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Brain and Behavior

When Your Husband Isn’t Like a Wall — He Is a Wall

“The Great Wall of China’s attractive, but he’s too thick – my husband is sexier.”
-- Eija-Riitta Eklöf-Berliner-Mauer,
The woman who married the Berlin Wall

Do objects have souls?

A few weeks ago my laptop's battery was in trouble and I had to bring it in for a checkup. While the computer was being fixed my Blackberry simply stopped operating. I was frantic.

I felt betrayed by the objects I rely on, ‘love’ and care for. "Why is this happening to me?" was my new mantra.

One of my friends suggested that Mercury was in retrograde; another asked if I had done something to offend my favorite objects. We laughed, recalling a Woody Allen routine where his appliances are on the fritz and he hits them, and when he goes into the elevator the elevator asks if he was the one who roughed up the toaster.

We all have a connection to objects. The more contact we have with them, the more intimate our relationship, the more we ascribe to them human feelings and gender attributes. "The car died - she won’t turn over" and "I love my new phone" are common examples.

But where does it end?

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Antidepressants Useless? An Interview with Glenn Treisman

I'm still bothered by all the hype awhile back about antidepressants not working any better than sugar pills (otherwise known as placebo) because I know that the people who need treatment -- possibly those that will go on to take their lives -- read that story and decided there was no hope in medicine.

That's why I like to publish insightful articles like the one I found in John Hopkin's newsletter, "Hopkins Brain Wise." They included an interview with Glenn Treisman, professor of psychiatry and internal medicine who is best known internationally for his care of HIV-infected patients who also suffer from a psychiatric illness.

Here's the interview...

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Sleep Better with 14 Proven Strategies

For you, the idea of sleeping well might be as far-fetched as a unicorn sighting. And in our productivity-driven society, sleep is usually the first thing to get sacrificed.

So many of us believe we need to focus on our priorities that we forget sleep is actually one of them.

“Prioritizing sleep is important to overall health and quality of life,” said Mary Rose, , clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep specialist at the Baylor College...
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Proof Positive: NOT (Negatively Oriented Therapy): The Cure for Happiness

“Misery loves company and our company loves misery.”
--I.M. Kidding, NOT founder

The happiness movement has reached epidemic proportions. It is now constantly in the news, and more blogs, journals and websites are featuring outcome studies indicating that happiness is within our grasp. Too many scientists, teachers and practitioners are pointing the way to cheerfulness. Where is it all going to end?

Right here.

Negatively Oriented Therapy (NOT) is specifically designed to blunt and reverse happiness. Here is an excerpt from a book we are working on that we have little or no hope of getting published. Stumbling on Misery is not likely to see the light of day. But this would be the introduction. Here are the top 10 ways to get you into, or help you maintain, a foul mood.
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8 Ways to Ruin Your Relationship

While most of the time we try and stay positive here on World of Psychology, every now and again reality sucker-punches us back to our senses (although not personally affecting me).

The fact remains that despite our wise advice over the years, we haven't budged the divorce rate in the U.S. (not that we thought we could!). Most relationships fail -- there's simply no way to argue with it.

So maybe it would help some of our readers to catch a sign of their failing relationship before it's too late. Sure, we all would like to think that we could see the end of our relationship coming from a mile away. But truth is, many of us need a little help.

To that end, here are 8 ways you can bet you're ruining your relationship and heading to splitsville.

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Brain and Behavior

Acne Ups Teen Suicide Risk

Teens and acne -- the two seem to go together.

While we have long suspected a link between teenage acne and depressive or suicidal thoughts, a new study out of Norway lends additional scientific proof to this link.

Both teenager men and women are at greater risk for suicidal thoughts if they have severe acne -- teenage girls are at twice the risk, and teenage boys are at three times greater risk.

The study was conducted on 3,775 Norwegian adolescents aged 18-19, and compared those with acne compared to those with clear skin.

But it gets worse...

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Treating Chronic Depression and Anxiety With Hallucinogens and Marijuana

Johns Hopkins just published an interesting summary of the research recently on treating mood disorders with hallucinogens. In the most recent Depression and Anxiety Health Alert, the author chronicles the history of hallucinogens and how they affect the central nervous system to release the right kind of neurotransmitters. As per the Johns Hopkins report:
Hallucinogens (also called psychedelics) were a promising area of research in the 1960s and early 1970s, when they were being developed as possible treatments for a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. These drugs were banned in the '70s and '80s, however, after their recreational use became a widespread problem.

In 1990, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) again began allowing researchers to study the effects of drugs like MDMA (also known as the street drug "Ecstasy"), psilocybin ("magic mushrooms"), and ketamine ("Special K"). These drugs are thought to change the way the brain normally processes information and may provide people with mood disorders a new way of looking at the world and their problems
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The ‘Going Mental’ Kindle Sweepstakes

We love our readers, but we are always looking for ways to reach even more people to help them learn more about mental health and psychology. We love to read and we hope you do too! In fact, we compose and distribute a weekly newsletter so that folks can keep up-to-date about what's going on at Psych Central. But we're always looking for new subscribers.

To that end, we've decided to launch our first Sweepstakes -- the 'Going Mental' Kindle Sweepstakes. We're 'going mental' by giving away 5 new Kindle Readers -- one a week -- to new subscribers of our weekly Psych Central newsletter.

These are the high-end Kindle readers -- the ones with 3G built-in. That means you don't have to have an Internet connection to even use them. And don't think you have to buy books to use these things -- hundreds of free books are available in the Kindle store, and hundreds of RSS feeds can also be added for minimal monthly fees.

Read on to learn more and how to enter...

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Brain and Behavior

Why Are Cell Phone Conversations So Distracting?

We've all been there -- sitting in a public place, and feeling like that person over there, talking on their cell phone, is so annoying. Why are they so annoying? What makes a cell phone conversation that you overhear so distracting?

Four researchers, led by Lauren Emberson (2010) from Cornell University, set to find out.

Previous research has shown that we don't seem to be as distracted when listening to a full dialogue between two people as when we are listening to a "halfalogue" -- that is, just one side of a two-sided conversation.

In two small studies conducted exclusively on 41 college undergraduates, the researchers devised tasks to measure how distracting mobile phone conversations are when we hear only one side of the conversation. Specifically, they were interested in measuring whether such conversations could affect our ability to concentrate on a task that demanded good attention in order to complete successfully.

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Anxiety and Panic

5 Ways to Manage Fall Anxiety

Even as I love the autumn season, it is full of anxiety for me.

I start to mourn the ending of summer when I hear the cicadas grow louder the last two weeks of August and when I feel the crispness in the air at that time, which brings less sunlight and longer nights. Then the back-to-school craze: buying shoes, supplies, backpacks, etc. and trying to catch up on the homework we didn't do during June and July. By the time I make it to the parent-teacher conferences in early September, when I hear about all the things I'm supposed to be doing with the kids, I'm well into panic mode.

The other day, my therapist and I talked about a few coping exercises to keep my anxiety from disabling me this time of year.

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Brain and Behavior

Most Sexually Satisfied, Least Sexually Satisfied U.S. Cities

Are you living in a sexually satisfied city, like Columbus, Ohio? Or, like residents of Manchester, New Hampshire, are you more likely sexually unsatisfied?

A new survey from Men's Health magazine released a new list this week of "sexually satisfied" cities, as well as those who fare not so well. They looked at a number of statistical factors to arrive at these admittedly arbitrary distinctions -- birth rates (I suppose under the assumption that those cities with higher birth rates have a higher rate of sexual activity as well), sales of sex toys and condoms, and rates of sexually transmitted diseases. One could certainly argue with these choices.

But without further ado, we bring you the sexually most satisfied cities in the U.S.:

Most sexually satisfied cities in the U.S.

Indianapolis, IN
Columbus, OH
Fort Wayne, IN
Cincinnati, OH
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
Denver, CO
Austin, TX
Boise City, ID
Chicago, IL

Read on for the "least sexually satisfied" cities in the U.S...

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Brain and Behavior

Why ‘Thank You’ Is More Than Just Good Manners

According to positive psychologists, the words 'thank you' are no longer just good manners, they are also beneficial to the self.
To take the best known examples, studies have suggested that being grateful can improve well-being, physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and help us cope with stressful times in our lives.

But we also say thank you because we want the other person to know we value what they've done for us and, maybe, encourage them to help us again in the future.

It's this aspect of gratitude that Adam M. Grant and Francesco Gino examine in a series of new studies published recently in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Grant & Gino, 2010).

They wanted to see what effect gratitude has on the person who is being thanked. Does it motivate and, if so, is it just by making people feel good, or is it more than that?

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