Food Psychology

Though many people are concerned about overeating and obesity, usually it's in the context of intentional bingeing and grazing. The Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, however, studies the unintentional overeating that contributes to obesity.

Often it's about perception, and marketers who exploit those psychological mechanisms. For example, people eat more of and report more satisfaction with menu items that have long descriptions instead of simple names (chocolate cake vs. a name like Belgian extra dark chocolate mousse layer cake).

There's the club store...
Continue Reading

New Mental Health Bill?

With the political landscape changing in the , there is an increased chance for an important mental health bill to be passed through Congress. Some members of the legislature have been working to require insurance companies to bring their coverage of mental health equal to that of physical health. Currently, most insurance plans have more rigid limits on doctor visits and coverage for psychological problems compared to physical ailments, leaving many people with incomplete care.
The legislation, named for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone,...
Continue Reading

Burnout in America

New York Magazine made an epic attempt at analyzing "burnout" -- feeling overwhelmed by the daily in's and out's of work or life -- in contemporary American society earlier this month, in Where Work Is a Religion, Work Burnout Is Its Crisis of Faith.

Despite its length, however, the author never really provides much insight into how we, as individuals, can protect ourselves against this sort of thing. Choose the "right" career? Choose the "right" leisure? At the end, I feel no better...
Continue Reading

Changing a Family to Help a Child

Very rarely do I read a story in the press on treatment for psychological disorders and finish feeling satisfied and excited. Last week, the New York Times had one such story on how psychotherapy and family interventions can be effective in treating disorders for children. It covers parenting style and family dynamics, as well as a balanced view between drug and psychosocial treatments.
By defining mental disorders as primarily problems of brain chemicals, the emphasis on biology also led to an increasing dependence...
Continue Reading

Have Social Networking Users Ruined Their Privacy?

Steve Kerrison, over at , and Professor Nigel Smart of the Computer Science Department at the University of Bristol (UK) think so.

As these sites continue to grow in popularity, so too does the value of the information on them to parties other than those directly involved. Parents can see what their children really get up to at . Teachers can see what their pupils really think. Potential employers can profile applicants based on their online braggings and other shenanigans. While much of...
Continue Reading

Volunteering for Recovery

Woman's bipolar disorder creates chance to serve others from Anchorage Daily News is an interview with a woman who is unable to work full-time due to the illness, but does put in 25-30 hours per week volunteering for two charitable agencies. Keeping active and connected to the community is a key part of recovery - recovery defined as living well with the disorder, managing symptoms, for there is still no cure for this genetic brain illness. Shari Boyd's story is inspiring as an...
Continue Reading

Virtual Psychology

The classic 1960s psychology experiment in obediency by Stanley Milgram has been recreated in virtual reality. In the original, participants were instructed to administer electric shocks to a woman apparently hurt by them, and followed instructions even at lethal levels. Ethical concerns prevented recreating...
Continue Reading