Research Articles

How to Use Self-Talk to Improve Performance

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

How to Use Self-Talk to Improve PerformanceDo you ever talk to yourself? Although it’s not always a conscious habit, most of us practice self-talk on a daily basis, as a way of guiding, motivating or supporting ourselves.

Maybe you’re heading to the store and start running through a list of all the items you need to buy. Or perhaps you’re trying to get through a particularly challenging task at work and find yourself whispering something like “Come on, focus, you can do this.”

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.

Join the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in DC on Sept. 16

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Join the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in DC on Sept. 16

The Brain & Behavior Research …

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Police

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction PoliceMindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was first presented 36 years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the Pain Clinic of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Since then, tens of thousands of patients have benefited from mindfulness training by taking classes that adhere to, and classes that are similar to, the MBSR program.

Today, variants of the program have sprung up at leading medical centers worldwide. This has led many to wonder how mindfulness should be best taught as a medical intervention, and by whom?

Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule is Proven Bunk

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hour Rule is Proven BunkAh, poor Malcolm Gladwell. Apparently research has caught up to one of his proclamations that people needed about 10,000 hours of practice to become an amazing expert in that field. Never mind that he based his proclamation largely on a single study of musicians from 1993.

His Outliers book is full of such nonsense, as I noted in 2008 after the book was published. It’s filled with obvious platitudes… such as the fact that success often takes luck as much as it does practice — and social advantage.

Now, new research has put the final nail into the coffin of Gladwell’s slick and silly 10,000 hour rule. The new research shows, in my opinion, that the 10,000 rule is nothing more than bunk.

New Study Suggests Audio Hypnosis Could Help With Deep Sleep

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

the science of sleep

A new study suggests that listening to audio hypnosis just before bed may help some people reach a state of deep sleep and remain there for a longer period of time. The research, published in the journal Sleep, is the first to observe the connection between hypnosis and sleep through the measurement of brain wave activity.

Deep sleep, or slow-wave sleep, is the most restorative state of rest. When you enter into a deep sleep, your brain is able to process the day’s experiences and help you recover. As people begin to age, however, deep sleep is harder to obtain, and many older adults say they feel less rested or refreshed in the morning.

PLOS Blogger Calls Out PLOS ONE Journal — Huh?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

PLOS Blogger Calls Out PLOS ONE Journal -- Huh?We’re living in strange times.

You don’t have to look any further than this lengthy critique of a recent journal article.

The critique appears on a Public Library of Science (PLOS) blog called Mind the Brain penned by James Coyne, PhD. Ployne is a well-published and diverse researcher himself, so he knows bad research when he sees — or smells — it.

The journal article being critiqued?

Something that was published by PLOS itself in its premiere open-access journal, PLOS ONE.

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.

Can Romantic Comedies Improve Your Marriage? Recent Research Says Yes

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Enamoured couple at cinema

New research gives you an excuse to lure your partner into seeing that rom-com with you.

Fall 2014 brings the release of yet another Nicholas Sparks novel-turned movie The Best Of Me. While chick flick lovers are rejoicing, rom-com haters are simultaneously sighing. I’ve heard complaints many times from my girl and guy friends alike. ”These movies are so unrealistic; they skew our idea of love.”

It is easy to think that romance movies create false expectations in relationships. As much as we may envy or despise the characters and storylines of romance movies, do they really have a negative effect on our relationships?

Treating Social Anxiety with Meditation and Mindfulness Training

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Teenage girl sitting against brick wall in a depressed state

Meditation is at the core of a new generation of treatments for social anxiety.

Kevin Schjerning, a 48-year-old film and video editor, doesn’t simply dislike social gatherings; he finds them overwhelming. “I basically feel claustrophobic,” he says. “I have to get out of there.”

An estimated 22 million people in the U.S. have social anxiety disorder, an intense and disabling fear of being judged or humiliated in social situations. Living with this disorder can make day-to-day social interactions a painful challenge. Even the prospect of meeting a friend for lunch might be daunting.

Find Out How You Can Ease Chronic Illness with Meditation and Mindfulness

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

using-mindfulness-to-alter-your-mood

A novel study suggests that meditation and mindfulness can greatly improve the lives of people with chronic illness, particularly those with diabetes mellitus or coronary heart disease. Instead of worrying about the past or the future, patients begin to gently accept the limitations of their illness and focus on what is possible and beneficial in the present moment.

The study, published in Behavioral Medicine, found that patients who practice meditation and mindfulness experience better sleep and relaxation patterns and have a more accepting outlook toward living with a long-term illness.

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