Brain and Behavior

Does Posting Selfies Make You a Narcissist?

I've previously written how posting selfies is not a disorder (no, sorry, selfitis doesn't exist). Others have even suggested that posting selfies is simple a sign of healthy self-expression.

But last year, a few studies were published that linked taking selfies and posting them to a social network like Facebook to certain narcissistic traits. And this led some to believe that if you post a lot of selfies, you must be a narcissist.

However, the answer to the question of why people post selfies -- what motivates us to post selfies? -- is more complicated and nuanced -- as it usually is.

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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: July 16, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I must say, I hope you've all had a better week than I. During a quick getaway last weekend, I managed to catch a nasty summer cold (isn't getting sick during the summer the worst?) and, suffice it to say, I've spent a lot of time couch surfing with a box of tissues and all manner of cold medicine that doesn't. work. at. all.

Cue sneezing fit.

Still, I managed to scour the interwebs for some of the latest in mental health news just for you! Read on to find out the psychological benefits of writing, why time seems to go faster as we age, and -- oh yeah -- why the new all-the-rage app Pokemon Go is actually good for your mental health!

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: July 9, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

I hope my fellow Americans enjoyed last week's Fourth of July celebrations! Unfortunately, my neck of the woods has been devastated with rain and extreme flooding, so I didn't get to celebrate as much as I would have liked.

However, the sun is shining today, and it's time to catch up on this week's latest mental health news! Keep reading for information on how medical marijuana has lowered prescription drug use, see pictures one photographer uses to chronicle his quest for peace amid anxiety and depression, which habits say a lot about your personality, and more.

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General

10 Rules for Successful Living

How would you define “successful living”?

Is it to become a CEO? Or, is it to live in a woodland cabin equipped with high-speed wi-fi?

Whatever your notions of success, when I asked 2,500 Americans to “share the wisest quote you have heard or read, or share your own piece of wisdom” (as part of a nationwide study into what matters to us most), this is what people wrote (in reverse order of popularity):

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Anorexia

Brain Stimulation Could Be a Viable Treatment for Anorexia


Anorexia nervosa affects millions of people throughout the world. It has a high mortality rate and the therapies that are currently available are highly ineffective. Yet only 10–30% of adults with anorexia recover with psychotherapy, and pharmacological treatments have a low efficacy. The need for better treatments is obvious and urgent.

Research has revealed a number of changes which occur in the brain of patients with anorexia. These include both structural and functional deficits such as the loss of grey matter in areas that play important roles in the regulation of feeding behavior, reward, emotion and motivation. It is believed that anorexia may be associated with a dysregulation of inhibitory and reward systems, which lays the ground for compulsive and obsessive behaviors to arise.

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Marriage and Divorce

5 Ways Stress Knocks Your Love Life Way Off Track


Your libido, appearance and more take a hit when you're feeling too overwhelmed.

If being stressed out of your mind didn't feel bad enough, there's a study that will make you want to chill the eff out even more. Researchers discovered that men find stressed out women less attractive.

After men rated women's faces for attractiveness, the study found that the prettiest faces consistently belonged to the women with the lowest levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. But don't let that make you worry any more, because women are actually guilty of the same thing. According to previous research, women don't go for anxious men either.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: July 2, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers (and Happy Fourth of July to you American readers)!

This week's edition of Psychology Around the Net covers why we might benefit more from summer reading than books we pick up any other time of the year, several New York University studies gone wrong, how one psychiatry professor is fed up with the way new generations of psychiatrists are using their education, and more.

Enjoy!

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Caregivers

Separate and Unequal

You have just fallen off your bike. You hit a rock and were thrown over the handlebars onto your back. Ouch.

What do you do now? You go to the doctor. X-rays are taken. Nothing is broken. You get some medicine, you go home.

The next day at work, you are having some trouble with the pain. Your peers ask what’s wrong. You reply that you fell off your bike. They say that's too bad; hope you feel better. Move on. They don’t think too much of it.

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Friends

Having Trouble Making Friends? Stop Obsessing Over Yourself


It's actually pretty simple. “If you want to be interesting, you have to be interested.” These are the famous words of my husband’s grandmother. She took conversation making seriously, and understood the golden rule of friendships -- put into people what you want back.

When it comes to making friends, we all pretty much understand the same principle applies: to have a friend, we know we have to be a friend. But sometimes this isn’t so straightforward, and is harder than it seems.
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: June 25, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

Whew, I've had a stressful week. I've been juggling everything from major work deadlines to doctor appointments to preparing our guestroom for entertaining company all weekend, and honestly, the only thing that's helped keep me focused is my to-do list.

That's right. I am a huge advocate of to-do lists. I know some people avoid them, but, not I. I can't even explain the sheer elation I feel each time I mark off a...
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Brain and Behavior

The Joy of Giving

In The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm wrote: “Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” The more we give, the more we experience the world as the creation of our efforts and as a reflection of our aliveness. In the well-being of individuals that we support, we experience our aliveness. In the growth of communities to which we are genuinely dedicated, we experience our aliveness. The entity that we care for, whether it is a community, a fellow human being, or any living or nonliving form, is the source of our empowerment. In it we see our power; through it we feel alive.

For experimental psychologists, a cause and effect relationship, no matter how plausible and beautiful it sounds, cannot be accepted unless it is confirmed by means of experimentation. To test whether giving contributes to our well-being and whether giving is more joyous than receiving, Elizabeth Dunn and colleagues conducted an experiment at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

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Brain and Behavior

Squeezing a Rubber Ball May Boost Creative Thinking

Psychological research suggests a simple brain hack for temporarily boosting creativity and all it requires is a rubber ball. The technique itself is extremely simple: all you have to do is squeeze a rubber ball with your left hand as hard as you can for about a minute.

An original study on this technique by four Israeli researchers (Goldstein et al., 2010) found that subjects who squeezed a rubber ball with their left hand solved noticeably more problems on a remote associates test, a standard test of convergent thinking. This form of creative thinking, usually contrasted with divergent thinking, is most useful for “connecting the dots:” combining existing information, comparing and juggling ideas, solving problems with some specified criteria, or extracting ideas from other information. A lot of real-world innovation or typical business problem-solving depends heavily on convergent thinking.

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