Grab of cup of joe or your kick-back beverage of choice and dive into this week’s Psychology Around the Net which covers the psychology of screen time, the surprising connection between anxiety and boredom, how a happy spouse can help you live longer, and more.
How to Get to Sleep: Lifehacker’s podcast, The Upgrade, is calling all “insomniacs, tossers, turners, blanket hogs, disco nappers, and snooze button pushers” for their recent episode “How to Get to Sleep,” during which they spoke with experts about — you guessed it — getting a good night’s sleep with the promise of avoiding the tried-and-true-but-tired “no screen time before bed” advice.
The Psychology of Screen Time: Speaking of screen time, did you know the average American spends up to six hours a day interacting with some kind of screen media? Researchers at the University of Michigan know, and they want to better understand how that media and interaction affect us. MSU media psychologists are diving into why we choose to spend time with certain kinds of media, how we interact with that content, and how the stories impact us, and hope their findings will help explain media communication’s roles, uses, and effects. Currently, you can check out highlights of a few projects including the impact binge-watching has on your health, the connections between social media use and risky decision-making, and reversing the affects of “fake news.”
Antidepressants Can Reduce Empathy for Those in Pain: Researchers from the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna collaborated on a new study that shows it’s antidepressants — and not just the state of depression itself, as previously thought — that can lead to impaired empathy in regards to the perception of pain.
Latest Suicide Data Show the Depth of U.S. Mental Health Crisis: The unemployment rate in the United States is the lowest it’s been since 1969, violent crime has fallen since the 1990s (with notoriously high-crime cities like New York being safer than ever), and on average we’re living around nine years longer than we did in 1960. So, according to statistics, life in the U.S. should be getting better, right? Don’t those kinds of measures improve the psychic well-being of a nation? Yet, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released on June 20, 2019, the rate of suicide — the most severe marker for mental distress — is up higher than it’s been since World War II. In 2017 alone, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts and 47,000 of those attempts succeeded. Also, from 2000 to 2006 the U.S. suicide rate increased by 1% a year and then from 2006 to 2016 it increased by 2%. What’s happening?
The Surprising Link Between Anxiety & Boredom You Need to Know About: One is characterized by hyper alertness, constantly monitoring for threats and danger, and the other by disengagement and lack of arousal. What could these two possibly have in common?
Can a Happier Spouse Help You Live Longer? Maybe so! Olga Stavrova of Tilburg University in the Netherlands explored that idea during study on happy spouses and mortality rates. Stavrova analyzed data on over 4,300 couples from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study (an ongoing project studying adults ages 50 and older) and found that when a person’s partner was significantly happer, that person had a 13% lower chance of dying within an eight-year period. This remained true regardless of the age, ethnicity, or health of the person at the time their partner’s happiness was measured.