|Brain structure shows who is most sensitive to pain
||Everybody feels pain differently, and brain structure may hold the clue to these differences. In a study published, scientistshave shown that the brain's structure is related to how intensely people perceive pain.
|Phrases revealed that pay on Kickstarter
||As part of a study of more than 45,000 projects on Kickstarter, Georgia Tech researchers reveal dozens of phrases that pay and a few dozen more that may signal the likely failure of a crowd-sourced effort.
|Short circuit in molecular switch intensifies pain
||While searching for novel painkillers, researchers came to the surprising conclusion that some candidate drugs actually increase pain. In a study published, the researchers show that a molecular
|Mindfulness helps undergraduates stay on track
||A form of mental training called mindfulness training, specifically designed for undergraduate students, shows promise as a tool to train attention and improve learning during the academic semester, according to a new study.
|Social experience drives empathetic, pro-social behavior in rats
||Empathy-driven behavior has been observed in rats who will free trapped companions from restrainers. This behavior also extends toward strangers, but requires prior, positive social interactions with the type (strain) of the unfamiliar individual, report scientists. The findings suggest that social experiences, not genetics or kin selection, determine whether an individual will help strangers out of empathy.
|Can People Recognize Their Own Dogs By Scent Alone?
||Although human beings have nowhere near the odor recognition ability of dogs, research shows that we have unconsciously learned to identify the scent of our own pet.read more
|Mindfulness: 6 Steps to Better Memory, Verbal Reasoning and Improved Concentration
||Mindfulness is an effective antidote to mind-wandering.â†’ Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is
"Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
|Brief visit to neighborhood induces social attitudes of that neighborhood
||Spending as little as 45 minutes in a high-crime, deprived neighborhood can have measurable effects on people's trust in others and their feelings of paranoia. In a new study, students who visited high-crime neighborhoods quickly developed a level of trust and paranoia comparable to the residents of that neighborhood, and significantly different from that in more low-crime neighborhoods. As a result, urban planners should carefully consider the psychological effects of the environment.
|Educated black men remembered as 'whiter'
||A new study finds that instead of breaking stereotypes, intellectually successful black individuals may be susceptible to being remembered as "whiter" and therefore "exceptions to their race," perpetuating cultural beliefs about race and intelligence. This new study shows that a black man who is associated with being educated is remembered as being lighter in skin tone than he actually is, a phenomenon the study authors refer to as "skin tone memory bias."
|Younger people have 'high definition' memories
||It's not that younger people are able to remember more than older people. Their memories seem better because they are able to retrieve them in higher definition. So says a researcher, in a study that sheds light on how differences in the behavioral and neural activity of younger and older adults influence the different generations' ability to store and recall memories.
|Do cultural differences determine outcome of our activities?
||A generally held assumption in various academic disciplines is that the way people perform various everyday activities – walking, swimming, carrying loads, etc. – is culturally determined. But, the question remains: do these cultural characteristics, when they affect various motor skills, also determine the results of people's efforts?
|When Guilt Stops Gratitude
||Does guilt get in the way of gratitude?
It does for me. After years living on my own out of town, I recently moved back home to live with my mom and stepdad to save up for a house. The trouble? Mom is always doing something nice for me, whether I ask for it or not. She throws my laundry in the wash while I’m at school and buys my favorite groceries.
I appreciate everything she does for me, and I know I should feel grateful, but sometimes I feel guilty instead—resentful, even—for all her care. In some embarrassing way, the feeling that I will never be able to repay her prevents me from feeling and expressing my gratitude. When she cooks me a delicious dinner, I’m grateful for the act, but not the dishes she’s left me with. Or I’ll just feel plain guilty that she hits the kitchen on my behalf after she’s had a long day hard at work.
Researchers have become increasingly interested in studying gratitude over the past decade, and the resounding message from their work is clear: Gratitude is good for our mental and physical health, and it may be an essential ingredient in happiness.
But in practice, simply feeling or expressing gratitude can be a challenge. Sometimes other feelings—like the guilt and indebtedness I feel—get in the way.
Moving back home has made me wonder: When people are good to us, why do we sometimes respond with guilt and resentment, not gratitude? And how can we overcome those negative feelings and just let ourselves be grateful?
These questions have become especially relevant in today’s economy, when so many people like me in their 20s—and some older folks—are dependent on other people for help, whether it be financial or otherwise.
Though research on gratitude is still relatively young, some researchers have started to address these questions, suggesting why gratitude can be so hard for some of us and what we can do to reach it more easily. Their work could help some of us actually feel closer to people who are kind to us, not just uneasily indebted to them.
When “thank you” is hard
One of these gratitude researchers is Phil Watkins, a professor at Eastern Washington University who has written about the differences between feelings of gratitude and indebtedness. Gratitude, according to Watkins, compels individuals to give back to their beneficiaries because they want to, whereas indebtedness implies a sort of obligation.
“I think it’s pretty clear that it does happen—people do feel indebted and grateful at the same time,” he says, “but I’d propose if you feel too indebted, then it’s hard to feel grateful.”
For some reason, I feel obligated to repay Mom, even though she hasn’t asked me to. Perhaps my failure to fulfill that imaginary obligation is what’s making me feel guilty.
Giacomo Bono, a gratitude researcher and adjunct professor at California State University, Fullerton, speculates that guilt could coincide with or even obstruct gratitude in two situations. First, in a “survivor” situation where someone survives a tragedy that others do not, and second, in a situation where there’s inequity in a relationship over time—for example, in the case of a child and a parent.
“I could see a case where a person—especially a young person—could have a benefactor or mentor who they’ve received so much help from, so much investment from, that they feel guilty and grateful,” he says, nailing my situation exactly.
This can be true not only in parent-child relationships, but also in work settings where a budding professional relies on a superior, Bono says. In fact, he recalls a time when he was beginning his gratitude research and often had to call on his mentor—a pioneer in the field—for favors, including many letters of recommendation.
This sort of guilt-versus-gratitude scenario could potentially arise in any relationship between two people who are unequal in some way, including a teacher-student relationship where a student requires extra time or patience from an instructor.
Relationships aside, research suggests that gratitude may simply be harder for some than others, period. A 2009 study from George Mason and Hofstra universities found that men were less likely to feel and express gratitude than women, and that men were more likely to view a gift as a burden or obligation.
Personality plays a role, too, but a person’s situation is also important to consider, says JoAnn Tsang, a researcher at Baylor University.
For me, I think it’s pride and the lack of autonomy I feel that makes keeps me from feeling gratitude sans the negative feelings. I feel anxious and insecure knowing I couldn’t survive financially on my own right now without Mom’s help.
“When you remain in the position of needing help from someone else, when you don’t feel like you could do something on your own, it can cause anxiety and a lack of self-esteem,” Bono speculates. “I could see that as an adult, too.”
How to overcome all this
To get past the negative feelings, and to better cultivate gratitude, researchers recommend recognizing the opportunities your benefactor has given you, and making the most of those opportunities.
“Let them know that you’ve put their investment to use,” Bono says. “Be thankful to mentors who have given to you repeatedly because they believed in you.”
Bono and others also note that you may never feel like you can pay back your debts, so you shouldn’t try; instead, you should give back through your successes. For him, the feeling that he “owed” his mentor started to lessen when he became successful and no longer had to ask for frequent favors.
“I started to feel guilty at one point,” he says, “but that guilt subsided naturally when circumstances arose when I didn’t need him anymore.”
Along those same lines, I feel less guilty when Mom makes me me dinner on a day when I’m particularly proud of a project at work. It is also easier for me to feel grateful after I receive a scholarship or award at school, because in some weird way, I feel like I’ve earned her kindness.
For people who have struggled with guilt over a period of time, Tsang recommends thanking someone who has never been properly thanked, through a gesture like writing a letter. This can be especially useful for people who struggle to thank their benefactors face-to-face, as well as those who have fallen out of touch.
I suppose I should spend less time worrying—and more time repaying Mom through recognition and my successes—while I’m still lucky enough to have her around to do nice things for me.
|A cup of joe may help hydration and memory
||Studies show that coffee has similar hydrating qualities to water, and may enhance memory.
|Researchers dismiss sixth sense – and put their faith in common sense
||Year-long Australian survey finds people can reliably detect a change in surroundings, even if they cannot accurately describe itOliver Milman
|How sex affects intelligence, and vice versa
||New research says sexual activity can grow brain cells, but keeping them may be another matter.
|How to stop sweating the small stuff
||Blowing up over small things takes a strong physical and emotion toll over the years.
|Controversy plagues school mental health screening
||School officials are grappling with the best way to offer mental health services in a patchwork, underfunded system.
|Cognitive training aids in long-term function in older people
||Study shows that training improves cognitive function in older adults and could reduce the number of people experiencing functional impairment.
|Christian counsellors ban therapy aimed at 'converting' gay patients
||Association of Christian Counsellors bans trying to turn gay patients straight but disgraced therapist vows to fight rulingBritain's leading body for Christian therapists has instructed its members to stop trying to turn gay patients straight using so-called "conversion therapy".The Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) said the practice should be stopped "in the interests of public safety", but the move has prompted a furious response from proponents of talking "cures" for homosexuality who have promised to fight for what they see as the right to therapy of anyone distressed by "unwanted same sex attraction".The controversial practice seeks to unearth childhood traumas, which are considered by conversion therapists to have caused homosexuality. Sexual abuse, bullying and having an overbearing mother or distant father are among the supposed triggers.Research by the US clinical psychologists Ariel Shidlo and Michael Schroeder has shown such treatment routinely led to worsened mental health, self-harm, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts.The decision by the ACC to speak out against the practice follows similar statements in the last two years by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Department of Health.The ACC said the treatment, also called reparative therapy, "implies that sexuality can be 'repaired' and so introduces the idea of treatment or cure ... it suggests that a specific outcome is possible and appears to make an a priori assumption that it should happen".The statement makes it clear that the practice is incompatible with the Equality Act 2010 and it is not endorsed.However, one organisation preparing to resist the ruling is the Core Issues Trust, a Northern Irish group that campaigns for Christian therapists who attempt to "treat" homosexuality and whose 2012 adverts stating, "Not gay! Ex-gay, Post-gay and Proud. Get over it!" were prevented from appearing on London buses by Boris Johnson after the Guardian alerted the mayor.In an online statement rebuking the ACC's position, the Core Issues Trust said it was "a misapplication of Equalities Act 2010 [sic]", demanded the ACC "provide empirical evidence to support its misleading statement produced on the matter of counselling same-sex attracted persons" and urged the organisation to "avoid compromise of its members' right to teach and uphold orthodox Christian sexual ethics".Other therapists are also preparing to lobby against the ACC's new stance. Lesley Pilkington, who has been on the ACC register, became the first psychotherapist in history to be "struck off" after practising conversion therapy. In 2012, after her methods were exposed, the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) revoked her membership, finding her guilty of "professional malpractice", but she was able to join the ACC as counselling and psychotherapy remains unregulated by statute.In emails from Pilkington seen by the Guardian, the disgraced therapist said there was "a fight going on", adding, "I believe that if anyone is distressed by their unwanted same sex attraction they should have the right to help and therapy ... I will be releasing my own statement soon."The ACC justified its new stance – a change since their its last statement in 2012 – explaining "such models have the potential to create harm and therefore [we] view them as incompatible within the ethos of counselling".It advised members not to "commence or continue" using such methods and to remove or modify any promotional material advertising such a service, adding: "In the interests of public safety, we have decided to make clear what is expected by those who choose to be part of ACC."The second reading of the counsellors and psychotherapists (regulation) bill, introduced by the Labour MP Geraint Davies in an attempt to combat conversion therapy and introduce statutory regulation, will be heard on 24 January. A conference for conversion therapists will take place in London on 16 January.Britain's most senior psychiatrist applauded the ACC's position. Professor Dinesh Bhugra, incoming President of the World Psychiatric Association, told the Guardian: "I welcome this major step forward. I very much hope any other organisations who have not already done so follows suit to save a lot of false hope and pain. Psychotherapists and counsellors should focus on supporting individuals to accept normal human variation."ChristianityReligionGay rightsPsychologySexualityEqualityMental healthHealthPatrick Strudwicktheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
|Children or no children: Similar life satisfaction for Americans
||Americans aged 34 to 46 with children at home rate their life satisfaction at higher levels than those without children at home, according to a report. However, the researchers say that factors such as higher educational attainment, higher income, better health and religiosity all enhance life satisfaction and that, once these are taken into account, parents and nonparents have similar levels of life satisfaction.