|Changing faces: We can look more trustworthy, but not more competent
||We can alter our facial features in ways that make us look more trustworthy, but don't have the same ability to appear more competent, a team of psychology researchers has found.
|New sleep genes found
||A protein called Taranis could hold the key to a good night's sleep, researchers have found. The researchers examined thousands of mutant fly lines and found a mutant, called taranis, that slept a lot less than normal flies. Using a series of genetic and biochemical experiments, the researchers tracked how Taranis interacted with other proteins and saw that Taranis bound to a known sleep regulator protein called Cyclin A.
|Why Are You Obsessed with Narcissists?
||People diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder make up, at most, 6% of the U.S. Population and generally less in other countries (from DSM 5). Yet articles about recognizing and dealing … ...
|How Psychologists Can Help Curb Cheating in Sports
||It seems as if every week a new scandal involving cheating and antisocial behavior in sports is capturing the headlines--and psychologists are finally stepping in to solve the problem.
|How to Learn New Stuff
||When I was growing up, family dinners were often interrupted by a mad search through the encyclopedia. During our discussion some question would invariably arise and my dad or one of us would get up from the table and come back with a World Book … ...
|Do You Think You Are Better Than Me?
||We are all in pain to a greater or lesser degree, but most of us find our own way of working around it so that we can get on with … ...
|Emotional brains 'physically different' from rational ones
||Researchers have found physical differences in the brains of people who respond emotionally to others' feelings, compared to those who respond more rationally.
|New model to study HIV latency in brain cells
||Over 35 million people worldwide are currently infected by HIV. Antiviral therapies can keep the virus from multiplying. However, no drug can cure infection so far, because various cell types continue to carry the virus in a latent, i.e. quiescent, state. Scientists have now established a model for latent HIV infection of brain cells. The researchers used this model to identify various compounds that affect latency of the virus in the brain.
|Brain receptor found to significantly affect cocaine addiction
||By manipulating the activity of Activin receptors in the brain, researchers report that they were able to increase or decrease cocaine-taking and relapse behavior in animal models. The study focused on receptors in regions of the brain involved in pleasure and reward.
|Depression Caused By How People See The Future, New Study Finds
New approach to cause of depression may help treatment using established therapies.
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|Why Some People Struggle With Intimacy
||Do you have a client who pushes away good companions for no real reason? Just when they were getting close, they pull back to the beginning of the relationship refusing to … ...
|Forms and Policies: 6 Common Mistakes of Counselors
||Thank you Dr. Maelissa Hall for your guest post. Forms and policies are one of the least exciting things about having a private practice, but also one of the most important. Your policies provide the framework and boundaries for your treatment with clients. They also … ...
|#ThrowbackThursday: 5 Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice...
||The Summer Solstice is soon upon us, sweet readers (Sunday, June 21, 2015, to be exact), and I thought now would be a great time to throwback to last year’s … ...
|Practicing Self-Compassion When You’re Struggling with Anxiety...
||People who struggle with anxiety often beat themselves up about it. I should be able to handle this. There must be something seriously wrong with me. Why can’t I just be normal?! Ali Miller’s clients often say these statements in their sessions. If you’re struggling … ...
|How to Make Dads Memorable
||Flying in an airplane is much safer than covering the same distance riding in a car. Yet most people are more afraid of flying than driving.
One of the main reasons for this is availability bias, in which things that are easier to call to mind are given greater weight than things that are less memorable. Availability bias is why we remember the rare plane crash that is all over the news rather than the thousands of car rides every day.
Most of the time, availability bias is a problem that leads us to make faulty decisions about risk. At the beach, we may be more concerned with shark attacks than skin cancer; after watching Law & Order SVU, we vastly overestimate the incidence of child abduction.
But we can also use this quirk of human memory to our advantage. The near-universal aspiration of fathers is being a constant presence in our children’s lives and also being remembered as that constant presence. The former involves being a good father. The latter can be helped by consciously activating availability bias in our kids. In short, we have to:
Do all the everyday, sometimes unnoticed work of being a good father
Punctuate the everyday with occasional bursts of something memorable
My dad was a constant loving presence throughout my childhood. Upon reflection, I know he did all the grunt work of being a good father—providing for our family, maintaining the house, buying the presents Santa gave us, reading to me, teaching me to brush my teeth, disciplining me when I needed it, and so on. This is far and away the most important work he did for me and my family.
However, when I think back to my childhood, I don’t remember those things. I remember the above-ground pool he built in our back yard and swimming with him. I remember my summers at Great Kills Little League with him as my team’s manager. I remember us watching Dave Righetti’s July 4th no-hitter. I remember the Galoonky-rides (our silly version of a piggy-back ride) when it was bedtime. I remember our camping trips in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in the tiny Shasta trailer. These are the fun, memorable events that, thanks to availability bias, are in the front of my mind.
I try to do the same for my son, Nick. Like my dad, I put in the thankless everyday work—providing for the family, packing lunch, buying Santa’s presents, helping Nick with homework, restricting his screen-time, driving him to gymnastics, etc. But, perhaps because I teach stuff like availability bias in my management courses, I am very mindful about also building fun, memorable traditions with Nick. Like my dad did for me, I coach Nick’s little league team. When my wife, Amy, has to work nights, especially during the summer, Nick and I spend evenings at the town pool or at the local minor league stadium.
I share all things Star Wars with Nick; we spend a lot of time watching the movies, engaging in elaborate light-saber battles (we even developed characters—I am evil Sith Lord Darth Taraco, he is Jedi Qui-Son), and playing the Wii LEGO Star Wars games together. I decorate his birthday cakes with elaborate Star Wars scenes, we march in my town’s Halloween parade as a group of Star Wars characters (me: Boba Fett, him: Darth Vader, Amy: a very regal Queen Amidala), and Nick and I even built the Lego Millennium Falcon together. The payoff for all of this—last year, his hand-made Father’s Day card to me read “The galaxy is better with you and me, Dad!”
Amy does similar things with Nick. They share all things Harry Potter, including the books, movies, Wii game, and even a trip to Universal Florida (mmmm butter beer!). When I work nights, Amy and Nick bake cookies. They share a love of YouTube “epic fail” videos and those funny “Sign Spotting” books. Nick loves going backstage at the theaters where Amy works. And that’s just a small part of their shared activities.
When Nick looks back on his childhood, I think he will remember feeling secure that both his parents were constant loving presences in his life. But he won’t remember how great his mom was when he was sick with the stomach flu or how I picked up a summer class to get a little extra money for the vacation fund. I do think he will remember Star Wars, baseball and swimming with dad. I think he will remember reading Harry Potter, baking cookies, going backstage at the Madison Square Garden Theater, and laughing the night away with mom.
While it is definitely more important that we do the less memorable, less-glamorous hard work of being a good dad, creating happy lifelong memories is important too—for us and our kids. Thank you, availability bias.
To create a childhood full of happy memories, all we need is a little creativity and an open mind. Homer Simpson once quipped that one of the perks of fatherhood is that you get to teach your kids to hate the things you hate. Let me invert that: One of the best things about fatherhood is getting your kids to love the things you love. I had a specific plan to get Nick into Star Wars, but I was lucky that he really took to it right away.
However, it’s not always so easy. Your kids will also be interested in things that you are not at all interested in, and they will reject some things you love. In these cases, we have to find a way to get interested in their stuff, or work to find some middle ground.
There is a universe of things to try—art, science, reading, travel, cooking, photography, music, fashion, outdoors, sports, and more. There are so many ways to build fun memorable events or common hobbies into our kids’ childhoods. Sometimes, it just takes a little extra effort to get started. Here’s one dad who did so, in his own words:
I wouldn’t trade my daughters for the world, but sometimes, I do need to push myself to keep me into what they are interested in. They love princesses, dresses and things that aren’t up my alley. “Will you play Magic Clips with me?” But I push myself to do it, and do it happily, because, well, it makes them so happy. I never thought I’d go to “Frozen on Ice,” but there I am. Because I love them and have to meet them where they are at. My long-term plan of getting them into punk rock and tennis, however, is working perfectly.
|Self Esteem Booster Box
||Chase Depression Away You can create a Self Esteem Booster Box while you are feeling stable. This is a creative project and will be fun for you. The first thing … ...
|The Psychology of Common Sense
||For many years psychologists seem troubled by the accusation that psychological findings were little more than "common sense"; that psychology was a waste of time in that it revealed very little that we did not already know. This blog reviews some of those early studies
|My Dad's Silly, Simple, Crazy Way to Make Decisions
||My mom's death forced my dad to make one of the biggest decisions he had made in a long time. His approach to the decision turned out to be genius. And all this time, I thought I was the one who knew how to make decisions. Man, was I wrong.
|Stronger working memory reduces sexual risk-taking in adolescents
||Teenagers vary substantially in their ability to control impulses and regulate their behavior. Adolescents who have difficulty with impulse control may be more prone to risky sexual behavior, with serious consequences such as sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies. A new study has found that individual differences in working memory can predict both early sexual [...]
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|Early life stress affects cognitive functioning in low-income children
||About a fifth of all U.S. children live in poverty. These children are more likely to experience learning and cognitive delays. Researchers have tried to determine causes for this disparity, with recent work identifying the hormone cortisol as a possible reason because of its ability to pass the blood-brain barrier. Cortisol is one of the [...]
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