|Benefits of telecommuting greater for some workers, study finds
||Even in a hyperconnected world where laptops, phones, tablets and now even wristwatches are tethered to the Internet 24/7, employers are still wary about the performance and social costs imposed by employees who work remotely. But a new study by a University of Illinois business professor says telecommuting yields positive effects for two important measures [...]The post Benefits of telecommuting greater for some workers, study finds appeared first on PsyPost.
|Down syndrome helps researchers understand Alzheimer’s disease
||The link between a protein typically associated with Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on memory and cognition may not be as clear as once thought, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Waisman Center. The findings are revealing more information about the earliest stages of the neurodegenerative disease. The researchers — including [...]The post Down syndrome helps researchers understand Alzheimer’s disease appeared first on PsyPost.
|Sensing neuronal activity with light
||For years, neuroscientists have been trying to develop tools that would allow them to clearly view the brain’s circuitry in action—from the first moment a neuron fires to the resulting behavior in a whole organism. To get this complete picture, neuroscientists are working to develop a range of new tools to study the brain. Researchers [...]The post Sensing neuronal activity with light appeared first on PsyPost.
|No sedative necessary: Scientists discover new ‘sleep node’ in the brain
||A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, this is only the second “sleep node” identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary [...]The post No sedative necessary: Scientists discover new ‘sleep node’ in the brain appeared first on PsyPost.
|Video games could dramatically streamline education research
||“Seeking educational curriculum researchers. Humans need not apply.” A Washington State University professor has figured out a dramatically easier and more cost-effective way to do research on science curriculum in the classroom – and it could include playing video games. Called “computational modeling,” it involves a computer “learning” student behavior and then “thinking” as students [...]The post Video games could dramatically streamline education research appeared first on PsyPost.
|Spouse’s personality influences career success, study finds
||As people spend more and more time in the workplace, it’s natural for co-workers to develop close bonds — what’s often referred to as a “workplace spouse” or an “office wife.” But when it comes to pay raises, promotions and other measures of career success, it’s the husband or wife at home who may be [...]The post Spouse’s personality influences career success, study finds appeared first on PsyPost.
|Mouse model sheds light on role of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases
||A new study by researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine sheds light on a longstanding question about the role of mitochondria in debilitating and fatal motor neuron diseases and resulted in a new mouse model to study such illnesses. Researchers led by Janet Shaw, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, found that when healthy, [...]The post Mouse model sheds light on role of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases appeared first on PsyPost.
|People Who Think their Meanness is Heroic
||Those who go into therapy know they have a disorder. Others know they have a disorder but think they can handle it without therapy. Still others are vaguely aware they have a disorder but won’t admit it to themselves or others. And then there is another class of people that...
|The Opportunity in Every Moment
||My whole life I’ve leaned toward all-or-nothing thinking. Black or white. Binge or restrict. Terrible day or terrific. In my mind I was either the energizer bunny or a sloth. I was either beautiful or blah. And how could I be beautiful if I was only pretty sometimes? If I...
|Mindful Emotional Eating – a Humanistic Harm Reduction Approach
||Another opus of mine on eating is coming out later this fall: this one is about a new concept of Mindful Emotional Eating. To clarify, the book isn’t about eliminating emotional eating but about making it more mindful – in the spirit of humanistic harm reduction. Here’s the table of...
|“Gratitude is the Parent of All Virtues”
||True tolerance of others, especially of those we love, is a virtue that all romantic partners enter into their coupleship hoping to achieve. The actual attainment of this virtue however, proves to be a most difficult and challenging feat for many of us to accomplish. It is very challenging at times...
|White House begins campaign against campus sex assult
||A new public awareness and education campaign is designed to change the culture on college campuses and prevent sexual assault before it happens.
|Ways to boost happiness
||Science shows happy people live longer and healthier lives.
|Will Mindfulness Replace Religion? Don’t Count on It.
||Will people someday discard beliefs about a caring universe? Will mindfulness meditation take the place of religion? Like my last two, this post was prompted by the recent book by Sam Harris, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. Harris dreams of a religion-free world, one in which mindfulness...
|Who is Happiest?
||At the start of “The Science of Happiness,” we invited all of you to take our “pre-course survey,” which asks about your health, well-being, age, gender, and other background information. These details—all kept anonymous and confidential—provide a snapshot of our student body at the outset of the course.
So far, more than 20,000 of you have completed the pre-course survey—wow! Your participation enables us to tell our students about who is taking this class with them and to uncover some interesting trends about happiness. (And for those of you who haven’t taken the survey yet, it’s not too late!)
This is the first in a series of posts reporting on findings from the survey, based on our analysis of all 20,000+ responses so far, covering group differences in happiness across age, gender, relationship status, and community standing.
Keep your eyes peeled for more posts as we continue to analyze the survey results. At the end of the class, we’ll invite you to take a final survey that will help us track students’ changes in happiness from the start to the end of “The Science of Happiness.”
Who is in “The Science of Happiness”?
The survey reveals tremendous diversity among our students: They represent a range of age groups and countries from all over the world. (Note: findings regarding happiness across countries will be presented in a future post). In the figure below, you can see the age distribution of students in “The Science of Happiness.”
Who is happiest?
In addition to determining who is in “The Science of Happiness,” the data can also be used to address big questions about who generally experiences the most happiness.
First, we tested whether students’ age is related to their happiness. Some past research has suggested that as people age, they experience more positive emotion. Our results offer some support for that finding—sort of. In the figure below, you can see that happiness increases marginally among older students, with a spike in happiness among participants born in the 1920s.
Second, we tested whether students’ gender is related to happiness and health symptoms. Past research has produced mixed results about which gender group is happier and healthier. As the figures below indicate, our data suggest that females in the class are somewhat happier than other gender groups, while males show somewhat fewer symptoms of health problems.
Third, we tested whether our students’ standing in their community is related to their happiness. “Community standing” was measured simply by presenting students with a ladder that was supposed to represent their community, with the highest-ranking members at the top and the lowest-ranking at the bottom. They had to indicate where they’d place themselves on that ladder.
Prior research suggests that higher community standing is associated with more generosity, being well-liked by members of the community, and a kind, helpful (or “prosocial”) orientation. Our survey data suggest that community standing is also positively associated with happiness.
Lastly, we tested whether students’ relationship status is associated with their happiness, and examined how this association might differ across genders. Some past research has suggested that females (versus males) show lesser increases in happiness from being married, though that was not evident in our data.
Week 2 of the course will cover research on the relationship between marriage and happiness, so stay tuned for more on this topic. And keep an eye out on this page for more findings from our survey.
|Simple test can help detect Alzheimer's before dementia signs show, study shows
||A simple test that combines thinking and movement can help to detect heightened risk for developing Alzheimer's disease in a person, even before there are any telltale behavioural signs of dementia, researchers report, adding that the findings don't predict who will develop Alzheimer's disease, but they do show there is something different in the brains of those who go on to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
|Are Our Fantasies Universal?
||How universal are our fantasies?
|Are We a Childist Society?
||What we need, according to two recent books, is an entirely new attitude toward children. Both books point to engrained notions about children that view them as a subservient class in the same way as we Americans once viewed slaves, and both show how these attitudes cause harm to children...
|How Memories Can Be Genetically Passed Down Through The Generations
'Memories' can be passed down through genetic code from one generation to the next.
Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is
"Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
Related articles:Fearful ‘Memories’ Passed Between Generations Through Genetic Code
Childhood Amnesia: The Age at Which Our Earliest Memories Fade
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How the Brain Stores Memories
A Better Way to Cope With Persistent Bad Memories
|Is Depression an Addiction?
||One of the chapters of my memoir, Beyond Blue, is called “The Least Harmful Addiction.” I explain that willpower is, regrettably, a finite thing. We have a limited amount, so we must preserve it for the most harmful addictions we have (i.e., when desperate, we should inhale chocolate truffles over...