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Psychology Around the Net: August 12, 2017

Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I have a busy, busy day today. First, I’m having a meeting with family members to make some important (but fun!) plans, and then after a couple of hours of downtime (I hope), I’ll be out celebrating one of my city’s annual events.

You, too, might have a busy Saturday planned. However, that’s no reason to skip out on this week’s Psychology Around the Net! Bookmark it if you have to, because this week we have information about why people in supportive relationships are more likely to accept challenges and experience personal growth, why some of us are so dissatisfied (apparently it boils down to biology?!), how a board-certified psychiatrist is part of the world of exorcisms, and more.

Your Instagram Post May Hold Clues to Your Mental Health: According to new research published this week in EPJ Data Science, the photos you share online can offer a window into your mental health. Says researchers Andrew Reece of Harvard University and Christopher Danforth of the University of Vermont, depressed people tend to use fewer Instagram filters (and when they do, it’s usually “Inkwell,” the one that makes a picture black and white, while people who aren’t depressed tend to alter pictures to make them brighter or lighter (such as the “Valencia” filter).

Can Buddhist Practices Help Us Overcome the Biological Pull of Dissatisfaction? According to Robert Wright, an author who specializes in the interface of evolutionary biology and religion, natural selection has not designed us to be happy. More specifically, we’re hardwired to continue seeking pleasure (as opposed to pain) which is basically a biological pull toward dissatisfaction. All is not lost, though: “I think of mindfulness meditation as almost a rebellion against natural selection […] Natural selection is the process that created us. It gave us our values. It sets our agenda, and Buddhism says, ‘We don’t have to play this game.’ “

Bipolar Disorder: Childhood Trauma Modulates Impact on Amygdala, Hippocampus: According to a recent study published in Bipolar Disorders, childhood trauma affects volumes amygdala and hippocampus gray matter differently in patients with bipolar disorder than in people without it.

When Exorcists Need Help, They Call Him: Dr. Richard Gallagher, Ivy league-educated, board-certified psychiatrist and professor at Columbia and New York Medical College, has become part of teams of exorcists who perform exorcists. While he still calls himself a “man of science,” he’s evolved into someone who says he’s seen — and therefore believes — in demonic possession. So, how’d that happen?

Moderate Drinking Boosts Creativity: Probably most of us are familiar with how some creative people have a drink or two to get the ball rolling, or help them when they’re stuck, and we’re not taking just the big wigs like Hemingway and Poe. While no one’s advocating drinking alcohol to boost your creativity, according to a new study out of Austria’s University of Graz that used both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer, alcohol relaxes areas in the brain and allows thoughts to be more creative. Researchers say even just one glass of wine or beer can cause the boost.

Supportive Relationships Linked to Willingness to Pursue Opportunities: We all have a fairly good idea of the number of reasons that keep people from pushing themselves to their full potential; however, what helps them — what motivates them — to push themselves? That’s what a group of psychologists from Carnegie Mellon University wanted to know, and what they found was that people who have supportive spouses were more likely to take on challenges and experience psychological well-being, personal growth, happiness, and better relationships.

Psychology Around the Net: August 12, 2017

Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor and the creator of, where she blogs to help new freelance writers get their quills in the pot, so to speak. Among animal rights, music, and physical wellness, her passions include mental health and advocacy. Here at Psych Central she works as Syndication Editor as well as authors Your Body, Your Mind and World of Psychology's weekly "Psychology Around the Net."

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APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2018). Psychology Around the Net: August 12, 2017. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 12 Aug 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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