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The Greatest Invention Of All Time The greatest invention of all time isn't, as is sometimes argued, penicillin. Nor is it the computer. Nor is it running water, electricity, the automobile, or the airplane. Rather, it's the thing that has made all of these things"”and so many more"”possible:read more
All Rise, an Introduction Recognizing rankism makes you more conscious of your dignity.read more
Unwanted memories erased in electroconvulsive therapy experiment Scientists have used an electrical current to erase distressing memories, part of an ambitious quest to better treat ailments such as mental trauma, psychiatric disorders and drug addiction.
Buddhist "Reincarnation" and the Silliness about Souls Let's have a little talk about Buddhist "reincarnation," or as it is more accurately labelled, "rebirth." In the process, let's also get rid of the sorry silliness about souls and other mumbo-jumbo, and consider the potentially real, biologically valid concepts of biogeochemical cycling and - more intriguing yet - how karma equates to natural selection: coming next. read more
Young Americans Are Sicker Than Ever A sobering article on the Atlantic web site suggests that this generation of young people are encountering more chronic illnesses, at younger ages, than at any time in recent history. This increase in morbidity and mortality among the young holds true even for young people who are college-educated and upper-class. read more
Even or odd: No easy feat for the mind Even scientists are fond of thinking of the human brain as a computer, following sets of rules to communicate, make decisions and find a meal. But if the brain is like a computer, why do brains make mistakes that computers don't?
Does Christmas Music Make Us Buy Less? Studies show we spend more on flowers when romantic music is playing. We choose more expensive wine when listening to Vivaldi. We linger at restaurants with slow-tempo music, which leads us to order more food and run up a longer tab. So what do we know about the impact of Christmas music on holiday shoppers? read more
Possible link between cognitive depressive symptoms, antiretroviral therapy uptake Researchers found that among HIV-infected Russian drinkers, depressive symptom severity alone was not significantly associated with lower rates of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation. However, when examining cognitive symptoms of depression, results showed that high levels of depressive symptoms may be associated with delayed ART initiation.
Two-drug combo helps adolescents with ADHD, aggression Prescribing both a stimulant and an antipsychotic drug to children with physical aggression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), along with teaching parents to use behavior management techniques, reduces aggressive and serious behavioral problems in the children, according to researchers.
Concussion tests' marketing outpaces scientific evidence, new review says Computerized neurocognitive testing for concussions is widely used in amateur and professional sports, but little research over the past decade proves its effectiveness, a paper published this month says. The review updates a 2005 look at the available research on computerized neurocognitive testing. The authors still urge caution with their use and point out a need for more peer-reviewed studies.
The incredibly annoying psychology of Christmas holiday regression Over the coming days, thousands of adults will return to their childhood homes and spontaneously turn back into adolescents. What gives?Oliver Burkeman
Increasing personal savings, 'Groundhog Day' way Thinking about time as a cycle of recurring experiences -- a reality Bill Murray's character knows all too well in the movie Groundhog Day -- may help us to put more money away into our savings, according to new research.
Women's perceptions of 'normal' female genitalia may be influenced by exposure to modified images Women's perceptions of what is considered normal and desirable female genitalia may be influenced by exposure to modified images, suggests a new study.
New social enterprise set to lead to significant improvements in stroke rehabilitation A program to help stroke survivors become more involved in their rehabilitation has been launched as a social enterprise. As well as helping patients manage the physical challenges they face, it encourages them to set personal targets to boost their confidence and lets them take charge of their rehabilitation. The initiative, already rolled out across the UK and New Zealand, has the potential to help greater numbers of stroke survivors realize their own resourcefulness and be less reliant on medical and rehab support once they are discharged from hospital.
Meditation Can "˜Debias' the Mind in Only 15 Minutes A new study finds that just 15 minutes mindfulness meditation can help free the mind of biased thinking.→ Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
Eight reasons why you're only 0.0004% in control of your Christmas shopping | Patrick Fagan As you trawl the crowded shopping aisles in search of Christmas presents, your mind is playing tricks on you. And here they areMost of us will already have spent some time this month stuffing our trolleys with sprouts that no one will eat and socks no one will wear. There is perhaps no greater riposte to the idea of rationality than Christmas-buying customs.Yet it's all just harmless fun, isn't it? What's the problem in buying a potato-powered clock for your brother, or a Simpsons tie for Dad? Well, every Christmas, Britons waste about £2bn on unwanted gifts. Things go from kooky to concerning – especially for families with squeezed wallets – when so much money is thrown away.So who's in charge here – us or our brains?The best guess is that, of all the information we process, about 0.0004% is done consciously. Without the ability (or desire) to think every decision through carefully, much of our behaviour is guided from the subconscious with some very simple principles at work.Below are eight such processes through which our brain tricks us into splashing our cash at Christmas.1. SuggestionA study in a US pet store found it could triple its sales of an accessory just by asking customers if they'd like to buy it. So why do we buy at Christmas? Because we're asked to!2. ReciprocityHave you ever wondered why we send Christmas cards, gifts or even the dreaded round robin to people we haven't spoken to in years? Because they send stuff to us. Researchers in the US sent Christmas cards to strangers picked at random – and 80% of them responded. We are innately hardwired to reciprocate: scientists found that reciprocity explains 20% of why monkeys groom, while relatedness only explains 3%. In other words, "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" is more important than being a monkey's uncle.3. Social proofAnother reason we buy at Christmas is because everyone else does. The power of the five-star movie and the Amazon review is multiplied by millions when most of the western world is seen to be buying turkeys and tacky gifts.4. MoodChristmas shopping is the ultimate in "retail-tainment". There are Santa's grottos, fun fairy lights and jaunty jingles. It is very literally festive, and we spend more when we're in a good mood. One study even linked mood on Twitter with the health of the stock market.5. PrimingFestive cues act as reminders to buy. Studies show that seeing money makes us more individualistic, thinking about old people makes us walk slower and wearing a lab coat makes us smarter. So, when stores put their decorations up in October, they are nudging us to purchase.6. A time for consumptionThe truth is that many of the festivities we enjoy today predate Christ. We eat and drink more when it's cold and dark, probably because our ancestors needed every calorie to survive. There is an innate drive to consume during short, dark days; and the winter solstice is the shortest and darkest day of all.7. ScarcityScarce things are more valuable: supermarkets can even increase sales by using a "limited time only" sign. When there are only so many Furbies available before the 25th, we feel an extremely powerful urge to go out and buy one.8. EmotionSince we can't consciously process everything, the brain's amygdala acts as a doorman and decides what can and can't "come in". Emotional stuff gets VIP treatment. So Christmas advertising such as the John Lewis TV ad go straight to the "heart" of the brain.So, have a good Christmas and enjoy your festive shopping, but remember: your mind could be playing tricks on you.ChristmasPsychologyPatrick Fagantheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Aspirin to treat aggression? The evidence isn't there yet Suzi Gage: Headlines claiming aspirin can treat intermittent explosive disorder are going beyond the evidence available, and might even put people at riskSuzi Gage
Three Core Anxieties and How to Calm Them If you had nine tested ways to overcome your most persistent anxieties, would you use them?read more
Bullying in academia more prevalent than thought Bullying isn't only a problem that occurs in schools or online among young people. It can happen anywhere to anyone, and a nursing scholar is shedding some light on how it is becoming increasingly common in academia.
In addiction, meditation is helpful when coupled with drug, cognitive therapies A treatment for addiction problems based on meditation-like techniques can be helpful as a supplement to help someone get out of addiction. Scientific and mathematical arguments are given for this in a new paper.