Research Articles

Anger Detection and the Brain

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

angry woman screaming man 2When Greta gets angry, Dave has noticed that she tends to be quiet, almost stoic. Greta can detect slight changes in Dave’s tone of voice that signal to her he is angry. Couples like us can learn to be extremely sensitive to signs of anger in their partners, because understanding your partner’s emotional state helps you decide how to respond.

It’s also important to be able to detect anger in strangers — in some cases, your very life might depend on it! Over the years, lots of research on anger has focused on facial expressions. While “anger” does have a characteristic facial expression that is readily detected, there’s plenty of other evidence we can use to decide if someone is angry, like Dave’s tone of voice and Greta’s silence. Until the past decade, however, very little research had been conducted on another important component of anger detection: Body position and movements.

Abuse of Vulnerable Adults: Why Does it Happen?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Abuse of Vulnerable Adults: Why Does it Happen?Researchers believe that society is more willing to report, talk about and act on allegations of the abuse of vulnerable adults. Over the last two years, the number of reports of abuse has risen by almost two percent, according to statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre in Leeds, England.

Although it is impossible to determine whether this marks a real increase in adult abuse, or simply an increase in reporting, there are reasons to suggest that the latter may be more likely.

Facebook Mocks its Users with New Research Policy

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Facebook Mocks its Users with New Research PolicyIn any modern, first-world country, the government requires legitimate university researchers to go through an independent review board (IRB) when conducting research on human beings. This is due to past abuses by both governments and organizations who have used the guise of “seeking knowledge” to cover up their efforts to manipulate people for their own means and ends.

But you know what? Facebook isn’t a first-world country. So in an effort to better understand how to best monetize your use of their service, they don’t need an IRB’s approval to conduct research on you.

And now, in my opinion, they are outright mocking their users with their latest update to their research practices.

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing Happiness

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing HappinessYou are probably not interested in my personal opinions about gratitude. If you read something about gratitude, you want to know that it’s not just relevant to me but to you as well. Well, at least I hope that’s what you want. That way you might try something that will make a big difference to your day, maybe even transform your life. That sounds like a big claim. But recent neuroscience and psychological research back me up here, and so do my personal experiments.

Porn Addiction: Not the Whole Story

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Porn Addiction: Not the Whole StoryThe issue of whether porn addiction is real has produced a storm of controversy. Yet all this noise may be distracting us from a graver risk to healthy sexuality: sexual conditioning of adolescents.

I monitor a number of popular online recovery forums. I have read self-reports of thousands of otherwise healthy young men who heal severe symptoms, including sexual dysfunctions (anorgasmia, delayed ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, loss of attraction to real people) by removing a single variable: Internet porn use.

Have You Tried Meditation to Help With Migraines?

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Migraine

A new study shows that mindfulness meditation may help lessen the duration and severity of a migraine — one of the most painful and debilitating types of headaches. This is a significant finding as many sufferers have found little to no relief with conventional treatments.

Most migraine sufferers share similar symptoms — throbbing headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound — but there is no single specific cause. Therefore, conventional medicine can only treat the symptoms, never truly getting to the source of the problem. For some individuals, migraines are so severe and persistent that the only option is to lie down in a dark, soundless room until the pain finally subsides.

Benzodiazepines & Alzheimer’s Disease

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Benzodiazepines & Alzheimer's DiseaseIf you’re taking an anti-anxiety medication referred to as a benzodiazepine — such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan or Klonopin — there’s a new eye-opening study out that should get your attention.

When used PRN — on as needed basis — sparingly for times of increased anxiety, these drugs can be life-savers.

But some people use them more frequently. And for those kinds of users, new research suggests an important link to the risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s.

Yet Again: A Blood Test for Depression? I’m Not Holding My Breath

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Yet Again: A Blood Test for Depression? I'm Not Holding My BreathThe news articles are breathless. “Objective Blood Test Can Diagnose Depression,” “Blood Test Flags Depression, Predicts Treatment Response,” and “There’s A Blood Test That Can Diagnose Depression!”

Wow! That’s just darned amazing. You mean we can draw blood from a patient (in a lab, which is usually some place separate you have to go to than the doctor’s office for many in America), send it off for processing, and two weeks later, get a result to see if the person has depression?

Or, you can take an objective, scientific screening quiz — like this one — in about a minute or two and have an instant result. Which is more amazing again??

Deja vu is setting in… like we’ve covered this topic before. And, in fact, we have. Not just once, but more that a few times.

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

WhyKidsDivorcedParentsDivorce

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.

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