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Victim Shaming and Blaming

With all the allegations coming to light about sexual abuse perpetrated by celebrities, including Harvey Weinstein (no relation to the author of this article), Roy Moore, Louie CK and Kevin Spacey, it seems timely to write an article, about supporting survivors, how to avoid victim shaming, even if it took years to speak up, ways to prevent abuse, as well as means to deal with disillusionment when our icons commit such crimes.

First and foremost is the acknowledgment that sexual assault, whether it comes in the form of words or touch, is about power and control. Sex is merely the vehicle of transmission. It dehumanizes. It steals sovereignty. It robs a person of their sense of safety in their own environment and their own skin. There is no ability to consent when someone has power over another, whether it is economic, legal or by virtue of having given birth to the victim.
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Children and Teens

Knives, Fire, and Running with Scissors: On Letting Our Kids Take Risks

Before we begin I feel the need to point out that the title of this piece is facetious. Of course your children shouldn’t be allowed to run around with knives, scissors and fire. That being said... let them ride a bike!

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine recently about the way kids are coddled these days. Normally I am not a “Back in my day” kind of guy. But when I see how little children are allowed to spread their wings in the modern age, I can’t help but feel a bit of that curmudgeon surface.
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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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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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Grief and Loss

How Gratitude and Mindfulness Go Hand in Hand

Think of someone with whom you have shared happy moments or someone who has supported you and been there for you. Write them a thank you letter and deliver it to them. In your letter describe to the receiver why you are grateful to have them in your life and explain how their presence has given you growth and happiness. In a 2009 study, when researchers asked participants to do a similar exercise, they found that those who wrote thank you letters and delivered them reported an increase in their level of happiness that lasted for up to two months. Expressing gratitude significantly improved their well being.1

If you prefer to experience gratitude without having to express it to others, you can keep a gratitude journal. Every day before going to bed, write down three things that you are grateful for. A 2005 study found that research participants who wrote about three good things in their lives every night for one week reported an increase in happiness that lasted for six months.2
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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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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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New Trend: Young Men Prefer a ‘Bromance’ to a Romance

A new study has found that young heterosexual mens’ 'bromances' -- their close friendships with other men -- are more emotionally satisfying than their romantic relationships with women.

It appears that young men are confiding in their mates instead of opening up to their female partners, more so than older generations of men.

The study was published in Men and Masculinities1 and showed that of the undergraduate straight men they interviewed for the study, 100% reported having at least one “bromantic” friend with whom they engaged in behaviors such as sharing secrets, sleeping in the same bed, or expressing love. 96% of respondents said they had cuddled with their bromantic partner.
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Brain and Behavior

A Connection Between the Zika Virus and Curing Brain Cancer?

Not long ago, Zika virus was dominating headlines. A new infection was hardly ever heard about before then, yet is now affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America, causing disfiguration and microcephalia in new-born babies. Microcephalia is caused by severe delayed and abnormal development of the brain, resulting in the range of intellectual disability, dwarfism, poor motor functions and speech. With no cure or even preventive vaccination available, many women in the most affected regions were reportedly considering postponing any planned pregnancies.

The virus was actually discovered back in 1947 in Zika forest in Uganda (and this is where its name comes from). The pathogen is related to better known viruses causing dengue and yellow fever. The disease is spread predominantly by one type of mosquito and was a rare occurrence until the epidemics of 2015–2016, when in Brazil alone well over 100,000 cases were reported. The disease caused particular concern as it coincided with the run-up to the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
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