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It turns out male sexuality is just as fluid as female sexuality If women can kiss women and still be straight, what about men? Some scholars have argued that female sexual desires tend to be fluid and receptive, while men’s desires – regardless of whether men are gay or straight – tend to be inflexible and unchanging. Support for this notion permeates popular culture. There are countless [...]The post It turns out male sexuality is just as fluid as female sexuality appeared first on PsyPost.
Blocking rewards: How the immune system could help treat cocaine addiction Cocaine is a popular recreational drug that makes users energetic, confident and talkative. It’s also highly addictive and dependence-producing. Australians rank fourth in the world in cocaine abuse rates. We have a drug that could be used to treat opioid abuse and dependence, (+)-naloxone. This works differently to the classic Narcan (aka (-)-naloxone), instead preventing [...]The post Blocking rewards: How the immune system could help treat cocaine addiction appeared first on PsyPost.
Does brain training work? That depends on your purpose Over the last decade, an ever-growing number of brain-training programs claiming to enhance learning, memory and general well-being have been developed and marketed for use in the classroom. Unfortunately, despite many years of laboratory research and classroom scrutiny, the effect of these programs on real-world learning and health remains uncertain. To address this issue, the [...]The post Does brain training work? That depends on your purpose appeared first on PsyPost.
Stanley Milgram was wrong: We don’t obey authority, but we do love drama Why have the landmark psychology experiments of the post-war era proved so enduring? Designed as dramas about human behaviour, experimenters drew on theatrical techniques and tailored their results for cinema – results that, though skewed, have become embedded in the collective subconscious. The two best known experiments of this sort are Obedience to Authority (1961-3) [...]The post Stanley Milgram was wrong: We don’t obey authority, but we do love drama appeared first on PsyPost.
The Unjealous Friend Judith Coché Do you feel jealous of your friends, or are you able to selflessly celebrate their life triumphs? Happy people are generous in celebrating accomplishments of their friends, as I do with my famous friend, Afaf. Afaf and I were born five months apart in different hemispheres. We have married funny, loving, loyal, brilliant men. We combined mothering with hefty careers that serve others. We teach and write books. We love flowers, figs, jewelry, and colorful fashion statements. We work out. When my husband John had a heart attack last year, Afaf ‘s contacts ensured we got the best medical care. We are buddies in spirit. Jealousy and envy are not part of our friendship. Instead, we discuss our families, our careers, and what the future has in store for us as we get older.  A world leader in nursing education, Afaf’s vision, grit, and competency could spark jealousy. She brings hope and wisdom to professors, government leaders, and the thousands of nursing students she touches. Her presence fills a room. The steeliness in her friendly eyes when she asks me a question makes me draw breath and answer carefully. When we breakfast casually, I feel challenged, titillated, and alive. At the end of the day, Afaf returns home to her devoted, equally brilliant but less hectic husband, Mahmoud. Dinner with Afaf and Mahmoud is a time of gentle banter. Afaf is delighted to relax and let Mahmoud hold court as he warmly embraces friends. Last year, during a time when Afaf was attracting attention through her global projects in women’s health, I wrote her the tribute below and plunked a great gob of purple flowers in her arms. She beamed.                                         Taking Notice I have a friend with a birthday today. She is loyal and funny and loves purple. She is a regular person, except for one gift...She has vision. My friend had the vision to transform nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. I do not know how she knew to do this, but she did. It must be in her blood. Many people shoot for a small goal, Then maybe they try for a bigger goal. They crawl slowly through tiny tentative places To get to slightly better places. A few times in their lifetime, Normal folks bumble on a visionary. Most of the time they are too self-involved to notice. When I first met my friend, I noticed That she picked up small cues that others missed. I noticed that her memory was sharp. I noticed that she took pride in self-care. Then, little by little, I noticed her vision. I noticed that she had redesigned large buildings. I noticed that she had raised large monies. I noticed that she bought sparkly jewelry to have on hand for daughters-in-law. As we talked on car rides, I discerned her vision. She moves gobs of people to a better future than they can carve alone. Mostly they don't notice. That is OK with my friend. She is not trying to be noticed. She is doing a job because she can. This month she wore pearls and white clothing. She looked beautiful but she did not look her age. She led a trajectory to global progress. She talked from her heart about our future. Lots of important people perked up. This month everybody noticed. Hurrah.            What do we know about happy people and friendship? We know that we are buoyed by others' good fortune and that a friend lends a hand in times of need, just as Afaf did. In a recent Gallup World Poll, the biggest predictor of happiness at work was whether a person had a best friend for support in crisis. The happiest people are present to celebrate their friends and have friends who celebrate their accomplishments. And, couples who celebrate each other's accomplishments are more likely to feel committed to their relationship and happier as individuals. How does friendship help us feel happier? Discussing a positive experience with a responsive listener actually increases the level of positivity we attach to the event itself and deepens our memory of the event years later. And, listening to a friend’s accomplishments increases the happiness of the listener. We are happier when we give attention and are given attention by others. So, this week consider how attentive you are to your friends. Do you take time to call and listen? Do you feel heard? Are they there for you in a crisis? If so, please curb your temptation to feel jealous. You’ll be glad you did. To Consider: Am I jealous of my friends? If so, how might life be richer if I celebrated with them fully. To read: Happiness. Diener, Biswas-Diener. New York. Wiley. Topics:  Happiness Gratitude Jealousy Self-Esteem Personality Subtitle:  Generosity of spirit allows friendship to blossom Blog to Post to:  No Ordinary Life Teaser Text:  Research informs us that generosity of spirit is a key quality for happy people. Join us as we celebrate the accomplishments of my oft awarded friend, Afaf. Teaser Image:  Mature Audiences Only:  Images:  Content Topics:  Politics Friends Education Happiness Jealousy Leadership Wisdom Memory Health Resilience Quote
Blast Yourself Into Class Many of us are caught up in a vortex of work-home-work that seems to leave us in a dizzying spell with distant memories of vacations, moments of joy, and days when we were once students. But the vortex can be stopped. Some lucky people have a couple hours to spare...
Get the gist? Tool provides unique insight for those with traumatic brain injury Individuals with traumatic brain injury have significantly more difficulty with gist reasoning than traditional cognitive tests, research shows. Using a unique cognitive assessment, these findings indicate that an individual's ability to 'get the gist' after a TBI more strongly predicts daily functionality than traditional cognitive tests alone.
Our thoughts are susceptible to external influence, even against our will New research documents how our thoughts are influenced by our outside environment. This research is the first demonstration of two thoughts in the stream of consciousness being controlled externally and against participants' will.
15 Ways to Live Authentically & Amazingly Anxiety, depression and unhappiness occur when people are not living their lives in a way that is congruent with their authentic selves. This is what I have learned after providing psychotherapy to a diverse clientele for over 20 years. Also, I’ve noticed many people get stuck on the proverbial “hamster...
The Secret of Success: Push Your Comfort Zone Frederick Douglass said, “Without struggle there is no progress.” We learn from adversity and grow in ways we never thought we could. When we get knocked down by life some look externally for help and others rely only on themselves to forge ahead. You can make successful efforts and still...
For Type 2, 3, & 4 Teens: How to Be a Leader II The Teacher Shoe Style. Drawing from “The Enneagram of Teens” by E. Wagele. Dear teen, Leadership means forming a team to get something accomplished. The Enneagram teaches you to perceive your strengths, to use them with confidence, and to identify skills you could improve.   Learn about all 9 Enneagram personality types because you have all 9 within you. One of them is your main type. The 2s, 3s, and 4s in this blog are in the heart center. The belly center types (8, 9, and 1) were featured in my last blog. The head center types (5, 6, and 7) will be in my next blog. Are you a 2-Helper? Helpers create a warm atmosphere, understand what others need, and often perform beyond the call of duty. Elizabeth Wagele Do you like to have many friends and help others feel happy? Yes__ No__  Helpers as leaders express their positive feelings toward others. They • discover, use, and praise the special talents of those on their team • interact personally with their team and minimize paperwork • may lead indirectly and encourage others to take the most visible roles STORY A Helper teen wanted to do something for a neighbor who was sick and couldn’t go out. She called a meeting of neighbors, making sure everyone felt comfortable, and included a treat as a reward for coming. Then she signed them up to bring the sick lady food, clean her house, and work in her garden until she could manage on her own.  Elizabeth Wagele If you share the strengths of type 2, use them in your role as leader. Are you a 3-Achiever? Achievers want to be productive, to succeed, and to avoid failure. Elizabeth Wagele Do you like to work hard and set ambitious goals for yourself? Yes__ No__ Achievers as leaders: • are competitive, enthusiastic, and optimistic • work quickly to get the job done • strive for useful results   STORY An Achiever teen read about starving children in Africa and wanted to raise money to buy them food. He persuaded his friends to help him put on a car wash, first lining up a parking lot that had access to water. He took charge of advertising it and making posters. They raised enough money to feed 100 children for four or five months. Elizabeth Wagele If you share the strengths of type 3, use them in your role as leader. Are you a 4-Romantic? Romantics want to be understood and to avoid being ordinary. Elizabeth Wagele Do you appreciate beauty and think about the meaning of life? Yes__ No__  Romantics as leaders are emotionally sensitive, have artistic temperaments, and prefer to work on projects that are meaningful to them. They • are compassionate and tuned into others’ feelings • stay emotionally engaged • are creative, discerning, and encourage their team to avoid the routine in favor of a unique approach  STORY A Romantic teen was upset that there was homeless family sleeping outdoors in her neighborhood. The children didn’t appear to be going to school. She got some friends together and they called social services and school and city government officials to arrange counseling and a place to live. Because the teens fought for them, the family was able to move into an apartment and the children started attending school. Elizabeth Wagele If you share the strengths of type 4, use them in your role as leader. This blog includes excerpts from chapter 10 on leadership from The Enneagram for Teens: Discover Your Personality Type and Celebrate Your True Self. Chapters 1 through 9 are each about a different Enneagram type and include cartoons, personal stories by teens, and more. wagele.com/enneagram-teens/ Topics:  Personality Adolescence Subtitle:  Teachers and parents of teens will also benefit from this information. Blog to Post to:  The Career Within You Teaser Text:  Learn about all 9 Enneagram personality types because you have all 9 within you. One of them is your main type. Teaser Image:  Mature Audiences Only:  Images:  Content Topics:  Personality Consumer Behavior Leadership Politics Sleep Beauty Motivation Teamwork Quote
New research sheds light on neural circuit development Using multiphoton imaging, researchers are now able to move beyond characterizing the properties of individual cells to investigate how communication among neurons changes over the course of development. In a new paper, researchers report substantial developmental changes in communication among cells that significantly improve the information processing capabilities of the brain.
HIV-AIDS: The Giraffe In the Room! Giraffes Part 1|Giraffes Part 2|Giraffes Part 3 The Giraffe In the Room! I read the other day that “In Precisely 10 Years Wild Giraffes will be Extinct Due to HIV-AIDS.” This is the most categorically idiotic and numskull idea. It’s insensitive to HIV-AIDS victims… IF you take it out of context. If...
Can Leadership Be Learned or Are You Born with It? People are often promoted to positions of leadership and management in the workplace without having any formal training in either. While some rise to the occasion and function well in their new positions, others flounder. The question is what can those who do not have natural leadership and management skills do to avoid failing in their new roles or to recover if they're already struggling? Decision makers often assume that a person who demonstrates competency and performs well in their job also is likely to have leadership and management potential. However, management and leadership require skillsets that are qualitatively very different to the tasks one performs in more content driven positions. As a result, many new leaders and managers find themselves in roles for which they are entirely unprepared. If they beleive, as many people do, that leadership is a quality one is born with and fear, as many new managers do, that they were not, they are likely to feel both uncomfortable and intimidated by the expectations thrust upon them. In many cases, they choose to manage these concerns by focusing on the substance of their role and minimizing or avoiding the human and managerial elements entirely. Unfortunately, it is exactly those dimentions of their new roles that form the heart and foundation of good leadership.  Others never contemplate their managerial style or leaders philosophies at all. They just plow ahead and do things as they see fit, often while being completely blind to their impact on the very people they are supposed to inspire.   The good news is leadership skills can be improved if one is willing to be self-reflective and make efforts to do so. Indeed, studies indicate leadership tends to be only 30 percent genetic. Therefore, all newly minted managers would be wise to consider it necessary to hone and sharpen their leadership skills. Indeed, a recent study from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign demonstrated that a fifteen week academic course was able to significantly improve the leadership skills of the participants by using the ‘Ready, Willing and Able’ model (which examines whether students are ready to lead, motivated to lead, and effective in their efforts). The study identified the most important factor for successful students as being their ‘Willingness'—how motivated they were to lead in the first place (or for new managers, how motivated they are to acquire and develop their own leadership skills). It is when new managers are not quite ‘Ready and Willing’ that they are most likely to stick their heads in the sand and either ignore their role as leaders or assume a ‘stock’ leadership position such as being authoritarian. Instead, new managers--especially those who feel hesitant about leading--need to acknowledge (to themselves) that they feel unprepared (or unequipped) to assume a leadership role and translate these worries and concerns into motivation to improve their skillset. The best place to start their journey is by performing a self-assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.  3 Questions Every New Leader Should Ask Themselves All leaders but especially new ones should ask themselves three basic questions: 1. What qualities do good leaders possess? 2. Do I have these qualities? 3. How can I acquire or improve the leadership qualities I lack? The University of Illinois study defined leadership as “An individual influencing a group of people toward a common goal”. With that definition in mind, new leaders were encouraged to focus on their interactions, relationships, and communication, such that their impact actually moved their teams toward the common goal.  It is also important for new leaders to frame their new roles as a journey of necessary corrections and adjustments in their communications and even in their self-identity that take place as they hone their leadership skills and move towards greater competency. Self-monitoring and self-assessment are crucial in these initial stages of leadership development and managers need to be honest with themselves about their successes and failures, and view through the prism of ‘influencing people toward a common goal’. The bottom line is that promotions to positions of leadership, while celebrated initially, can soon lead to failure if one does not take the time to assess their strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and show willingness to change their approach and enhance their knowledge and skillset when necessary. For many science based techniques for avoiding and recover from failure check out, Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure and Other Everyday Hurts (Plume, 2014). Like The Squeaky Wheel Blog Facebook page, post questions or comments about this article and I will answer them. Also, join my email list and receive an exclusive gift article—How to Recover from Rejection. Visit my website at guywinch.com and follow me on Twitter @GuyWinch Copyright 2015 Guy Winch Images by freedigitalphotos.net       Topics:  Personality Relationships Work Education Motivation Subtitle:  Your willingness to acquire leadership skills is what matters most Blog to Post to:  The Squeaky Wheel Teaser Text:  Promotions to positions of leadership are a mixed blessing for those whose leadership skills are weak. But are leadership skills hereditary or can they be acquired? Read on to find out: Teaser Image:  Mature Audiences Only:  Images:  Content Topics:  Leadership Motivation Career Identity Social Networking Teamwork Wisdom Fear Quote
Neurons important for induction of natural REM sleep identified Scientists have found that that activation of cholinergic neurons -- those that release the neurotransmitter acetylcholine -- in two brain stem structures can induce REM sleep in an animal model. Better understanding of mechanisms that control different sleep states is essential to improved treatment of sleep disorders.
If Facebook use causes envy, depression could follow Facebook use can lead to symptoms of depression if the social networking site triggers feelings of envy among its users, research shows. "Facebook can be a fun and healthy activity if users take advantage of the site to stay connected with family and old friends and to share interesting and important aspects of their lives," an author said. "However, if Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship--things that cause envy among users--use of the site can lead to feelings of depression."
How Open are You to New Experiences? The search for novelty is one of our basic motivations. Psychologists have long known that monkeys find it rewarding to explore their environments.  However, not everyone is a “Curious George.” As it turns out some people are more likely than others to seek out new experiences or at least contemplate the possibility. One of the basic five personality traits, openness to experience incorporates, according to University of Toronto psychologist Brian Connelly and co-authors (2014), a “general receptiveness to variety of experience and a permeability in consciousness” (p. 1). Its history in psychology dates back to the mid-1900s, but it wasn’t refined entirely until Costa and McCrae developed the NEO-PI-R personality measure when it could be precisely measured. Connelly and his team reflected on the importance of openness to experience as a way to introduce a special issue of the Journal of Personality Assessment focusing on this key trait and its measurement. I will try to sum up their observations in a way that will help you gain insight into where you stand on this dimension and how you can attain the ideal balance between too much and too little personality openness. First, let’s look at the components within this dimension. Costa and McCrae measure your openness along these 6 facets in which you’re asked to indicate your openness to ideas, actions, feelings, values, fantasy and aesthetics.   Openness to ideas: Do you like a mental challenge? Rather than read only popular novels, do you enjoy dabbling in philosophy at least once in a while? Are you open to ideas, you like to play word games, learn new words, and solve problems just for the sake of keeping your mind active? Openness to actions: Are you willing to try new things or do you prefer the same-old same-old? If you’re high on this openness facet, you’re willing to try new foods, visit new places, and perhaps always ready to check out the latest technology.  You like to start new projects and have lots of interests. Openness to feelings:  At any given moment, can you identify whether you’re happy, sad, or afraid? Do you find it easy to read the emotions of others? People high on openness to feelings are receptive to their own feelings and those of others. If you’re open to feelings, you’re both passionate and compassionate. You get worked up about causes you believe in and understand that other people do as well. Openness to values: Do you think that there is only one way of life that is “right”? Should anyone who commits a crime be punished, or do you think that criminals can be rehabilitated? If you’re open to values, you’re able to see that life is full of gray areas. You also appreciate that other people’s views have validity and are willing to learn from them. Openness to fantasy: Do enjoy imagining possibilities that don’t yet exist? Are you prone to daydreaming? Being willing to engage in mental flights of fancy suggests that you’re high on this openness trait. You like to turn new ideas over in your mind and even if you don’t act on them, you enjoy thinking about them. Openness to aesthetics: If you’ve got free time, would you rather take in a concert or art museum or would you prefer to “veg out”? Is gardening or taking care of indoor plants one of your favorite pastimes? Being open to aesthetics doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re artistically inclined, but it does mean that you like taking in art in its many forms. Now that you can evaluate whether you’re high or not on openness to experience, let’s see what it means if you are, or are not.  It’s also possible that you’re high on one of the facets, but not others. In a practical sense, being high on personality openness can give you advantages over people who are relatively closed-minded. Perhaps you’ve got a chronic condition, such as backache or headache. You’ve tried every remedy that conventional medicine can offer.  If you’re open to experiences (ideas and actions), you decide to do some exploring on your own and find that your condition might be treatable by acupuncture. Although you’ve never tried it before, and are a pretty strong believer in Western medicine, you figure it’s worth checking out. Now, pushing your openness even further, you seek consultation from an acupuncturist who suggests that this treatment could help you. This stretches your mental openness even further, but you decide you’ve got nothing to lose. After a few sessions, you’re feeling much better and have only your openness to thank for giving you the imagination to consider an alternative to the traditional approaches you’ve taken in the past. Similarly, openness to aesthetics can enrich your daily life by giving you ways to brighten up otherwise drab days. It may be cold and snowy outside, but your indoor flowers are providing you with colorful and pleasing colors to enjoy. The music you like to have playing in the background during dinner provides a pleasant backdrop to your takeout meal. According to the paper by Connelly and his associates, there are many psychological benefits to being high on the openness dimension of personality. Although they focus on the technical aspects of defining and measuring this important quality, the research team explored its relationship to other indicators of psychological functioning. These include creativity, interest in nature, and a desire to help others through careers in teaching and social services. Being open to new ideas and having imagination allows people to capitalize on their actual intellectual abilities. The more open to experience you are, the more likely you are to adapt well to growing older. By keeping your mind active with new problems to solve, you’ll be giving it the kind of mental workout it needs to stay vital. The evidence suggests that people who are highly open to experience may not earn higher salaries, Connelly and his team conclude. However, people in more artistically-oriented jobs will perform better, as will those in jobs that require investigative skills.  The data are also unclear about whether the highly open have better relationships, but others readily detect their interpersonal sensitivity. You can, of course, be too open. If your flights of fancy frequently take you into off into another dimension of time and space, you can lose touch with reality. If you are constantly open to new interests, you may never be able to settle on one life path. However, on the whole, as Connelly and his co-authors conclude, “Openness represents some of the more important and interesting traits and processes within personality psychology” (p. 13).  Allow your own openness to thrive, and you may find new sources of fulfillment that you never knew were possible. Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology,health, and aging. Feel free to join my Facebook group, "Fulfillment at Any Age," to discuss today's blog, or to ask further questions about this posting. Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne 2015 Reference: Connelly, B.S., Ones, D.S. & Chernyshenko, O.S. (2014) Introducing the Special Section on Openness to Experience: Review of Openness Taxonomies, Measurement, and Nomological Net, Journal of Personality Assessment, 96:1, 1-16, DOI: 10.1080/00223891.2013.830620 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00223891.2013.830620 Subtitle:  Find out just how open you are to new experiences on these 6 key dimensions Blog to Post to:  Fulfillment at Any Age Teaser Text:  Do you consider yourself an open-minded person? Are you willing to experiment in order to improve your life? Research on the personality shows that you don’t even have to change but you can benefit from being willing to keep an open mind. Teaser Image:  Mature Audiences Only:  Content Topics:  Personality Philosophy Creativity Social Networking Law and Crime Environment Health Teamwork Quote
Low-Cost, Creative Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Partner Valentine’s Day — like any holiday where we give gifts — can create immense pressure to buy the right thing or devise an elaborate experience. Many people worry about disappointing their loved one. They assume that pricey or extravagant presents are the way to go. However, as clinical psychologist Kathy...
Starting Over In The Dead Of Winter–New Year For In the dead of winter, the trees stir and the possibility of hope begins....
How Media Exposure Can Grow Your Practice: Podcast Interview I thought you’d you enjoy this lively interview with Joe Sanok of Practice of the Practice Podcast about my private practice journey from a solo practitioner to a clinic with 3 locations and 20 employees. We cover a lot of ground during this podcast!  In addition to tips about gaining...