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Brain and Behavior

We Are Responsible for Our Own Feelings


Why does he make me feel this way?

What was going through my mother's head when said such hurtful things to me?

Can't my boss tell that his words cut me down and make me feel so small?


These are examples of our thinking sometimes when we feel hurt, ashamed, or angry – that the other person or some external event is making us feel the way we do. But is it? Can someone else make us feel a certain way?...
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Dealing with Bullies

Going back to school means facing many challenges both academically and oftentimes socially. Unfortunately, for many kids, a big part of these social challenges is bullying. In fact, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP):


“Surveys indicate that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied on a regular basis.”


Bullying can have devastating consequences, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and thoughts of...
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Help Defy Depression

Want to help survivors and those grappling with depression? Just a click can help the nonprofit International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression raise $ million from American Express Member Projects' initiative. Vote now for this positive effort to try and help...
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Brain and Behavior

Does Culture Shape How We Look at Faces?

According to the breathless proclamations of the researchers of a recently published study (and also a Wired Science news report on the same), you'd think so. Until you look at how the study was designed.

Research results are fantastic things -- they have the ability to add to our knowledge on a subject of interest. But we're seeing a growing trend that is not being managed well by many journals these days -- the trend of generalizing from data to...
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Vintage Psychology Film

Habit Patterns (1954) hails from the Psychology for Living film series by McGraw Hill Book Company, with an accompanying textbook by Sorenson and Malm. It was targeted at 1950s teens. I'd hate to see what questions they asked the class after showing this hilariously harrowing film.

"It's a little late for tears, isn't it Barbara?" she says, the patronizing narrator beginning to chide. "You're a creature of habit, Barbara, we all are. Unfortunately not all your habits are good ones. Here's how your day started wrong."

There's a list.

"You started your day with no plan at all. Can't find your hair brush? Can't remember where you left it?" She continues in the same tone throughout all 14 minutes of this educational film that reminds us social norms change over time.

Barbara is compared to Helen, a neighbour and classmate who behaves perfectly. "[Helen] uses taste in selecting her clothes, and more than that she keeps them clean, and mended. And she's able to match the right skirt with the right sweater." At that time, however, this was an important point. Barbara goes off to school in a dirty sweater, which was not okay 50 years ago, as today.

"If you had a habit plan for your mornings you might get off to a decent start one day." There is useful info about keeping a sleep routine and good hygiene and how some habits smooth life, but poor Barbara isn't going to learn them this way. If you'd like to build good habits to replace unwanted ones, I suggest starting with a good therapist, or online CBT. (And, break a habit.)

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Exuberant Videos

Kay Redfield Jamison is a great speaker and a recent lecture video captures her mix of expertise and enthusiasm. Exuberance: The Passion for Life is about positive emotions often overlooked by psychology and psychiatry, while asking when does passion turn pathological? Jamison talks about how exuberance changes all of us by creating leaders adept at risk-taking, resilience, achievement, creativity, and teaching. This video's an hour long, but you won't notice the time.

Randy Pausch, RIP, is the perfect example of an exuberant, inspiring speaker...
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Another Psychiatric Patient Dies in a Hospital Due to Staff Neglect

Six weeks ago, we reported on how Kings County Hospital let a patient die while staffers stood and watched. The patient had psychiatric concerns. We have no idea what happened to the humanity of those staffers (who are hopefully long since gone from the hospital and are having trouble finding gainful employment at a new hospital). We also thought such tragedies would be a wakeup call to all hospitals to re-evaluate their procedures and ensure patient care and monitoring is a top priority.

Sadly,...
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