|Novel neurodegenerative disease and gene identified with the help of man’s best friend
||A breakthrough study performed in an international collaboration led by Professor Tosso Leeb from the University of Bern and Professor Hannes Lohi from the University of Helsinki together with the veterinary neurologists and neuropathologists at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Helsinki has identified a gene mutation that causes a novel type [...]
The post Novel neurodegenerative disease and gene identified with the help of man’s best friend appeared first on PsyPost.
|Study: Breastfeeding may prevent postpartum smoking relapse
||While a large number of women quit or reduce smoking upon pregnancy recognition, many resume smoking postpartum. Previous research has estimated that approximately 70% of women who quit smoking during pregnancy relapse within the first year after childbirth, and of those who relapse, 67% resume smoking by three months, and up to 90% by six [...]
The post Study: Breastfeeding may prevent postpartum smoking relapse appeared first on PsyPost.
|Teachers more likely to label black students as troublemakers
||Teachers are likely to interpret students’ misbehavior differently depending on the student’s race, according to new research findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Racial differences in school discipline are widely known, and black students across the United States are more than three times as likely as their white [...]
The post Teachers more likely to label black students as troublemakers appeared first on PsyPost.
|People with aphasia help neuroscientists map language in the brain
||The exchange of words, speaking and listening in conversation, may seem unremarkable for most people, but communicating with others is a challenge for people who have aphasia, an impairment of language that often happens after stroke or other brain injury. Aphasia affects about 1 in 250 people, making it more common than Parkinson’s Disease or [...]
The post People with aphasia help neuroscientists map language in the brain appeared first on PsyPost.
|BPD and Me
||Learn how to feel deep inside your body, listen to the signals it is sending but remember also to sort facts out from feelings. No matter what house you live in, where in the world you travel, you will always live inside your body first. Get to know...
|Facebook users’ wishful thinking: Cyberbullying, depression won’t happen to me
||Facebook users with so-called optimistic bias think they’re less likely than other users to experience cyberbullying, depression and other negative social and psychological effects from using the site, a Dartmouth-Cornell study finds. The study suggests that optimistic bias, or an intrinsic tendency to imagine future events in a favorable light that enhances positive self-regard – [...]
The post Facebook users’ wishful thinking: Cyberbullying, depression won’t happen to me appeared first on PsyPost.
|Flashbulb memories – why do we remember learning about dramatic events so vividly?
||It isn’t surprising that many Bostonians have vivid memories of the 2013 Marathon bombing, or that many New Yorkers have very clear memories about where they were and what they were doing on 9/11. But many individuals who were not onsite for these attacks, or not even in Boston on April 15 2013 or in [...]
The post Flashbulb memories – why do we remember learning about dramatic events so vividly? appeared first on PsyPost.
|Long corridors of the mind
||I’ve just read Barbara Taylor‘s brilliant book The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times which blends her own experiences as a patient in one of the last remaining asylums with an incisive look at the changing face of mental health care since the Victorian era. Taylor is a renowned historian but the […]
|How do we hear time within sound?
||How does our auditory system represent time within a sound? A new study investigates how temporal acoustic patterns can be represented by neural activity within auditory cortex, a major hub within the brain for the perception of sound.
|Major vascular anomalies found in brains of people with Huntington's disease
||Significant vascular changes in the brains of people with Huntington's disease have been identified by researchers. This breakthrough will have significant implications for our understanding of the disease and could open the door to new therapeutic targets for treating this fatal neurodegenerative condition.
|5 Scientific Studies the Prove Music Decreases Stress and...
||Music therapy is becoming increasingly popular in the medical community, and is being used as an important part of palliative care, Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment, and even in the NICU. … ...
|10 Ways to Improve Body Image
||Are your clients consumed with negative thoughts about their looks? How much of their time is spent obsessing over body image? We live in a culture fixated with outward appearances. … ...
|What's Your Worst Nightmare?
||They are the grim subject of several centuries-old paintings, in which a black horse (or "night mare") hovers near a sleeping figure. They have been the terrifying theme of movies, past and present––from "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), to the latest "Nightmare on Elm Street" flick. So, what exactly is a nightmare?
|Electronic micropump to deliver treatments deep within the brain
||For a condition such as epilepsy, it is essential to act at exactly the right time and place in the brain. For this reason, a team of researchers has developed an organic electronic micropump which, when combined with an anti-convulsant drug, enables localized inhibition of epileptic seizure in brain tissue in vitro.
|Encountering a wall corrects 'GPS' in mouse brains, study finds
||By analyzing the activity of 'GPS' neurons in mice, researchers have discovered that the mental maps created by these cells accumulate errors, which are corrected when the animal encounters a wall. The findings support the theory that these cells, called grid cells, use an animal's perceived speed and direction to help it navigate familiar places.
|How to Help Teens Find Purpose
||When I was 14 years old, I boarded a plane and headed out for a weeklong backpacking trip in the Rocky Mountains. I had been to the Rockies before a few times with my parents, but this time I was headed out on a primitive skills week run by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. For a week, we were to live as close to the land as possible. We made our own bowls and knives for the trips. We made fires with bow drills, caught fish with our own hands, and stalked elk for hours.
I remember coming over a mountain pass and looking down at what looked like hundreds of ants moving around in a beautiful open meadow. As we started coming down the hill I realized they were elk—hundreds of elk scattered across the meadow. My mind stopped; my heart opened. I was experiencing awe—a feeling of deep wonder and being connected to something bigger than myself.
This trip changed my life forever. As I came home, I felt more connected to the natural world. I understood its majesty and power in a way I never had before. And I had a greater inclination to protect it and be a steward of the natural world. I also became aware of how much I had changed in only ten days. I became interested—addicted you could say—in taking in new experiences that would transform my outlook on the world and provide those experiences to others.
Since that trip I have been interested in the question: what experiences transform people? And in turn, what experiences help people, particularly young people, discover their purpose in life? This question has guided my career as an educator: I started a program for low-income youth to volunteer in developing countries, organized mindfulness retreats for teenagers, and this summer will be leading wilderness retreats for young men. All of these trips were done with the aim of helping young people find their purpose.
These experiences are of clear interest to parents as well. Every parent wants their child to have a sense of purpose, but how do we actually help them do that?
What is purpose? How can teens find it?
Let’s start with what purpose means. According to Kendall Bronk, a leading researcher on youth development, purpose has four defining features: dedicated commitment, personal meaningfulness, goal-directedness, and a vision bigger than self. The development of purpose is intricately woven with the development of identity. Thus embarking on a voyage of discovering one’s purpose is critical to during the adolescent years. Research shows that teens and young adults that seek purpose report higher life satisfaction and levels of happiness. New research even suggests that a feeling of purpose in young people is associated with better physical health.
The research on what specific experiences create a sense of purpose amongst youth is not that robust. However there are three critical components of an experience that make it a potentially “purpose-seeking” experience: an important life event, serving others in a meaningful way, and changes in life circumstance.
Over the past decade, I have interviewed peers, social change leaders, and others who had found their sense of purpose. These were people from all different types of nationalities, backgrounds, races, and socioeconomic upbringing. During my interviews, I wanted to know what experiences had transformed them? How had they discovered their purpose?
Everyone has their own story but there were a few experiences that were common amongst people who had discovered their purpose:
Spending extended time in the natural world
Getting involved in a meaningful social change project
Establishing a contemplative practice
Each of the four experiences listed above has components of at least two of the three purpose-seeking experience factors. Each of these experiences could be a significant life event. A trip abroad and service trip (often combined) focus on serving others in a meaningful way. A contemplative retreat and wilderness trip intentionally change life circumstances for youth, giving them the space to create an opportunity for finding their purpose.
One other critical point is the role of technology. All of these trips give young people a chance to take a break from their constant use of technology; this alone is a powerful force for young people to re-connect with themselves and seek connection with their peers.
Young people do not usually develop a specific purpose and then go become an expert in that thing. Rather, they are exposed to something new that helps them develop their own sense of purpose. In short, in most cases experiences lead to developing purpose, not the other way around. This is why summer experiences that introduce young people to new ways of seeing the world and themselves are so valuable. If young people are exposed from 15-19 years olds to events to seek purpose, they will increasingly seek them out on their own until the end of their adolescence, giving them a higher likelihood of discovering their own sense of purpose.
Finding yourself, making meaning
Adolescence is the time to explore one’s inner and outer world. It is a time to seek new activities and experiences. As Dr. Dan Siegel puts it, teens seek novel experiences. This helps young people try something on for size, see if they like it, and then decide if they want to make it part of their life. Unfortunately so many young people today are not actually able to explore—teens are often either disillusioned from the banality of school or over achieving students are on the treadmill and cannot step off for fear of falling behind.
We have managed to create high school experiences that give students little time for self-reflection, meaning making, and diving deeply into what makes us come alive. I know so many friends and family members that felt like most of their high school was meaningless for them. As Bill Damon, the leading researcher on purpose and adolescence at Stanford, succinctly puts it, “The biggest problem growing up today is not actually stress, it’s meaninglessness.” Without a sense of meaning and purpose students will either fall away, disinterested in school or continue to achieve without a sense of agency or excitement.
Creating a sense of purpose in education starts with basic “why” questions: why are we taking this class? Why are we in school? Why am I learning algebra? These are straightforward and educators often try to answer them. But most school settings fail to address the even larger questions: Why was I put on this earth? What do I want to do with my life? Why am I having trouble figuring out my identity? A real education of adolescents must start with these “why” questions and then begin to help young people develop their own identity, sense of purpose, and understanding of the world and their place in it.
If your teen is going to a potentially transformative experience, as a parent or educator, it is important to ask the why question: Why is your teen motivated to do this? What do you hope to get out of it? Or why is your teen not motivated at all? These are powerful questions to help shape your young person’s experience.
Of course there is no guarantee that if your teen goes on one of these trips, they will come back with a greater sense of purpose. Research shows that some teens that go on potentially transformative experiences change, others do not. There is an element of mystery in everyone’s journey. It is good remember as a parent and educator: you cannot give your child or anyone else their own sense of purpose. But what you can do is give them the experiences to help discover their own sense of purpose. You never know how these experiences will shape them down the road.
So where do you turn if you wanted to send your teen on one of these experiences this summer? How can my teen attend one of these programs if I am from a middle or low-income background? Although these experiences started off mainly for privileged teens, many programs have made a huge push to make themselves accessible to teens of all backgrounds. Ask about scholarships and sliding scales.
|What Makes Us Tick
||They met in a airport because of a book that one of them was reading, the same the other had recently read. The conversation was so stimulating that they decided to continue it online and share it with their readers. They both believe this will be the first of an endless series of talks about the subject—what makes people tick—that tickles them the most.
|3 Reasons You Can’t Win with a Narcissist
||We’ve all met one at some point. A man or woman who seems to believe they are the center of the universe. Arrogant, callous and manipulative, they force the world around them to accommodate this belief. Self-important and conceited, the narcissist exaggerates accomplishments, requires endless praise, … ...
|Mapping language in the brain
||'By studying language in people with aphasia, we can try to accomplish two goals at once: we can improve our clinical understanding of aphasia and get new insights into how language is organized in the mind and brain,' said the lead author of a new study.
|Real Self Care for Therapists by Jamie Stacks, LPC
||Thanks to Jamie Stacks, LPC for this guest post. To learn more about Jamie, check out her bio at the end of the article. Why self-care? As a helping professional you wanted to make a difference, you were enthusiastic and ready to take on the … ...