Research Articles

Defeating Depression with a Pill

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Defeating Depression with a PillThere was literally a time when patients suffering from depression used to talk about their problems. But times have changed and now talk therapy is becoming a rarer form of treatment in favor of psychotropic drugs.

A pair of studies, which ran from 1998 to 2007, tracked the use of antidepressants versus psychotherapy to treat depression among inpatients. Both were a followup of sorts to similar research done a decade earlier which saw a doubling in the amount of outpatients treated with antidepressants for this population. From 1987 to 1997, the percentage of patients prescribed antidepressant medication rose from 37.3 percent to 74.5 percent.

Emotional Contagion on Facebook? More Like Bad Research Methods

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Emotional Contagion on Facebook? More Like Bad Research MethodsA study (Kramer et al., 2014) was recently published that showed something astonishing — people altered their emotions and moods based upon the presence or absence of other people’s positive (and negative) moods, as expressed on Facebook status updates. The researchers called this effect an “emotional contagion,” because they purported to show that our friends’ words on our Facebook news feed directly affected our own mood.

Nevermind that the researchers never actually measured anyone’s mood.

And nevermind that the study has a fatal flaw. One that other research has also overlooked — making all these researchers’ findings a bit suspect.

Are Antidepressants Enough?

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Are Antidepressants Enough?Zinc, exercise, Vitamin D and potential stress busters top the list of new possibilities to supplement the widespread use of antidepressant medicines. The latest research is welcome because antidepressants only work about half the time, and they often come with unwanted side effects, such as low libido, weight gain, and in some cases (believe it or not) depression.

No Time for Meditation? Squeeze in a Little Laughter Instead

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

laughing-1

Seeking out something to laugh about on a daily basis — such as watching your favorite comedian online — may be just what you need to create a more relaxed, zen-like state of mind.

A new study by Loma Linda University Health reveals that joyful laughter produces an abundance of gamma brain waves, similar to those found in a person who meditates often.

Using laughter as a form of therapy — also known as Humor Associated with Mirthful Laughter (HAML) — is increasing in popularity as a holistic and non-pharmacological treatment.

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?

Need to Boost Creative Thinking? Try Taking a Walk

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Mysterious path

A new study shows that walking — as opposed to sitting — significantly improves creative thinking. Scientists aren’t sure exactly why yet (more research is coming), but they hypothesize that the act of walking most likely triggers certain physiological changes that activate the part of the brain that fuels imagination.

The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, involved 176 participants, mostly college students. Researchers conducted several experiments to investigate whether a simple walk could temporarily improve certain types of thinking, including free-flowing thought.

Helping Young People Change: The Key of Motivation

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Helping Young People Change: The Key of MotivationAdolescence: Such a time of turbulence. For those of us charged with helping young people feel better, parent them or educate them, sometimes it can feel like we are on the losing team no matter which trick, technique or skill we try.

Luckily for both sides, we are not willing to give up so easily.

The Role of Personality & Psychology in Healthy Eating

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

The Role of Personality & Psychology in Healthy EatingWe’re getting fatter. An intelligent understanding of personality can help us to understand why we eat what we eat, and what we can do about it.

Openness

For a start, openness to experience has been negatively linked to BMI — that is, being open can help keep you slim. There are probably two reasons for this.

Violence Against Women: The Washington Post’s Sad, Sloppy Journalism

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Violence Against Women: The Washington Post's Sad, Sloppy JournalismOne would hope that one of the last bastion’s of good journalism wouldn’t just publish some researchers’ thoughts on a topic without vetting the research they’re based upon. Not at the Washington Post.

In an article originally entitled, “One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married,” researchers Robin Wilson and W. Bradford Wilcox decided to ignore all the other risk factors research has identified for partner violence against women and focus only on one of them.

In doing so, the scientists seemed to have purposely painted a biased, blurry picture of what we know about violence against women — especially in partner relationships.

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).

Taking Too Many Selfies? Don’t Worry, It’s Not a Disorder

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Taking Too Many Selfies? Don't Worry, It's Not a DisorderA news article was recently published that described how the American Psychiatric Association had classified taking too many selfies as a new mental disorder.

The only problem? It wasn’t true.

Showing that far too many people don’t ever bother to check to see what kind of website they’re on, thousands of people tweeted and posted links to the fake news article. Nobody stopped for a minute to ask, “Hey, is this true? How come no other news website is reporting it?”

Don’t worry — taking too many selfies isn’t a mental disorder.

Only a Fool Pursues Happiness

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Only a Fool Pursues HappinessWhile I’m sure our Founding Fathers were well-intentioned, the “pursuit of happiness” is not really something one should consciously work toward.

“How can I be happier?” is a question I often get. But people who ask this are really pursuing the wrong thing. You can’t “catch” happiness like some sort of drug-induced high or disease.

I don’t think happiness is a good goal to pursue. In fact, I believe that only a fool would pursue happiness… Here’s why.

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