Research Articles

New Study Examines the Effects of Prayer on Mental Health

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Praying

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. — Mahatma Gandhi

What are your deepest beliefs regarding the nature of God? When you pray, do you talk to a loving, protective and easily accessible God? Or does God feel strangely distant and unreachable? Perhaps a disciplinarian? A new study says that your beliefs about the “character” of God determine the effects of prayer on your mental health.

Movie Music and Theory of Mind

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Flickr Creative Commons / anyjazz65Movie music can have a huge impact on our perception of a film. Ever since the days of “silent” movies, filmmakers have recognized that music enhances the movie-going experience.

The earliest movies were shown in halls with live accompanists playing pianos and organs. Some films were even accompanied with full live orchestras. Why would movie companies go to such expense, if not to make viewers enjoy the film more?

Helping Children Avoid Depression

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Helping Children Avoid DepressionToday’s children are at a higher risk for depression than any previous generation. Almost one in 10 children will experience a major depressive episode by the time they are 14 years old, and almost one in five will experience a major depressive episode before graduating from high school. The good news is, there is apparently something that parents and educators can do to decrease the likelihood that children will succumb to this statistic.

5 Divorce Facts That Might Change Your Idea of Splitting Up

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

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Find out how 50 percent of divorcees feel about their separation.

Many people think they have it all figured out when it comes to divorce. The whole “50 percent of marriages end in divorce” statistic gets thrown around a lot. Everyone knows someone whose family was torn apart by it. But there’s so much more to know about ending marriages.

OKCupid: Let’s Manipulate Matches in the Name of ‘Research’

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

OKCupid: Wouldn't It Be Fun If We Lied to Our Users in the Name of 'Research'?Let’s imagine that, once upon a time, you signed up for an online dating service that you thought was going to provide you with the best possible matches it could based upon the information you gave it.

Let’s also imagine that the guy who ran the site decided to play a game. He decided that, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to show people the opposite of what we’d regularly show them as their best matches and see what happens?” He’ll do it under the guise of an “experiment” to make it all sound legit.

Maybe this guy doesn’t understand much about human ethics. Or maybe he just doesn’t care.

Sadly, you don’t have to imagine this scenario. Because if you’re a user of OKCupid, an online dating site, you may have been an unwitting participant in a research study its co-founder, Christian Rudder, decided to run earlier this year.

Low Serotonin Levels Don’t Cause Depression

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Low Serotonin Levels Don't Cause DepressionOne of the leading myths that unfortunately still circulates about clinical depression is that it’s caused by low serotonin levels in the brain (or a “biochemical imbalance”). This is a myth because countless scientific studies have specifically examined this theory and have come back universally rejecting it.

So let’s put it to rest once and for all — low levels of serotonin in the brain don’t cause depression.

Let’s find out why.

The Sad Truth about Your Smile

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

The Sad Truth about Your SmileIf you’re subscribing to the old adage of “grin and bear it” “keeping smiling” or “chin up” to mask unwanted negative emotions, you’re not doing yourself any favors, or fooling anyone else for that matter — science shows us homo sapiens are not that easily fooled.

Researchers say that over time, putting on a fake smile can actually cause people to associate smiling with feeling unhappy, an internal cognitive dissonance, causing not only temporary confusion, but a sense of  uneasiness. The better option that is recommended is that people should instead forgo a smile until whatever negative emotion they’re feeling is resolved or subsided.

Psychology Around the Net: September 6, 2014

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

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From nude celebrity photos to learning how to up your happiness on the job, we have all the latest psychology-related news around the ‘net today.

Psychology Behind Hacking and Sharing Nude Celebrity Photos: Why the reasons might seem obvious, the appeal actually has a psychological basis.

Reframing Your Way to Happiness at Work: Could a few subtle shifts in your mindset change your happiness and productivity levels at work?

Poor Sleep Linked to Suicide: Stanford researchers have found that poor sleep might be an independent suicide risk factor in adults over 65 years old.

Psychology Around the Net: August 30, 2014

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

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Do you care for a person with Alzheimer’s Disease and wonder how you can better help them — and yourself — make it day by day? What about a fear of asking for advice? Ever heard of sleep drunkenness? We have it all and more in this week’s Psychology Around the Net.

Risky Situations At Work Lead Women To Feel More Anxiety Than Men, Says Study: A new study recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association found that women are more likely than men to fold under the pressure of risky situations at work and, thus, perform worse than they would during normal situations.

Can Weather Affect Your Mood?

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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As most of the nation suffers through some of the hottest temperatures on record this summer, people are asking the question of how exactly does weather impact our mood. For instance, how does hot weather affect our mood? Does it make us more aggressive — or even more violent?

Does rain make us sad? How about cold temperatures… do they make us feel more like wanting to hunker down, hibernate, and isolate ourselves from others?

Let’s revisit how weather affects our mood and impacts our lives.

Forget the Common Cold! Learn How to Prevent Catching Secondhand Stress

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

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Do you cringe when you see someone get yelled at, hurt, or embarrassed? Do you tend to soak up others’ emotions — especially the feelings of those close to you? A new study has confirmed that “secondhand stress” is a very real thing and that many people catch another person’s stress as easily as the common cold.

For the study, researchers from Saint Louis University set up a situation so that a man had to witness a stranger defend himself after being falsely accused of a wrongdoing. When it was over, the researchers measured the onlooker’s heart rate and cortisol levels and found that, yes, this man took on the stress of a total stranger.

Depressed? You Should Be in Therapy & Taking an Antidepressant

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Depressed? You Should Be in Therapy & Taking an AntidepressantIf you’re like most people with depression, you probably should be engaging in two simultaneous treatments — some type of psychotherapy combined with an antidepressant medication. That is, if you have moderate to severe depression and you’ve had it for less than 2 years.

So says yet another study confirming what we’ve now known for decades… The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that you can expect full recovery from such a depressive episode when you employ the full double-barrel of depression treatment.

Yet most people don’t — they opt for one or the other, but not both at the same time. In making this choice, most people are short-changing themselves… And their chances at recovery from depression in a shorter period of time.