Memory and Perception Articles

Suspicious Things Really Make Us ‘Smell Something Fishy’

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

cbs_news_nose_jobWhen we say “Fred is a warm person,” we don’t usually mean his body temperature is hotter than average. We use metaphors such as “warm”, “high”, and “clean” to describe more abstract concepts like “friendly,” “powerful,” and “morally sound.”

So we mean that Fred is friendly, not that he has a fever. But these metaphors can actually have a powerful effect on behavior and attitudes as well. Research has shown that holding a cup of warm coffee makes people more affectionate, and portraying people in physically high locations makes them seem more powerful.

Now newer research is beginning to find that these metaphors are much more common than we might imagine — and that they work in both directions, from abstract emotions and concepts to concrete things, and back.

Leaving a Legacy Behind

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Leaving a Legacy BehindI recently saw “The Fault In Our Stars,” based on the novel by John Green. This heartbreaking film portrays two teenagers, Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, who fall in love as they both battle cancer.

Though I’m not interested in reviewing the film (quite frankly, it was a bit too emotionally disturbing for my taste), I do wish to highlight one crucial aspect that “The Fault In Our Stars” emphasized — the concept of legacy.

Music Speed and Exercise

Monday, July 14th, 2014

self care, exerciseIf you’re like us, you try to exercise to improve your health and fitness. Maybe you’ve tried one of our least favorite exercises: the dreaded plank. In this form of torture, you face down and balance on your toes and elbows, keeping your trunk rigid and horizontal, suspended above the ground for a specified period of time (Dave can manage 60 seconds).

It’s so excruciating that we’re always trying to figure out how to make the time pass quicker while we do planks. For years, researchers and marketers have known that playing music in waiting rooms can make visitors feel like time is passing faster. So listening to music while you do planks would probably make them (slightly) more bearable.

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.

Research Suggests Holistic Exercise Can Help Dementia Patients

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

woman meditating older bigst

Do you know someone who suffers from dementia? Witnessing a loved one slowly lose their memory and reasoning skills can be a very painful experience.

Dementia is a persistent syndrome that tends to get worse over time — affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. It is distinct from Alzheimer’s in that Alzheimer’s is a specific disease, but general dementia can stem from a variety of unrelated brain illnesses.

Natural and holistic remedies are gaining in popularity as they continue to prove themselves capable of offering relief to sufferers of mental ailments. The knowledge that the body is a whole system (not just a group of unrelated parts) is growing in popularity, and people are noticing that when one part of the body becomes ill, it affects all the rest. And when the whole body is strong, the parts don’t break down as easily or as often.

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?

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.

Why We’re More Forgiving to Bad Singers than to Other Musicians

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Why We're More Forgiving to Bad Singers than to Other MusiciansIf you’ve ever watched a vocal talent show such as American Idol, you might have noticed: when a judge claims a contestant is “pitchy” or “out of tune,” the audience tends to disagree. Nothing will set off the boos faster than Randy Jackson claiming a performance was “a little pitchy.”

So what’s going on there? Is the judge simply wrong? Or is the audience giving the contestant more credit than she or he deserves?

How Sleep Helps Memories Form

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

How Sleep Helps Memories FormWhile researchers have long known that sleep is an important part of maintaining our overall health and mental health, they haven’t always known exactly how this happened.

But in an amazing new study published recently in Science, two researchers now have a better understanding of the process of how sleep helps memory forms.

At least in mice (for now).

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent A delusion is defined as a firmly held belief or impression which is contradicted by reality or rational argument.

As a person with schizophrenia, I’m more than familiar with delusional thinking. A major part of my experience living with the illness has taught me to be wary of any thought I have which doesn’t seem entirely real.

Getting to the Good Part in Therapy

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Getting to the Good PartWhen I was young, my mom would drive me to the airport for my return flight to California after a visit. The trip to the airport was about 20 minutes.

Inevitably we would get into an intensely personal conversation where I would share whatever fears and insecurities I felt. At that time in my life, I was troubled and confused.

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