Brain and Behavior Articles

Identifying Illness Through Scent

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Identifying Illness Through ScentIt’s been known for some time that rats and other animals can detect illness in others of their species based on scent. Rats will actively avoid sick packmates shortly after they fall ill, when there are few visible symptoms. Most people might believe that humans don’t notice sick friends quite so quickly and certainly not based on their scent. But is that belief really true?

It’s easy to identify someone with an illness if they show physical symptoms such as fever, sneezing, or exhaustion. It’s another matter to notice that person has just contracted a disease.

10 Things I Do Every Day to Beat Depression

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

52kitchenadventures.comFrom the moment my eyes open in the morning until the second that I pull my sleep mask over my face as I go to sleep, I am engaged in battle: I must protect myself with armor against ongoing negative intrusive thoughts that flood into my brain, while sending my prefrontal cortex — the home of logical thought — the green light to make decisions and to take charge of my brain’s limbic system (the emotional hub). That is, before the amygdala (fear center) spazzes out.

4 Ways Dreams Can Help You

Friday, July 4th, 2014

4 Ways Dreams Can Help YouI tend to have bizarre dreams. Perhaps they feature sporadic compilations of the day, current happenings, abstract symbols or completely random montages. But sometimes, my dreams assist me; my land of nod attempts to tie up a few loose ends from waking life.

If you look closely enough, dreams could serve as a portal to resolution.

Here are four ways dreams can help:

How Throwback Thursday Benefits Our Psychological Well-Being

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

How Throwback Thursday Benefits Our Psychological Well-Being So take the photographs and still frames in your mind. Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time. ~ Green Day

If you frequent any social media site, you probably have noticed the trend to post old pictures of yourself every Thursday. The trend of Throwback Thursday (or #TBT if you are so inclined) has certainly grown in popularity. It has become a time to visit times gone by and share memories with friends, old and new. We enjoy referencing the past, and we can have a good laugh at our clothes and hair back then.

Throwback Thursday is great for a laugh or a clever profile picture, but can it actually foster our psychological well-being?

Does Your Low Self-Esteem Make You a Better Listener?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

How to Get Over a Verbally Abusive Relationship

“Thank you so much for letting me tell you all this,” she said, reaching over and patting my sleeve. “I feel like I’ve been talking for hours, but this really helped me. You’re too kind.”

Well, yes. And no.

Contrary to popular belief, we who struggle with low self-esteem can actually be very desirable companions. Among other reasons for this — such as our willingness to let you always win — is a double-edged sword of a trait that comes with the territory: Some of us are very good listeners.

How Facebook’s Squishy Ethics Got Them Into Trouble

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

How Facebook's Squishy Ethics Got Them Into TroubleAh, how quickly folks backpedal when they’re caught doing something a little less than transparent. And perhaps something a little bit… squishy, ethics-wise.

That’s what Facebook “data scientist” Adam D.I. Kramer was doing on Sunday, when he posted a status update to his own Facebook page trying to explain why Facebook ran a bad experiment and manipulated — more than usual — what people saw in their news feed.

For some Tuesday-morning humor, let’s take a look at what Kramer said on Sunday, versus what he wrote in the study.

Mass Shooters = Mental Illness?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Mass Shooters = Mental Illness?In the wake of yet another mass school shooting, we mourn. We are angry. Why is this happening in our country? What is going on? And yet, as I flip on my television — what do I see? It’s certainly not anything about gun control or raising children properly, but alas, mental illness.

No one is disputing that our mental health system is a wreck. I know from firsthand experience that it is a travesty. I must admit, however, that the media’s portrayal of these shooters is uncomfortable and offensive.

Separating Delusions from Reality

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Separating Delusions from RealityIn the midst of my most intense psychotic episode I thought I was a prophet.

I thought it was my job and my job alone to bring peace to the world.

I was receiving hidden messages that only I could see when I listened to the radio or watched television, and I thought there was great evil coming to the world.

Depressed or Anxious? Check Your Thyroid

Friday, June 27th, 2014

holisticsolutionsdoc.comSix weeks ago I woke up tired and depressed, like I have so often in the last year. All I wanted to do is go back to bed.

The negative intrusive thoughts began before my feet touched the floor.

You are so lazy, I thought to myself. You could never hold a REAL job. You can barely string together three sentences.

Delusional Thinking 101: How Blaming Mental Illness Won’t Help Stop Mass Shootings

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Delusional Thinking 101: How Blaming Mental Illness Won't Help Stop Mass ShootingsWe’ve written in the past how there’s is a real delusional disconnect between the desire to act to stop future mass shootings, and people constantly pointing the finger at mental illness as being the root of the problem.

I say “delusional” because the leap of logic it takes to utter statements like, “mentally ill people only account for a small fraction of the gun deaths in America every year” and “the vast majority of those gun deaths are suicide, not homicide,” and then to blame such violence on mental illness is mind-boggling. I just cannot understand it.

Yet that’s exactly what Mel Robbins over at CNN has done. She says “don’t blame the NRA” for these shootings. I say, stop blaming people with mental illness too.

Why We All Have Fear of Failure

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Why We All Have Fear of FailureSure, fear of failure affects lots of people. But how about you? Let’s start off by taking a short quiz.

Answer each question below honestly:

Emotional Contagion on Facebook? More Like Bad Research Methods

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Emotional Contagion on Facebook? More Like Bad Research MethodsA study (Kramer et al., 2014) was recently published that showed something astonishing — people altered their emotions and moods based upon the presence or absence of other people’s positive (and negative) moods, as expressed on Facebook status updates. The researchers called this effect an “emotional contagion,” because they purported to show that our friends’ words on our Facebook news feed directly affected our own mood.

Nevermind that the researchers never actually measured anyone’s mood.

And nevermind that the study has a fatal flaw. One that other research has also overlooked — making all these researchers’ findings a bit suspect.

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