most of his adult life, but my parents are scared to confront him in case he stops them seeing their grandchildren I am concerned about how my brother treats my parents. He is 39, has a family of his own and is apparently a good dad, but he is controlling, moody and insular. His sulks and mood swings have become unbearable and my parents never know what mood he…
_____________
Novel software can recognize eye contact in everyday situations

Human eye contact is an important information source. Nonetheless, so far, possibilities to recognize eye contact in everyday situations have been very limited. Computer scientists have now developed a method by the aid of which it is possible to detect eye contact, independent of the type and size of the target object, the position of the camera, or the environment….
_____________
An In-depth Analysis of the Crisis at Google

This extended blog offers an analysis of the latest battle in the omnipresent culture wars— the dust up at Google resulting in the firing of James Damore . The incident began after he released a controversial memo that challenged the logic of the company’s diversity initiatives. It was released to the press and the controversy swelled and Google took action. What follows is a detailed analysis of…
_____________
Who’s To Blame When A Child Dies In High-Conflict Divorce?

By the time you finish reading this article, a child in the United States will be seconds closer to being murdered by his or her parent. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Reports, approximately 500 children are killed by their parents each year in America. Source: Linda Esposito, used with permission This is a picture of a traffic sign posted in my…
_____________
Imagining an action-consequence relationship can boost memory

Imagining an action between two objects (the umbrella being lodged in the door lock) and a potential consequence (not being able to lock the door) may help people improve their memory for relationships with other objects, according to a recent story….
_____________
How the brain recognizes familiar faces

Scientists have located two areas in the brain that help us recognize familiar faces. The discovery will help them delve deeper into the relationship between face recognition, memory, and social knowledge….
_____________
Two Parallel Events Together Send a Message to You

Source: Wikipedia commons Different people are sensitive to different kinds of coincidences. I seem to attract and notice human GPS coincidences. Human Geo-spatial Positioning is the ability to get where you need to be without knowing how you got there. It’s somehow being in the right place at the right time. I am interested in both explaining these coincidences and and how to use them….
_____________
What to Do When You Get Unexpected Bad News

“The bad news is nothing lasts forever. The good news is nothing lasts forever.” – J. Cole No one can predict when they’ll receive bad news. It could be they get a phone call or text that a project failed, or an urgent voice mail to call immediately. Sometimes the message is delivered in person, sometimes via impersonal email. Even rarer is the negative news sent via postal mail….
_____________
If You’re Married, Do You Date?

Date night is incredibly important in long-term relationships and marriages, and the added element of children makes it all the more crucial. But so often it is the last thing on people’s minds when they have already scheduled so much from work meetings to report card conferences to dinner with friends. The question becomes, how can you find that crucial time alone which will then keep you going…
_____________
Gender Bias in Technology: How One Google Guy got it Wrong

In the latest dust-up in the battle over sexism in the workplace , Google engineer James Damore claimed that there’s a reason for women’s lack of representation in the tech world and it has nothing to do with sexism. Damore argues that there are “non-bias causes” of the lack of equal representation of women in tech fields. The tech gender gap, he proposes, “aren’t just socially constructed…
_____________
Mouse Model Suggest Bullying Harms Sleep, Bio-Rhythms

Research on an animal models shows that being bullied can lead to sleep disorders and a variety of stress-related mental illnesses. Neuroscientists determined that being bullied produces long-lasting, depression-like sleep dysfunction and can lead to circadian rhythm-related issues. This disruption of daily biological rhythms can lead to clinical depression and stress-related disorders….
_____________
Suicide Is Much Too Common Among U.S. Physicians

In May researchers published the results of a sweeping study on the deaths of U.S. physicians. Appearing in the journal Academic Medicine, the study gathered data on more than 380,000 resident physicians—doctors who graduated from medical school and were training in their chosen specialties—between 2000 and 2014. The authors identified 324 resident deaths during that time period and compared them…
_____________
Sleep Disorders May Influence Preterm Birth

A new review by researchers at UC San Francisco finds that pregnant women who are diagnosed with sleep disorders appear to be at risk of delivering their babies before reaching full term. Investigators found the link was associated with conditions such as sleep apnea and insomnia. The prevalence of preterm birth – defined as delivery before 37 weeks’ gestation – was 14.6 percent for women…
_____________
New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science : Associative Learning of Social Value in Dynamic Groups Oriel FeldmanHall, Joseph E. Dunsmoor, Marijn C. W. Kroes, Sandra Lackovic, and Elizabeth A. Phelps The researchers examined value-based learning in social situations in two experiments. In the first experiment, participants received large monetary offers from “good” dictator…
_____________
Sexual Disorientation of Male Sexual Abuse Survivors

In my psychotherapy practice, I’ve been addressing the many-faceted issue of straight men who have gay sex—how easy it may be to conclude that such men are gay or bisexual and simply in denial of their true sexual orientation, but that this may not be the case. What we find, instead, is that memories about the abuse from another male can become eroticized for a man, which then compels him to seek…
_____________
Alex Jones – Snake Oil Salesman

If Alex Jones lived 150 years ago he would have traveled around with a horse-drawn wagon selling his patent medicine with a medicine show featuring amazing stories about hacking his way through the jungle to find cures and sitting down with Indian medicine-men to learn their secrets. Today he has his own TV show where he tells amazing stories of conspiracies in order to sell dubious supplements….
_____________
How to Sabotage Your Job Search

Being unemployed, especially for any lengthy period of time can be both emotionally devastating as well as frightening. With the prospect of having rent or a mortgage to pay, as well as other bills, any job search can be a rather daunting and discouraging task. Many who find themselves in the hunt for a job are especially outraged and discouraged when they don’t even hear back from a prospective…
_____________
Do You Ask for What You Want?

For some people there appears to be a reluctance to ask for what they want. Will they be viewed as demanding? Perhaps they will appear greedy. Maybe they are not used to having their wants and needs taken into account or they could have grown up in a manipulative household where no one revealed their real agenda. A lack of confidence can also influence whether or not we think we “deserve” to get…
_____________
Special Mental Health Probation Helps Offenders with Mental Illness

Mentally ill offenders who are placed on “specialty mental health probation” — a program in which probation officers with mental health expertise offer a more individualized, treatment-oriented approach — are far less likely to re-offend than those who are placed in traditional probation, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. The promising new…
_____________
Forcing a Positive Attitude Can Backfire

A new series of studies suggests ignoring negative emotions to remain optimistic may not be the best approach in the long run. University of California, Berkeley researchers discovered embracing your darker moods can actually make you feel better as the pressure to feel upbeat can make you feel downbeat. “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative…
_____________
Best of Our Blogs: August 11, 2017

Your belief that everything is going to be all right. Her smile. His sense of ease. Your friendship. What has illness done to you and your relationships? What have you gained in return? Meaning. Presence. Connection. Compassion. This week, read the fascinating ways narcissism, stress, negative thinking and a traumatic childhood affect who we are today. Then, ask yourself: What have you gained…
_____________
McLean Hospital Top US Adult Psychiatric Hospital

McLean Hospital takes the top spot this year on US News and World Report annual ranking of adult psychiatric hospitals, beating out last year’s number one, Massachusetts General Hospital. Medscape Medical News…
_____________
Music Is Good for the Soul, and Your Health

Source: CC0 Public Domain We’ve all heard the idiom, “Music is good for the soul.” But, according to the evidence, it’s good for your health as well. Study after study has found that music therapy has a positive effect on a broad range of physical and psychological conditions including dementia , anxiety, depression and cancer. Before we go any further, what is music therapy anyway? Music therapy…
_____________
Perception of being overweight predicts future health and well-being

An interesting bit from Daly et al. : Identifying oneself as being overweight may be associated with adverse health outcomes, yet prospective tests of this possibility are lacking. Over 7 years, we examined associations between perceptions of being overweight and subsequent health in a sample of 3,582 U.S. adults. Perceiving oneself as being overweight predicted longitudinal declines in subjective…
_____________
‘Hearing voices’ and the role of expectation

According to the latest research, auditory hallucinations are dependent on expectations. A recent study investigates hallucinations using a 125-year-old experimental design. The scientists wanted to understand why many people hear voices but only some find them disturbing. A number of psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia , involve hallucinations. Often, these hallucinations are auditory…
_____________
Reaction time variation may be a marker that predicts mortality in old age

A common indicator of neurobiological disturbance among the elderly may also be associated with mortality, according to a study published in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Nicole A. Kochan at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), UNSW Sydney. Intraindividual reaction time variability (IIVRT), defined as an individual’s variation in reaction times when completing a single cognitive…
_____________
Rewired taste system reveals how flavors move from tongue to brain

By tangling up bitter- and sweet-sensing cells on the tongues of mice, researchers have teased apart how the taste system wires itself. The results, from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator Charles Zuker at Columbia University and colleagues, reveal how cells constantly reconnect to keep taste abilities running smoothly, allowing flavor information to flow from tongue to brain…
_____________
Brain mapping uncovers neuronal differences

New research uses an innovative brain mapping technique to investigate the myriad of individual differences among brain cells. Despite significant advances in neuroscience, we are far from knowing what each neuron in the human brain does and looks like. New research, however, brings us closer to such encyclopedic knowledge. Using molecular methods, researchers from the Salk Institute…
_____________
‘Hearing voices’ and the role of expectation

According to the latest research, auditory hallucinations are dependent on expectations. A recent study investigates hallucinations using a 125-year-old experimental design. The scientists wanted to understand why many people hear voices but only some find them disturbing. A number of psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia , involve hallucinations. Often, these hallucinations are auditory…
_____________
The first study to see if fussy-eating children grow into fussy-eating adults

By Christian Jarrett Fussy eating – also referred to as “selective eating” in scholarly research – is incredibly common among children, with upper estimates placing the prevalence at 50 per cent. Despite this, many parents understandably fret when their kids avoid a lot of foods, won’t try new things and/or will only eat certain meals. They worry whether their child is getting enough vitamins and…
_____________
A moment that changed me: finding out that my dad was an ‘Auschwitz baby’ | Namalee Bolle

M um was sombre as she spoke, so I knew it was serious. She’s not the kind of mother who is unsmiling very often so when she is, it’s deeply unsettling. Her kind almond eyes were intense as she became the storyteller of the kind of drama you go to the movies for. “Oma is not your real grandmother. In 1943 she pretended Dad was her own baby that she lost in a miscarriage. She risked her life…
_____________
Better Living Through Empathy

Source: Trinity Kubassek/Pexels We often take a “glass half empty” approach when considering empathy. In popular media and psychology research studies alike, the consequences of a lack of empathy tend to be emphasized. We are warned of the perils of the office narcissist or psychopath who can’t see beyond their own point of view and needs; tantalized by crime shows depicting sadistic murderers…
_____________
Why we fell for clean eating

I n the spring of 2014, Jordan Younger noticed that her hair was falling out in clumps. “Not cool” was her reaction. At the time, Younger, 23, believed herself to be eating the healthiest of all possible diets. She was a “gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, grain-free, legume-free, plant-based raw vegan”. As The Blonde Vegan, Younger was a “wellness” blogger in New York City, one of thousands…
_____________
Seven Tips for College and Graduate Students

Source: CollegeDegrees360, CC 2.0 Whether you’re off to college for the first time or a veteran of exam cram, these reminders, which stray little from common sense, may be worth this quick read. Better the good professor than the good course title. Medieval History can be transformative while Advanced Sex can be soporific. It all depends on the instructor. Sure, especially at a small college, you…
_____________
Novel stem cell-derived model created of inflammatory neurological disorder

An international team of scientists, has created a human stem cell-based model of a rare, but devastating, inherited neurological autoimmune condition called Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome (AGS). In doing so, the team was able to identify unusual and surprising underlying genetic mechanisms that drive AGS and test strategies to inhibit the condition using existing drugs….
_____________
New guidelines aim treat brain tumors more effectively

New European guidelines aim to treat brain tumors more effectively….
_____________
Insight into learning via ‘friend of fragile X’ gene

Fragile X syndrome, caused by a disruption of the gene FMR1, is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability. Scientists have revealed new aspects of the function of FMR1 and a ‘friend’ — called ZC3H14 in humans/mice and dNab2 in flies….
_____________
Novel stem cell-derived model created of inflammatory neurological disorder

An international team of scientists, has created a human stem cell-based model of a rare, but devastating, inherited neurological autoimmune condition called Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome (AGS). In doing so, the team was able to identify unusual and surprising underlying genetic mechanisms that drive AGS and test strategies to inhibit the condition using existing drugs….
_____________
Mental health programs in schools: Growing body of evidence supports effectiveness

School-based mental health programs can reach large numbers of children, with increasing evidence of effectiveness in improving mental health and related outcomes, according to a research review…
_____________
Political party influences lawmakers’ tweets more than gender

Politicians are often expected to have expertise in certain areas, based on their gender. A researcher looked at whether US representatives’ tweets support this stereotype. She found that political party plays more of a role than gender in lawmakers’ Twitter habits….
_____________
Highly skilled workers more likely to have control over their working day

People in high-skilled jobs and supervisory roles are more likely to enjoy control over their working hours, new research in work-life balance shows….
_____________
New kinds of brain cells revealed

Scientists analyzed methylation patterns of neurons to find new subtypes….
_____________
New Optical Illusion Going Viral on the Internet

Move over, blue-black-white-gold dress , there’s a new optical illusion taking over the internet and it’s a real head-scratcher. The illusion was created by artist Victoria Skye, and shared by Twitter user @martinstaylor. It appears to show a series of horizontal lines arranged at an angle. The trick is that all the lines are straight, even though it really doesn’t look like it. The image quickly…
_____________
Victims of Sexual Assault Face Higher Risk of Mental Disorders

University of Illinois researchers report the trauma associated with a sexual assault places victims at increased risk of a wide range of mental health conditions. Investigators analyzed nearly 200 studies involving more than 230,00 adult participants and discovered the elevated risk was apparent regardless of how a researcher may have defined the sexual assault. Researchers found a history…
_____________
FaceApp Deletes New Black, White and Asian Filters After Racism Storm

A viral app that adds filters to users’ selfies to change their appearance has backtracked on its latest update after was accused of racism over its new range of ethnic filters. FaceApp, which uses facial recognition to change users’ expressions and look, deleted its new “black”, “white”, “Asian” and “Indian” filters following a storm of criticism. The update was met with an instant backlash from…
_____________
Mind Over Matter: How Placebos Can Enhance Health

One day not long ago, 40 freshly heartbroken 18- to 28-year-olds gathered in a lab clutching photos of the exes who scorned them. Through the lens of an imaging machine, researchers watched similar areas of their brains light up when they were physically hurt with something hot and emotionally hurt with the photos. Then, the research team gave the students a nasal spray, telling some of them that…
_____________
De-jargonizing program helps decode science speak

Science is fascinating to many, but sentences about research full of expert-level terms and descriptions can scare away even the most passionate audiences. Now, scientists have created a free, scientist-friendly “De-Jargonizer” they hope will make science and research accessible to the public….
_____________
5 Ways to Turn Mistakes Into Valuable Life Lessons

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I’ll never do that again,” only to find yourself doing the exact same thing just a short time later? If so, you’re not alone. It’s likely all of us have repeated some of our mistakes at one time or another. But making the same mistakes over and over can be costly in more ways than one. Perhaps your partner has lost faith in you because your behavior doesn’t…
_____________
Aging is exacerbated by alterations of stem cell circadian rhythm

Two new studies refute the scientific dogma associating aging with the loss of stem cell circadian rhythm. The studies show that during aging, stem cells continue to show rhythmic activity but reprogram their circadian functions. The team also demonstrate that a low-calorie diet delays alterations in the rhythmic functions of stem cells and slows down ageing….
_____________
Consistent backswing crucial in helping sportspeople produce optimum results

Research has shown that golfers and tennis players who perfect a consistent backswing when learning the sport can achieve results quicker than those who don’t….
_____________
Follow The Bread Crumbs to Your Purpose

A decade before I wrote my first book, I was walking around the streets of New York. I’d gotten lost in the back streets of SOHO and was meandering along my way when I came across a big bookstore. In the large window display were a whole range of books on how to be a non-fiction writer. At this stage I hadn’t even dreamt of writing a book. But something about this display intrigued me. So I found…
_____________
When Words Can Kill

Source: SIphotography/DepositPhotos I’m sure most of you have followed a story that received tremendous coverage in the news: a teenage girl convinced her boyfriend to kill himself through a series of relentless text messages. She bullied and cajoled him into acting on his suicidal ideation, even accused him of being weak when he had second thoughts and tried to back out of the plan. Those of us…
_____________
Consistent backswing crucial in helping sportspeople produce optimum results

Research has shown that golfers and tennis players who perfect a consistent backswing when learning the sport can achieve results quicker than those who don’t….
_____________
Why Advertising Falls Flat in Individuals With Autism

Which one would you choose? Source: Anya Vanecek, with permission A new study has found that people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be impervious to misleading marketing compared to the rest of us [1]. Rather than a disability, having ASD in this case may actually be a strength. With their greater focus on detail, people with autism are better able to tune out irrelevant context such as a…
_____________
When the Church Harms Your Child

Source: Photo by Noah Fowler I just released my most recent novel, Howard Be Thy Name, based on a true story and parts of my own life. Howard Be Thy Name is the story of how two working class families become entangled in the Catholic Church child sexual abuse scandal. It’s a story of poverty, violence, resilience , redemption, immigration, and love . It’s an exploration of childhood and…
_____________
Rock Star Suicides

Source: Editorial credit: / Shutterstock As a society, we can recognize the symptoms of artists who are depressed and get them into treatment instead of raising up their tortured art and then wondering why they die. Rock star suicides are nothing new. I’m reminded of Ian Curtis, Micheal Hutchence, and Curt Cobain. I recently wrote an article about the death of Chris Cornell, and sadly…
_____________
Trump to Declare Opioid Crisis a National Emergency

President Trump on Thursday said his administration would declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, just two days after his top health official said, after meeting with the president, that such a step was not necessary . Trump’s remarks came after his commission on combatting drug abuse issued an “urgent” recommendation last week that he issue an emergency declaration. It’s still unclear…
_____________
Machine Learning and Mental Health: Use Cases

A community for those who are interested in the mind, brain, language and artificial intelligence. Want to know more? Take a look at our reading list here. If you have any suggestions for further inclusions, post them here…
_____________
Mania: The Side Effect of Genius

The first psychiatrist I had ever met listened to me prattle on for about 15 minutes before she interrupted me, scowling: “You have bipolar disorder, type 1.” And there, that was it. I was 21 years old. I didn’t even question her as blurry memories of months of chaos filled my mind. I already knew my own diagnosis. But I hadn’t bothered to absorb it, or think about it, until she stated it…
_____________
What Is Mental Illness? Does Trump Have One?

Many Americans, including many therapists, dislike our current President. They may be wary of Republican political and economic ideas like smaller government , less governmental regulation, and reform of health care and taxation. They may deeply distrust the man’s personal style. They may experience intense anger when they see the President via the media or hear discussions about him on talk show…
_____________
Debunking Neuromyths: Eight Common Brain Myths Set Straight

Source: VLADGRIN/Shutterstock ​ Neuromyths are common misconceptions about how the mind and brain function. Once these myths take hold in the public consciousness, it’s often difficult for people to separate brain facts from brain fiction. Previous research has found that a belief in neuromyths is common among the general public, as well as teachers, in other countries. But until recently, there…
_____________
What algae can tell us about political strategy

Cells compete for nutrients. Political campaigns compete for voters. According to new research general principles may begin to explain how differing strategies play out where groups compete for resources….
_____________
Chef David Bouley’s Mission to Boost Our Brains

In order to use Medscape, your browser must be set to accept cookies delivered by the Medscape site. Medscape uses cookies to customize the site based on the information we collect at registration. The cookies contain no personally identifiable information and have no effect once you leave the Medscape site….
_____________
It’s a Fine Line Between Utopia and Gattaca

It’s a Fine Line Between Utopia and Gattaca Posted by Caroline Sferrazza on August 10, 2017 in Evolution , Methods , Philosophy , Politics | Leave a comment In a previous piece , we talked about why scientists and innovators around the world are so excited about CRISPR, a powerful new gene editing technology. The tool was first published 2012, but it still regularly makes headlines….
_____________
A Psychology of Humor

Source: c. historylink101 / Used with permission Here’s a clunky joke that says a lot more than it knows: An 80-year-old Italian goes to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor is amazed at what good shape the guy is in. “I’m Italian and a golfer,” says the patient, “and that’s why I’m in such good shape. I’m up before daylight and out golfing. I have a glass of vino and all is well.” “Well,” says…
_____________
Preventing Hangovers

To Beth (with apologies) We live in a society that encourages overindulgence in alcohol almost as much as overindulgence in food. When citizens drink too much, they can expect a hangover with adverse effects on productivity , health , and well being. Hangover is characterized by a general sense of malaise accompanied by headache, digestive upset, nausea, fatigue, and irritability. Hangover and…
_____________
Defining Playfulness

I’m beginning to think that I’ll never be able to define playfulness comprehensively enough to embrace it in its fullness. It’s just too diverse, too idiosyncratic, personal, profound to allow itself to be confined into anything satisfyingly definition-like. I’ve come to the conclusion that the best we can do is describe experiences, instances, moments in our lives that appear, in retrospect…
_____________
Health Care and Equality in India

Delhi’s health minister, Satyendar Jain, working the Aam Aadmi Party, has successfully championed the creation of a unique model of universal health reforms for all residents of this massive city. The poor can now join the wealthy in receiving fifty-two life-saving surgical procedures in approved private hospitals if the wait-time at government hospitals is more than thirty days…
_____________
Higher Anxiety Linked To What You’re Probably Doing Right Now

A behaviour you’re probably doing right now has been consistently linked to anxiety. Sitting down all day has been linked to increased anxiety, a new study finds. Low energy activities like watching TV, working at a computer or playing electronic games may all be linked to anxiety. The link between sedentary behaviours and worse physical health is well-established…
_____________
Do You Hear What I Hear? Auditory Hallucinations Yield Clues to Perception

At his psychiatric clinic in the Connecticut Mental Health Center, Albert Powers sees people every day who experience hallucinations. The condition is often a hallmark of psychosis, occurring in an estimated 60 to 70 percent of people with schizophrenia, and in a subset of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder, dementia and major depression. Auditory hallucinations are the most common type…
_____________
Science News » Breakthrough Method Yields Trove of Neuron Subtypes, Gene Regulators

VIDEO “Before you can understand how the brain works, we believe that we need to understand the parts list,” says NIMH grantee Joseph Ecker, Ph.D. He and his team at the Salk Institute have just taken a major step toward that goal. With funding from the NIH BRAIN Initiative , they have discovered a trove of neuronal subtypes and gene regulators, using a new method they developed….
_____________
No Reduction in Autism Symptoms With Music Therapy

Although a new randomized trial showed that improvisational music therapy did not reduce social affect in children with autism spectrum disorder, the intervention may work in some, researchers say. Medscape Medical News…
_____________
Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage Changed Perception of Norms, Despite Stable Personal Beliefs

How do a person’s views change when the government takes sides on an issue? Research conducted before and after the US Supreme Court’s historic 2015 ruling on gay marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges , showed that a decision by the nation’s highest court likely changed Americans’ perceptions of social norms regarding gay marriage, even if it didn’t change their personal attitudes on the subject….
_____________
Inner Tennis

Source: Wikimedia Commons I have the privilege of teaching psychology to university students, a privilege that is magnified when I teach PSYC 1, Introduction to Psychology at UC Riverside. This past academic quarter, I had the honor of teaching this class to 571 students, one of whom came up with a brilliant idea. (Others may have had brilliant ideas, too, but didn’t happen to tell me about them….
_____________
The Psychoanalytic Mind: Alive and Well

Freud is commonly portrayed by the media, scientific journals, and even by psychology professors as the great sexualizer of human behavior: he merely proposed that babies first derive pleasure from oral fixations, then from titillating their erogenous zones, culminating in fantasizing about sex with mommy or daddy. As a result, psychoanalysis is commonly associated with this caricature…
_____________
World Peace: How Do We Keep Nations from Thermonuclear War?

Morton Deutsch, eminent psychologist, Columbia University professor, mentor extraordinaire, and one of the founders of the field of conflict resolution, died last March at age 97. Deutsch spent his illustrious career creatively and systematically studying ways to make the world more just and peaceful. He was a tough-minded and tenderhearted scientist with an intense commitment to developing…
_____________
Why Are Periods of Solitude So Important?

Solitude and silence are as important to the human experience as is meaningful activity. By this, I do not mean being alone with Facebook or Twitter, but really being alone and quiet, focusing on the internal instead of the external. Getting to know yourself is perhaps one of the most important acts of a conscious human being. I realize that what I am suggesting is almost impossible to imagine…
_____________
Sublime Stretching

Source: jasicaJaew/pixabay Linda: In their best selling book on negotiation, Getting to Yes, Fisher, Ury and Patton explain “The ability to see the situation as the other side sees it, as difficult as it my be, is one of the most important skills negotiation can possess.” To be able to make the necessary shifts that will lead to a successful outcome there is a requirement, not only of feeling…
_____________
Two Weaknesses of Forgiving: It Victimizes and Stops Justice

It is time to place forgiveness into its proper place, outside the room of civil human discourse. It is an invader, an unwelcome guest. Let me tell you about its rudeness. When people are treated cruelly by others, they are hurting. Now you come along and suggest forgiveness, something they are not prepared to do. Do you see what you have done? You have put pressure on someone who is hurting….
_____________
5 Tips for a Meaningful Relationship

A meaningful relationship is built on respect, trust and equality, according to Jennine Estes, a marriage and family therapist. Partners are able to share how they feel and what they need, she said. They provide each other with a deep level of security and protection. They have each other’s backs. During the worst of moments—feeling sick, grieving a terrible loss—they are by each other’s sides…
_____________
2017 World Brain Bee Champion Announced!

Twenty-five national Brain Bee champions from around the world traveled to Washington, DC, this week to compete in the 2017 World Brain Bee. The competition tests high school students on a variety of neuroscience topics through oral tests, a neuroanatomy laboratory exam with real human brains, a neurohistology test, and a diagnosis test with patient actors. The purpose of the Brain Bee is to…
_____________
Mapping the brain, neuron by neuron

A mathematician and computer scientist joined an international team of neuroscientists to create a complete map of the learning and memory center of the fruit fly larva brain, an early step toward mapping how all animal brains work….
_____________
Genes and motor skills development linked

Genes for many may be widely associated with determining certain traits and characteristics. Now a study is demonstrating that they could also influence neural motor skills. This could lead to new insights in the treatment of motor skills impairments such as Cerebral Palsy….
_____________
Preserving Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance System

One of Michigan’s precious jewels is currently in danger of being stolen. In 1973 Michigan legislators, in a stroke of genius, created the most comprehensive system of protection in the nation for people injured in car crashes. The no-fault personal injury protection law mandated that auto insurance companies pay for all needed rehabilitation and care for life and without limits. Michigan is the…
_____________
Making an older brain younger by manipulating a single gene

Researchers were able to rejuvenate neural plasticity in middle-aged mice by targeting a gene called Arc. As we age, our brains lose plasticity, which is their ability to adapt to behavioral, physical, or environmental changes. This can have negative implications for cognitive functioning. A new study, however, reveals how targeting a specific gene could restore the plasticity of older brains to…
_____________
A personalized approach to Alzheimer’s disease prevention

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It affects more than 5 million Americans. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that some 16 million people will develop the disease by the year 2050 if an effective treatment is not discovered. Symptoms of AD usually develop slowly and worsen over time. They often become severe enough…
_____________
Genes and motor skills development linked

Genes for many may be widely associated with determining certain traits and characteristics. Now a study is demonstrating that they could also influence neural motor skills. This could lead to new insights in the treatment of motor skills impairments such as Cerebral Palsy….
_____________
You Won’t Believe Who Can Help You Relieve Stress

When a kid on a TV show says she does yoga when she feels stressed, it becomes official – stress is an epidemic .Whether it’s your relationship, the economy, global warming (or lack thereof), the emails that keep on coming, or the phone that won’t stop pinging, we are becoming chronically occupied, preoccupied, and stressed. We even manage to stress over our vacation! Will my vacation…
_____________
Why Should I Pay For Anyone Else’s Health Care?

Source: stokpic at pexels Why should I pay for anyone else’s health care? is a sentiment frequently expressed. Congressmen like Mo Brooks point out that the “good, healthy” people should not be “subsidizing” the care of others. So how did we come to the point where leaders believe the risks of life, its uncertainty and luck, do not apply to them? It’s time to look at another version of survivor…
_____________
Actual Cost of Drug Abuse in U.S. Tops $1 Trillion Annually

While the escalating scale of the nation’s drug epidemic has been well- documented in recent years, the real costs to society and the economy have been greatly underestimated. “Taking into account the staggering costs associated with criminal justice, treatment and loss of productivity , we estimate that the real cost of America’s drug epidemic exceeds $1 trillion,” said my colleague Kumar…
_____________
Allodynia: Causes, types, and treatment

Allodynia is characterized by intense feelings of pain with no clear cause. Someone who has allodynia feels pain from non-painful stimuli. For example, a person may feel pain from a light touch or when brushing their hair. Allodynia can be a symptom of several different nerve conditions, or it can occur on its own. Allodynia is not the same thing as an increased response to painful stimuli….
_____________
Kids for life? Pros and cons of lifelong neuroplasticity, as seen via our emotional development

— Windows of plasticity in brain development. Adapted from Hensch T.K. (2005). Critical period plasticity in local cortical circuits. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6(11), 877-888 The Brain’s Emotional Development (Dana Foundation’s Cerebrum): “Humans are likely the most emotionally regulated creatures on earth. Compared to other animal species, we can modulate and modify emotional reactions…
_____________
Agree, Disagree? “Habits of the Mind Far Outweigh Habits of the Body.”

Interview: Heather Harpham . A friend recently gave me a copy of Heather Harpham’s new memoir Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After , and I whipped through it. First of all — the title. Of course. Plus, I love memoirs generally, and among other things, this memoir covers the time during which Heather Harpham’s young daughter went through a bone-marrow transplant. I’m hugely…
_____________
Psychological Science Introduces New Replication Category

Psychological Science has launched a new category of articles called Preregistered Direct Replications (PDRs) — replications of studies published previously in the APS flagship journal. PDRs aim to employ — as closely as possible — the same methods and procedures as the original study to determine if the original effects are reproduced. “The aim is to create conditions that competent experts…
_____________
Self-Development: From Bondage to Freedom

Freedom is necessary for self-development. Without it, the child would be unable to experiment with different selves, which would stunt their development and growth. There are a number of ways in which the self can develop and a multitude of ways in which the child can experiment with them. Freedom of choice offers the child a healthy environment where the self may grow, develop and be nurtured,…
_____________
How to Map the Circuits That Define Us

Marta Zlatic owns what could be the most tedious film collection ever. In her laboratory at the Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, the neuroscientist has stored more than 20,000 hours of black-and-white video featuring fruit-fly ( Drosophila ) larvae. The stars of these films are doing mundane maggoty things, such as wriggling and crawling about, but the footage is helping to answer on…
_____________
From What to Whom?

Credit: Spencer Heyfron Advertisement The phrase “artificial intelligence,” or AI, seems to be on everybody’s lips these days—along with a lot of questions. After a spurt of development in the 1950s and 1960s, AI languished for a time. Now advances such as machine learning are driving it into multiple fields of human endeavor, from transportation to medicine to finance. But applying AI successfully…
_____________
Parents On Same Page Can Be Key to Kids’ Development

Conflicting parental opinions on how to manage a baby crying at night can undermine the co-parenting relationship — especially when the mother has stronger beliefs than the father. Parental teamwork is key to healthy child development, and the findings underscore the importance of early and frequent communication between parents. In the new study, researchers asked mothers and fathers how they…
_____________
You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught

The Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report from February 2017 includes an article showing that 70 percent of Americans think that civility has decreased since President Trump took office. (1) Compared with previous polls (about a third thought civility decreased after President Obama’s election), this is a striking increase. It mirrors survey research of 10,000 teachers who report…
_____________
Serial Killers Linked to Jack the Ripper

The History Channel has brought us weekly installments of American Ripper , an idea that the notorious serial killer, H. H. Holmes, was Jack the Ripper. This idea was floated about five years ago, based on handwriting analysis, by Holmes’ great-great-great grandson, Jeff Mudgett. But, of course, this depends heavily on the assumption that the Ripper wrote one or more of the letters during…
_____________
Who Will Use Open Data?

Recently I’ve been asking myself a very simple question about open data: Who is it for? Thinking about this question has clarified two issues for me. (Well, perhaps clarified is a bit strong — let’s settle for “made less murky”). First, why anyone would spend time making their data open — who has the motivation to do so, and who does not. Second, a vision of future science based on open data….
_____________
Four Tools to Stress-Proof Your Parenting Brain

Becoming and being a parent is high on the stress scale. Raising happy, healthy, and successful children, be they infants or toddlers, teens or young adults creates psychological pressure that only adds to the practical stress of providing for your children and keeping them safe. In today’s parenting climate the bar is high. Parenting has become a competitive sport with efforts directed…
_____________
The human cost of the pressures of postdoctoral research

Every scientist knows how difficult it is to get a research paper published; reviewers may take exception to the way a study might have been run, or the way the data are analysed, or how the results have been interpreted. It’s part of the process, and hopefully, the end point is a more scientifically useful paper, something that adds new meaning to a research discipline. When Oliver Rosten sent…
_____________
Antidepressants Tied to Head Injury Risk in Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s patients who take antidepressant medications are at an increased risk for head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), according to a new study by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland. Although previous research has suggested a link between antidepressant use and an increased risk for falls and hip fractures, the risk of head injuries had not yet been studied….
_____________
Are Logical Fallacies Useful?

Understanding the nature of argument and specific logical fallacies is a cornerstone of critical thinking. I was therefore surprised when I read an article by a philosopher, Maarten Boudry, titled: “The Fallacy Fork: Why It’s Time to Get Rid of Fallacy Theory.” Boudry lays out what he feels is a critical weakness in using the notion of logical fallacies to police sloppy thinking and his solution…
_____________
Preserving the Right to Cognitive Liberty

The idea of the human mind as the domain of absolute protection from external intrusion has persisted for centuries. Today, however, this presumption might no longer hold. Sophisticated neuroimaging machines and brain-computer interfaces detect the electrical activity of neurons, enabling us to decode and even alter the nervous system signals that accompany mental processes….
_____________
Victims of Sexual Assault Face More Risk of Mental Disorders

University of Illinois researchers report the trauma associated with a sexual assault places victims at increased risk of a wide range of mental health conditions. Investigators analyzed nearly 200 studies involving more than 230,00 adult participants and discovered the elevated risk was apparent regardless of how a researcher may have defined the sexual assault. Researchers found…
_____________
Opisthotonos: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

A painting by Sir Charles Bell from 1809 of opisthotonos. Opisthotonus is a type of abnormal posture where the back becomes extremely arched due to muscle spasms. The condition is usually a sign of serious brain conditions, such as meningitis , tetanus , and trauma. What is opisthotonos? Opisthotonos is a specific abnormal posture associated with conditions and injuries that impair brain…
_____________
DEA Proposes Significant Cuts to Opioid Production in 2018

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is proposing that the amount of opioids produced in 2018 be reduced by 20%, citing declining sales. Medscape Medical News…
_____________
Regular Energy Drink Use by Young Adults May Hike Risk of Substance Abuse

A new study by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers suggests young adults who regularly consume highly caffeinated energy drinks may be at risk for future substance use. Dr. Amelia Arria and colleagues with the Center on Young Adult Health and Development (CYAHD) found evidence that individuals who regularly consumed highly caffeinated energy drinks, and sustained…
_____________
Podcast: Why Do We Procrastinate?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales finally tackle a topic they’d been putting off: procrastination. Pretty much everyone puts off doing distasteful tasks, but procrastination can cause a multitude of problems for us, including harming our health. During this show, you’ll learn some surprising (and some not-so-surprising) facts about procrastination…
_____________
Why pink LEGO might be bad for girls

By Christian Jarrett While the idea that the lack of women in science and tech is entirely about cultural obstacles is contentious (as demonstrated by the recent Google memo furore), few would argue that social and cultural factors aren’t important. And these social influences may begin early. For example there’s an argument that boys are encouraged to play with toys that are likely to promote…
_____________
Why Are Some Children Picky Eaters?

Some babies embrace new foods while other babies eschew them. In an August 2017 study published in Child Development , Moding and Stifter examine whether new foods elicit approach- withdrawal responses in infants and toddlers. Approach-withdrawal refers to a person’s tendency to either approach or withdraw from new stimuli, and is a reflection of temperament. Temperament influences how a person…
_____________
This is how taste keeps us safe

Seemingly innocuous plants can harbor dangerous toxins. Many have developed a bitter taste, which our sophisticated sense of taste can pick up. From mind-blowing culinary adventures to more simple food pleasures, without our sense of taste, these experiences would be nothing more than nourishment. But taste is much more fundamental; it helps us to distinguish friend from foe. In biology, it’s all…
_____________
Compound derived from marijuana interacts with antiepileptic drugs

New research published in Epilepsia , a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), suggests that an investigational neurological treatment derived from cannabis may alter the blood levels of commonly used antiepileptic drugs. It is important for clinicians to consider such drug interactions during treatment of complex conditions. Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound developed from the…
_____________
Antidepressant use increases risk of head injuries among persons with Alzheimer’s disease

Antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of head injuries and traumatic brain injuries among persons with Alzheimer’s disease , according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Antidepressant use has previously been linked with an increased risk of falls and hip fractures , but the risk of head injuries has not been studied before. The results were published…
_____________
MRI reveals striking brain differences in people with genetic autism

In the first major study of its kind, researchers using MRI have identified structural abnormalities in the brains of people with one of the most common genetic causes of autism , according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology . The abnormalities visible on brain images corresponded to cognitive and behavioral impairments in the study group, suggesting a future role for…
_____________
In group favoritism shown by 17 month old infants.

Jin and Baillargeon make observations that suggest an early origin of the ‘us and them’ perspective being taken to extremes in our current political climate. One pervasive facet of human interactions is the tendency to favor ingroups over outgroups. Remarkably, this tendency has been observed even when individuals are assigned to minimal groups based on arbitrary markers…
_____________
Slow Your Roll, ‘Pharma Bro’

Martin Shkreli was found guilty of fraud last week: What does the conviction of ‘Pharma Bro’ signify for access to medications? In October 2015 I wrote of the myriad dangers of Toxoplasma gondii in my book Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness . The parasite can cause serious disease, including schizophrenia , for fetuses and children…
_____________
The Google Memo: Race and Gender Gaps and their Solutions

Source: American Immigration Council An employee at Google was recently fired for having the unmitigated gall to post an essay ( available in full here ) making the following claims: 1. Neither the left nor the right gets diversity completely right; 2. The social science evidence on implicit and explicit bias has been wildly oversold and is far weaker than most people seem to realize…
_____________
The Case for Not Giving Grades

Source: Wikimedia, CC 3.0 A University of Georgia professor is being ridiculed for offering a class in which students can give themselves any grade they want. Predictably, that’s pointed to as the latest example of colleges’ dumbing-down so a bachelor’s degree attests to little more than having paid all that money. And certainly, legitimate arguments can be made in favor of grades…
_____________
From Long-Shot to $50 Billion Empire – Bill Rasmussen

“R emember ‘ABC NBC’ — Always Be Curious, Never Be Complacent. “ – Bill Rasmussen Bill Rasmussen ( @bill_espn ) is the co-founder of ESPN. He turned a massive gamble into an opportunity to create the 24-hour programming cycle used universally by networks today. This episode comes from my new television show Fear(less) , where I interview world-class performers about how they’ve overcome doubt…
_____________
Yes, It IS Possible to Lose Weight

Source: Edward Abramson, PhD ​ You’ve probably heard the oft-quoted statistic that 95 percent of overweight dieters won’t lose weight and of the ones who do lose, most will regain the weight. What is rarely noted is the source of this…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s