Brain and Behavior Articles

How to Remain Calm in a Trying Situation

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

How to Remain Calm in a Trying SituationI’ve had my fair share of overwhelming times. There have been times where I’ve been so thrown back in my chair that I had to excuse myself from the situation to get a grip on things. If it wasn’t anxiety it was a punch to the gut as some sort of veiled insult or rejection. These things can happen often and it takes skill not to let them get the best of you.

Just yesterday I was hanging out with a girl I liked and she mentioned that she had a new boyfriend. That may seem trivial, and it probably is, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken aback. I’ve learned (with a lot of practice, though) to just roll with the punches. I don’t let trivialities get to me much anymore and I think it’s a skill that could benefit everyone.

How to Refrain from Getting Too Excited about Potentialities

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

How to Refrain from Getting Too Excited about PotentialitiesA lot has been happening in my life.

I’ve had a lot of really exciting opportunities, for which I’m incredibly thankful, but I’ve also had many potential opportunities that fell through. Sometimes they fell through based on my inability to do the work, sometimes it just wasn’t the right fit and sometimes it was no fault of my own and extenuating circumstances got in the way.

7 Habits of Highly Defective People

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The Seven Habits of Highly Defective PeopleAfter you have known people for a while, you realize they are defective. They’re cheap, crude, pushy, ignorant, loud, and unattractive. How did this happen? How did people who seemed so elegant and gregarious become the varmint-like creatures you want to avoid? What made them change into the dirty froth of humanity right before your eyes? Believe it or not, science has done some research on this phenomenon.

Highly defective people (HDP) have several common characteristics that reveal themselves over time. Their habits astound and mystify us. They might look different on the outside, but on the inside they are very much alike. They share common attributes that make them a kindred clan. One or two of these traits alone wouldn’t qualify them, but with a cluster of seven, you are in the presence of a HDP. In no particular order, here’s what to look for:

5 Ways to Boost Optimism

Monday, November 10th, 2014

5 Ways to Boost Optimism

Choose to be optimistic, it feels better. – Dalai Lama XIV

Is your glass half empty or full? Are your glasses rosy or is your future shadowed by a dark cloud?

Whether you live in the best or worst of all possible worlds depends on your point of view. What we pay attention to and how we interpret it is essentially up to us. This is especially true when we think of the future.

Meditation Made Easy

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Meditation Made EasyMeditation is a way to experience the vast expanse of your mind in a new way. It stills the constant mental chatter, and tunes in to what has always been beneath the surface.

Timothy Leary coined the phrase “turn on, tune in, drop out” in the 1960s. It became the counterculture’s catchphrase. The reductionist view was that it was solely a reference to the use of recreational drugs, but Dr. Leary maintained that it was a much broader reference to accessing different realms of consciousness.

I like to use it as a reference to meditation as follows: Drop out of your hyper-connected modern life for a while, tune in to the calm stillness of your mind in its depths, and turn on to the possibilities of an internal journey.

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Changing Your Meds

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Changing Your MedsAs anyone who has read my posts knows, the last few weeks have been touch and go. I’ve had some depression and paranoia problems which have accounted for a lot of weirdness in my daily life, from dealing with neighbors, to just generally being out in public. There was even a day when I went as far into my head as to contemplate what would happen were I to die.

Thankfully, this time I refrained from posting about that on Facebook, instead letting my family know. My family is my main support structure and thankfully we were able to get me in to see my psychiatrist to tweak my meds.

Your Brain Might Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

Your Brain Might Sabotage Your Weight Loss EffortsEveryone knows weight loss is challenging. But you might not be aware of just how unsuccessful the task can be.

According to the 2011 Food & Health Survey, 77 percent of Americans were trying to lose weight or were avoiding weight gain. Simultaneously, 70 percent of the population was deemed overweight.

Psychology Around the Net: November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

books-to-spark-creativity

This week’s Psychology Around the Net features information about the psychology of storytelling, how we recognize foreign accents, using technology to treat pet anxiety, and more!

Dig in!

The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling: Stories help us feel like we have control over chaos and give meaning to our lives.

WATCH: The Psychology of Accents: Ever wonder how our brains recognize foreign accents? What about how we even develop accents? BrainCraft explores the science behind these questions and more.

Was Skinner Wrong? Operant Conditioning & Down-Voting in Online Communities

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Was Skinner Wrong? Operant Conditioning & Down-Voting in Online CommunitiesPsychologists have long known that while B.F. Skinner is a founding father of behavioral psychology, some of the foundations he built his theories upon haven’t held up under the scrutiny of modern research.

One of Skinner’s core contributions to modern psychology was a theory called “operant conditioning.” In it, he believed that people could be motivated by four different types of stimuli: negative or positive reinforcement and negative or positive punishment.

Unfortunately, a lot of developers build online tools, services and frameworks that put their pop psychology beliefs into practice. So what did the researchers find when they examined the use of two of Skinner’s most popular operant conditioning tools in a few large online communities?

5 New Theories on the Cause of Depression

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

depression-brainI grew up thinking depression was as simple as one little transmitter getting lost somewhere on his way from one neuron to the other, much like I do when I venture farther than five miles from home. It’s an easy explanation — a chemical imbalance in the brain — one that pharmaceutical companies have adopted to craft creative commercials like the Zoloft egg not chasing the butterfly.

But depression is so much more complex than that.

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Over the past week, I’ve come across two very different approaches to schizophrenia prevention. I know to some that may sound like an incredulous possibility. But I believe it’s something that’s achievable within our lifetime.

Schizophrenia is uniquely situated to be acted upon by prevention methods. We know it has a larger genetic component than virtually any other mental disorder today. And unlike many other mental health concerns, it has a list of symptoms to watch out for (prodromal symptoms, they’re called) before it turns into full-blown schizophrenia.

Here’s how we may be able to prevent schizophrenia in the future.

Secrets of Adulthood: Nothing Is More Exhausting Than the Task That’s Never Started.

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

NothingIsAsExhaustingTask_124869Agree, disagree?

For the research for my forthcoming book about habit change, Better Than Before, I asked people about …

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