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Psychology Around the Net: February 16, 2019

Emotional First Aid

Are you ready to get all the latest on whether or not talking to bots is good for your mental health, how your occupation can affect how effective your depression treatments are, and the difference between shameful secrets and guilty secrets (and which ones hurt us more)?

We hope so, because we have all that and more in this week’s Psychology Around the Net!

Can Talking to a Bot Help You Feel Better? Maybe…but at what cost? Says psychologist and MIT professor Sherry Turkle: “We expect more from technology and less from each other. Technology appeals to us most where we are most vulnerable. We’re lonely but we are afraid of intimacy. We are designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship […] We have come to a point where we are willing to talk to machines about our problems — I call this the robotic moment. But it is odd to celebrate this as an achievement. Because in these exchanges, no one is listening to us. What kind of achievement is this? I think it is a sad landmark.”

How to Get Motivated to Work on Your Sex Life: When you and your partner hit a rut, sometimes it’s easier to ignore the rut (and hope it resolves itself on its own) than to work on the problem. Or, sometimes you wait so long to admit you’ve hit rut (or wait so long to address the issue) that enough time has passed you actually feel uncomfortable approaching it — or even thinking about it. Use this little how-to guide to help you not only get motivated to work on your self life, but also actually start working on your sex life.

Self-Care & Earth-Care Collide In These 3 Simple Rituals: Self-care has always been important, but it’s finally getting the attention it needs these days. Now, you can combines your self-care rituals with earth-care practices so we all win.

Does ASMR Affect Mental Health? Here’s What the Research Shows: ASMR (short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is defined in a recent study as “the sensation experienced by some people in response to specific sights and sounds, described as a warm, tingling and pleasant sensation starting at the crown of the head and spreading down the body […] typically accompanied by feelings of calm and relaxation,” is a relatively new area of exploration, and not experienced by everyone. However, growing (though still limited) research and professional opinions believe even those who don’t automatically experience the full effects of ASMR can still enjoy its benefits such as reduced anxiety and depression symptoms and better sleep.

High Occupational Status Linked to Poor Response to Depression Treatment: A new study provides research that provides additional evidence that the type of employment we have is associated with the outcome of our depression treatments; specifically, people who struggle with depression and have higher positions at work often respond less well to depression treatments.

Psychologists Believe Shameful Secrets Worry Us More Than Guilty Secrets: According to Columbia University’s Dr. Michael L. Slepian, the lead author of what’s thought to be the first study diving into how the emotions that motivate us to keep secrets change our experience of the secrecy: “Almost everyone keeps secrets, and they may be harmful to our well-being, our relationships and our health […] How secrecy brings such harm, however, is highly understudied.” The study focuses on shame and guilt because they are “the two most highly studied self-conscious emotions” and “center on the self,” unlike other basic emotions such as fear and anger which generally relate to something outside of ourselves.

Psychology Around the Net: February 16, 2019

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. (2019). Psychology Around the Net: February 16, 2019. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 12 Feb 2019 (Originally: 16 Feb 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 12 Feb 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.