|73 percent of insomniacs cured after 1-hour therapy session
||A simple one-hour therapy session has helped to cure 73% of people suffering from acute insomnia, according to a new study from Northumbria University released today. In the first ever study to attempt to treat insomnia in the acute phase – before it becomes chronic– researchers found that almost three-quarters of participants saw improvements in [...]
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|Study on brain waves shows how different teaching methods affect reading development
||Beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, instead of trying to learn whole words, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading, according to new Stanford research investigating how the brain responds to different types of reading instruction. In other words, to develop reading skills, teaching students to sound [...]
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|What musical taste tells us about social class
||Love the opera? Hungry for hip hop? It turns out that your musical likes and dislikes may say more about you than you think, according to UBC research. Even in 2015, social class continues to inform our cultural attitudes and the way we listen to music, according to the study, which was recently published in [...]
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|Scientists produce strongest evidence yet of schizophrenia’s causes
||An international team of scientists led by Cardiff University researchers has provided the strongest evidence yet of what causes schizophrenia – a condition that affects around 1% of the global population. Published today in the journal Neuron, their work presents strong evidence that disruption of a delicate chemical balance in the brain is heavily implicated [...]
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|BPA can adversely affect parenting behavior in mice
||Biparental care of offspring, or care that is administered by both parents, occurs in only a minority of species, including humans. Past studies have shown that maternal care can be negatively affected when females are exposed to widely prevalent endocrine-disrupting chemicals including Bisphenol-A (BPA); however, no studies have shown how this chemical can affect maternal [...]
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|Love and the Passive-Aggressive Personality
||While you can’t help your partner verbalize their feelings and you can tell them what is and isn't ok with you—and hold them accountable, you are the only person whose behavior you can control.
|Did You Take Your Mental Health “Pill”?
||You probably engage in a variety of daily habits, for example: checking your email, brushing your teeth, or perhaps taking a vitamin/medication. What if we added one more quick habit … ...
|11 Joyful Psycho-Spiritual Teachings of Rebbe Nachman
||Eleven wise teachings from the great mystic Rebbe Nachman of Breslov....
|When an Introvert's Brain Stops Producing
||When your identity is all tied up in your fertile mind, a creative slump can feel like the end of the world.
|Researchers find speedometer in the brain
||Neural circuits in the brains of mice that are pivotal for movement and navigation in space have been identified. These nerve cells that are presumed to exist in a similar form in humans, give the start signal for locomotion and also supply the brain with speed-related information.
|Cracking the function of the fly olfactory system to understand how neural circuits work
||Scientists have undertaken to map the neural circuitry involved in the conversion of olfactory inputs into navigational behaviors in the fruit fly larva. The work is a new example on how systems biology allows scientists to approach complex questions such as brain functions.
|MRI technology reveals deep brain pathways in unprecedented detail
||A 3-D map of the human brain stem has been produced at an unprecedented level of detail using MRI technology. In a new study, the researchers unveil an ultra high-resolution brain stem model that could better guide brain surgeons treating conditions such as tremors and Parkinson's disease with deep brain stimulation.
|Rejecting Evolutionary Psychology is Rejecting Evolution
||Behavior is the result of the nervous system – which is the result of eons of natural selection. Rejecting evolutionary psychology, thus, is the same as rejecting evolution itself.
|3 Damaging Assumptions We Make in Our Relationships
||Assumptions sabotage relationships. As therapist Ashley Thorn, LMFT, noted in our previous piece on the topic, “you’re basically deciding a thought you’re having is ‘fact’ when you don’t have all the information.” This can lead to poor decision-making. Assumptions also ensure that our partners don’t … ...
|Stop Damaging Your Relationship
||How do you sort out antagonism? While anger is real and valid, his/her way of expressing it is counter productive. He/she is not encouraging us to help relieve his/her pain, it is … ...
|This Household Chemical Linked to ADHD in Children and Teens
Children with the biomarker for this chemical were twice as likely to have ADHD as those without.
» Continue reading: This Household Chemical Linked to ADHD in Children and Teens
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|Educational Prestige as Career Insurance
||Research finds that for two people with the same jobs, the one who graduated from the more prestigious school will suffer lesser career consequences if their employer fails, and that a school’s alumni network places a central role in maintaining one’s career trajectory. So, you might want to choose a graduate school based on the career insurance that the school provides.
|Where Is Harper Lee’s Watchman?
||I started thinking more like the gerontologist I am, and I climbed into Lee’s skin. Lee had plenty of opportunity to publish Watchmen or write another novel. She never did. That combined with strong evidence of her diminished capacity and the “discovery” of Watchman shortly after her sister’s death makes it likely that publishing Watchmen is contrary to her wishes.
|Hippocampus: In search of memory storage
||The hippocampus plays a crucial role in memory formation. However, it is not yet fully understood in what way that brain structure's individual regions are involved in the formation of memories. Neuroscientists have recreated this process with the aid of computer simulations. Their findings challenge the model of memory forming in the hippocampus established to date.
|Do Happiness Practices Work?
||Our Science of Happiness course boosted happiness levels in students from all over the world. But did the homework we assigned—eleven different happiness exercises drawn from published research studies—have anything to do with that result?
We encouraged students to try one or two happiness practices each week for ten weeks. If they had, we asked how “impactful” they found that practice to be.
Curiously, students rated all the practices, from random acts of kindness in week three to writing about awe in week ten, at a similarly high level (almost five on a 1 to 7 scale). But did students like all of the practices the same? To explore this, we asked them to rate whether each of one felt like a good “fit”—and here differences emerged. Judging “fit” involves rating how natural, enjoyable, and aligned with their values each practice was, as well as how much doing it was driven by guilt or meeting a social expectation.
The results? “Fit” scores were highest for self-reflective practices like mindful breathing and body scan meditation, as well as those that entailed remembering positive experiences, like three good things that happened that day or keeping a gratitude journal. Which practices tended to have low scores? Those connected to difficult experiences, like forgiving someone who has wronged you or extending compassion towards yourself when you’ve messed up. Students might have thought that these practices would require more strenuous emotional effort, or just feel obligatory.
Overall, however, we found that people would benefit from a practice even if they didn’t think it would be a good fit.
Did the age, sex, or relationship status of the student influence the impact or fit of the practices?
We didn’t find that the Happiness Practices discriminated by age; people from ages 20 to 60 rated of impact at very similar levels..
But that wasn’t true for student sex. First off, female students were systematically more likely to try the happiness practices than males. We did not see sex differences in which practices they tried; female students were just more likely to do them in general.
Female students also judged happiness practices as more “fitting” overall than male students. However, women rated impact as only slightly greater than did men—and statistically, this sex difference was valid for only five of the eleven happiness practices. So if men tried the practices, they benefitted from them nearly as much as women, despite the fact that as a whole, men were less likely to try or endorse the happiness practices.
These observations are consistent with a larger, general issue in the Science of Happiness: female students outnumbered men three to one, yet the average man, if he did his homework, seemed to have nearly the same potential to benefit from the course. Is the Science of Happiness just more appealing to women, and if so, why? Is there something we can do to connect and align with the interests and motivations of male students? These gendered questions are ones we—and the field—need to explore.
Relationships mattered as well. Single people reported the lowest “fit” with the happiness practices, and they were less likely to do them than co-habitating or married students. “My husband and I did the gratitude journal together sometimes and I felt closer to him,” wrote one student. “I think active listening also helped the relationship.”
Interestingly, the people most likely to try the practices were divorced or widowed. Single people also reported the lowest impact from having tried the happiness practices. Students who were in a relationship, co-habitating, married or even divorced reported greater impact, and students who were divorced rated the highest.
In short, our data suggest that the happiness practices played a substantial role in the experience of The Science of Happiness course—and that such practices might help anyone to become happier. But the data also tell us that not everyone took equal advantage of the course: men and single people especially seemed to see the practices as not fitting into their lives. And relatedly, they were less likely to try them or experience their positive impact. As we continue to refine the course, we’ll be exploring ways to make the happiness practices more universally compelling, convenient, engaging, and effective for all students.