Article Description
Compliance with guidelines for treating brain injuries doesn't guarantee better outcomes Two decades ago, the Brain Trauma Foundation published its first set of guidelines for treating traumatic brain injury. Now, a study has found no evidence that compliance with the guidelines led to lower mortality rates.
Spreading Misinformation About ADHD John Rosemond, MS is a nationally-syndicated columnist and parenting expert who’s made a name for himself by promoting a lot of old-fashioned parenting skills. You know, like spanking. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with ignoring research data and science that’s been published in the past … ...
Naturally occurring protein fragment found in the brain inhibits key enzyme implicated in Alzheimer's disease A natural protein fragment produced in the brain can act as an inhibitor of a key enzyme implicated in the onset of Alzheimer's disease, researchers have discovered for the first time. This is a finding that could lead to the development of new drugs to treat the disease, they say.
Key factor for stability of capillaries in brain identified The brain needs a lot of oxygen – so every last corner of the brain’s tissue is served by a dense network of fine blood vessels. When these capillaries are damaged by high blood pressure or age, doctors call the condition cerebral small vessel disease. They estimate this is the cause of around one in five strokes, and that the condition may also lead to certain forms of dementia.
Study finds brain chemicals that keep wakefulness in check Mice that have a particular brain chemical switched off become hyperactive and sleep for just 65 per cent of their normal time, a new study shows. This discovery could help researchers to develop new drugs that promote better sleep, or control hyperactivity in people with the medical condition mania.
Social groups and emotions The semantic representation of social groups involves areas of the brain associated with processing emotions.
The Psychology of Killing Sprees A lone gunman stood up in a packed movie theater about 20 minutes into the showing of the newly released “Trainwreck” and started shooting into the crowd, killing two and … ...
When Music is the Language Between Us I spend a lot of time thinking about relationships in autism. This is especially true in a toy aisle when I become queasy over all the so-called “interactive” toys that are battery-powered, embedded with flashing lights, 15-seconds of whiny music and spinning parts. An immediate … ...
What Would Yalom Do? Wisdom for Counselors During the winter of 2014, I bedded down for a long deserved rest. As a counselor educator, I basked in the idea that after posting final grades, the university would be closed for the holiday season. I made myself a cup of Jasmine tea, started … ...
Pets as Therapy Growing up, I’d fantasize about what it would be like to have a dog. Besides the cuteness and fluffiness and opportunity to have an extra playpal, I rationalized that I could “talk” to this canine about my problems. And it would dutifully listen and lick … ...
Things ADHD Has Taught Me " ... Once the subtleties of the day of inspiration have vanished, the attractive assets of the idea are often less obvious. ... "...
Over Ego To say that one is better than average is a famous bias from the social psychology textbook. In this better-than-average post, I show that it is not irrational to do so.
Is Vengeance Better for Victims than Forgiveness? This month, prosecutors argued that James Holmes, who killed 12 people in a Colorado movie theater, deserved to die. A poll published this week found Colorado voters agreed with them by a 2-to-1 ratio. This isn’t the only high-profile death-penalty case in the news: In May, a federal jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh issued a statement expressing “hope [that] this verdict provides a small amount of closure” to everyone affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. His words were echoed by other officials and victims. “The verdict, undoubtedly a difficult decision for the jury, gives me relief and closure as well as the ability to keep moving forward,” said transit police officer Richard Donohue, who was seriously injured during a shoot-out with Tsarnaev and his older brother in Watertown, Massachusetts. Most everyone wants this to be true: We hope that the victims of violence, like the mass killings in Colorado and Boston, can find some relief from their anguish. Will death sentences for Holmes and Tsarnaev help them? For months, many people close to the Boston case have been ambivalent about this outcome. In contrast to the Colorado poll, one in April found that only 15 percent of Boston residents wanted the death penalty for Tsarnaev. That same month, Bill and Denise Richard, whose 8-year-old son was killed in the bombing, wrote an open letter in the Boston Globe urging the Justice Department to take the death penalty “off the table.” “The continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives,” wrote the Richards, who also suffered severe injuries from the bombing; their 7-year-old daughter lost her left leg. Their position is supported by scientific research. While it’s easy to understand why people would seek the harshest punishment possible after a terrible crime, studies cast doubt on whether harsh punishment in general, and capital punishment in particular, actually brings the relief and peace of mind the victims deserve. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who were taken advantage of financially by someone else thought they would feel better if they exacted revenge. In fact, punishing the offender actually made them feel worse, apparently because meting out a punishment caused them to think about the offender more and dwell on the negative incident. They didn’t feel as bad when someone else did the punishing for them—but even then, they felt no better than people who didn’t pursue punishment at all. Of course, there are other important considerations in criminal cases, such as the moral priority of justice. But in this study, there was no evidence that the punishment improved a victim’s emotional state—a key argument for the death penalty that has been made in the cases of both Holmes and Tsarnaev. Other research suggests this might hold true in capital punishment cases. A 2007 study by criminologist Scott Vollum, now at the University of Minnesota, examined media interviews with family or friends of murder victims, conducted around the time the murderer was being executed. Vollum found that the victims’ loved ones reported experiencing feelings of peace or relief in only 17 percent of the more than 150 cases in which they made public statements; they reported feeling a sense of closure in only 2.5 percent of those cases. By contrast, in 20 percent of cases, they explicitly said the execution did not bring them healing or closure. Bearing out the concerns of Bill and Denise Richard, many of these friends and family members cited lengthy appeals processes as a barrier to their recovery. “You’re trying to move on with your life,” said one of them, “but you keep being dragged back into it.” This finding resonates with another study, published in the Marquette Law Review in 2012, that involved in-depth interviews with people in two states, Texas and Minnesota. All those people had survived the murder of a loved one, and the murderer had received the harshest sentence possible: In Texas, this was the death penalty; in Minnesota, life in prison without the possibility of parole. Tracking these survivors for years, the researchers found that over time the people in Minnesota reported better physical and psychological health, and more satisfaction with the criminal justice system. The researchers attribute these results, at least in part, to the lack of control that the Texas residents felt while death penalty cases were tied up in appeals. While this might be seen as an argument against any appeals process, it remains the primary way our legal system tries to minimize life-or-death errors: Since 1973, 151 people sentenced to death have turned out to be innocent. Even beyond the appeals process, it’s still hard to say whether Tsarnaev’s death sentence will provide closure for his victims. According to Nancy Berns, a professor of sociology at Drake University and the author of Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What it Costs Us, a lot may depend on how they define the term. “If they’re defining closure as, ‘This is an end to the trial itself,’ then yes, maybe they can find closure,” she told me. “But if they’re thinking that closure means, ‘Oh, my grief is done,’ then absolutely not.” “In some cases, the end of the trial—or even the execution—can make them feel worse,” she added, “because they’ve been focused on the trial, and when all that gets moved away, the grief sets in in a different way.” For many victims, feelings of pain and loss may never go away, regardless of how Tsarnaev or Holmes are punished. But psychological research has found that one way to achieve greater peace of mind is through forgiveness. Of course, forgiving an offender can seem inconceivable, especially when his or her crime is as monstrous as the ones committed by Tsarnaev and Holmes. But researchers stress that forgiving does not mean absolving an offender of guilt; it doesn’t even require reconciling with that person. Instead, it means deliberately letting go of feelings of anger and vengeance toward the offender—a way to stop ruminating on the offense and free yourself of the power it has over you. “It’s a way of saying, ‘I’m going to take my life back because I’m getting swallowed up by hatred,’” said Loren Toussaint, an associate professor of psychology at Luther College, who studies forgiveness. “It’s an act of transformative empowerment… that allows someone to move forward.” The process of forgiveness can be long and difficult, and experts warn that it can’t be rushed. But Toussaint said there’s a risk to making forgiveness contingent on whether you feel justice has been served. It may take years before you get the outcome you want, if you get it at all. “So you’re waiting, and you don’t necessarily enjoy any relief,” he said. By contrast, research by Toussaint and others suggests that forgiveness can improve the forgiver’s mental and physical health, even for crimes as horrible as incest and atrocities committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war. As a powerful example, Berns points to Brooks Douglass, who she interviewed for her book. When Douglass was a teenager, two men barged into his home, took his family hostage, raped his sister and killed his parents in front of him. Years later, he became an Oklahoma state senator and wrote the legislation that gave him the right to watch one of those men, Steven Hatch, be executed; he confronted the other man, Glen Ake, in prison, and ultimately forgave him. “He said that seeing [Hatch] executed brought him a sense of closure, only because he knew that he wouldn’t have to keep going back to trials,” said Berns. “But when he met with [Ake] and forgave him, that’s what brought him peace.” A different version of this piece originally appeared on the CNN opinion page.
The Winner's Curse Why are our best estimates of value can be wrong when they lead to a successful purchase (or sale).
Mental Health: 12 Things Adopted/Foster Children Wish You Knew... Do you have an adopted or foster child? If not, have you considered fostering a child or adopting a child? What is stopping you? What inspired you to do it? … ...
Being Alone Since the split of my marriage, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time alone. It has not been a fun time I have to say. To describe it as … ...
Quick Summary of the Matching Law: A mathematical equation... As you can see in these two videos that describe the matching law, this scientific description of choice-making allows practitioners to utilize a formula, observations, data, and a systematic approach to hypothesize what a person will do. Additionally, behavior analysts can use the matching law … ...
How to Be A Gratitude Hoarder – The Ultimate... Let’s cut to the chase, shall we. Gratitude is a pillar of positive psychology and it came to be that way because it’s backed by loads of empirical evidence. In … ...
Balderdash! 3 Positive Thinking Myths You Need to Let... You must not allow yourself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought. -Emmet Fox Call me crazy, but I think the above quote from an … ...
Research grasps how brain plans gripping motion A new study significantly advances neuroscientists' understanding of how a region of the brain formulates plans for the hand to grip an object. The findings could lead to direct application to improving brain-computer interface control over robotic arms and hands.