Research Articles

Moods & Seasons

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Moods and SeasonsFootball. School supplies. Changing leaves. Cooling temperatures. These are a few of the things I love about fall. I also tend to feel calmer and more relaxed when autumn rolls around. Summer feels so brash, intense and bright. Fall somehow feels softer. Perhaps it’s because of the change in light.

New research led by Alison Jing Xu from the University of Toronto-Scarborough shows just how sensitive we are to bright light. In a brighter space, people in the experiment felt warmer, wanted spicier food, found others more aggressive, and even had a stronger reaction to words.

7 Habits of Highly Defective People

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The Seven Habits of Highly Defective PeopleAfter you have known people for a while, you realize they are defective. They’re cheap, crude, pushy, ignorant, loud, and unattractive. How did this happen? How did people who seemed so elegant and gregarious become the varmint-like creatures you want to avoid? What made them change into the dirty froth of humanity right before your eyes? Believe it or not, science has done some research on this phenomenon.

Highly defective people (HDP) have several common characteristics that reveal themselves over time. Their habits astound and mystify us. They might look different on the outside, but on the inside they are very much alike. They share common attributes that make them a kindred clan. One or two of these traits alone wouldn’t qualify them, but with a cluster of seven, you are in the presence of a HDP. In no particular order, here’s what to look for:

Psychology Around the Net: November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

books-to-spark-creativity

This week’s Psychology Around the Net features information about the psychology of storytelling, how we recognize foreign accents, using technology to treat pet anxiety, and more!

Dig in!

The Psychological Comforts of Storytelling: Stories help us feel like we have control over chaos and give meaning to our lives.

WATCH: The Psychology of Accents: Ever wonder how our brains recognize foreign accents? What about how we even develop accents? BrainCraft explores the science behind these questions and more.

Was Skinner Wrong? Operant Conditioning & Down-Voting in Online Communities

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Was Skinner Wrong? Operant Conditioning & Down-Voting in Online CommunitiesPsychologists have long known that while B.F. Skinner is a founding father of behavioral psychology, some of the foundations he built his theories upon haven’t held up under the scrutiny of modern research.

One of Skinner’s core contributions to modern psychology was a theory called “operant conditioning.” In it, he believed that people could be motivated by four different types of stimuli: negative or positive reinforcement and negative or positive punishment.

Unfortunately, a lot of developers build online tools, services and frameworks that put their pop psychology beliefs into practice. So what did the researchers find when they examined the use of two of Skinner’s most popular operant conditioning tools in a few large online communities?

Psychology Around the Net: November 1, 2014

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

iPhone

Happy November, readers!

This week’s Psychology Around the Net covers smartphone technology for anxiety issues, dealing with unhappiness in the workplace, recovery from anorexia, and more.

5 Apps to Help You Cope With Anxiety: Guided meditations, soothing sounds for sleep, anti-stress quotes, and more.

How to Tell Your Boss You’re Not Happy at Work: Check out these three ways to get a conversation started with your boss–and possibly get your work back on a more challenging and rewarding path.

Can a Better Romantic Relationship Lead to Better Parenting?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Happy Family

Do you believe your partner should come before your kids?

I read this quote recently:

“The best thing a society can do for itself is to promote and support healthy couples, and the best thing partners can do for themselves, for their children, and for society is to have a healthy relationship.”

- Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want

Seriously? The “best” thing we can do for our kids is to have a good relationship with our partners? That’s fine in theory, but what if our relationship is just okay, or good sometimes with long periods of mediocrity, or mostly bad with occasional moments of happiness? What then?

5 New Theories on the Cause of Depression

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

5 New Theories on the Cause of DepressionI grew up thinking depression was as simple as one little transmitter getting lost somewhere on his way from one neuron to the other, much like I do when I venture farther than five miles from home. It’s an easy explanation — a chemical imbalance in the brain — one that pharmaceutical companies have adopted to craft creative commercials like the Zoloft egg not chasing the butterfly.

But depression is so much more complex than that.

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Prevention: 2 Ways to Stop Schizophrenia Before it Starts

Over the past week, I’ve come across two very different approaches to schizophrenia prevention. I know to some that may sound like an incredulous possibility. But I believe it’s something that’s achievable within our lifetime.

Schizophrenia is uniquely situated to be acted upon by prevention methods. We know it has a larger genetic component than virtually any other mental disorder today. And unlike many other mental health concerns, it has a list of symptoms to watch out for (prodromal symptoms, they’re called) before it turns into full-blown schizophrenia.

Here’s how we may be able to prevent schizophrenia in the future.

How Self-Compassion Builds a More Positive Body Image Than Self-Esteem

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Body Image

“Beauty is perfect in its imperfections, so you just have to go with the imperfections.” — Diane Von Furstenberg

A new study by researchers at the University of Waterloo has touched on a somewhat taboo question: “What if women were to accept themselves with deep self-compassion — flaws and all?” In other words, what if we looked upon ourselves with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as we would a loved one or a dear friend? Would we gain a more positive body image?

The answer is yes.

Ease Stress and Improve Mental Health with Group Nature Walks

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Mountain

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, autumn is finally here — that time of year when we feel a natural longing to get outside, enjoy the cooler weather and witness nature’s colorful displays. And as if on cue, new research has just revealed that stepping out into nature and participating in group walks can help ease stress and greatly enhance mental health.

Psychology Around the Net: October 18, 2014

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Mental Health Blocks

Suffer from insomnia? Ever feel you might be addicted to the Internet? Interested in seeing what a schizophrenia episode actually looks like? We have it all and more in this week’s Psychology Around the Net.

Hip-Hop Therapy Is New Route to Mental Wellbeing, Says Psychiatrists: According to researchers in the U.K., hip-hop music might be a viable mental health treatment for illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. How? By providing people with a sense of empowerment and self-knowledge.

Man With Schizophrenia Records Episode to Give Glimpse Into Life With the Disorder: Social media has made it easier to share experiences with mental illness, and Scottie Long is just one patient to do so. Long documents his schizophrenia episodes via YouTube and sends a clear message: When treating mental illness, sooner is always better.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder: Do You Have an Abnormal Sleep Pattern?

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Circadian Rhythm Sleep DisorderI was always bad at sleeping. My mom still talks of nightmarish times trying to get me to sleep as a baby and toddler. As a child, I kept a flashlight and a book on my nightstand so I could stay up after lights-out to read. As I grew, this trend continued.

I’m never tired at a “normal” bedtime. In fact, late nights are when I do some of my best writing. I am, however, exhausted in the morning.

I spent years trying to fit the mold, and always just figured I was a night owl until I finally heard about circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

Recent Comments
  • nick: I was having problems in a bar in London with my agoraphobia and social anxiety. It was just enough to remain...
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