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Psychology Around the Net: August 20, 2016

Trying Not to Try: The Art & Science of Spontaneity

A few weeks ago, my beau and I decided to tackle a huge home improvement project together.

According to Amy Kipp, a couples and family therapist in San Antonio, “Working through the ups and downs of a big project helps you hone your communication skills […] The sense of accomplishment and teamwork that results from a challenging shared experience strengthens a couple’s bond. (Her quote is featured in 7 Relationship Milestones That Are Just as Meaningful as Marriage.)

Thus, it seems working on this project is a way to strengthen our relationship. This project is not an improvement our home needs (i.e. we’re not renovating a bathroom with a leaky toilet and busted shower tiles); it’s an improvement we — as the homeowners — want (basically, we’re a large part of our backyard into a sort of outdoor oasis). As such, creative ideas are flying everywhere. We have both collective and separate visions, and we’re working to combine those visions while making sure each of us is happy.

We haven’t thrown any paint brushes at each other yet, so I’d say we’re succeeding so far.

Have any of you tackled a major project with your partner? How’d the process go? Did you strengthen your communication skills, or was it a flop? Why do you think the outcome turned out the way it did? Something to ponder.

Now, down to business! Let’s catch up on this week’s latest in mental health news. Read on for information about political psychology and how it affects how voters make decisions, at what point schizophrenia might have emerged, Princess Kate’s latest public statement on mental health, and more.

Political Psychology: The Presidents’ Mental Health: By now, Americans (and probably folks from many other countries) have witnessed the two presidential front-runners (and their political colleagues) throw around claims that the other has some sort of mental health problem. Examples: Democrat California Rep. Karen Bass recently started the hashtag #DiagnoseTrump, claiming Donald Trump meets the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Trump himself has stated his opponent, Hillary Clinton has “problems” and is “unstable.” Live Science Contributor Stephanie Pappas feels our “candidates’ verbal volley highlights a persistent stigma about mental illness in politics,” and according to Jennifer Mercieca, a historian of American political rhetoric at Texas A&M University, “Americans have a version of the presidency in mind, the textbook presidency, that bears very little relationship to the actual job of being president” — parts of the expectations being their physical and mental health.

Schizophrenia Emerged After Humans Diverged from Neanderthals: Could schizophrenia be by-product of the human brain’s complex evolution? According to John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry (which published the research findings), the “study suggests that schizophrenia is a modern development, one that emerged after humans diverged from Neanderthals […] It suggests that early hominids did not have this disorder.”

Princess Kate ‘Wouldn’t Hesitate’ to Get Mental Health Help for Prince George, Princess Charlotte: Some of the most well-known members of the British Royal Family (namely The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — Prince William and Princess Kate — and Prince Harry) have made their strong beliefs on mental health known and have worked on eradicating stigma over recent years. Now, the Duchess is speaking out on how she’d handle her childrens’ mental health care, should Prince George or Princess Charlotte ever need help. According to Kate, both she and William “feel very strongly that [they] wouldn’t hesitate to get expert support […].”

Being the Primary Breadwinner Is Bad for Men’s Happiness and Health, Study Finds: After studying 15 years worth of data on men and women in heterosexual marriages, researchers state that men who provide the bulk of the family income suffer in terms of physical health and psychological wellbeing — especially when they “lose” that role. Sociologist Christin Munsch of the University of Connecticut attributes this to “ingrained gender roles,” where being the breadwinner is the “status quo” (i.e. expected) for men.

Treatment for Psychological Trauma May Never Arrive for Aleppo’s Civilians: [VIDEO] [WARNING: SOME GRAPHIC CONTENT] It didn’t take long for 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh (“the boy in the ambulance”) to become the heartbreaking — and sobering — face of the trauma Syria war victims and refugees face daily. Max Bearak of The Washington Post speaks with Zahir Sahloul of the Syrian American Medical Society about the few treatment options in the devastated city and just how long the mental anguish could stay with victims.

Why You Should Avoid Wise-Sounding But Meaningless Quotes: OK, so the gist of this is, a recent study shows that people who blow up our social media feeds with “wise-sounding but meaningless quotes” tend to have lower IQ scores; however, the entertaining part of it is leading researcher and PhD student Gordon Pennycook’s take on all the “bull****.”

Psychology Around the Net: August 20, 2016

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 20, 2016. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 20 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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