|Creativity is Memory
||Do you remember the shock you had (perhaps as a teenager) when you realized that all of the characters in your dreams are part of your own memories? Even though, the things they say seem to come from someone else, they have to reflect information from your own memory and experiences.
|Inside the Mind of a School Shooter
||What may cause a person to become a school shooter is when his mind becomes so disorganized that the three brains that make up his triune brain react by becoming "locked and loaded" and focused on a mission to get in and get even with a world that caused him to feel put down and pushed away.
|If Your Dog Is an "Upper" or a "Downer" and What It Means
||It's wrong to assume dogs are always "up" and ready to bound around without a care in the world. A study using non-invasive methods shows there are marked individual differences in personality among dogs concerning whether they're "glass half empty" or "glass half full" bowsers, just like humans. This information is directly linked to questions about their well-being.
|Is Your Dog an "Upper" or a "Downer" and What it Means
||A study using non-invasive methods shows there are marked individual differences in personality among dogs concerning whether they're "glass half empty" or "glass half full" bowsers, just like humans. This information is directly linked to questions about their well-being, and it's wrong to assume dogs are always "up" and ready to bound around without a care in the world.
|Older patients recover more slowly from concussion
||Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), or concussion, accounts for 75 percent of all TBI and represents an important public health problem. Difficulty in working memory is frequently reported in patients after concussion. Now new research suggests that older individuals may have a more difficult time recovering from concussion.
|Today I Love People Who Struggle
||Today I love people who struggle, because they are the strong ones, the ones that stand up to the difficult things in their lives and don't give up until the struggle is done. I love the people who deal with mental health problems, their struggle often looks ...
|Failing in Slow Motion
||I’ve always heard this notion that failure is a part of business. That you can’t succeed without failing. I always found it unsettling to read and, having had plenty of successes without failures, hoped it was meant for OTHER people in OTHER industries. I saw … ...
|Where’s Your Spot on the Happiness Starting Block?
||We invited 54,000 registered students from GG101x: The Science of Happiness to answer a survey about health, well-being, and personal life circumstances, before starting the course. From looking at the roughly 10,000 responses, we found four distinct happiness patterns among the students.
1. Loneliness and stress hurt well-being
It should come as no surprise that happier people tended to be less lonely and stressed—or that less lonely and stressed people tended to be happier. According to our measures happier people were also more emotionally stable, and enjoyed better self-reported mental health.
For the data nerds, the table below shows statistically significant correlation, or “r” values, representing the strength and direction of the relationship between values, for several of the measures included in the pre-course survey.
Correlation table showing strong positive (+, blue; the metrics go in the same direction) and negative (-, red; the metrics go in the opposite direction) relationships between several measures included in the Pre-Course Survey for GG101x: The Science of Happiness
This pattern is consistent with two key ideas that we cover in The Science of Happiness:
Being able to experience a full range of emotions, including lots of positive and pro-social states like amusement and love, while not getting tangled up in distress and anger—that is, maintaining emotional stability—is good for happiness; and
Feeling connected to others—that is, not lonely—is good for happiness. For those of you who suspect you might be on the low end of happy and emotionally stable, or high in loneliness and stress, data from our previous course suggests that sticking with the course and trying the Happiness Practices in earnest is a promising route to improving your happiness levels.
2. People in romantic relationships are happier than singles
Consistent with our previous analyses of student responses, people in romantic relationships reported greater happiness, lower stress, and less loneliness than singles, as shown in the following graph. On average, students who described themselves as single also reported lower happiness and higher stress and loneliness than students who indicated being “in a relationship” or married.
Further, the type of romantic relationship appeared to make a difference: Married people were slightly happier, less stressed, and less lonely than those in a relationship but not married. This suggests—in agreement with the scientific literature—that social connections, sometimes in the form of committed romantic relationships, factor into happiness.
3. Happiness increases with age
Since this course has such a wide age range, we were interested in whether and how age factors into happiness. Does happiness diminish with age, as the very profitable anti-aging cosmetic industry might have us believe? Our data suggest not. Measured cross-sectionally between 15 and 75 years old and grouped by decade, students’ age in years was associated with increasing happiness and a steady decline in loneliness and stress.
Contrary to the archetypal human quest for a fountain of youth and consistent with other scientific insights about aging and well-being, our older students were systematically happier, less stressed, and less lonely than our younger students.
4. Which countries are happiest?
Finally, we looked at how people from different parts of the world were doing in terms of happiness, loneliness, and stress before starting the course. Amongst students who completed the survey, those from Mexico and Colombia were happiest—happier than the 13 other nationalities with enough students for a valid measurement. Though the differences are slight, the overall pattern in the data suggests that in places where happiness scores are higher, loneliness and stress scores are lower, and, in turn, when loneliness and stress go up, happiness goes down.
Plotted from highest to lowest happiness left to right, average happiness, stress and loneliness scores amongst students from the 16 countries with the greatest number of registered students show that around the world, higher happiness is associated with lower stress and loneliness, and vice versa.
Taken together, these data suggest that social connection is the key to happiness. On the starting block of The Science of Happiness, students with strong, close connections tend to be happier. Will the knowledge and activities of the course help others increase their happiness? We will continue to share insights as we discover them. After the course is finished, we’ll be able to compare this survey to the post-course survey. This will tell us if The Science of Happiness increased anyone’s happiness. We’ll also discover what kinds of course activities seemed to help the most!
|Best of Our Blogs: October 6, 2015
||TED Talk speaker, author, and former business school professor Srikumar Rao once said, “If you have an ongoing relationship with a person, think of everything positive about that person that you possibly can and enter your interaction from that space.” Today, let’s set aside the … ...
|Understanding Paranoid Personality Disorder
||Some people truly believe that everyone is out to get them. They have baseless suspicions of family, friends, co-workers, the trash man, the police, or even the cashier at the grocery store intentionally harming them. They imagine hostile conversations and project their irrational fears as … ...
|Understanding sleep paralysis: a terrifying but unique state of consciousness
||“I awake in bed … In the corner of the room there are two men. I cannot see them but I know that they are there, and what they look like. I can hear them talking. They are talking about murder. I cannot move. One of the men comes and stands directly above me … [...]
|Study: Time perception slows for some white people when they see a black face
||Trying to fight against your own psychological biases has a bizarre side-effect, according to new research published in Psychological Science. The perception of time slows down when white people who are concerned about appearing racially biased are perceiving black faces. “The current research is the first to illustrate that time perception is affected by race,” [...]
|Compulsive texting associated with poorer school performance among adolescent girls
||Teenage girls who compulsively text are more likely than their male counterparts to do worse academically, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. “It appears that it is the compulsive nature of texting, rather than sheer frequency, that is problematic,” said lead researcher Kelly M. Lister-Landman, PhD, of Delaware County Community College. “Compulsive [...]
|Expectant dads get depressed too
||Transition to parenthood can be a difficult life event. It can have an impact on both parents and on the long-term development of the child. While mother’s “baby blues” have been widely investigated, little research has been conducted on antenatal paternal depression. A team from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) [...]
|Training by repetition actually prevents learning for those with autism
||Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sometimes acquire a new behavior or skill only in a specific context, but they have difficulty transferring that learned skill or information to a new context. For example, children with autism can be taught what a dog is by showing them a picture of a dog and repeating the [...]
|How power affects our faith in others
||One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which three of the top four candidates are outsiders of Washington. Yet at the same time, these three – Donald Trump, [...]
|Happy head, happy heart: Positive emotions may promote heart-healthy behaviors
||People with heart disease may benefit from maintaining positive emotions, according to health researchers. Over the course of five years the researchers tracked more than 1,000 patients with coronary heart disease. Patients who reported higher positive psychological states were more likely to be physically active, sleep better and take their heart medications and were also [...]
|Researchers discover role of microglia during early progression of Alzheimer’s disease
||For the first time, researchers have determined how toxic tau fibrils spread by the help of brain immune cells called microglia during the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The discovery of this new pathway may lead to a therapeutic target for AD, one that has not been previously identified. In patients with AD, the [...]
|Neuroscientist discovers brain’s visual cortex makes it own decisions
||The part of the brain responsible for seeing is more powerful than previously believed. In fact, the visual cortex can essentially make decisions just like the brain’s traditional “higher level” areas, finds a new study led by a Michigan State University neuroscientist. The findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, provide another piece of the puzzle in [...]
|Risk profiling is key to managing pain in era of opioid abuse
||Patients undergoing rehabilitation for physical injuries and their physicians can better understand who is most at risk of abusing opioids by reviewing their family history, lifestyle and environment for critical cues about susceptibility to addiction, according to physical medicine and rehabilitation experts. Risk assessments are one of the few tools available for patients and physicians [...]