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Brain and Behavior

Timing Is Everything: How to Produce Your Best Work

Producing high-quality work day after day is no small feat. When you use your brain on perpetual overdrive, you’re bound to hit productivity slumps where it feels like you’re fresh out of new ideas.
While there’s no shortage of tricks and tips to hack your way to more innovative thinking, timing is everything, says sleep doctor Dr. Micheal Breus, author of The Power of When. He believes working in sync with our body’s natural clock is the key to unlocking success to produce our best, most creative work.
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Anxiety and Panic

How Social Media Feeds Social Anxiety

Fingers flying, incessant texting, phones held to ear as secondary appendages gives the illusion we are well connected. We are chattering and snapping and “selfieing” (I think I just made that word up -- you can do that these days) all the live long day. Meanwhile scientists quietly dispense reports underlining an incredible finding: We are socially anxious people. Extremely socially anxious. So what gives?
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Neither Here Nor There: The Health Hazards of Commuting

I live in San Diego and am in a doctorate program in Los Angeles. 124 miles door to door. One hour and 59 minutes one way with no traffic, up to four hours in the unpredictable concrete and freeway maze that is life in Southern California.   

And yes, it is exactly as draining as it sounds.

Commuting can be soul-sucking. There is something incredibly debilitating and defeating about realizing that what waits for you at the end of a ten-hour day of class is a two-hour appointment with the 5 freeway. It is unforgiving and impersonal in nature. The 5 does not care whether you’ve had a hard day, or that your hips hurt from an IT band strain and too much time in the car. It gives no leeway when your eyes burn with exhaustion or the times you would give anything to be home just twenty minutes earlier.
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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: November 4, 2017

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers artificial intelligence and psychiatry, a decline in teachers' mental health, how to continue making progress, and more.

Let's go!

Artificial Intelligence Is Here and It Wants to Revolutionize Psychiatry: Are we more comfortable sharing our true feelings and deepest secrets with a machine we assume won't (or at least at this point in time, can't) judge us or bring other uncomfortable consequences? Could artificial intelligence make a...
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How to Deal with a Passive Aggressive Person

We've all had to deal with them in our lives -- people who are passive aggressive. Passive aggressive refers to a person who has hostility toward you, but does not openly or directly express that hostility. Instead, they find ways to express it indirectly through their behavior. You may find the person playing "mind games" with you, or offering an alternative reality that doesn't jibe with what you know to be true.

Dealing with a passive aggressive person can be an exercise in frustration. Because they refuse to actually express their aggression directly, you may find yourself in a no-win situation. The tips below may help you find neutral ground.

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Brain and Behavior

Smartphone-Based Interventions for Depression

Technology is rapidly advancing and more people are depending on it to stay in touch with friends, finding the quickest way to work or doing their weekly shopping. It is no surprise that people are turning to their smartphones to improve their mental wellbeing. There are many mobile applications available on smartphones that claim to improve your mental health, however not all mental health apps are created equal and it is important to know how to make sure the one you are using is truly helpful.

Joseph Firth and colleagues conducted the first meta-analysis of apps for depressive symptoms in October 2017, which was published in the
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3 More Things That Keep Us Lonely

In a recent article, I discussed three things that may keep us lonely: Being critical of others, our tendency to shame people, and believing that we should be perfect. Here are some additional reasons we may find ourselves feeling isolated.

Fear of Taking Risks

If we hold the unrealistic belief that we should be perfect, we may be unwilling to do anything that might expose our imperfections. We may be so paralyzed by the fear of failing that we won’t take steps that might alleviate our loneliness. We might think, “Yeah, I should go out more or write a personal ad for a dating site… and some day I’ll get around to it.” But that day never comes.

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Healing from Trauma Boosts Relationship Joy

Trauma happens. It’s not something people often talk about. Possibly, someone you’ve been getting to know and like, your relationship partner, or your spouse has experienced a horrific life changing event, such as a sudden or violent death or suicide of someone close, physical or sexual abuse, bullying, violence, (domestic or family, war or political), a life-threatening illness, or something else.

Healing takes both time and a willingness to face the trauma, whether it’s old, recent, large, or small. We cannot force readiness to deal with trauma. Each of us has our own timetable, which should be respected.
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A Spotlight on Award-Winning Advocate and Everyday Hero Gabe Howard

For years Gabe Howard teetered between a mania that made him “wild” and a depression that made him suicidal. When he was manic, he’d stay awake for days. He’d drink and use drugs. He’d take unnecessary risks. He felt invincible.

When he was depressed, he felt utterly worthless and alone. He constantly thought about suicide and even had a plan. “I wanted to die and believed that no one would miss me,” said Howard.

He was struggling...
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Children and Teens

New Guidelines for Treating Transgender People

The Endocrine Society has recently updated their recommendations for caring for transgender individuals. Previous guidelines recommended that hormone treatments not begin before sixteen years of age, but the Society notes there are now compelling reasons to beginning hormone treatment earlier.

Joshua D. Safer, MD, one of the task force members who authored the guidelines, said:
“Sixteen is the typical age cutoff in many areas of the world for some decision-making capacity from a legal perspective, but when you think about hormones and puberty, 16 is pretty late. If we’re going to use biology for guidance, then hormone interventions for transgender kids should begin occurring earlier, when puberty really happens, like around age 12, 13, or 14. However, we’re in a situation where we lack a test. We can’t diagnose anybody as transgender with excellent confidence, outside of talking to those kids. When we start talking about hormone therapies, we talk about some things that will be irreversible. That’s a fraught place to go, but we recognize that people are going to treat kids under 16 in many instances."
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Brain and Behavior

Woman as Lab Rats: Orgasm in an fMRI Machine

When you review the history of psychological research, you come across some pretty weird studies.

In the Stanley Milgram experiments, for instance, we saw researchers insisting that a subject provide a (seemingly real) electrical shock to another subject in order to study how people obey authority figures. Philip Zimbardo examined power structures in the Stanford prison experiment, where subjects were randomly assigned a role of either prisoner or guard.

Psychology's history is filled with odd experiments like these.

So when I came across an experiment describing women as mere lab rats whose brains needed examining while reaching orgasm -- sometimes with a partner -- I was intrigued. The more I read, the more bizarre it became.

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