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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 08:00AM
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TITLE:
Grey divorce: Losing touch with adult children aggravates depression
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/grey-divorce-losing-touch-with-adult-children-aggravates-depression/

<p>A new study analyzing panel data collected over two decades has revealed that individuals who divorce after the age of 50 tend to exhibit more severe symptoms of depression. This condition worsens if the individual loses contact with at least one adult child following the divorce. However, depressive symptoms showed a brief improvement after the individual found a new partner. The research was published in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12936"><em>Journal of Marriage and Family</em></a>.</p>
<p>In recent decades, it has become increasingly common for individuals to experience divorce later in life. Between 1990 and 2010, the rate of divorce among people over the age of 50 doubled. These instances, where couples over 50 decide to end their marriage, often after many years together, are referred to as &;grey divorces.&;</p>
<p>Following a grey divorce, 22% of women and 37% of men find another partner within ten years. Nonetheless, for most people, divorce ranks as one of the most stressful life events. Occurring at a time when many are beginning to face various age-related health issues, a divorce can exacerbate the decline in health. The situation may be even more dire if the divorce leads to losing contact with adult children from the marriage. However, few studies have explored the specific associations between grey divorce and mental health.</p>
<p>The study&;s lead researcher, I-Fen Lin, and her colleagues aimed to investigate whether losing contact with an adult child exacerbates the negative impact of grey divorce on depression symptoms. They hypothesized that disconnection from a child would intensify the negative effects of divorce and dampen the &;honeymoon effect&; of finding a new partner on mental health. They also posited that maintaining frequent contact with at least one child could mitigate the negative impact of having a disconnected child.</p>
<p>The researchers noted that since divorce is a process that starts while the marriage is still intact, longitudinal data tracking individuals over many years are necessary for such studies. They utilized data from the Health and Retirement Study, a prospective, nationally representative survey of adults aged 51 and older in the United States, including their spouses. This study collected data between 1998 and 2018, with updates every two years and the addition of new participants every six years.</p>
<p>The authors analyzed data from 29,702 participants of the Health and Retirement Study who were aged 50 or older and reported being married in 1998 or later. They selected those who reported a divorce at age 50 or later from a heterosexual marriage and for whom data were available at at least one time point before the divorce.</p>
<p>The researchers linked participants&; data to information about their children aged 18 or older that was also available. They excluded data from individuals without adult children during the study period and those for whom data on depressive symptoms for the studied period were missing from their analyses. This led to a final sample of 930 participants who had experienced a grey divorce.</p>
<p>For this group, the researchers analyzed data on the timing of their divorce, whether they found another partner after the divorce (Yes/No), the frequency of contact with each of their adult children over the past 12 months (those reporting no contact with at least one child were considered to have a disconnected child), and depression symptoms (using an abbreviated version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale).</p>
<p>The results indicated that, on average, these individuals reported 1.87 depressive symptoms. Seven percent had at least one child from whom they were disconnected. Eighty-six percent had weekly contact with at least one child. On average, respondents had two adult children, and less than 25% had a child under 18.</p>
<p>The examination of the links between divorce and depressive symptoms showed that divorce was associated with an increase in depressive symptoms. This increase was further exacerbated in participants who had at least one disconnected adult child. Levels of depressive symptoms tended to decrease immediately after finding a new partner (among those who did find one), but this effect faded over time. Having a disconnected child did not alter the effects of the new partner on depressive symptoms.</p>
<p>The impact of being disconnected from a son on depressive symptoms was roughly the same as the impact of being disconnected from a daughter. The effects were approximately equal for men and women. Individuals who were better educated and wealthier tended to report fewer depressive symptoms compared to their less educated and wealthier counterparts.</p>
<p>“Our study demonstrates that parent–child disconnectedness plays a significant role in shaping the impact of gray divorce on depressive symptoms. Having no contact with at least one adult child worsens the negative effect of divorce on parents’ mental health. Older parents who are out of touch with an adult child typically report decreased psychological well-being, including high levels of anxiety and feelings of anger, sadness, and disappointment,&; the study authors concluded.</p>
<p>The study sheds light on the links between family relationships in advanced age and mental health. However, it also has limitations that need to be taken into account. Notably, to acquire such a large longitudinal sample, researchers were limited to using very brief assessments. This limited their ability to interpret the findings. Additionally, the study did not take into account who severed the parent-child contact in participants with disconnected children and why. It also remained unknown what the relationship quality with the children was before the divorce.</p>
<p>The paper, “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12936">Gray divorce and parent–child disconnectedness: Implications for depressive symptoms,</a>” was authored by I-Fen Lin, Susan L. Brown, and Kagan A. Mellencamp.</p>

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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 01:41AM
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TITLE:
Antidepressant Use Surged Among Young People During Pandemic
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177726&url=https://news.google.com/rss/articles/CBMiTmh0dHBzOi8vd3d3Lm5wci5vcmcvMjAyNC8wMi8yNy8xMjM0MTEyMDY4L2FudGlkZXByZXNzYW50cy15b3V0aC1wYW5kZW1pYy1zdHVkedIBAA?oc=5

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://news.google.com/" rel="tag" target="_blank">Google News</a></p>The monthly rate of antidepressants being dispensed to young people increased about 64% more quickly during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The increase was especially prominent among young women and girls. The monthly antidepressant dispensing rate increased about 130% faster among 12- to 17-year-old girls, and about 57% faster among young women between the ages of 18 and 25.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 01:41AM
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TITLE:
APA Adopts Policy Supporting Trans and Gender Diverse People
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177772&url=http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2024/02/policy-supporting-transgender-nonbinary

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://www.apa.org/" rel="tag" target="_blank">APA Press Releases</a></p>The American Psychological Association has adopted a landmark policy affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse, and nonbinary children, adolescents, and adults, noting that recent legislative attempts to obstruct access to psychological and medical interventions for such individuals puts them at risk of depression, anxiety, and other negative mental health outcomes.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 01:41AM
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TITLE:
Mindfulness, Talk Therapy May Improve Mood, Sleep Issues in Menopause
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177743&url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68413808

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/default.stm" rel="tag" target="_blank">BBC News - UK News</a></p>Mindfulness, group and cognitive behavioral therapy can effectively treat menopause symptoms such as low mood and anxiety, a new analysis suggests. The University College London research, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, examined 30 studies involving 3,500 women in 14 countries, including the UK, the US, and Australia. CBT and group therapies also improved sleep, memory, concentration.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 01:40AM
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TITLE:
Yoga Helps Older Women at Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177778&url=https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/02/240226114645.htm

<div><p>Source: <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/" rel="tag" target="_blank">Science Daily - Top News</a></p>A new study found that Kundalini yoga strengthened cognition and memory of older women at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, including restoring neural pathways, preventing brain matter decline, and reversing aging and inflammation-associated biomarkers&mdash;improvements not seen in a group who received standard memory training exercises. The study, conducted by UCLA researchers, appears in the journal Translational Psychiatry.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 01:40AM
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TITLE:
Some U.S. States Moving to Deny Legal Recognition of Trans People
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177711&url=https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/kansas/articles/2024-02-27/by-defining-sex-some-states-are-denying-transgender-people-of-legal-recognition

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://www.usnews.com/" rel="tag" target="_blank">U.S. News and World Report</a></p>Kansas enacted a law last year that ended legal recognition of transgender identities. The measure says there are only two sexes, male and female, based on a person's &quot;biological reproductive system&quot; at birth. That law and others introduced around the U.S.&mdash;often labeled as &quot;bills of rights&quot; for women&mdash;are part of a push by conservatives to keep transgender people from competing on sports teams or using bathrooms that align with their gender...</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 01:39AM
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TITLE:
Artificial Intelligence Identifies New Type of Prostate Cancer
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177803&url=https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2024/02/29/prostate-cancer-artificial-intelligence/4511709226560/

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://www.upi.com/Health_News/" rel="tag" target="_blank">United Press International - Health News</a></p>Research by two British universities has identified a new aggressive form of prostate cancer by using artificial intelligence, which could change the way the disease is found and treated. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester, was published Thursday in the journal Cell Genomics. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects British men, with about 52,000 cases annually.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
March 01, 2024 at 01:19AM
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TITLE:
Transgender Afghan Refugees Escape the Taliban, But Not Persecution
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177798&url=https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transgender-afghan-refugees-escape-taliban-find-worse-situation-in-pakistan/

<div><p>Source: <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/world/" rel="tag" target="_blank">CBS News - World News</a></p>Issues of gender and sexuality have long been taboo in Afghanistan, especially since the Taliban retook control of the country in 2021. For some members of the LGBTQ community, the Taliban's comeback seemed too much of a risk, so they fled to neighboring Pakistan. Now, however, many of these refugees have found that life is even harder because they face prejudice against refugees as well as anti-LGBTQ bias.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 09:18AM
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TITLE:
Colombia's President Calls Gaza War "Genocide" After Mass Shooting
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177818&url=https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/colombia-pauses-buying-israeli-weapons-president-calls-war-107698151

<div><p>Source: <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/international" rel="tag" target="_blank">ABC News - International</a></p>Colombia's President Gustavo Petro announced Thursday his government was suspending purchases of weapons from Israel after Palestinians said Israeli troops fired at people seeking food in Gaza. Describing the deaths as &quot;genocide,&quot; Petro said he blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the violence. Health officials in Gaza say at least 112 people were killed, bringing the war's death toll to more than 30,000 people.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 08:45PM
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TITLE:
Social Work Month 2024: Thank You and a Social Work Month Empowerment Calendar
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URL:
https://www.socialworker.com/extras/social-work-month-project-2024/social-work-month-2024-thank-you-empowerment-calendar/

Empowering Social Workers. Please spend Social Work Month with us at The New Social Worker. THANK you for all you do. Follow us all month (March 2024) to celebrate the social work profession and the ways we empower and are empowered.
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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 04:00PM
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TITLE:
Surprising link observed between body temperature and depression
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/surprising-link-observed-between-body-temperature-and-depression/

<p>In a groundbreaking study that draws attention to the intersection between physiology and mental health, researchers have uncovered a link between depression and higher body temperatures. This discovery, published in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-51567-w"><em>Scientific Reports</em></a>, not only deepens our understanding of depression but also hints at innovative treatments that might involve regulating body temperature to alleviate symptoms of the disorder.</p>
<p>The motivation behind this study was rooted in the alarming rise of depression rates globally and the pressing need for new treatment avenues. Depression, particularly major depressive disorder (MDD), has seen a surge in prevalence across various demographics, notably among youth and young adults in the United States.</p>
<p>This rise coincides with increased antidepressant usage, despite the limitations of these medications in terms of efficacy. Identifying physiological signatures unique to individuals with MDD could pave the way for developing targeted treatments, especially for those within a biologically homogeneous subgroup.</p>
<p>For their study, the researchers harnessed data from 20,880 individuals from the TemPredict Study, a prospective, worldwide cohort study initially designed to identify the onset of COVID-19 using physiological metrics collected by the Oura Ring, a wearable device. The TemPredict Study spanned several months, during which participants provided daily self-reported body temperature readings and completed monthly surveys assessing depression severity.</p>
<p>&;To our knowledge, this is the largest study to date to examine the association between body temperature, assessed using both self-report methods and wearable sensors, and depressive symptoms in a geographically broad sample,&; said Ashley Mason, an associate professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco Weill Institute for Neurosciences and the study’s lead author. &;Given the climbing rates of depression in the U.S., we’re excited by the possibilities of a new avenue for treatment.&;</p>
<p>The use of the Oura Ring added a layer of precision and continuity to the data collection process. This wearable device, worn on the finger, measures distal body temperature every minute, providing a continuous stream of data on the participants&; thermal state. This allowed the researchers to analyze not just static temperature readings, but also the dynamic changes in temperature throughout the day and night.</p>
<p>The researchers found that higher levels of depressive symptoms were consistently associated with higher body temperatures. This correlation was observed across both self-reported data and minute-level temperature data collected by the Oura Ring. This pattern suggests a robust relationship between elevated body temperature and the presence of depressive symptoms, reinforcing the hypothesis that thermoregulatory dysregulation may play a role in depression.</p>
<p>&;Though there are studies from decades ago documenting a correlation between depression and body temperature, those studies were small, often with 10-20 people in them,&; Mason said. &;This study that we have just published shows this correlation in a much larger sample, and will hopefully inspire more work into the mechanisms that underpin this correlation.&;</p>
<p>Moreover, the analysis of wearable sensor data revealed nuanced details about the thermoregulatory patterns associated with depression. The study identified smaller differences between awake and asleep distal body temperatures in individuals with more severe depressive symptoms. This finding indicates that depression may affect the body&;s ability to regulate temperature across different states of consciousness, potentially impacting the natural cooling processes that facilitate sleep onset and quality.</p>
<p>The consistency of these temperature elevations, particularly during periods that are crucial for thermoregulatory cooling, underscores the potential significance of body temperature as a physiological marker of depression.</p>
<p>Interestingly, the study also explored the diurnal amplitude of distal body temperature, which refers to the variation in temperature between daytime and nighttime. Participants with depression showed lower diurnal temperature amplitudes, suggesting a blunted circadian rhythm in body temperature. This aligns with previous research indicating circadian rhythm disturbances in depression and adds further evidence to the complex relationship between sleep, thermoregulation, and mood disorders.</p>
<p>The researchers noted the potential for decreased ability to induce thermoregulatory cooling or increased metabolic heat production, or a combination of both, as mechanisms underlying the observed temperature elevations in individuals with depression.</p>
<p>But the findings do not establish a causal relationship between body temperature and depression. The study was unable to determine whether elevated body temperatures contribute to the development or exacerbation of depressive symptoms, or if depression leads to an increase in body temperature due to altered metabolic or thermoregulatory processes.</p>
<p>Future research directions include exploring the underlying biological mechanisms of this association, examining the potential of temperature-based interventions for depression, and investigating the impact of controlled body temperature modulation on depressive symptoms.</p>
<p>&;The link is particularly fascinating because there are data showing that when people recover from their depression – regardless of how they got better – their temperature tends to regularize,&; Mason explained. &;Then we have newer data suggesting that temperature-based interventions may reduce depression symptoms.&;</p>
<p>&;For example, data have shown that using heat-based treatments, in particular infrared sauna, cause acute increases in body temperature. These increases in body temperature engage the body’s self-cooling mechanisms (think, sweating) and can lead to subsequent decreases in body temperature (we sweat, we cool ourselves down).&;</p>
<p>&;And one study showed that decreases in a person’s body temperature in the days after a single heat treatment correlated with decreases in their depression symptoms over that same time period,&; Mason continued. &;So what’s exciting here is that the link might operate in multiple ways – what’s new is that we might be able to intervene directly on body temperature to address depression symptoms.&;</p>
<p>&;We are actively studying heat treatments, in particular sauna treatments, as a body-based intervention for depression symptoms here at UCSF in the heart of San Francisco. We have an ongoing trial right now for individuals with clinical depression where we are pairing sauna treatments with cognitive behavioral therapy for depression. Interested parties can learn more here: <a href="https://www.sealab.ucsf.edu/heatbedstudy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.sealab.ucsf.edu/heatbedstudy</a>.&;</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-024-51567-w">Elevated body temperature is associated with depressive symptoms: results from the TemPredict Study</a>,&; was authored by Ashley E. Mason, Patrick Kasl, Severine Soltani, Abigail Green, Wendy Hartogensis, Stephan Dilchert, Anoushka Chowdhary, Leena S. Pandya, Chelsea J. Siwik, Simmie L. Foster, Maren Nyer, Christopher A. Lowry, Charles L. Raison, Frederick M. Hecht, and Benjamin L. Smarr.</p>

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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 12:00PM
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TITLE:
Why dancers are better workers, according to research
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/why-dancers-are-better-workers-according-to-research/

<p>Breakdancing in the break room might not seem like the best way to get ahead at work, but research shows recreational dance can actually improve productivity performance in the workplace.</p>
<p>It is well known that engaging in physical activity has many health benefits – from reducing the risk of diabetes, to lowering the risk of developing coronary heart diseases and dementia. The <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241599979">World Health Organization (WHO)</a> has even linked the increasing incidence of noncommunicable diseases (those characterised by slow progression and long duration) to unhealthy lifestyles.</p>
<p>If you still need motivation to move, there is evidence that a lack of physical exercise can result in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0927537115000445?casa_token=2tRKjiPws6QAAAAA:yJNYdY0kMq-WfMYGiGhLjdKw1K_kIevdhxMIcH5w-ymejJPqyvslwZ9hKuBYTE4xyZqu2HSBVg">lower earnings</a>, and lower probability of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1053535711000990?casa_token=hnhqFYfxQcoAAAAA:hhnfDeDE_NWOdUeGQKlgdvUryV_uOxlgnfmRX3wIZazfQZU10egnckITAGjjDM9zECWYXadkVQ">finding employment</a> or even being <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537110001272?casa_token=9VatwazLHWUAAAAA:R42McSUoFvP6mWzELLTyj0FFpKRJouUOimph-w6CZ6qogVItB2KQczinPS_bLYHDcqfs1h8q9Q">invited to interview</a>.</p>
<p>So, moving is good for you. But when it comes to work, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1069031X221079609">our research shows</a> that dance, in particular, could help you – and your company – get ahead.</p>
<h2>Let’s dance</h2>
<p>Dance is special. Neuroscience and psychology researchers have not only recognised the positive health effects of dance but have also discovered that dancing has <a href="https://myacare.com/blog/is-dance-the-best-form-of-exercise-health-benefits-of-dance-explained">additional benefits</a> compared to other forms of physical exercise. Cognitive psychologist – and dancer – <a href="https://www.dance-masterclass.com/dance-psychology-with-dr-peter-lovatt">Peter Lovatt</a> explains that dance is a cognitive activity that engages the brain through learning dance routines, processing music and thinking about rhythm and coordination.</p>
<p>Several studies have focused on the benefits of dancing for the ageing brain and its effectiveness in improving quality of life among those affected by degenerative conditions such as <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dancing-to-music-may-halt-progression-of-parkinsons-disease">Parkinson’s disease</a>. And while there have been no specific studies on the economics of dance, <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jel.46.3.607">research tends to relate</a> cognitive skills to higher wages and productivity.</p>
<p>And so, because it improves cognitive abilities, we believe dance can also improve productivity in the workplace.</p>
<h2>The workplace benefits of dance</h2>
<p>To show this, we used a survey-based approach to collect data from a sample of dancers located in Italy, the UK and Brazil. We also collected data from a control group from the same three countries – these participants actively exercise but do not dance.</p>
<p>To measure performance in the workplace, we used a selection of questions on absenteeism (not turning up to work) and presenteeism (not working as hard as usual when at work).</p>
<p>We picked five questions from the WHO’s <a href="https://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/hpq/">Health and Work Performance questionnaire</a> to measure presenteeism: how often respondents have not worked when they were supposed to, how often they have not worked carefully, how often their work has been of poor quality, how often they have not been concentrating while working, and how they self-rate their job performance.</p>
<p>To evaluate absenteeism, we used respondents’ reports about how many times they had missed a whole day of work (or part of a day) for health reasons and for non-health related reasons over the week prior to the survey.</p>
<p>For a more meaningful comparison of productivity performance, we matched each dancer with a non-dancer with similar personal and job characteristics. This way, the only observable difference between the matched participants is how they exercise. So, any differences in productivity could be due to dance.</p>
<p>We found that presenteeism is lower among dancers compared to non-dancers. We also found that dancers are more productive compared to non-dancers because they exhibit less absenteeism.</p>
<h2>Dance or wellbeing – or both?</h2>
<p>So, the research indicates that dance could improve productivity directly through enhanced cognitive abilities. But there are other potential ways that doing a few pirouettes could benefit you at work.</p>
<p>Several studies have found <a href="https://bradscholars.brad.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/10454/18268/pp-wellbeing-report.pdf?sequence=2">a positive relationship</a> between wellbeing and performance in the workplace. This makes sense. If you feel happy and satisfied with your life, you’re more likely to concentrate on your work tasks and perform them more effectively, possibly because you’re less <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/681096?casa_token=hV5IwdM78xkAAAAA%3A1aRwS9Kk4XbpocnUcSjXSQ6x2Ui1tZ5nhMZtmlcBXKC9soy-xcyA3OZSD_ifaoiQpKxQhcHs03g">distracted</a>.</p>
<p>Equally, scholars have identified <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=q28sDwAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP1&amp;dq=dance+and+wellbeing&amp;ots=SAHIkGHg1b&amp;sig=C5H9pr3U8SIufFCYrpTfFms_IcY#v=onepage&amp;q=dance%20and%20wellbeing&amp;f=false">a positive relationship</a> between dance and wellbeing. We also found that the dancers in our sample enjoy higher levels of wellbeing compared to the non-dancers. So, our results could simply indicate that dance improves wellbeing, and wellbeing leads to higher productivity, rather than dance improving productivity directly.</p>
<p>To probe this issue further, we compared dancers and non-dancers who match in terms of other personal and job characteristics, but who also have similar levels of wellbeing. After controlling for wellbeing like this, we found dancers still perform better in terms of presenteeism and absenteeism. This suggests that the positive correlation between dance and productivity goes beyond the well-known wellbeing effects. Dance has a direct effect on worker productivity, it’s not just making dancers feel happier.</p>
<h2>Who benefits from dancing at work?</h2>
<p>The productivity difference between dancers and non-dancers is most concentrated in respondents with jobs involving below average levels of cognitive tasks and above average levels of routine tasks, such as packaging, package delivery or payment processing. It’s reasonable to assume that this group is not cognitively stimulated at work, so dancing seems to provide a way of improving cognitive skills which, in turn, affects their performance.</p>
<p>The productivity-enhancing effect of dance is also stronger in activities involving high levels of teamwork. Also, although the matched male sample is rather small, our results suggest that men who practice recreational dance benefit more than women in terms of presenteeism and absenteeism.</p>
<p>The relationship between dance and presenteeism or absenteeism is very important economically. The annual cost of poor mental health for UK employers could be as much as £45 billion, <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consulting/articles/mental-health-and-employers-refreshing-the-case-for-investment.html">according to research</a> by Deloitte. A large part of this cost arises from presenteeism and absenteeism. So, a workplace dance intervention could help reduce such costs, as well as being beneficial for workers.</p>
<p>Dancing is a universal activity, it’s part of the cultural heritage of most countries. It could be used worldwide to promote health and performance in the workplace as well.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img decoding="async" style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220929/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-dancers-are-better-workers-according-to-research-220929">original article</a>.</em></p>

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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 08:00AM
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TITLE:
High-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation reduces craving for cocaine
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/high-frequency-transcranial-magnetic-stimulation-reduces-craving-for-cocaine/

<p>A systematic review of experiments examining the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in treating cocaine addiction revealed that the most effective results were achieved in studies utilizing high-frequency pulses (at least 5 Hz) targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the brain. Individuals undergoing this treatment reported significantly reduced cravings for cocaine and exhibited less impulsivity in response to extreme negative emotions. The findings were published in the journal <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2023.115491"><em>Psychiatry Research</em></a>.</p>
<p>Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug derived from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America. Although classified as an illicit drug practically everywhere, many use it recreationally for its euphoric and energizing effects. The use of this drug leads to increased alertness, feelings of extreme happiness, and a sense of increased energy. Cocaine can be snorted, smoked, or injected. However, its effects are short-lived, leading to a cycle of repeated use to maintain the desired high. This, in time, leads to cocaine addiction.</p>
<p>Cocaine addiction, or cocaine use disorder, is a chronic, relapsing condition marked by an uncontrollable desire to consume cocaine despite its detrimental effects. It arises from alterations in the brain&;s reward system, resulting in intense cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behavior. The addiction can have severe physical, psychological, and social repercussions, including cardiovascular issues, mental health disorders, relationship problems, and financial and legal difficulties.</p>
<p>Traditional treatments for cocaine addiction involve a blend of behavioral therapies, support groups, and medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings. However, these treatments often fall short of being fully effective, driving researchers to explore new treatment avenues.</p>
<p>One of the promising new methods to treat cocaine addiction is transcranial magnetic stimulation. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive technique that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It has become prominent as a way to treat depression, but multiple studies evaluated its potential for treating cocaine addiction as well.</p>
<p>Study author Andrea Amerio and her colleagues conducted a systematic review of these studies with the goal of evaluating their results i.e., making an assessment of how effective magnetic transcranial stimulation is in treating cocaine addiction based on their findings.</p>
<p>These authors conducted a search of the most popular electronic databases of scientific articles using various combinations of terms related to cocaine use, craving, dependence, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. They looked for articles published by the end of November 2022. The review focused on studies involving adults up to 65 years old diagnosed with cocaine use disorder, requiring at least two treatment groups and a comparison of rTMS efficacy against traditional treatments or a sham.</p>
<p>This search yielded 92 articles, but only 8 met the inclusion criteria after a manual review. All of these studies had two groups of participants. One group was undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation, while the other was subjected to a sham treatment. A sham treatment typically means that participants were either made to believe that they were receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation when they were not or that participants in neither group knew whether the magnetic transcranial stimulation equipment used on them was actually turned on or not.</p>
<p>The studies varied in their stimulation targets within the prefrontal cortex of the brain, employing different frequencies of magnetic pulses. Some stimulated both sides of the prefrontal cortex, while others focused on the middle part (medial prefrontal cortex) or the upper part (dorsolateral). They used different frequencies of magnetic pulses.</p>
<p>The findings indicated that treatments utilizing at least 5 Hz, administered over multiple sessions and targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, were most effective. These treatments, employing repetitive pulses at a regular frequency, were more effective than those using continuous theta burst stimulation patterns, which mimic the brain&;s natural theta rhythm.</p>
<p>Participants in groups subjected to these treatments tended to show a significant decrease in craving for cocaine compared to groups treated with low-frequencies of pulses and those exposed to sham treatments. These treatments also seemed to produce a considerable amelioration in participants’ tendency to act rashly under extreme negative emotions compared to control groups.</p>
<p>&;Although still scant and heterogeneous, the strongest evidence so far on the use of rTMS [repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation] on individuals with CUD [cocaine use disorder] support the high-frequency stimulation over the left DLPFC [dorsolateral prefrontal cortex region of the brain] as a potential treatment of cocaine craving and impulsivity. Overall, rTMS has proven to be well tolerated and there were no significant differences in adverse events across the active and sham groups,&; the study authors concluded.</p>
<p>The study systematizes the scientific knowledge on the effects of transcranial stimulation on cocaine addiction symptoms. However, it should be noted that the findings are based on the results of just a handful of studies, some of which reported no effects of the treatment.</p>
<p>The paper “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2023.115491">Effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on cocaine addiction: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials</a>” was authored by A. Amerio, C. Baccino, G.S. Breda, D. Cortesi, V. Spiezio, L. Magnani, D. De Berardis, B. Conio, A. Costanza, G. De Paola, G. Rocca, G. Arduino, A. Aguglia, M. Amore, and G. Serafini.</p>

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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 06:00AM
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TITLE:
Twitter (now X) linked to reduced psychological wellbeing, increased outrage, and heightened boredom
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/twitter-now-x-linked-to-reduced-psychological-wellbeing-increased-outrage-and-heightened-boredom/

<p>A recent study published in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s44271-024-00062-z"><em>Communications Psychology</em></a> sheds light on the potential psychological impacts of the social media website commonly known as Twitter (now known as &;X&;). The findings, based on experience sampling methods to capture real-time data, suggest that the use of Twitter is associated with decreases in well-being, and increases in political polarization, outrage, and sense of belonging.</p>
<p>Despite Twitter&;s relatively smaller size compared to platforms like Facebook and TikTok, its significant role in shaping public opinion — especially among elites in entertainment, journalism, and politics — makes it a critical area of study.</p>
<p>Previous studies have linked social media use with political polarization, expressions of outrage, and declines in subjective well-being. However, these studies often rely on public Twitter data, which may not accurately reflect the average user&;s experience. This study aims to bridge that gap by examining Twitter&;s impact using a sample more representative of the general population and by focusing on the platform&;s specific features.</p>
<p>&;My fascination with social media platforms began in my teenage years, drawn by the allure of virtual environments designed to simulate social interactions,&; explained study author Victoria Oldemburgo de Mello (<a href="https://twitter.com/vicoldemburgo" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@vicoldemburgo</a>), a PhD student at the University of Toronto.</p>
<p>&;This interest deepened with Twitter, a platform distinguished by its unique dynamics. Despite not being among the largest of its kind, Twitter is a hub for highly influential individuals. It has a distinctive way of promoting certain types of content and behavior, which appears to foster an environment where expressions of outrage are more common.&;</p>
<p>To dissect the psychological impacts of Twitter use, the researchers used Prolific Academic to recruit a sample of 252 individuals who used Twitter at least twice a week. This group was more representative of the broader Twitter user base in terms of age, gender, and race compared to previous studies, which often relied on convenience samples like undergraduate students. Data was collected between March and June 2021.</p>
<p>The core of the study involved sending participants surveys five times a day for a week, between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. This design, known as experience sampling, allowed for the capture of participants&; experiences and reactions in real-time, ensuring that the data reflected genuine, spontaneous interactions with Twitter. This method reduces the potential for recall bias and provides a more accurate understanding of the psychological impact of social media use in daily life.</p>
<p>In each survey, participants reported whether they had used Twitter in the preceding 30 minutes and, if so, detailed their activities on the platform. These activities were categorized into observable behaviors, such as scrolling, liking, tweeting, and messaging, as well as the functions of these behaviors, like seeking information or entertainment.</p>
<p>Well-being was gauged using a modified version of the Scale of Positive and Negative Experience, asking participants to rate their feelings over the past 30 minutes. This tool helped quantify momentary well-being as a balance between positive and negative emotions.</p>
<p>Additionally, participants&; sense of belonging was measured through a two-item scale, and political polarization was assessed using a thermometer scale to gauge warmth towards Democrats and Republicans. Outrage was operationalized as a combination of anger, disgust, and repulsion.</p>
<p>The data indicated that Twitter use, on average, was associated with lower well-being. Specifically, when participants used Twitter, they reported a decrease in well-being to the tune of 0.10 standard deviations. This effect was found at the within-person level, suggesting that Twitter use could momentarily dampen users&; mood. Additionally, the study found Twitter use to be associated with increased feelings of boredom and loneliness, particularly among frequent users.</p>
<p>Contrasting its effects on well-being, Twitter use was positively related to a sense of belonging. This finding indicates that interactions on the platform can foster a feeling of community and connectedness among users. The increase in sense of belonging was measured at 0.11 standard deviations, occurring at the within-person level.</p>
<p>Twitter use was associated with a marginal increase in affective polarization at the within-person level, suggesting that Twitter usage could slightly exacerbate users&; feelings towards opposing political groups. The effect size was relatively small, indicating that the platform&;s role in driving political divides may be more complex than previously assumed. More pronounced was the relationship between Twitter use and outrage, with users reporting a 0.19 standard deviation increase in such emotions.</p>
<p>&;The key takeaway from our study is the potential link between Twitter usage and certain adverse effects,&; de Mello told PsyPost. &;While we cannot definitively assert causality, our study suggests that Twitter usage correlates with diminished well-being, increased outrage, polarization, and sense of belonging. The observation regarding sense of belonging is particularly intriguing, as it indicates that Twitter can also offer benefits, highlighting a complex relationship between social media use and psychological outcomes.&;</p>
<p>The researchers also investigated how different Twitter behaviors and functions relate to these psychological effects. Passive uses of Twitter, such as scrolling through the feed, were linked to decreases in well-being, aligning with theories that passive consumption of social media content can be detrimental. In contrast, active engagement, such as replying to tweets or checking trending topics, was associated with an increased sense of belonging.</p>
<p>These findings underscore the importance of how users engage with Twitter, suggesting that active, community-oriented use may mitigate some of the negative emotional impacts associated with the platform.</p>
<p>&;Another key takeaway is that how people use Twitter really matters,&; de Mello said. &;By breaking down the different types of uses, we learned that different usage patterns are linked to different outcomes for the users.&;</p>
<p>But the study&;s design does not allow for definitive conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships. &;Despite the control variables we used, it is still a correlational study, so it&;s hard to draw strong causal conclusions,&; de Mello noted.</p>
<p>The researchers also noted the potential for selection bias, as their sample included only active Twitter users, possibly excluding those who might have left the platform due to negative experiences. In addition, the focus on short-term effects also leaves open questions about long-term impacts.</p>
<p>&;We have a rich dataset of participants public Twitter data (their tweets, timelines, likes, etc.) In our next study, we will analyze the influence of timeline content on self-reported psychological states,&; de Mello said.</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s44271-024-00062-z">Twitter (X) use predicts substantial changes in well-being, polarization, sense of belonging, and outrage</a>,&; was authored by Victoria Oldemburgo de Mello, Felix Cheung, and Michael Inzlicht.</p>

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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 12:14AM
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TITLE:
AI Phone App Detects Depression From Facial Cues, Says Report
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177725&url=https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2024/02/27/artificial-intelligence-depression-smartphones/4131708976594/

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://www.upi.com/Health_News/" rel="tag" target="_blank">United Press International - Health News</a></p>A new smartphone application uses artificial intelligence to detect depression from facial cues, opening the door to real-time digital mental health support, a new study reports. The researchers published their work Tuesday to the arXiv preprint database before presenting it at a conference in May. AI coupled with facial-image processing software can reliably detect the onset of depression before the user knows something is wrong, say the...</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 11:22AM
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TITLE:
Ghana Approves Anti-LGBTQ Bill Considered Among Harshest in Africa
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177758&url=https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ghana-anti-lgbtq-legislation-passed-by-parliament/

<div><p>Source: <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/world/" rel="tag" target="_blank">CBS News - World News</a></p>Ghana's parliament approved one of the toughest pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation in Africa Wednesday after months of debate. Homosexuality is already illegal in Ghana and punishable by up to three years in prison. Under the new law, the maximum sentence will increase to five years. It also allows a custodial sentence for people convicted of advocating for LGBTQ rights, and makes it illegal to distribute material deemed supportive of LGBTQ rights.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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Psychology News Robot
DATE:
February 29, 2024 at 12:13AM
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TITLE:
Study Discovers Cause of "Brain Fog" Link to Long-COVID
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177781&url=https://news.google.com/rss/articles/CBMibmh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnRoZWd1YXJkaWFuLmNvbS9zb2NpZXR5LzIwMjQvZmViLzI4L2JyYWluLWZvZy1mcm9tLWxvbmctY292aWQtaGFzLW1lYXN1cmFibGUtaW1wYWN0LXN0dWR5LXN1Z2dlc3Rz0gEA?oc=5

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://news.google.com/?ned=us&topic=m" rel="tag" target="_blank">Google News - Health</a></p>People experiencing long-COVID have measurable memory and cognitive deficits equivalent to a difference of about six IQ points, a new study suggests. The research, based on more than 140,000 people, found that COVID-19 may impair memory for a year or more after infection. People with unresolved symptoms persisting more than 12 weeks tend to have larger deficits in performance on tasks involving memory, reasoning, and executive function.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 28, 2024 at 09:02PM
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TITLE:
How to Check in on Your Emotional Well-Being
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URL:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2024/02/28/well/mind/mental-health-wellbeing-check-in.html

This self-guided check-in will help you take stock of your emotional well-being — and learn how to make changes.
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DATE:
February 28, 2024 at 04:30PM
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TITLE:
Mavericks vs. contrarians: Study highlights perceptions of two distinct types of nonconformists
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/mavericks-vs-contrarians-study-highlights-perceptions-of-two-distinct-types-of-nonconformists/

<p>A recent study delves into the nuanced perceptions people hold towards two distinct types of nonconformists: mavericks and contrarians. This research, published in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/01461672231217630"><em>Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin</em></a>, provides insight into on the specific social stereotypes associated with these groups, spanning traits such as personality, vocational interests, life satisfaction, age, and gender.</p>
<p>&;So many parts of our day to day lives have something to do with how well we either stand in, or out, of the crowd,&; said study author <a href="https://www.psychology.uga.edu/directory/people/brian-w-haas" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Brian W. Haas</a>, an associate professor of psychology at University of Georgia and head of the <a href="https://bhaas66.wixsite.com/culture-identity-lab" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Culture and Identity Lab</a>.</p>
<p>&;In the United States, there seems to be so much attention given to those who are different than the majority. Why is this the case? Although being independent or different seems to capture a great deal of society’s attention (in both positive and negative ways), not much is known regarding the specific characteristics of nonconformists that are so captivating.&;</p>
<p>Two initial pilot studies confirmed that mavericks and contrarians are seen as distinct types of nonconformists in the public&;s eye, each with unique traits and characteristics. The most frequently cited prototypes for mavericks included public figures such as Miley Cyrus, Katniss Everdeen, Billie Eilish, and Johnny Depp. The most frequently cited prototypes for contrarians included Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian.</p>
<p>The researchers then conducted a series of three studies to unravel the nuanced ways that nonconformists are stereotyped across various dimensions.</p>
<p>&;There exists quite a lot of variety in the reasons why people stand out from the crowd,&; Haas told PsyPost. &;Some are driven to be independent (mavericks), while others are motivated to be different than everyone else, and be noticed doing so (contrarians). We found that in many ways those that are driven to be independent are evaluated more positively than those who want to be different.&;</p>
<h3>Study 1 Findings: Unraveling Stereotypes</h3>
<p>Study 1 included 160 participants and provided a foundational exploration into the stereotypes associated with mavericks and contrarians. Participants were asked to provide open-ended responses listing characteristics, jobs, or professions associated with each type of nonconformist. Additionally, they completed the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) for each type of person.</p>
<p>The analysis of spontaneous stereotype content demonstrated that mavericks are generally viewed in a more positive light compared to contrarians. Mavericks were associated with high levels of competence, including traits such as assertiveness and ability, and were often thought of as being suitable for leadership roles. This positive stereotype extends to perceptions of mavericks being more likely to engage in vocations that require independence and leadership, reflecting societal respect and admiration for their autonomy and capability.</p>
<p>Contrarians, on the other hand, were perceived as individuals who actively seek to differentiate themselves from the majority, often at the expense of warmth and agreeableness. This stereotype paints contrarians as more deviant and focused on appearance, suggesting a societal ambivalence towards their motivations and the authenticity of their nonconformity. Interestingly, contrarians were associated with creativity and self-expression, indicating that while their defiance might be viewed critically, it is also recognized as a potential source of innovation.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Haas was also surprised to find that &;people who are motivated to be different than everyone else, and be noticed doing so (contrarians) are thought about as being highly social. This makes some sense, in that it is a pretty big task to figure out what the group is doing, calculate how to do the opposite, and ultimately get noticed doing so.&;</p>
<h3>Study 2 Findings: Nonconformists in Relation to Conformists</h3>
<p>Building on the initial findings, Study 2 included 260 participants and introduced conformists as a comparative group. This comparison highlighted distinct age, gender, and life satisfaction stereotypes associated with each group. Mavericks were perceived as older and more likely male, aligning with societal archetypes of wisdom and independence traditionally associated with masculinity. Additionally, mavericks were viewed as more satisfied with their lives, suggesting that their independence is not only respected but also seen as a source of fulfillment.</p>
<p>Contrarians, contrastingly, were stereotyped as younger and potentially more female, which might reflect societal biases towards viewing nonconformity through a lens of youthfulness and emotional volatility. This group was also seen as less satisfied with life, possibly due to perceived conflicts arising from their defiance of societal norms. The inclusion of conformists in this study underscored a complex societal valuing of nonconformity, where the independent path of mavericks is revered, whereas the contrarian&;s defiance is met with ambivalence.</p>
<h3>Study 3 Findings: Leadership, Narcissism, and Nuanced Personality Traits</h3>
<p>The third study, which included 288 participants, delved deeper into the psychological constructs of Transformational Leadership and Narcissism, alongside a detailed examination of the Big Five personality traits. Mavericks emerged as exemplars of Transformational Leadership, seen as individuals who inspire and lead by example, further cementing their positive societal stereotype as competent and visionary leaders. This perception aligns with their associated high levels of conscientiousness and agreeableness, traits valued in effective and respected leaders.</p>
<p>Contrarians were stereotyped with traits of narcissism, including antagonism, agentic extraversion, and neuroticism, underscoring a societal perception of contrarians as self-focused and emotionally unstable. These findings suggest a critical view of contrarians&; motivations for nonconformity, potentially viewed as driven by a desire for attention rather than genuine individuality.</p>
<p>Despite these insightful findings, the study primarily focuses on the stereotypes held by U.S. Americans, a culture that highly values independence, which may influence the perception of nonconformity.</p>
<p>&;These findings tell us about how nonconformists are thought about in an American cultural context,&; Haas said. &;However, we can only speculate that standing out from the crowd is something valued more in the U.S. than in many other places in the world. We plan to investigate how nonconformists are thought about in many other places in the world.&;</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/01461672231217630">All You Nonconformists Are (Not) All Alike: Dissociable Social Stereotypes of Mavericks and Contrarians</a>,&; was authored by Brian W. Haas, W. Keith Campbell, Xiaobin Lou, and Rowena J. Xia.</p>

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DATE:
February 28, 2024 at 12:00PM
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TITLE:
Alcohol before bed: New research uncovers its impact on sleep architecture
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/alcohol-before-bed-new-research-uncovers-its-impact-on-sleep-architecture/

<p>Alcohol is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance worldwide, and its effects on brain function and behavior, particularly on sleep, have long been a subject of scientific inquiry. A recent study published in the journal <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsae003"><em>Sleep</em></a> sheds new light on how alcohol consumption before sleep over consecutive nights can significantly alter sleep architecture, offering a more nuanced understanding of its impact on our nightly rest.</p>
<p>Previous research has established that alcohol can expedite sleep onset, with a notable percentage of adults in the United States using alcohol as a sleep aid. However, these studies often faced limitations, such as small and homogenous participant samples and a lack of control over participants&; sleep and alcohol use patterns prior to the study. Moreover, the cumulative effects of drinking alcohol over consecutive nights were largely unexplored, leaving a gap in our understanding of its impact on sleep quality and structure.</p>
<p>To address these gaps, the researchers combined experimental alcohol administration with detailed overnight physiological sleep studies. The researchers focused on understanding how consecutive nights of alcohol consumption affect sleep architecture.</p>
<p>&;We are primarily interested in looking at &;next day&; cognitive consequences of serial nights of alcohol use. These sleep data provide a novel picture of the impact of alcohol by looking at the sleep structure in a fine-grained manner,&; said study author Mary A. Carskadon, a professor at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and director of the <a href="http://www.sleepforscience.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">E.P. Bradley Hospital Sleep Research Laboratory</a>.</p>
<p>The study involved thirty healthy adult participants with moderate drinking habits, ensuring a diverse sample in terms of age, gender, and race. Participants underwent a rigorous pre-study screening process, including actigraphy to monitor sleep patterns, and were required to maintain a stable sleep schedule in the days leading up to the laboratory sessions.</p>
<p>The core of the study took place over two three-night laboratory sessions, with each session separated by approximately four days. During these sessions, participants&; sleep was monitored using polysomnography (PSG), a comprehensive recording of the biophysiological changes that occur during sleep. This included measurements of brain waves, eye movements, and muscle activity, providing a detailed picture of sleep architecture.</p>
<p>On each night of the lab sessions, participants consumed either an alcoholic beverage or a placebo mixer before sleep, with the order of these conditions randomized across participants. The alcoholic beverage&;s strength was calibrated to target a breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 mg/L, ensuring a consistent level of intoxication across participants. Sleep was then recorded using PSG, allowing the researchers to observe the immediate effects of alcohol consumption on sleep architecture.</p>
<p>One of the key findings was that alcohol consumption before sleep led to an increase in slow wave sleep (SWS) during the first third of the night. SWS, often referred to as deep sleep, is crucial for physical restoration and memory consolidation. The initial boost in SWS suggests that alcohol can deepen sleep in its early phases, which aligns with the common perception of alcohol as a sleep inducer.</p>
<p>This effect was consistently observed across all three nights of alcohol consumption, indicating a direct impact of alcohol on promoting deep sleep during the initial part of the sleep episode.</p>
<p>On the other hand, the study found a decrease in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep during the first third of the night following alcohol consumption. REM sleep is associated with dreaming, memory processing, and emotional regulation. The reduction in REM sleep suggests that alcohol disrupts the sleep cycle&;s natural progression, potentially impacting cognitive functions and emotional health.</p>
<p>This decrease in REM sleep was most pronounced on the first night of alcohol consumption, with a lessening effect over subsequent nights, suggesting a degree of adaptation or tolerance developing over consecutive nights of drinking.</p>
<p>The research also highlighted increased sleep fragmentation and wakefulness during the second half of the sleep episode on nights when alcohol was consumed. This disruption is attributed to several factors, including alcohol-induced diuresis leading to more frequent bathroom trips, night sweats, and a &;wakeful rebound&; as the body metabolizes the alcohol.</p>
<p>Such disturbances can detract from the restorative quality of sleep, leading to feelings of fatigue and impaired cognitive function the following day.</p>
<p>A noteworthy aspect of the study&;s findings is the evidence of the body&;s adaptation to consecutive nights of alcohol consumption. While the initial night of drinking saw the most significant disruptions in sleep architecture, these effects became less pronounced over the following two nights.</p>
<p>This adaptation suggests that the body may develop a tolerance to some of alcohol&;s sleep-altering effects, particularly regarding REM sleep. Despite this adaptation, the cumulative impact of disrupted sleep across multiple nights could still have significant implications for overall well-being and cognitive performance.</p>
<p>Employing generalized additive models (GAMs) for a high-resolution analysis, the researchers were able to document the nuanced dynamics of sleep architecture affected by alcohol. This approach revealed specific periods during the night when the impact of alcohol on SWS and REM sleep was most pronounced, providing a detailed temporal map of alcohol&;s effects on sleep. Such fine-grained analysis underscores the complexity of sleep as a process and highlights the multifaceted ways in which alcohol can alter this process.</p>
<p>These findings contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of alcohol&;s role in sleep dynamics and underscore the importance of considering the implications of regular alcohol consumption on sleep quality and overall health.</p>
<p>&;When you drink before going to bed, you modify your sleep,&; Carskadon told PsyPost. &;The effects differ on consecutive nights; however, some trace of alcohol continues. We note as well that our study design provided plenty of time (8 to 8.5 hours) for people to sleep after drinking. Many people will curtail their sleep after drinking and therefore the impact of alcohol may differ.&;</p>
<p>Despite its strengths, the study has some limitations. The sample size, while diverse, was relatively small, and the findings may not generalize to all populations. Additionally, the controlled laboratory environment differs significantly from real-world settings, where factors such as stress and environmental noise can also impact sleep.</p>
<p>Looking ahead, the study&;s authors call for further research to explore the long-term effects of consecutive nights of alcohol consumption on sleep, as well as its implications for cognitive function and overall health. They also emphasize the need for studies with larger and more diverse participant samples to fully understand the breadth of alcohol&;s impact on sleep across different populations.</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://academic.oup.com/sleep/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/sleep/zsae003/7515846">Altered sleep architecture following consecutive nights of pre-sleep alcohol</a>,&; was authored by Katie S. McCullar, David H. Barker, John E McGeary, Jared M. Saletin, Caroline Gredvig-Ardito, Robert M. Swift, and Mary A. Carskadon.</p>

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DATE:
February 28, 2024 at 11:00AM
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TITLE:
Live music strikes a deeper chord in the brain than recorded tunes, study finds
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/live-music-strikes-a-deeper-chord-in-the-brain-than-recorded-tunes-study-finds/

<p>Live music performances evoke a significantly stronger emotional response in the brain compared to recorded music, according to new research published in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2316306121"><em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)</em></a>. This discovery sheds light on the profound connection between musicians and their audience, potentially rooted in evolutionary factors, offering new insights into our emotional experiences with music.</p>
<p>Music has long been recognized for its powerful emotional effects, capable of evoking a wide range of feelings, from joy to sadness. Previous research has extensively documented how recorded music can stimulate the brain&;s emotional and imaginative processes. However, the specific effects of live music performances on the brain remained largely unexplored until now.</p>
<p>Sascha Frühholz, a professor of cognitive and affective neuroscience at University of Zurich, and his colleagues sought to address this gap, investigating how live music, with its dynamic and adaptive qualities, uniquely influences emotional processing in the brain. The researchers conducted an experiment that aimed to explore how live piano performances, as opposed to recorded ones, influence the activity within the amygdala — often referred to as the emotional center of the brain. This experiment&;s innovative approach leveraged real-time brain imaging technology to capture the relationships between the performance and the listener&;s emotional state.</p>
<p>The study included a carefully selected group of 27 individuals, chosen to represent a broad spectrum of the general population without professional musical training or education. This criterion ensured that the findings would be applicable to the average listener, providing insights into the universal impact of music on emotional processing. The musicians involved were two professional pianists from the Zurich University of the Arts, bringing their expertise and emotional expression to the live performances.</p>
<p>The core of the experimental procedure involved the pianists performing 12 piano pieces, composed expressly for the study to elicit emotional responses ranging from pleasant to unpleasant. These performances were unique in that they were adapted in real-time based on the neurofeedback from the listeners&; amygdala activity, a process facilitated by functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).</p>
<p>This innovative setup allowed the pianist to modify the performance to enhance the emotional impact on the audience. In contrast, the control condition presented the participants with recorded versions of the same pieces, lacking the live feedback loop, to isolate the effect of live performance from the music itself.</p>
<figure id="attachment_221788" aria-describedby="caption-attachment-221788" style="width: 966px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><img fetchpriority="high" decoding="async" class="size-full wp-image-221788" src="https://www.psypost.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Experimental-set-up.jpg" alt="" width="966" height="440" srcset="https://www.psypost.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Experimental-set-up.jpg 966w, https://www.psypost.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Experimental-set-up-300x137.jpg 300w, https://www.psypost.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Experimental-set-up-768x350.jpg 768w, https://www.psypost.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Experimental-set-up-750x342.jpg 750w" sizes="(max-width: 966px) 100vw, 966px" /><figcaption id="caption-attachment-221788" class="wp-caption-text">The researchers conducted an elaborate experiment in which a pianist changed the live music he or she was playing to intensify the emotional reactions in the amygdala, the emotional center in the brain. (Credit: UZH, Sascha Frühholz)</figcaption></figure>
<p>Frühholz and his colleagues found that live music, compared to its recorded counterpart, elicited significantly stronger and more consistent activity in the amygdala. This enhanced response suggests that live performances evoke a deeper emotional engagement and stimulate a more robust emotional experience in listeners.</p>
<p>Interestingly, emotional stimulation from live music extended beyond the amygdala, prompting a more active exchange of information throughout the whole brain. This indicates that live music doesn&;t just intensify emotional reactions but also engages broader cognitive and affective networks. Such engagement points to a comprehensive processing of emotions and suggests that live music might facilitate a more complex integration of emotional and cognitive responses, potentially enhancing the overall listening experience.</p>
<p>&;Our study showed that pleasant and unpleasant emotions performed as live music elicited much higher and more consistent activity in the amygdala than recorded music. The live performance also stimulated a more active exchange of information in the whole brain, which points to strong emotional processing in the affective and cognitive parts of the brain,&; Frühholz explained</p>
<p>The researchers observed a significant alignment between the audience&;s subjective emotional experiences and their brain activity, specifically within the auditory system that assesses music&;s acoustic qualities. This synchronization was markedly more pronounced during live performances, underscoring the unique connection forged between musicians and listeners in a live setting. This phenomenon suggests that live music facilitates a shared emotional space where performers and audience members are closely attuned to each other&;s emotional states.</p>
<p>Additionally, the study highlighted the adaptive nature of live performances, where musicians can modify their play in real-time based on the audience&;s emotional responses. This dynamic interaction was facilitated through a neurofeedback loop, allowing the pianist to adjust the performance to maximize emotional impact. This finding underscores the reciprocal relationship inherent in live music experiences, where the flow of emotional communication between the performer and the audience is continuous and mutually influential.</p>
<p>&;Live music is acoustically different from recorded music, and only live settings lead to a close coupling between musical performances and emotional responses in listeners, which is a central mechanism for music as a social entrainment process,&; the researchers concluded.</p>
<p>The study touches on the evolutionary roots of music, suggesting that the preference for live music over recorded versions may stem from historical practices of making music with tools and instruments. Despite technological advancements that have made recorded music widely accessible, the social and emotional experience of attending a live concert remains unparalleled.</p>
<p>&;This can perhaps be traced back to the evolutionary roots of music,&; Frühholz remarked. &;People want the emotional experience of live music. We want musicians to take us on an emotional journey with their performances.&;</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2316306121" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Live music stimulates the affective brain and emotionally entrains listeners in real time</a>,&; was authored by Wiebke Trost, Caitlyn Trevor, Natalia Fernandez, Florence Steiner, and Sascha Frühholz.</p>

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DATE:
February 28, 2024 at 10:00AM
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TITLE:
Personality disorder traits are associated with greater loneliness
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/personality-disorder-traits-are-associated-with-greater-loneliness/

<p>Recent developments in mental health research have highlighted the role of social factors in the lives of individuals with personality disorder diagnoses or traits. A growing body of literature has revealed the profound sense of disconnection and unmet social needs characterizing this group, raising questions about the impact of loneliness and perceived social support (PSS) on their path to recovery. Sarah Ikhtabi and colleagues conducted a systematic review to quantify the prevalence and severity of loneliness and PSS deficits. This research was published in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-023-05471-8"><em>BMC Psychiatry</em></a>.</p>
<p>The researchers followed <a href="http://www.prisma-statement.org/">PRISMA</a> guidelines for methodological rigor and registered the protocol on <a href="https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/">PROSPERO</a>. Their search strategy encompassed a comprehensive review of four major databases—Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Web of Social Science—extended by searches in Google Scholar and the Ethos British Library database to capture dissertations and theses, from database inception to December 13, 2021. Search terms included a broad range of social concepts, loneliness, and various aspects of personality disorder assessments, aiming for an exhaustive coverage of the topic.</p>
<p>For inclusion, studies had to report on the prevalence or severity of loneliness and/or PSS deficits in individuals with personality disorder traits or diagnoses, utilizing validated measures of loneliness or PSS. The review process involved rigorous screening, data extraction, and quality assessment by the research team, with disagreements resolved through discussion or consultation with a third reviewer.</p>
<p>Methodological quality was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute tools, and evidence certainty was evaluated using the GRADE approach. The narrative synthesis of results emphasized the comparison of loneliness and PSS deficits in people with personality disorders against other groups, paying special attention to high-quality studies while also acknowledging findings from lower-quality research to provide a comprehensive overview.</p>
<p>Ikhtabi and colleagues found a significant correlation between personality disorders and increased levels of loneliness as well as deficits in PSS. Individuals with personality disorders, particularly those identified with traits of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and Avoidant Personality Disorder, were found to experience higher levels of loneliness and deficiencies in social support compared to other clinical groups and the general population.</p>
<p>This research also highlights a complex association between narcissistic personality traits and loneliness/PSS, which varies depending on the type of narcissism (vulnerable/covert versus grandiose/overt).</p>
<p>Despite the strong associative evidence presented, the review notes a lack of longitudinal studies that would allow for a more definitive understanding of the causality of these relationships, acknowledging the low certainty of the current evidence base due to methodological limitations.</p>
<p>The review, “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-023-05471-8">The prevalence and severity of loneliness and deficits in perceived social support among who have received a ‘personality disorder’ diagnosis or have relevant traits: a systematic review</a>”, was authored by Sarah Ikhtabi, Alexandra Pitman, Lucy Maconick, Eiluned Pearce, Oliver Dale, Sarah Rowe and Sonia Johnson.</p>

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DATE:
February 28, 2024 at 07:00AM
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TITLE:
Deep brain stimulation can help improve symptoms of treatment-resistant depression
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/deep-brain-stimulation-can-help-improve-symptoms-of-treatment-resistant-depression/

<p>A study of individuals suffering from treatment-resistant depression found that deep brain stimulation of the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule, a bundle of white matter in the cerebrum region of the brain, can make these individuals more alert and attentive to their environment. This contributes to the overall antidepressant effect of deep brain stimulation. The research was published in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-023-02030-1"><em>Molecular Psychiatry</em></a>.</p>
<p>Treatment-resistant depression is a term used to describe a form of major depressive disorder that does not respond adequately to conventional treatments, such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. Typically, treatment-resistant depression is diagnosed when a patient has failed to achieve a satisfactory response to at least two different antidepressant treatments of adequate dose and duration. The exact causes of treatment-resistant depression are not fully understood, but they are believed to involve a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.</p>
<p>A promising novel intervention for treatment-resistant depression is deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is a surgical procedure that involves implanting electrodes in specific areas of the brain to deliver electrical impulses and modulate abnormal brain activity in this way. Studies have shown that deep brain stimulation of the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule (vALIC) results in improvement in approximately 40% of individuals with treatment-resistant depression after one year of treatment. The interior capsule is a bundle of white matter (axons) located in the cerebrum region of the brain that connects the frontal cortex with subcortical regions of the brain.</p>
<p>Study author Nora Runia and her colleagues wanted to explore the mechanism through which deep brain stimulation of vALIC results in improving the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. Their hypothesis was that this activity normalizes the functioning of the amygdala region of the brain. The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped structure in the brain&;s temporal lobe that is involved in processing emotions, particularly fear and anxiety. It also plays a key role in memory formation and emotional learning.</p>
<p>Previous studies have linked abnormal functioning of this region with emotion dysregulation, one of the hallmarks of depression. The research team conducted a longitudinal study to explore this.</p>
<p>The study included eleven adults diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression for over two years and sixteen healthy individuals matched for age, sex, and educational level. The latter group was selected based on the absence of psychiatric illnesses in themselves or their immediate family.</p>
<p>The researchers implanted electrodes in the patients’ brains and allowed a three-week recovery period, followed by an optimization phase to identify the most effective stimulation patterns. This phase continued until a stable response was observed for at least four weeks, with the entire process capped at 52 weeks.</p>
<p>Participants were then split into two groups: one received active deep brain stimulation for one to six weeks, followed by a sham (inactive) period, and the other began with the sham period before switching to active stimulation. The participants were unaware of the stimulation status during these phases.</p>
<p>Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was conducted before electrode implantation, after optimizing deep brain stimulation parameters, and after each treatment phase to assess the amygdala&;s function. Healthy participants also underwent MRI scans at two points, five months apart. During scans, participants viewed sets of emotional faces to allow for a more detailed examination of the amygdala&;s functioning. Additionally, depression assessments (using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale -17) were conducted at each time point.</p>
<p>The results indicated that participants with depression experienced significantly reduced symptom severity after active deep brain stimulation compared to the sham stimulation period. By the end of the study, their symptoms had also markedly improved from the start. Reaction speed tests showed that healthy individuals had quicker responses than depressed participants, but deep brain stimulation treatments improved the reaction speeds of those with depression.</p>
<p>Analysis of amygdala activity revealed that, at the study&;s outset, participants with treatment-resistant depression showed decreased responsiveness in the right amygdala region. Long-term deep brain stimulation of the vALIC normalized this responsiveness, leading to quicker reaction times in depressed participants. Moreover, DBS treatment enhanced the connectivity between the amygdala and the sensorimotor and cingulate cortices of the brain.</p>
<p>“In conclusion, the antidepressant effect of vALIC DBS [deep brain stimulation of the ventral anterior limb of the internal capsule] was associated with normalization of blunted baseline amygdala responsivity that was independent of emotional valence, as well as an increase in vigilance as reflected by faster reaction times,&; the study authors concluded.</p>
<p>&;In addition, active stimulation increased amygdala connectivity with cingulate and sensorimotor regions compared to sham stimulation [the period when the stimulation was turned off]. Together, these results suggest that vALIC DBS improves depressive symptoms in part by reversing amygdala pathophysiology in MDD [major depressive disorder].&;</p>
<p>The study sheds light on the neural mechanisms of depression and makes a valuable contribution to understanding the way a powerful novel treatment for depression produces its effects. However, it should be noted that deep brain stimulation equipment used in this study was not compatible with magnetic resonance imaging. Due to this, it had to be turned off during scans, denying the researchers the possibility to observe the effects of the stimulation on the brain in real time. Additionally, the number of participants who completed the study procedures was very small.</p>
<p>The paper, “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-023-02030-1">Deep brain stimulation normalizes amygdala responsivity in treatment-resistant depression,</a>” was authored by Nora Runia, Isidoor O. Bergfeld, Bart P. de Kwaasteniet, Judy Luigjes, Jan van Laarhoven, Peter Notten, Guus Beute, Pepijn van den Munckhof, Rick Schuurman, Damiaan Denys, and Guido A. van Wingen.</p>

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DATE:
February 28, 2024 at 06:00AM
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TITLE:
Poor sleep quality linked to self-defeating humor and profanity in new psychology research
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/poor-sleep-quality-linked-to-self-defeating-humor-and-profanity-in-new-psychology-research/

<p>In a novel exploration into the intricate ways our physical states impact our use of words, researchers have discovered a fascinating link between poor sleep quality and an increased use of specific types of arousing language, namely humor and curse words. The study, published in<em> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-024-05665-7">Current Psychology</a></em>, suggests that those experiencing poor sleep quality may be more inclined to use arousing forms of language as a physiological mechanism to counteract feelings of tiredness.</p>
<p>Prior studies have extensively documented individual differences in the use and appreciation of humor and the use of curse words, focusing on the effects of such language on listeners and identifying various factors, including gender, age, temperament, personality, political orientation, and culture, that influence humor usage. However, most of these studies have not explored the impact of using arousing language on the speakers themselves.</p>
<p>Given the established effects of word arousal on cognitive processing and physiological responses, and the known <a href="https://www.psypost.org/repeating-the-f-word-can-improve-threshold-for-pain-during-an-ice-water-challenge/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">benefits of humor and cursing in coping with pain</a> and stress, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between sleep quality and the use of arousing language, hypothesizing that fatigue might increase the propensity to use such language.</p>
<p>&;Since around the time I was in first grade, I have been interested in words and word meaning,&; said study author Shelia M. Kennison, a professor of psychology at Oklahoma State University and author of <em><a href="https://www.apa.org/pubs/books/cognitive-neuroscience-humor" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cognitive Neuroscience of Humor</a></em>.</p>
<p>&;Curse words are fascinating when considered as a type of word. Most people use them but may not want to admit to using them. They can cause humor (e.g., when small children use them) and fear (e.g., in a confrontation). In the present study, I was interested in the idea that our use of curse words may be linked to biological processes (i.e., our physiological levels of fatigue) operating below the level of consciousness.&;</p>
<p>The research team gathered data from a sample of 309 undergraduate students enrolled in psychology and speech communication courses. To assess the various constructs of interest, the researchers utilized a set of existing, validated measures. Participants completed these measures via an online survey, which also included demographic questions and an attention check to ensure data reliability.</p>
<p>The use of humor was evaluated using the Humor Styles Questionnaire, which identifies four distinct humor styles: affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive, and self-defeating. Participants rated their agreement with statements on a 7-point scale, reflecting the extent to which each statement described their humor usage.</p>
<p>Curse word frequency was measured through a self-report mechanism where participants indicated how often they used 20 common English curse words, ranging from &;never&; to &;very frequently&; on a 6-point scale. This approach aimed to quantify the frequency of curse word usage in everyday language.</p>
<p>Sleep quality was assessed using two instruments: the MOS Sleep Problems Index-II (SPI-II) and a subset of items from the CESD-R depression symptoms measure focused on sleep-related symptoms (CESDR4). These measures required participants to reflect on their sleep experiences over the past four weeks and the most recent week, respectively, providing a multifaceted view of sleep quality.</p>
<p>Lastly, sensation-seeking was measured using the Sensation Seeking Scale-Version V (SSS-V), which evaluates the tendency towards thrill and adventure seeking, experience seeking, boredom susceptibility, and disinhibition. This scale helped to control for personality traits that might influence both sleep quality and language use.</p>
<p>One of the key discoveries was the significant correlation between poor sleep quality and the increased use of self-defeating humor. This specific style of humor, characterized by making oneself the target of jokes, was more commonly reported among participants who experienced more sleep problems.</p>
<p>Additionally, the study found a notable relationship between sleep quality and the frequency of curse word usage. Participants who reported more sleep issues were also found to use curse words more frequently. This relationship was evident with both sleep quality measures, indicating a consistent pattern across different aspects of sleep assessment.</p>
<p>The findings suggest that not only does poor sleep affect the type of humor one might use, but it also influences the propensity to use language that is considered more arousing, such as curse words.</p>
<p>&;I am always surprised at the relatively high frequency of self-reported cursing among students at my university, which is in the Bible belt and a fairly conservative region of the country,&; Kennison said. &;One might imagine that our students would avoid cursing due to sociocultural norms here.&;</p>
<p>These relationships held even after accounting for other variables, such as gender and sensation-seeking personality traits, indicating a specific link between the physical state of fatigue and the propensity to employ arousing language.</p>
<p>&;The causes for our use of curse words are complex and include biological factors (e.g., are we tired),&; Kennison told PsyPost. &;Some of the biological factors may not be completely under our voluntary control.&;</p>
<p>&;The general public may see the use of curse words as completely about someone choosing to curse and all about the person&;s disposition and/or character (i.e., people who curse a lot are not good people). The research suggests that people who curse a lot may have biological processes occurring that are contributing to it. They are not necessary of poor or questionable character. It may be that they are tired.&;</p>
<p>While this study provides valuable insights, it also has limitations, including its reliance on self-reported measures and its cross-sectional design, which restricts the ability to infer causation.</p>
<p>&;A self-report methodology was used,&; Kennison noted. &;Participants estimated their curse word usage frequency. We suspect that the data are underestimates of curse word usage, as many people may view cursing a lot as not ideal given social norms (especially their parents preferences).&;</p>
<p>&;In future research, I would like to explore the same variables using methods where I would be able to track curse word usage and fatigue throughout the day across many days (i.e., experience sampling methodology). Because curse words are relatively infrequent and because people may be somewhat reluctant to admit how often they curse, it is a difficult topic to study.&;</p>
<p>This research offers a pioneering look at how our physical states, particularly sleep quality, can influence our choice of language, shedding light on the complex interplay between physiological well-being and communication. It opens up new avenues for understanding the adaptive functions of language and highlights the importance of considering physiological states in psychological and linguistic research.</p>
<p>&;In two studies now, we have found links between the use of curse words and the use of humor, which is also a type of verbal behavior that is related to changing our level of mood and alertness (i.e., increasing positive mood and increasing arousal),&; Kennison said. &;These types of language use not only affect those listening to the words, but in my view also affects the physiology of those producing the language.&;</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-024-05665-7" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The relationships among sleep quality, humor styles, and use of curse words</a>,&; was authored by Shelia M. Kennison and Maria Andrea Hurtado Morales.</p>

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DATE:
February 28, 2024
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TITLE:
Film Review: The Holdovers
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URL:
https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/reviews-commentary/film-review-the-holdovers/

Nominated for five Academy Awards and with the tag line "discomfort and joy," The Holdovers is a Christmas film and a Valentine, and a promise that despite the harshness of winter, spring will be ours.
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DATE:
February 27, 2024 at 06:00PM
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TITLE:
Spirituality, naturalism, and alternative health practices serve as gateways to anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, study suggests
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/spirituality-naturalism-and-alternative-health-practices-serve-as-gateways-to-anti-vaccine-conspiracy-theories-study-suggests/

<p>A recent study led by researchers from the University of Tokyo has shed light on the intricate web of factors contributing to vaccine hesitancy and resistance. The study, published in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s42001-023-00241-8"><em>Journal of Computational Social Science</em></a>, identifies online political engagement, conspiracy theories, and spirituality as significant influences shaping anti-vaccine beliefs across different societal groups. The findings are based on an extensive analysis of nearly 100,000,000 posts on the social media platform Twitter (now known as X).</p>
<p>To conduct their study, Professor Fujio Toriumi from the Department of Systems Innovation and his colleagues first set about identifying Twitter accounts that actively spread anti-vaccine information. This identification process was based on the content of tweets related to vaccines, specifically looking for narratives that were either critical of vaccines or outright opposed to their use.</p>
<p>The team employed the Twitter Public API to gather tweets containing references to vaccines, yielding a substantial dataset spanning the entirety of 2021. This initial collection phase resulted in 98,805,971 tweets, from which the researchers then extracted relevant data for their analysis.</p>
<p>Following the data collection, the researchers embarked on a meticulous process of clustering these tweets to categorize them based on the nature of their content—ranging from pro-vaccine to anti-vaccine sentiments. This clustering involved calculating similarity coefficients between tweets and employing the Louvain method for community detection, a technique well-regarded for its efficacy in identifying natural groupings within large datasets.</p>
<p>Through their methodical clustering of tweets, the researchers found that the conversations around vaccines were not monolithic but rather spanned a spectrum from strong support to vehement opposition. The largest clusters represented these varied perspectives, with the most significant portion of the discourse being pro-vaccine, followed by clusters expressing skepticism about government vaccine policies, and finally, a considerable segment of tweets that were explicitly anti-vaccine.</p>
<p>With these clusters defined, the next step focused on the individuals behind the tweets — specifically, accounts that disproportionately followed those identified as spreading anti-vaccine information.</p>
<p>The analysis of Twitter data revealed that individuals who adopted anti-vaccine beliefs during the pandemic were more likely to follow and engage with accounts promoting conspiracy theories, spiritual narratives, and alternative health practices, illustrating the multifaceted pathways through which these beliefs are formed and reinforced.</p>
<p>These users were also more politically engaged than their counterparts who did not express such strong views on vaccines. Interestingly, the analysis revealed that anti-vaccine sentiments were not confined to a particular political ideology but were prevalent across the spectrum, with a notable presence among both rightist and leftist groups. However, left-leaning anti-vaccine users were more dominant.</p>
<p>&;The uniqueness of conspiracy theorists leaning left in Japan may be attributed to the impact of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster,” said Toriumi. “While anti-nuclear sentiments have long been associated with leftist ideologies, the addition of the fear stemming from radioactive contamination has led to the proliferation of conspiracy theories predominantly within the leftist spectrum, believed to be related to fear surrounding the incorporation of foreign substances into the human body. This might have heightened fear, hesitancy and mistrust in vaccines during the pandemic and was likely reinforced by increased representation online.&;</p>
<p>The researchers also conducted a longitudinal analysis to understand of how anti-vaccine attitudes evolved over time. By examining the change in the proportion of anti-vaccine information within users&; Twitter feeds from January 2020 to December 2021, the researchers were able to track shifts in sentiment.</p>
<p>A notable increase in the proportion of accounts classified within the high anti-vaccine group was observed, indicating that the pandemic period saw a significant rise in vaccine hesitancy and resistance among Twitter users in Japan. This shift suggests that the unprecedented context of the pandemic, coupled with the pervasive influence of social media, played a critical role in amplifying anti-vaccine narratives.</p>
<p>&;During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a rise in anti-vaccine sentiments on social media, and our study aimed to understand the triggers that led individuals to adopt anti-vaccine attitudes,&; said Toriumi. &;We found anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists, so-called anti-vaxxers, exhibited stronger political engagement compared to vaccine supporters. Although some Japanese users express right-wing tendencies, a majority lean toward more left-wing ideologies, in contrast to what was observed in the West.&;</p>
<p>While the study does not definitively prove causality, it underscores the possibility that conspiracy theories and spirituality may serve as pathways for individuals to gravitate towards more polarizing political figures and parties.</p>
<p>&;Spirituality, naturalism, alternative health practices and anti-vaccine sentiments all have something in common: their indifference or even disdain for scientific evidence,&; said Toriumi. &;Individuals interested in these topics tend to pick what scientific facts suit their opinions. Also, they exhibit strong resistance to the incorporation of artificial substances into their bodies under the guise of naturalism. It is believed that these similarities serve as gateways to anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.&;</p>
<p>Another significant aspect of the study was its focus on the emergence of the Sanseito party in Japan, which capitalized on anti-vaccine narratives alongside other issues like anti-immigration rhetoric and environmentalism. The researchers discovered that Sanseito&;s ability to gain political traction was significantly bolstered by its appeal to those who harbored anti-vaccine beliefs, especially those who had adopted such views amid the pandemic.</p>
<p>This phenomenon points to the broader implications of how deeply held beliefs and fears, particularly those amplified by conspiracy theories and misinformation, can mobilize political support for parties that might otherwise remain on the fringes of national politics.</p>
<p>However, the study is not without its limitations. The focus on Japan raises questions about the generalizability of the findings to other contexts, where the political landscape and public attitudes toward vaccines may differ. Additionally, the definition of anti-vaxxers based on their social media behavior assumes that following certain accounts reflects underlying attitudes, which may not always be the case. Future research could benefit from incorporating survey data on voting behavior and exploring the causal relationships between social media engagement, anti-vaccine attitudes, and political orientation.</p>
<p>“The most challenging aspect of conducting this research was applying machine learning and data analysis techniques to vast feeds of Twitter data that were constantly changing,” said Toriumi. “This was done to classify patterns of people&;s attitude changes toward the COVID-19 vaccine, distinguishing between persistent anti-vaxxers and pandemic-induced new anti-vaxxers.&;</p>
<p>&;In the future, we intend to explore the effectiveness of different communication strategies in addressing vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. Additionally, we plan to investigate the role of social media platforms and their algorithms in amplifying or mitigating the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for developing effective interventions to promote public health and combat misinformation.”</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42001-023-00241-8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Anti-vaccine rabbit hole leads to political representation: the case of Twitter in Japan</a>,&; was authored by Fujio Toriumi, Takeshi Sakaki, Tetsuro Kobayashi, and Mitsuo Yoshida.</p>

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DATE:
February 27, 2024 at 04:00PM
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TITLE:
Experienced pilots’ eye motions exhibit greater structure
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/experienced-pilots-eye-motions-are-more-structured-when-flying/

<p>A study of airline pilots in the United Kingdom tracked how their eyes moved in a virtual reality (VR) flight training simulator. Results showed that eye gaze patterns of more experienced pilots tend to have fewer, but longer fixations. The scan path their eyes followed was less random and more structured compared to less experienced pilots. The paper was published in the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24721840.2023.2195428"><em>International Journal of Aerospace Psychology</em></a>.</p>
<p>Flight represents the quickest mode of transportation currently available. However, without sufficient training, it could also become the most perilous. Unlike operators of trains, boats, or cars, who can halt their vehicles with relative ease in case of an emergency, feel fatigued, or simply wish to stop, pilots of aircraft have far fewer options.</p>
<p>Moreover, the consequences of mishaps, such as crashes, are significantly more severe in aviation. Therefore, comprehensive and effective pilot training is crucial. It is also vital for this training to be conducted safely. Additionally, aviation and the act of flying are generally far more costly compared to operating other common modes of transport, necessitating that pilot training programs be both efficient and economical. This underscores the value of flight simulators in pilot training.</p>
<p>Simulators play a pivotal role in the training of aircraft pilots by offering a secure and controlled setting for practicing and mastering various flight scenarios, including emergency situations, without the inherent risks and expenses of real-life flying. They enable pilots to engage in repeated practice and receive instant feedback, crucial for the development of skills and confidence.</p>
<p>Virtual reality (VR) flight simulators possess several advantages over traditional simulation methods. They offer a more immersive experience, fostering a more authentic sense of space and depth, which is beneficial for improving spatial awareness and situational understanding. VR simulators are more adaptable and flexible, permitting swift alterations to scenarios and environments without necessitating physical changes to the simulator&;s hardware. They are also potentially more cost-efficient, requiring less physical space and fewer components. Additionally, with the rapid advancement of VR technology, the simulations become increasingly realistic and detailed.</p>
<p>In their new study, David J. Harris and his colleagues conducted a study to assess the effectiveness and psychological realism of a new VR air crew competency training simulation. The simulation goggles were equipped with eye tracking software, enabling the researchers to monitor and record the eye movement patterns of users. The study aimed not only to evaluate the users&; sense of immersion during the simulation but also to investigate the correlation between real-world piloting expertise, eye movements during the simulation, and expert evaluations of performance.</p>
<p>The researchers hypothesized that if the simulator accurately replicated the demands of real-world piloting, there would be a discernible link between the users&; real-world experience, their eye movements, and their simulation performance.</p>
<p>The study involved 18 airline pilots from the L3 Harris Airline Academy in Crawley, Gatwick, UK. These participants were required to have familiarity with the Airbus A320 aircraft systems but were not necessarily certified to fly this model or had a specific number of flying hours. The group consisted of 17 males and one female, with ages ranging from 22 to 62 years, and an average age of 39. On average, they had accumulated 2,856 flight hours on A320 series aircraft, with individual totals ranging from 0 to 7,500 hours.</p>
<p>The VR simulation environment was developed using Unity and C# programming languages, and participants accessed it through the Pico Neo 2 eye headset. Each pilot completed seven flight scenarios, interacting with the flight deck environment using Pico hand controllers.</p>
<p>To assess the simulation&;s psychological fidelity, the researchers focused on the participants&; eye movements during two specific scenarios requiring a series of safety-critical visual checks and monitoring operations following safety alerts (the Rejected Take-Off scenario and the Blues System Hydraulic faults). After completing all flight scenarios, participants provided feedback on their sense of presence within the simulator (using the Presence Questionnaire), their workload (using the Simulation Task Load Index), and the realism of the environment. An expert flight trainer evaluated their performance in the simulated flight tasks.</p>
<p>The results demonstrated that the participants found both the simulation environment and the required movements convincing and valuable for training purposes. Their reported sense of presence was moderate. Real-world flying expertise was linked to specific eye gaze patterns during the simulation. More experienced pilots displayed a tendency for fewer, but longer, eye fixations during the tasks analyzed.</p>
<p>In essence, their gaze remained fixed on particular points for extended periods, and they exhibited less frequent shifts in focus. The visual scan paths of these more experienced pilots were more organized and less erratic. However, subjective performance ratings were not correlated with either real-world flying expertise or eye movement patterns.</p>
<p>The researchers concluded, &;“Pilot reports indicated the simulation was realistic and potentially useful for training, while direct measurement of eye movements was useful for establishing construct validity and psychological fidelity of the simulation.&;</p>
<p>This study illuminates the effectiveness of a new VR flight training simulation. Nonetheless, the assessments of flight performance were based on evaluations by a single expert flight trainer, potentially introducing bias and limiting the ability to scrutinize the reliability or validity of these evaluations.</p>
<p>The paper, “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24721840.2023.2195428">Assessing Expertise Using Eye Tracking in a Virtual Reality Flight Simulation,”</a> was authored by D. J. Harris, T. Arthur, T. de Burgh, M. Duxbury, R. Lockett-Kirk, W. McBarnett, and S. J. Vine.</p>

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DATE:
February 27, 2024 at 12:00PM
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TITLE:
Eye-tracking assessments could be the future of ADHD treatment evaluation
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/eye-tracking-assessments-could-be-the-future-of-adhd-treatment-evaluation/

<p>A recent study in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/10870547231215285"><em>Journal of Attention Disorders</em></a> details the development of a novel method to objectively measure the effects of stimulant medication on individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) through the innovative use of eye-tracking technology. This new approach, dubbed <a href="https://www.ifocustest.com/">the iFocus method</a>, offers a promising tool for evaluating the efficacy of ADHD treatments in real-world settings, providing a significant leap towards personalized medicine in the management of ADHD.</p>
<p>ADHD is a condition marked by patterns of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulties with sustaining attention. It affects people of all ages, though it is most commonly identified in children before puberty. The disorder can persist into adulthood, where hyperactivity often subsides, but attention problems can continue to significantly impact academic and professional performance.</p>
<p>The primary treatment for ADHD involves stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (MPH) and amphetamines (AMP), which have been shown to effectively reduce symptoms. However, evaluating the effectiveness of these treatments has traditionally relied on subjective assessments from patients, parents, or educators, which can vary widely in accuracy.</p>
<p>To address these challenges, researchers embarked on a study to develop and test the iFocus method, a technology that could objectively assess the impact of stimulant medications on individuals with ADHD.</p>
<p>&;There currently is no objective measure of medication efficacy for ADHD that is rapid and easily used almost anywhere and anytime. This iFocus measure holds the possibility of assessing any individual who has access to a webcam and computer,&; said study author Glen Elliott of the Stanford School of Medicine.</p>
<p>The study consisted of two phases: a preliminary investigation with a small group of participants and a larger-scale study that utilized webcams to collect eye-tracking data from participants in their homes.</p>
<p>In the preliminary study, ten participants previously diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed either methylphenidate or amphetamine participated. They engaged in reading tasks while their eye movements were tracked using high-fidelity eye-tracking equipment. The tasks were designed to measure reading pace and comprehension, with participants completing the tasks both on and off medication.</p>
<p>The results showed a significant increase in reading pace when participants were on medication, suggesting that stimulants positively affect reading performance, a proxy for attentional capabilities.</p>
<p>Building on these findings, the larger-scale study involved 100 participants who completed reading tasks under similar conditions, but this time using a webcam and the Umoove eye-tracking package in the comfort of their homes. This study aimed to validate the use of widely available technology for assessing medication effects remotely.</p>
<p>Participants completed sessions both on and off medication, with eye movement data processed to extract features related to reading behavior. A machine learning algorithm was then applied to classify these sessions as on or off medication based on the extracted features.</p>
<p>The results demonstrated the algorithm&;s ability to distinguish between medicated and unmedicated states with reasonable accuracy, reinforcing the potential of the iFocus method as a tool for monitoring ADHD treatment efficacy.</p>
<p>&;If a person is taking stimulants or knows someone who is, they should consider trying out the iFocus measure, especially if they are unsure if the medication is having an effect,&; Elliott told PsyPost.</p>
<p>However, the studies also highlighted several limitations. The sample size, though sufficient to demonstrate statistical significance, was relatively small, indicating the need for further research with larger participant groups to refine the methodology and validate the findings.</p>
<p>Additionally, the studies focused on the effects of stimulants rather than their overall efficacy in improving ADHD symptoms, suggesting that future research should incorporate standardized questionnaires to provide a more comprehensive assessment of treatment impact.</p>
<p>&;iFocus is a new technology based on an AI algorithm,&; Elliott explained. &;The algorithm was trained on a population of 100 people who participated in the study. Since ADHD varies significantly among individuals, it might not work for everyone at this point. No medical decision should be made based solely on the iFocus score; rather, iFocus can help guide discussions between clinicians and patients as well as help patients feel more confident about their decisions.&;</p>
<p>&;At present, use of the iFocus measure is free as we collect more information,&; he added. &;It potentially can be useful both to individuals on stimulants and to the prescribing physician.&;</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/10870547231215285" target="_blank" rel="noopener">An Objective Assessment of Effect of Stimulants on Attention in Individuals With ADHD</a>,&; was authored by Glen R. Elliott, Adi Diner, and Einat Sitbon.</p>

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DATE:
February 27, 2024 at 10:00AM
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TITLE:
Femmephobia: A hidden but powerful driver of anti-gay behavior
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/femmephobia-psychology-hidden-but-powerful-driver-of-anti-gay-behavior/

<p>In a study published in the <em>Archives of Sexual Behavior</em>, researchers have identified femmephobia — negative attitudes toward femininity in men — as a stronger predictor of anti-gay behavior among heterosexual men than other commonly cited factors, such as social dominance. This challenges existing frameworks on discrimination and suggests a need for a shift in focus to address these deeply ingrained societal biases.</p>
<p>Previous studies on discrimination against gay individuals have concentrated on homophobia and hierarchical views, theorizing that prejudices stem from moral convictions or the belief in the inherent superiority of certain groups. Yet, the concept of femmephobia has remained largely underexplored until now. By employing correlational analyses, researchers have been able to draw connections between attitudes and behaviors without directly manipulating study variables — offering a window into the natural occurrence of these phenomena in the general population.</p>
<p>The motivation behind this study stems from a critical gap in understanding the factors that contribute to anti-gay behavior. Researchers wanted to understand how societal perceptions of gender and femininity influence discriminatory actions — proposing that femmephobia could play a pivotal role. This inquiry was driven by the hypothesis that negative views on men&;s femininity might be a significant, yet overlooked, behavior that fuels this.</p>
<p>417 heterosexual men ranging from 18 to 35 years old were recruited from Facebook, postcard mailings, and filters — and were all surveyed to gauge their levels of femmephobia alongside other factors like social dominance orientation, right-wing authoritarianism, narcissism, and homonegativity. Through an online questionnaire, participants self-reported their anti-gay behaviors and attitudes towards men&;s femininity.</p>
<p>The findings were striking: femmephobia accounted for 23% of the variance in anti-gay behavior, outstripping the combined explanatory power of other predictors such as social dominance orientation, and right-wing authoritarianism. Furthermore, the study revealed that social dominance only predicted anti-gay behavior in the presence of high levels of femmephobia — highlighting a complex relationship between societal biases and discrimination.</p>
<p>In essence, discomfort with men displaying stereotypically feminine behaviors was found to be a significant force driving heterosexual men to engage in anti-gay actions.</p>
<p>While the study is revealing, it crucial to consider where it may fall short — namely, in the realm of reliance on self-reported data, which raises concerns about potential bias, and the studyʼs correlational nature, due to which causality cannot necessarily be inferred from the findings.</p>
<p>Still, the study&;s implications extend beyond academia, and can be kept in mind by practical applications for educators, clinicians, and policymakers when crafting policies or other paradigms that challenge societal norms around gender and femininity.</p>
<p>&;Our findings emphasize that negative views toward femininity in men powerfully predict anti-gay behavior, outstripping many other previously studied factors associated with anti-gay aggression and discrimination,&; the researchers concluded. &;The findings suggest that when understanding anti-gay behavior, assessing attitudes toward gender and gender expression, particularly femininity, is an important piece.</p>
<p>&;Increasingly positive attitudes toward same-sex relationships, parenting, and the general inclusion of sexual minorities within society may be proliferating. However, ingrained societal notions about the “proper” displays of femininity and acceptable reactions to violations of norms surrounding femininity may persist. These enduring perceptions might explain why anti-gay behavior remains prominent even though societal acceptance of same-sex relationships, in principle, is at an all-time high.&;</p>
<p>Rhea Ashley Hoskin, Karen L. Blair, and Diane Holmberg from the University of Waterloo, Trent University, and Acadia University, respectively, authored the present study, &;<a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-023-02704-5">Femmephobia Is a Uniquely Powerful Predictor of Anti‑Gay Behavior</a>.&;</p>

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DATE:
February 27, 2024 at 08:00AM
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TITLE:
The neuroscience of greed: A glimpse into our brain’s reaction to fear and desire
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/the-neuroscience-of-greed-a-glimpse-into-our-brains-reaction-to-fear-and-desire/

<p>In a recent study published in <em><a href="https://doi.org/10.1186/s12993-023-00223-w" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Behavioral and Brain Functions</a></em>, scientists have delved into the interplay between fear and greed, revealing intriguing insights into our brain&;s workings. By examining how individuals&; brains react to negative emotional faces, the research sheds light on the neurological underpinnings of dispositional greed, offering a novel perspective on the age-old adage of fear and greed driving human behavior.</p>
<p>The scientific investigation was motivated by the desire to bridge a gap in our understanding of the neurobiological roots of greed, especially outside the financial realm. While fear often leads to defensive actions, greed pushes individuals towards risk-taking and aggressive behaviors.</p>
<p>This divergence, particularly evident in financial decision-making, suggests a complex relationship between our emotional responses and behavioral outcomes. The researchers aimed to explore this relationship further by focusing on how the brain&;s reaction to negative emotions relates to greed.</p>
<p>&;Greed is an extremely critical theme in the history of human development,&; said study author Qiang Wang, a professor at Tianjin Normal University in China. &;It has attracted the attention from many disciplines, including philosophy, religion, economics, and psychology.&;</p>
<p>&;With the development of brain imaging techniques such as fMRI, EEG, and MEG, we have an opportunity to comprehensively understand its cognitive and neural mechanisms. However, the studies using these neuroscience techniques are relatively few, and my personal interest on this topic further drives me to conduct experiments focusing on greed.&;</p>
<p>For their study, the researchers recruited 452 college students, with the participants&; ages ranging between 18 and 26 years. These individuals were divided into two cohorts: one that underwent a task-based fMRI scan while engaging in a face-matching task (Cohort 1) and another that participated only in resting-state fMRI scanning (Cohort 2).</p>
<p>Prior to the scanning sessions, all participants were assessed for their level of greed using the 7-item Dispositional Greed Scale (DGS), a validated tool designed to measure greed as a personality trait. This scale helped the researchers quantify the tendency to act greedy, facilitating a correlational analysis with neural activity.</p>
<p>The face-matching task, employed with Cohort 1, was chosen for its efficiency and low-cost in terms of time for investigating basic emotional responses like fear and anger. Participants in this cohort were shown a trio of faces and asked to select one of two faces at the bottom of the screen that matched the target face displayed at the top.</p>
<p>This task included blocks of fearful, angry, and neutral faces, designed to elicit brain reactivity to negative emotional faces without imposing domain-specific biases. The task&;s structure — interleaving blocks of face matching with blocks of a shape-matching sensorimotor control task — allowed for a clear comparison between emotional and non-emotional processing in the brain.</p>
<p>Contrary to what might be expected based on previous research, the researchers did not find a direct association between the amygdala&;s reactivity to negative emotional faces and dispositional greed. The amygdala is known for its role in processing emotional stimuli, particularly fear and anger.</p>
<p>A pivotal discovery of the study was the significant relationship between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) reactivity to negative emotional faces and dispositional greed. Specifically, individuals with higher levels of dispositional greed exhibited altered reactivity in the vmPFC when faced with negative stimuli, suggesting a unique neural basis of greed that differs from the traditional understanding of fear-driven behaviors.</p>
<p>Further illuminating the study&;s findings were the observations regarding functional connectivity between the vmPFC and other brain regions. The research found that individuals with higher greed levels demonstrated weaker functional connectivity between the vmPFC and regions associated with top-down control and visual processing when engaging with negative emotional stimuli. This pattern indicates that greed may involve a diminished regulation of negative emotions, as well as altered processing of emotional and social cues, pointing to a broader network of brain regions involved in the manifestation of greed.</p>
<p>&;Greedy people are not as happy as we imagine,&; Wang told PsyPost. &;The possible mechanism might depend on the neural response to negative emotion faces, especially in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex but not the amygdala.&;</p>
<p>These findings lay the groundwork for future research aimed at unraveling the intricate neural networks that govern greed and its effects on human behavior. By pinpointing the vmPFC as a key region associated with greed, the study opens new avenues for understanding the brain mechanisms linked to selfish behaviors.</p>
<p>While the study offers groundbreaking insights, it also has limitations, such as its focus on a specific demographic (college students) and the use of a singular task for emotional elicitation. These factors highlight the need for further research involving diverse populations and varied methodologies to fully understand the neural dynamics of greed.</p>
<p>&;I will continue to unveil the neural substrates underlying greed, especially focusing on the emotion, reward, and top-down control networks as well as possible non-invasive neural stimulation to modulate individual greed level on money and materials,&; Wang said.</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://behavioralandbrainfunctions.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12993-023-00223-w" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reactivity of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, but not the amygdala, to negative emotion faces predicts greed personality trait</a>,&; was authored by Kun Deng, Weipeng Jin, Keying Jiang, Zixi Li, Hohjin Im, Shuning Chen, Hanxiao Du, Shunping Guan, Wei Ge, Chuqiao Wei, Bin Zhang, Pinchun Wang, Guang Zhao, Chunhui Chen, Liqing Liu, and Qiang Wang.</p>

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DATE:
February 27, 2024 at 07:00AM
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TITLE:
Exposure therapy for arachnophobia can benefit unrelated fears, study finds
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/exposure-therapy-for-arachnophobia-can-benefit-unrelated-fears-study-finds/

<p>Researchers have found that people who are scared of one thing often become scared of similar things too, a process known as fear generalization. Exposure therapy, where people are gradually exposed to what they’re afraid of in a controlled way, is the best treatment we have, teaching the brain that the feared thing is no longer a threat. This therapy doesn’t just reduce fear of the specific thing it’s aimed at but can also lessen fear of other, similar things. For example, treating a fear of spiders might also reduce a fear of cockroaches.</p>
<p>Iris Kodzaga and colleagues looked into whether this effect can apply to completely different fears, like treating a fear of spiders to help with a fear of heights, to understand how broad and effective this therapy can be. This research was published in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-023-02698-7"><em>Translational Psychiatry</em></a>.</p>
<p>A telephone screening process identified individuals between 18–40 years old who reported fears of spiders and heights, excluding those with acute psychological conditions or ongoing treatments. This process narrowed down the participant pool to a final sample of 50, divided into exposure and control groups.</p>
<p>Materials used in the study included a non-venomous house spider and a 72-meter church tower for the fear-inducing stimuli, alongside various diagnostic and assessment tools such as the Mini-DIPS, Beck’s Depression Inventory-II, and the Fear of Spiders Questionnaire. Behavioral Approach Tests (BATs) assessed fear and avoidance behaviors towards spiders and heights.</p>
<p>The study started with the initial screening and recruitment, followed by a pre-assessment phase where participants completed diagnostic interviews and questionnaires, and underwent BATs for spiders and heights to establish baseline fear levels. The exposure group then received therapy based on Öst’s protocol, involving 14 steps of increasing proximity to the spider, monitored by the Subjective Unit of Distress Scale.</p>
<p>A post-assessment for this group involved repeating the BATs and questionnaires to gauge changes in fear and avoidance behaviors. The control group underwent a similar process but without the exposure therapy, to assess the impact of time and task repetition alone.</p>
<p>Exposure therapy significantly reduced fear and avoidance behaviors in individuals with a fear of spiders, with improvements observed in both subjective fear levels and behavioral scores during spider BATs. These effects were not only confined to the treated spider fear but also generalized to an untreated fear of heights.</p>
<p>Both the exposure and control groups exhibited increased approach behavior towards heights, but the exposure group showed a more substantial reduction in fear, as evidenced by decreased subjective fear ratings and Acrophobia Questionnaire scores. This indicates that exposure therapy not only directly addresses specific fears but also has a broader impact on reducing related, untreated fears, showcasing its effectiveness in tackling fear generalization.</p>
<p>Future studies ought to replicate these findings across various anxiety disorders and include long-term follow-ups to assess the durability of these generalization effects.</p>
<p>The paper, “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-023-02698-7">Generalization of beneficial exposure effects to untreated stimuli from another fear category</a>”, was authored by Iris Kodzaga, Ekrem Dere, and Armin Zlomuzica.</p>

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DATE:
February 27, 2024
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TITLE:
Conversations on Social Work Careers: Interview With Dr. Jonathan Singer
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URL:
https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/career-jobs/interview-dr-jonathan-singer-social-work-pioneer/

In this episode of Conversations on Social Work Careers, Your Social Work Career Coach Jennifer Luna interviews Dr. Jonathan Singer. Jonathan is the founder of The Social Work Podcast and was inducted as an NASW Social Work Pioneer® in 2023.
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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 10:00PM
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TITLE:
Here’s why you crave sugar, salt and carbs, according to science
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/heres-why-you-crave-sugar-salt-and-carbs-according-to-science/

<p>We all want to eat healthily, especially as we reset our health goals at the start of a new year. But sometimes these plans are sabotaged by powerful cravings for sweet, salty or carb-heavy foods.</p>
<p>So why do you crave these foods when you’re trying to improve your diet or lose weight? And what can you do about it?</p>
<p>There are many reasons for craving specific foods, but let’s focus on four common ones:</p>
<h2>1. Blood sugar crashes</h2>
<p>Sugar is a key energy source for all animals, and its taste is one of the most basic sensory experiences. Even without specific sweet taste receptors on the tongue, a strong preference for sugar can develop, indicating a mechanism beyond taste alone.</p>
<p>Neurons <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41593-021-00982-7">responding to sugar</a> are activated when sugar is delivered to the gut. This can increase appetite and make you want to consume more. Giving into cravings also drives an appetite for more sugar.</p>
<p>In the long term, research suggests a high-sugar diet can affect <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m2382">mood</a>, digestion and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33339337/">inflammation</a> in the <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.aay6218?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">gut</a>.</p>
<p>While there’s a lot of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763402000040?via%3Dihub#aep-section-id23">variation between individuals</a>, regularly eating sugary and high-carb foods can lead to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30951762/">rapid spikes and crashes</a> in blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar drops, your body can respond by craving quick sources of energy, often in the form of sugar and carbs because these deliver the fastest, most easily accessible form of energy.</p>
<h2>2. Drops in dopamine and serotonin</h2>
<p>Certain neurotransmitters, such as <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30595479/">dopamine</a>, are involved in the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. Eating sugary and carb-rich foods can trigger the release of dopamine, creating a pleasurable experience and reinforcing the craving.</p>
<p>Serotonin, the feel-good hormone, suppresses <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1569733910700886">appetite</a>. Natural changes in serotonin can influence daily fluctuations in mood, energy levels and attention. It’s also associated with eating more <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5829131/">carb-rich snacks in the afternoon</a>.</p>
<p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21985780/">Low carb diets</a> may reduce serotonin and lower mood. However, a recent systematic review suggests little association between these diets and risk for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032722013933?via%3Dihub">anxiety and depression</a>.</p>
<p>Compared to men, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4189179/">women tend to crave more carb rich foods</a>. Feeling irritable, tired, depressed or experiencing carb cravings are part of premenstrual <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29218451/">symptoms</a> and could be <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560698/">linked to</a> reduced <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9928757/">serotonin levels</a>.</p>
<h2>3. Loss of fluids and drops in blood sugar and salt</h2>
<p>Sometimes our bodies crave the things they’re missing, such as hydration or even salt. A low-carb diet, for example, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537084/">depleats</a> insulin levels, decreasing sodium and water retention.</p>
<p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1933287419302673">Very low-carb diets</a>, like ketogenic diets, induce “ketosis”, a metabolic state where the body switches to using fat as its primary energy source, moving away from the usual dependence on carbohydrates.</p>
<p>Ketosis is often associated with increased urine production, further contributing to potential fluid loss, electrolyte imbalances and salt cravings.</p>
<h2>4. High levels of stress or emotional turmoil</h2>
<p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214609/">Stress</a>, boredom and emotional turmoil can lead to cravings for comfort foods. This is because stress-related hormones can impact our appetite, satiety (feeling full) and food preferences.</p>
<p>The stress hormone <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3425607/">cortisol</a>, in particular, can drive cravings for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453000000354">sweet comfort foods</a>.</p>
<p>A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453000000354">2001 study</a> of 59 premenopausal women subjected to stress revealed that the stress led to higher calorie consumption.</p>
<p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37295418/">A more recent study</a> found chronic stress, when paired with high-calorie diet, increases food intake and a preference for sweet foods. This shows the importance of a healthy diet during stress to prevent weight gain.</p>
<h2>What can you do about cravings?</h2>
<p>Here are four tips to curb cravings:</p>
<p><strong>1) don’t cut out whole food groups.</strong> Aim for a well-balanced diet and make sure you include:</p>
<ul>
<li><em>sufficient protein</em> in your meals to help you feel full and reduce the urge to snack on sugary and carb-rich foods. Older adults should aim for 20–40g protein per meal with a particular focus on <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jhn.12838">breakfast and lunch</a> and an overall daily protein intake of at least <a href="https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/43411">0.8g</a> per kg of body weight for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35187864/">muscle health</a></li>
<li><em>fibre-rich foods</em>, such as vegetables and whole grains. These make you feel full and <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32142510/">stabilise your blood sugar</a> levels. Examples include broccoli, quinoa, brown rice, oats, beans, lentils and bran cereals. Substitute refined carbs high in sugar like processed snack bars, soft drink or baked goods for more complex ones like whole grain bread or wholewheat muffins, or nut and seed bars or energy bites made with chia seeds and oats</li>
</ul>
<p><strong>2) manage your stress levels.</strong> Practise stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to manage emotional triggers for cravings. Practising <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30570305/">mindful eating</a>, by eating slowly and tuning into bodily sensations, can also reduce daily calorie intake and curb cravings and stress-driven eating</p>
<p><strong>3) get enough sleep.</strong> Aim for <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33054337/">seven to eight</a> hours of quality sleep per night, with a minimum of seven hours. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9031614/">Lack of sleep</a> can disrupt hormones that regulate hunger and cravings</p>
<p><strong>4) control your portions.</strong> If you decide to indulge in a treat, control your portion size to avoid overindulging.</p>
<p>Overcoming cravings for sugar, salt and carbs when trying to eat healthily or lose weight is undoubtedly a formidable challenge. Remember, it’s a journey, and setbacks may occur. Be patient with yourself – your success is not defined by occasional cravings but by your ability to manage and overcome them.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img decoding="async" style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/212114/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-want-to-eat-healthily-so-why-do-i-crave-sugar-salt-and-carbs-212114">original article</a>.</em></p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 06:00PM
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TITLE:
Cutting-edge optogenetics study reveals how the sense of touch shapes time perception
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/cutting-edge-optogenetics-study-reveals-how-the-sense-of-touch-shapes-time-perception/

<p>In a groundbreaking study published in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-45970-0"><em>Nature Communications</em></a>, researchers led by Professor Mathew Diamond of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Italy have unveiled a fascinating link between the sense of touch and our perception of time, a connection that had long puzzled scientists.</p>
<p>The study demonstrates how the somatosensory cortex, the part of the brain responsible for processing sensory information from our skin, plays a crucial role in how we perceive the duration of tactile experiences. This revelation not only deepens our understanding of sensory perception but also suggests that our sense of time is intertwined with multiple brain functions, including touch.</p>
<p>The researchers embarked on this study to address a long-standing question in neuroscience: how do we perceive time, given that there are no direct sensory receptors for it like there are for sight, sound, or touch?</p>
<p>Previous research hinted that the perception of time might be linked to other sensory modalities, but the mechanisms behind this connection were unclear. The team aimed to explore whether the somatosensory cortex, which processes touch, could also contribute to our sense of time, thereby suggesting a more integrated approach to understanding sensory perception.</p>
<p>For their new study, the researchers utilized optogenetics, a cutting-edge technique that allows for the precise control of neuron activity using light. This approach allows scientists to control the activity of specific neurons in the brain with light, offering unprecedented precision in studying the brain&;s functions.</p>
<p>To examine how these neurons might also contribute to the perception of time, the researchers conducted experiments on rats. These animals were chosen for their well-understood somatosensory system, which shares fundamental characteristics with humans.</p>
<p>The rats were trained in two distinct tasks: one group was trained to judge the intensity of tactile stimuli (vibrations applied to their whiskers), while the other group was trained to assess the duration of these stimuli. This setup allowed the researchers to isolate the perception of intensity from the perception of duration, focusing on each aspect independently.</p>
<p>By applying optogenetic techniques, the researchers could then selectively increase the neuronal activity in the somatosensory cortex of these rats. This manipulation had different effects depending on the task the rats were trained to perform. In the group trained to judge intensity, enhancing neuronal activity led the animals to perceive the vibrations as stronger.</p>
<p>Conversely, in the group focused on duration, the same increase in neuronal activity caused the vibrations to be perceived as lasting longer. These outcomes suggest that the neurons in the somatosensory cortex are not only processing tactile information but are also involved in constructing the perception of time related to these tactile experiences.</p>
<p>The study&;s findings reveal a dual functionality of the somatosensory cortex, highlighting its role in both the tactile sense and time perception. This discovery challenges the traditional view that time perception is managed by distinct, dedicated brain regions. Instead, it supports the idea that our perception of time is integrated with other sensory experiences and relies on a widespread network of brain areas with diverse functions.</p>
<p>The researchers also developed a mathematical model to link the physiology of cortical neurons directly with the resulting percepts of duration and intensity, providing a theoretical framework for understanding how these complex neural processes translate into subjective experiences.</p>
<p>&;The neuronal mechanisms underlying the perception of the duration of sensory events are still not fully known,&; explained Diamond. &;It is believed that, rather than relying on a single dedicated brain center, the perception of time emanates from networks of neurons distributed across various brain regions. The study&;s findings demonstrate that the sensory processing stage of cortex is one component of the network. This means that one population of cortical neurons can give rise to two distinct sensory experiences, emphasizing the interconnected nature of time perception and touch.&;</p>
<p>But as with all research, the study includes limitations. For one, the research was conducted on rats, and while their somatosensory systems share similarities with humans, further research is needed to confirm if the same mechanisms apply to human perception of time. Moreover, the study focused on the somatosensory cortex and its role in time perception within the context of tactile stimuli. Other senses and brain regions involved in time perception remain to be explored in more detail.</p>
<p>Future research will likely delve into the broader network of brain areas involved in sensing time, exploring how these mechanisms operate across different sensory modalities and in more complex perceptual tasks. Additionally, understanding how these processes might be altered in neurological conditions could open new avenues for therapeutic interventions.</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-024-45970-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Direct contribution of the sensory cortex to the judgment of stimulus duration</a>,&; was authored by Sebastian Reinartz, Arash Fassihi, Maria Ravera, Luciano Paz, Francesca Pulecchi, Marco Gigante, and Mathew E. Diamond.</p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 04:00PM
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TITLE:
Kundalini yoga bolsters cognitive health among older women at risk of Alzheimer’s disease
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/kundalini-yoga-bolsters-cognitive-health-among-older-women-at-risk-of-alzheimers-disease/

<p>A new study from UCLA Health has illuminated the benefits of Kundalini yoga for older women at risk of Alzheimer&;s disease. The study, published in <em><a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-024-02807-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Translational Psychiatry</a></em>, reveals that Kundalini yoga not only bolsters cognition and memory but also rejuvenates neural pathways, curtails the decline of brain matter, and reverses biomarkers associated with aging and inflammation.</p>
<p>These outcomes were not observed in a comparison group who received standard memory training exercises. This research represents a significant leap forward in our understanding of how holistic practices can counteract the risks associated with Alzheimer’s, particularly among women.</p>
<p>Alzheimer&;s disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative condition that progressively erodes memory and cognitive functions. With no effective treatments to slow its progression, the focus has shifted towards prevention, especially in its early stages. Women, interestingly, are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to men, a disparity attributed to factors such as longer life expectancy, hormonal changes during menopause, and genetics.</p>
<p>Kundalini yoga, a mind-body exercise integrating physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, has emerged as a promising intervention. Its holistic approach aims to harmonize physiological and cognitive processes, making it a suitable candidate for enhancing cognitive health and aging gracefully. This led Helen Lavretsky and her team at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior to explore Kundalini yoga&;s potential in early prevention of cognitive decline among postmenopausal women at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease.</p>
<p>Participants were recruited from a pool of women utilizing the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital&;s services and through community outreach, with 79 individuals ultimately enrolling in the study. These women were at least 50 years old, postmenopausal, and self-reported subjective cognitive decline, alongside having one or more cardiovascular risk factors. They were then randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups: Kundalini yoga or memory enhancement training.</p>
<p>The Kundalini yoga group engaged in weekly, 60-minute sessions led by certified instructors for a duration of 12 weeks. These sessions comprised a series of exercises, including tuning in, warm-up, breathing techniques (Pranayama), Kirtan Kriya meditation, and a final resting pose, complemented by daily home practices.</p>
<p>The memory training group, in contrast, attended weekly group classes focused on teaching memory strategies, also for 12 weeks. This program emphasized verbal and visual association techniques, organizational strategies, and the development of memory habits, supported by homework assignments to reinforce learning.</p>
<p>The study employed a comprehensive suite of assessments to evaluate cognitive functions, subjective memory, mood, resilience, and quality of life at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks. Cognitive performance was measured using tests that assessed domains such as delayed recall and executive functioning. Subjective memory was evaluated through the Memory Functioning Questionnaire, while additional scales and inventories were used to assess secondary outcomes like depression, anxiety, stress, and health-related quality of life.</p>
<p>Blood samples were also taken to test for gene expression of aging markers and for molecules associated with inflammation, which are contributing factors to Alzheimer’s disease. A handful of patients were also assessed with MRIs to study changes in brain matter.</p>
<p>The researchers found that participants who engaged in Kundalini yoga experienced significant cognitive and neurobiological improvements, which were not observed in the comparison group that received standard memory enhancement training.</p>
<p>One of the key outcomes was the improvement in memory performance and subjective memory measures among the Kundalini yoga participants. These individuals reported a notable enhancement in the seriousness of forgetting, indicating a perceived improvement in their memory function. This finding is particularly significant as it suggests that Kundalini yoga could offer a meaningful intervention for individuals experiencing subjective cognitive decline, a precursor to more severe cognitive impairments.</p>
<p>However, it&;s important to note that while Kundalini yoga participants saw improvements in subjective memory, they also experienced a reduction in delayed recall capabilities over the 24-week period, a finding not observed in the memory training group.</p>
<p>In addition to cognitive outcomes, the researchers found that Kundalini yoga was associated with the reversal of aging and inflammation-associated gene expression signatures. This suggests that the practice not only impacts cognitive functions directly but may also influence broader biological processes related to aging and neurodegeneration. Such findings are crucial for understanding how lifestyle interventions like yoga can mitigate the risk factors associated with Alzheimer&;s disease and promote healthy brain aging.</p>
<p>&;That is what yoga is good for &; to reduce stress, to improve brain health, subjective memory performance and reduce inflammation and improve neuroplasticity,&; Lavretsky said.</p>
<p>Moreover, the study highlighted the tolerability and feasibility of Kundalini yoga as an intervention for this population. The yoga group demonstrated high levels of adherence and minimal adverse effects, reinforcing the practice&;s potential as a safe and effective strategy for enhancing cognitive health among older adults at risk of Alzheimer’s disease.</p>
<p>But no changes were observed in anxiety, depression, stress, or resilience among participants engaging in either Kundalini yoga or memory training exercises. Lavretsky suggested that the initial mental well-being of the participants could be a key factor behind this observation. Given that the study population was relatively healthy with no significant depression or anxiety at baseline, it stands to reason that the interventions might not lead to substantial improvements in these areas simply because there was less room for improvement.</p>
<p>Despite these promising findings, the researchers also acknowledged several limitations, including the modest sample size and the study&;s relatively short duration. These factors may limit the generalizability of the results and the ability to draw definitive conclusions about the long-term effects of Kundalini yoga on cognitive health and Alzheimer&;s prevention. Additionally, the study did not include a usual care control group, which could have provided a baseline for comparing the natural progression of cognitive decline in this population.</p>
<p>Lavretsky added that combining yoga and memory training could provide more comprehensive benefits to the cognition of older women. “Ideally, people should do both because they do train different parts of the brain and have different overall health effects,” she said. “Yoga has this anti-inflammatory, stress-reducing, anti-aging neuroplastic brain effect which would be complimentary to memory training.”</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-024-02807-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Cognitive and immunological effects of yoga compared to memory training in older women at risk for alzheimer’s disease</a>,&; was authored by Adrienne Grzenda, Prabha Siddarth, Michaela M. Milillo, Yesenia Aguilar-Faustino, Dharma S. Khalsa, and Helen Lavretsky.</p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 03:00PM
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TITLE:
Psychopathic tendencies linked to a psychological predisposition towards populism
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/psychopathic-tendencies-linked-to-a-psychological-predisposition-towards-populism/

<p>Psychopathic traits are associated with the endorsement of populist attitudes, according to new research published in the journal <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261379423001506"><em>Electoral Studies</em></a>. The findings shed light on the psychological foundations of populism, focusing on how the Dark Triad of personality interacts with populist beliefs across various European nations.</p>
<p>Populism is a political approach that seeks to champion the common people against a perceived elite or establishment that is considered corrupt or out of touch with the general population&;s needs. At its core, populism divides society into two antagonistic groups: the pure people and the corrupt elite. Populism can manifest across the political spectrum, from left to right, and has been a driving force behind various political movements and leaders around the world, including Donald Trump in the United States.</p>
<p>The Dark Triad, on the other hand, refers to a trio of negative personality traits: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. Machiavellianism is characterized by manipulativeness, a cynical disregard for morality, and a focus on self-interest. Narcissism involves grandiosity, entitlement, and a lack of empathy. Psychopathy is marked by impulsivity, a lack of remorse, and antisocial behavior.</p>
<p>While these traits are considered socially aversive, they lie within the normal range of human personality and are not necessarily pathological. However, they have been linked to various negative outcomes in interpersonal relationships and social settings.</p>
<p>The authors of the new study, Nathalie Hofstetter and Maximilian Filsinger of the University of Bern, sought to better understand the psychological foundations of populism, particularly how the Dark Triad traits relate to populist attitudes. Despite the burgeoning interest in populism, its psychological underpinnings remain relatively underexplored, especially regarding how darker personality traits may influence one&;s susceptibility to populist ideologies.</p>
<p>&;While most research featured general personality traits, we focus on the role of darker nuances of personality about which even less is known,&; the researchers explained. &;This is surprising as populism is generally described in negative terms as it pits distinct groups against each other resulting in a confrontative style of politics. Furthermore, the Dark Triad traits of Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy are believed to have distinct relevance to the domain of politics and have been shown to characterize populist leaders.&;</p>
<p>In the spring of 2020, the researchers surveyed more than 6,000 individuals in six European democracies: Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. This choice of countries provided a diverse set of contexts in terms of the historical background, ideological nature, and the institutional settings of populism. To enhance representativeness, quota sampling was employed based on age, gender, and education, with an additional consideration for language in Switzerland.</p>
<p>To measure the Dark Triad traits, the researchers used a slightly adapted and shortened version of the Short Dark Triad (SD3) scale. They also evaluated the Big Five personality traits using the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI). This instrument is renowned for its brevity and effectiveness in capturing the broad dimensions of personality, including openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.</p>
<p>Populist attitudes were operationalized as a multidimensional concept, encompassing <em>people centrism</em> (e.g. &;The will of the people should be the highest principle in this country&;s politics&;), <em>anti-elitism</em> (e.g. “I would rather be represented by a citizen than by a specialized politician”), and <em>Manicheanism</em> (e.g. “You can tell if a person is good or bad if you know their politics”).</p>
<p>The researchers discovered that among the Dark Triad traits, psychopathy emerged as the most consistent predictor of populist attitudes, displaying a significant and robust relationship across the surveyed countries. Individuals scoring high on psychopathy were found to possess stronger populist attitudes overall, particularly marked by a pronounced Manichean outlook, which views society and politics through a lens of moralistic good-versus-evil dichotomies.</p>
<p>Interestingly, while people with high levels of psychopathy tended to embrace populist attitudes more fervently, they were less inclined towards people centrism, suggesting a nuanced interaction between specific components of populism and darker personality traits.</p>
<p>Machiavellianism also showed a noteworthy, albeit less systematic, association with populist attitudes. The trait was positively related to populist attitudes in several countries, indicating that individuals who exhibit manipulative and self-serving behaviors might be more susceptible to populist ideologies. This relationship, however, was not universally observed across all the countries studied, hinting at the potential influence of contextual factors on how personality traits translate into political attitudes.</p>
<p>Contrary to expectations, narcissism did not display a significant relationship with populist attitudes. This finding challenges some of the preconceived notions about the role of self-centeredness and entitlement in driving populist inclinations, suggesting that the appeal of populism cannot simply be attributed to narcissistic tendencies. The absence of a strong link between narcissism and populist attitudes across the diverse political landscapes of the surveyed countries underscores the complexity of the psychological underpinnings of populism.</p>
<p>The findings also indicated that conscientiousness and agreeableness were particularly relevant in understanding the populist personality profile. High levels of conscientiousness and agreeableness were generally associated with lower levels of populist attitudes, suggesting that individuals who are more dutiful, reliable, cooperative, and empathetic might be less drawn to populist ideologies.</p>
<p>But the study &; like all research &; includes some limitations, such as the use of short scales for measuring personality traits and the cross-sectional nature of the data, which precludes causal inferences. The researchers call for future studies to adopt more nuanced measures and sophisticated designs to explore the contingent effects of personality traits on populist attitudes across different contexts.</p>
<p>&;Despite these caveats, we are confident that the present study is a meaningful contribution to the still very sparse and inconclusive literature on the (dark) personality correlates of populist attitudes and provides important implications for future research in the field&; our study provides a stepping-stone for a more rigorous testing of the contingent effects of personality on populist attitudes,&; the researchers concluded.</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2023.102728">A justified bad reputation after all? Dark personality traits and populist attitudes in comparative perspective</a>,&; was authored by Nathalie Hofstetter and Maximilian Filsinger</p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 02:00PM
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TITLE:
Do women’s views on dating reflect their broader attitudes toward gender? Hereʼs what the research says
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/do-womens-views-on-dating-reflect-their-broader-attitudes-toward-gender-here%ca%bcs-what-the-research-says/

<p>The journal <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-023-01405-6"><em>Sex Roles</em></a> published a study revealing a significant link between single women&;s support for traditional heteronormative dating scripts — and their attitudes toward sexism, feminism, preferences for dominant partners, and their stance on short- term relationships. Conducted across three samples of Australian women, the study highlights how societal expectations around romance are rooted in broader gender attitudes and preferences.</p>
<p>Traditional heteronormative dating scripts are a set of societal norms and expectations that dictate how men and women should behave in romantic and sexual contexts, reinforcing traditional gender roles. According to these scripts, men are expected to take the lead by initiating dates, paying for outings, proposing marriage, and being the dominant partner, while women are portrayed as passive recipients of men&;s advances, waiting to be asked out, and adopting their husband’s surname after marriage.</p>
<p>Previous research has illuminated how sexism and feminist identities shape these expectations, but this latest study delves deeper, exploring how personal preferences for partners and relationship types further influence these traditional scripts. By employing correlational analyses, the researchers were able to unpack the relationships between various attitudes and preferences and how they align with the endorsement of traditional dating roles.</p>
<p>Driven by a desire to understand the nuanced dynamics of dating scripts beyond the views of sexism and feminism, the researchers made the basis of their work around whether women&;s personal partner preferences and relationship orientations could also predict their adherence to traditional dating norms. This exploration would serve as a new lens through which to view the persistence of traditional gender roles in the context of romantic relationships.</p>
<p>To tackle these questions, the team utilized hierarchical regression analyses across three distinct online samples, comprising a total of 458 single Australian women. This allowed for a detailed examination of how each factor — sexist attitudes, feminist identity, preference for dominant partners, and relationship orientation — uniquely contributed to the endorsement of traditional dating scripts, providing a large understanding of the influences at play.</p>
<p>Firstly, hostile sexism, characterized by overt negativity towards women not adhering to traditional roles, and benevolent sexism, which superficially places women on a pedestal while simultaneously restricting their roles, were both predictors of women&;s acceptance of traditional dating norms. This indicates that underlying sexist attitudes, whether overtly negative or seemingly positive, play a critical role in sustaining traditional romantic scripts that dictate men&;s initiation and dominance and women&;s passivity in romantic and sexual contexts.</p>
<p>Secondly, women who identified strongly with feminist principles were found to be less likely to endorse traditional dating norms. This suggests that a feminist identity acts as a buffer against the acceptance of traditional dating norms that perpetuate gender stereotypes and inequalities.</p>
<p>The researchers also found that women&;s preferences for dominant male partners and their desire for long-term over short-term relationships significantly predicted their support for traditional dating norms.</p>
<p>This suggests that beyond societal norms and individual attitudes towards gender, women&;s personal romantic preferences also play a crucial role in their acceptance of traditional dating roles. Specifically, women who value dominance in male partners and who prioritize long-term commitment may find traditional dating norms appealing as they align with these preferences.</p>
<p>Despite offering valuable insights, the studyʼs focus on single Australian women limits the generalizability of the findings across different cultures and relationship statuses. Additionally, the study&;s reliance on self-reported data may introduce biases that could affect the results.</p>
<p>&;Our findings provide further evidence that the endorsement of heteronormative dating scripts is neither trivial nor free of negative implications,&; the researchers concluded. &;Expectations that men should take the lead in romance with women (i.e., heteronormative dating scripts) are intertwined with beliefs and attitudes that men should also take leading roles in the workplace, politics, and higher education (i.e., sexism and lack of feminist identity), even after accounting for other personal preferences. Future research should examine whether a greater diversity in relationship roles and dating scripts advances societal change towards gender equality.&;</p>
<p>Beatrice Alba from the School of Psychology at Deakin University, Matthew D. Hammond at Victoria University of Wellington, and Emily J. Cross from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex led this study, published as &;<a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-023-01405-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Womenʼs Endorsement of Heteronormative Dating Scripts is Predicted by Sexism, Feminist Identity, A Preference for Dominant Men, and A Preference Against Short-Term Relationships</a>.&;</p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 12:00PM
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TITLE:
New study reveals MDMA’s unique influence on positive social feedback
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/new-study-reveals-mdmas-unique-influence-on-positive-social-feedback/

<p>New research published in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/02698811231224153"><em>Journal of Psychopharmacology</em></a> provides evidence that the drug MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, may have the unique ability to enhance emotional responses to positive (but not negative) social interactions. This insight sheds light on the potential of MDMA to influence social perception, opening new avenues for understanding and potentially treating conditions characterized by impaired social processing.</p>
<p>MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a psychoactive drug primarily known for its recreational use due to its unique effects on emotion, perception, and sense of social connection. Unlike traditional stimulants, MDMA is classified as an &;empathogen,&; meaning it promotes feelings of empathy, emotional warmth, and an increased willingness to socialize. Its pharmacological action is characterized by the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, with a notable emphasis on serotonin.</p>
<p>Beyond its recreational popularity, MDMA has attracted attention from the medical community for its potential therapeutic benefits, particularly as an adjunct to psychotherapy for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions.</p>
<p>The necessity for this study stems from the critical role of social processing in human mental health and the lack of effective pharmacological treatments for social processing impairments across various psychiatric disorders. Deficits in processing social feedback can significantly impact an individual&;s ability to maintain healthy relationships and function effectively in society, contributing to the severity of conditions like autism, mood disorders, and schizophrenia.</p>
<p>&;MDMA is known as a &;prosocial&; compound, and there is accumulating evidence that it works to enhance psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD,&; said study author Anya Bershad, an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA. &;Yet little is known about how the drug actually affects the way individuals experience social interactions. We wanted to test the effects of the drug on one discrete component of the social interaction by asking the question, how does MDMA affect mood when individuals are explicitly told they are liked or disliked by another person?&;</p>
<p>To investigate the effects of MDMA on social processing, Bershad and her colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Participants consisted of 36 healthy volunteers, aged 18 to 40, with previous MDMA use, ensuring some familiarity with the drug&;s effects. This group underwent a thorough screening process, including psychiatric interviews and physical exams, to rule out current psychiatric disorders or serious medical conditions.</p>
<p>Over the course of the study, each participant attended four separate sessions, during which they completed a social feedback task after being administered a single dose of either a placebo, MDMA at one of two doses (0.75 mg/kg or 1.5 mg/kg), or methamphetamine (20 mg), in randomized order. This design allowed the researchers to compare the effects of different doses of MDMA against both a non-active placebo and an active stimulant drug, providing a clear picture of MDMA&;s specific impacts on social processing.</p>
<p>The social feedback task, a central component of the study, was designed to simulate social interactions in a controlled laboratory setting. Participants initially created online profiles and selected profiles of others they were interested in forming a connection with, based on photographs and brief descriptions. During the drug sessions, they received feedback indicating whether the individuals they selected liked them (social acceptance) or did not like them (social rejection).</p>
<p>The researchers found that participants who received higher doses of MDMA reported significantly increased feelings of happiness and acceptance when receiving positive social feedback compared to those given a placebo. This enhancement of positive social emotions underscores MDMA&;s potential to influence social interactions favorably, aligning with its empathogenic properties that promote feelings of closeness and empathy towards others.</p>
<p>&;The important take-away from this study is that we&;ve shown that MDMA helps people feel more positively about receiving social feedback,&; Bershad told PsyPost. &;This could be one way the drug acts to facilitate social connection and therapeutic rapport in the context of psychotherapy.&;</p>
<p>Interestingly, Bershad and her colleagues did not observe a significant reduction in negative affective responses to social rejection with MDMA administration, which challenges some previous assumptions about the drug&;s ability to dampen negative social emotions. This suggests that while MDMA can amplify positive social experiences, its impact on negative emotions in social contexts may be more nuanced or limited under certain conditions.</p>
<p>The comparison drug, methamphetamine, did not show significant effects on social emotional responses, highlighting the unique action of MDMA in the social domain. Unlike methamphetamine, which shares some stimulant properties with MDMA, the latter&;s distinct impact on positive social feedback suggests a specific mechanism through which MDMA enhances social processing. This differentiation is crucial, pointing towards MDMA&;s potential therapeutic applications that go beyond the general stimulant effects seen with other amphetamines.</p>
<p>&;One important thing to keep in mind is that while our findings may have implications for the clinical use of MDMA, they also suggest a way in which the drug may make individuals particularly vulnerable,&; Bershad noted. &;Increasing positive mood in response to social feedback could facilitate therapeutic alliance on the one hand, but on the other it may put individuals at risk of being taken advantage of in certain social contexts.&;</p>
<p>The study&;s findings pave the way for future research to delve deeper into the mechanisms underlying MDMA&;s prosocial effects and its potential integration into psychotherapeutic settings to improve social connectivity and emotional well-being.</p>
<p>&;We hope to continue to study the specifics of how MDMA affects social perception and behavior and to use this information to understand which types of psychotherapeutic techniques may be most effectively used with the drug in clinical settings,&; Bershad said.</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/02698811231224153" target="_blank" rel="noopener">MDMA enhances positive affective responses to social feedback</a>,&; was authored by Anya K. Bershad, David T. Hsu, and Harriet de Wit.</p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 10:27AM
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TITLE:
Rights Group Says Israel Not Following Court Order in Genocide Case
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177684&url=https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2024/02/26/Israel-Human-Rights-Watch-ICJ/5521708949075/

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://www.upi.com/Health_News/" rel="tag" target="_blank">United Press International - Health News</a></p>Human Rights Watch on Monday accused Israel of failing to comply with the International Court of Justice order connected with the genocide case brought by South Africa. On January 26, the court ordered Israel to allow &quot;basic services and human aid&quot; to reach Gaza. Instead, Israel &quot;is starving Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians, putting them in even more peril than before the world's court's binding order,&quot; a spokesperson for the rights group alleged.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 10:28AM
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TITLE:
U.S. Air Force Man Sets Himself on Fire to Protest Gaza "Genocide"
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177676&url=https://news.google.com/rss/articles/CBMiMWh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmJiYy5jb20vbmV3cy93b3JsZC11cy1jYW5hZGEtNjgzOTg0NznSATVodHRwczovL3d3dy5iYmMuY29tL25ld3Mvd29ybGQtdXMtY2FuYWRhLTY4Mzk4NDc5LmFtcA?oc=5

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://news.google.com/" rel="tag" target="_blank">Google News</a></p>A member of the U.S. Air Force was hospitalized and is in critical condition after setting himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington. In a video that was live streamed on the social media platform Twitch, the man identified himself and said he was a serving member of the Air Force. Before setting himself on fire, he said that he would &quot;no longer be complicit in genocide,&quot; and he was heard shouting &quot;Free Palestine&quot; as he...</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 10:19AM
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TITLE:
Germany Plans to Store Carbon Dioxide Underground at Offshore Sites
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177679&url=https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/germany-plans-enable-underground-storage-carbon-dioxide-offshore-107540175

<div><p>Source: <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/international" rel="tag" target="_blank">ABC News - International</a></p>Germany plans to store carbon dioxide underground at offshore sites, pushing ahead with the plan in an acknowledgement that time is running out to combat climate change, the country's vice chancellor said Monday. Europe's biggest economy is making good progress with expanding renewable energy sources and usage, but a solution is needed for the carbon dioxide emitted by some sectors if Germany is to meet its emissions goal of becoming &quot;net zero&quot;...</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 10:18AM
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TITLE:
What Students with Disabilities Should Look for in a College
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177638&url=https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/articles/what-students-with-physical-disabilities-should-look-for-in-a-college

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://www.usnews.com/" rel="tag" target="_blank">U.S. News and World Report</a></p>Students with disabilities and health conditions should begin the college application process by meeting with their high school counselor, say experts. They should also contact a prospective school's disability services office early to learn about available accommodations. In higher education, it's up to students to disclose their needs, provide required documentation, and self-advocate by requesting accommodations. Here are tips on how to do it.</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 10:18AM
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TITLE:
In UK, More Are Out of Work from Ill Health in Early 20s Than Early 40s
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URL:
http://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?from=rss_feed&id=177674&url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68399392?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA

<div><p>Source: <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business/" rel="tag" target="_blank">BBC News - Business</a></p>People in their early 20s are more likely to be not working due to ill health than those in their early 40s, a UK report has found. This is &quot;radically different&quot; from the past, the study concluded, when older employees were the more likely than younger ones to miss work due to illness. Poor mental health among young people is on the rise, official figures show, with 1 in 20 young people (5%) economically inactive due to ill health in 2023, the...</div><h6 style="clear: both; padding: 8px 0 0 0; height: 2px; font-size: 1px; border: 0; margin: 0; padding: 0;"></h6><br /><a href="https://www.socialpsychology.org/client/redirect.php?action=rssHomepage" target="_blank"><img title="Brought to you by Social Psychology Network" alt="Brought to you by SocialPsychology Network" src="https://www.socialpsychology.org/images/rss-footer-large.png" border="0" width="400" height="45" /></a><br><br>
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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 10:00AM
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TITLE:
Marriage’s financial impact on men: A cross-country comparison reveals surprising differences
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/marriages-financial-impact-on-men-a-cross-country-comparison-reveals-surprising-differences/

<p>New research suggests that getting married can affect men&;s earnings differently depending on the country: German men tend to earn more after marriage, while U.S. men with children see a decrease in their earnings, and U.K. men experience a slight increase. These financial outcomes are influenced by various factors, including the partner&;s education level, the man&;s age, and the country&;s tax policies. he study was published in the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12937"><em>Journal of Marriage and Family</em></a>.</p>
<p>The relationship between marital status and earnings has long fascinated researchers. Traditionally, studies indicate that married men often enjoy a &;marriage premium,&; earning more than their single peers, possibly due to increased stability, shared responsibilities, and societal expectations. Conversely, married women may face a &;marriage penalty&; in earnings, especially if they take career breaks or reduce working hours to manage household duties or childcare.</p>
<p>However, these trends are changing, and the impact of marriage on earnings varies greatly depending on factors such as the couple&;s work-life balance, educational backgrounds, and whether they have dual incomes. Tax policies in many countries also differ for married individuals, those supporting families, or children, potentially influencing decisions on marriage based on its impact on disposable income. Additionally, the effects of tax policies are not uniform across different income levels, necessitating in-depth research and nuanced analysis of the financial implications of marriage.</p>
<p>Study authors Manuel Schechtl and Nicole Kapelle wanted to examine how different institutional settings lead to tax advantages or disadvantages that shape the net earnings of married men in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. They note that many theories propose that men’s earning tend to increase after marriage, either because they become more productive or because employers prefer married men. However, tax policies may also change the net earnings of men after marriage regardless of their net earnings.</p>
<p>These authors hypothesized that entry into marriage will be associated with an increase in income for men in Germany and the United Kingdom, but a reduction in earning in the United States. They also expected a more significant increase for men married to less educated women, who are presumably less likely to adhere to egalitarian gender norms. They anticipated stronger effects for older generations and fathers compared to younger, childless men.</p>
<p>To conduct their study, the authors analyzed data from three longitudinal household panels: the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID, 1977–2017), the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP, 1984–2019), and the U.K. Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS, 2009–2019), covering a broad range of topics, including detailed income measures and marital status transitions.</p>
<p>The study focused on working men aged 18 to 59 living in private households who either entered their first marriage or remained single or cohabiting during the panel. The researchers tracked these men for up to five years within their marriage or until the marriage dissolved. The final sample included 3,244 men from the United States, 4,581 from Germany, and 7,140 from the United Kingdom.</p>
<p>The researchers monitored the men&;s net earnings and tax burdens throughout the study period, considering other income sources as well. They analyzed earnings on an individual level, correlating this information with marital status, current educational pursuits, the presence of children in the household, and whether the participant was single or cohabiting.</p>
<p>The results indicated that married individuals typically had slightly higher gross and net earnings across all three countries. The calculated tax burden was also marginally higher for married men in the United States and the United Kingdom. In Germany, the tax burden was slightly higher for unmarried men, but those never married had a lower tax burden than the other two groups.</p>
<p>These differences were below 1% in Germany and the United Kingdom, but more significant in the United States (19.47% for married men vs. 15.60% for those never married), with the overall tax burden being highest in Germany.</p>
<p>Looking at data on an individual level, and keeping the gross earnings constant, the study authors found that men in Germany experienced a roughly 2% decrease in tax burden upon marriage, with no significant change observed for men in the United Kingdom or the United States.</p>
<p>A similar analysis indicated that German men experience an increase of their earning by almost 4% as they get married, while U.K. men saw a 3% increase, and U.S. men experienced an 8% decrease. The increase was more pronounced for German men married to less educated women, whereas the decrease in earnings for U.S. men was more significant when married to highly educated women. The spouse&;s education level did not significantly affect the earnings increase in the United Kingdom.</p>
<p>Further analysis showed that the reduction in earnings in U.S. men was entirely due to reduced earnings of men with children. Childless U.S. men experienced no reduction in earnings after marriage.</p>
<p>German and U.K. men who were born before 1976 saw a higher increase in earnings after they entered marriage compared to men born later.</p>
<p>“Overall, our results demonstrated how the policy context can lead to different economic outcomes as individuals get married and how men are advantaged or penalized. Specifically, we revealed that marriage is particularly beneficial for men in Germany as they experience a substantial marital premium on net earnings. Marriage seems slightly less advantageous for men’s net earnings in the UK. Findings suggest a marriage penalty in the United States although this result is not robust across several supplementary analyses,&; the study authors concluded.</p>
<p>The study sheds light on the links between marital status and men’s earnings. However, it should be noted that the study followed only statistical links between marriage, earnings and demographics and did not explore the underlying mechanisms in details. Additionally, the study looked at the individual income of men only. Looking at household income as a whole might paint a somewhat different picture. Finally, all the observed differences were relatively small.</p>
<p>The paper, “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12937">The male marital earnings premium contextualized: Longitudinal evidence from the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom,</a>” was authored by Manuel Schechtl and Nicole Kapelle.</p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 08:00AM
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TITLE:
Scientists put Jared Diamond’s continental axis hypothesis to the test — here’s what they found
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/scientists-put-jared-diamonds-continental-axis-hypothesis-to-the-test-heres-what-they-found/

<p>In a groundbreaking study examining one of the most influential theories of cultural evolution and geographic determinism, a team of ecologists and cultural evolutionists from the United States, Germany, and New Zealand has undertaken an extensive examination of Jared Diamond&;s hypothesis on the axis of orientation. The findings have been published in the journal <em><a href="https://doi.org/10.1017/ehs.2023.34">Evolutionary Human Sciences</a>.</em></p>
<p>Their research, drawing upon a vast array of cultural, environmental, and linguistic databases, challenges the notion that Eurasia&;s geographic layout inherently facilitated a quicker spread of critical innovations compared to other regions of the world, such as the Americas and Africa.</p>
<p>Jared Diamond, in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book <a href="https://amzn.to/3STEIo5"><em>Guns, Germs, and Steel</em></a>, proposed that the differing fates of societies across the globe could largely be attributed to geographical luck. According to Diamond, the east-west axis of Eurasia provided a unique advantage for the spread of agriculture, technology, and innovations due to its relatively uniform climates and day lengths over vast distances.</p>
<p>This contrasted sharply with the predominantly north-south orientation of the Americas and Africa, where varying climates and ecological zones posed significant barriers to the spread of crops and domesticated animals. Diamond argued that these geographical and ecological factors played a crucial role in shaping the disparate rates of societal development and eventual dominance of Eurasian civilizations.</p>
<p>&;I read <em>Guns, Germs, and Steel</em> and I was really impressed by its scope,&; said first author <a href="https://www.eva.mpg.de/linguistic-and-cultural-evolution/staff/angela-chira/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Angela M. Chira</a>, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution. &;Having a background in macroevolution (i.e., working with big questions), I realized I could devise a quantitative test for Diamond’s observations and intuitions. Biogeographic big claims about human history are always impressive and attract a lot of attention, but it is important that we also follow up with big data analyses where that is possible.&;</p>
<p>To test Diamond&;s hypothesis, the researchers utilized a vast array of data from cultural, environmental, and linguistic databases. The methodology centered around analyzing the relationship between environmental factors — specifically temperature, aridity, and topography — and the transmission of cultural traits among 1,094 traditional societies. This approach allowed the team to assess the ease or difficulty of cultural transmission across different environmental landscapes.</p>
<p>&;Our first challenge was to translate what Diamond envisioned into numbers,&; Chira explained. &;We used least-cost path algorithms to find the paths that minimized differences in temperature and aridity regimes between societies. The length and cost of these paths give us the magnitude of ecological barriers to cultural transmission between two societies, precisely as Diamond envisioned them.&;</p>
<p>In line with Diamond&;s hypothesis, the researchers found that environmental barriers do indeed impact the likelihood of cultural traits being shared between societies. For example, traits related to subsistence strategies, housing types, and social organization showed significant correlations with environmental and travel barriers, indicating that the ease of cultural transmission for these aspects is closely tied to ecological factors.</p>
<p>However, the researchers discovered that these environmental barriers do not consistently favor Eurasia over other continents. This finding directly challenges Diamond&;s assertion that Eurasia&;s geographic orientation provided a unique advantage in the spread of agricultural and other critical innovations.</p>
<p>Instead, the study indicates that the facilitation of cultural spread by geographical and ecological conditions is a global phenomenon, with no clear bias towards Eurasia. This suggests that while environmental factors do play a role in shaping the transmission of culture, they do not do so in a way that inherently advantages any one continent&;s societies over another&;s.</p>
<p>&;Big claims are important, but they are often the start of the conversation, and not its conclusion,&; Chira told PsyPost. &;Our analyses support the hypothesis that yes, environment likely influences how cultural innovations spread, just like Diamond intuited. However, we did not find evidence that the continents’ dominant axis uniformly dictates the potential for cultural spread.&;</p>
<p>The study underscores the complexity of cultural transmission, revealing that the spread of innovations is influenced by a myriad of factors beyond environmental and geographic barriers. The findings suggest that factors such as the movement of peoples, direct and indirect cultural exchanges, and perhaps even historical contingencies, play significant roles in shaping the distribution of cultural traits.</p>
<p>Co-author Russell Gray from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology summarized the results by saying, &;Our findings point out that geography, like genetics and ecology, matters, but it is not destiny.&;</p>
<p>Looking forward, the study opens up new avenues for research, emphasizing the importance of integrating diverse factors—ranging from ecological to social and historical—in understanding the mechanisms of cultural spread. By challenging the axis of orientation hypothesis, the research invites a reevaluation of how we conceptualize the forces shaping human societies, suggesting that geography is but one of many factors influencing the trajectory of human development.</p>
<p>&;Our study offers one quantitative realization of Diamond’s arguments and not a definitive answer,&; Chira explained. &;I hope it invites people to think harder and deeper on certain matters. The questions Diamond is asking are after all very broad in scope, and need to be decomposed in many smaller and manageable hypotheses. I hope to see others follow-up. I see this study as falling under the general umbrella of work that leverages big open-source datasets to shed light on big questions regarding our history.&;</p>
<p>Similarly, senior author of the study, Carlos Botero from the University of Texas at Austin, concluded: &;We do not claim, by any means, to have a definitive answer on whether the wheels of history turned at different speeds in different parts of the world. What we aim instead is to provide a new perspective based on quantitative data and thorough analyses, and a blueprint on how the tools and data we already have can be leveraged to test compelling ideas that have strongly shaped the public&;s understanding of our own past.&;</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/evolutionary-human-sciences/article/geography-is-not-destiny-a-quantitative-test-of-diamonds-axis-of-orientation-hypothesis/3196029E586CC58C6696D5AB9994ADF7">Geography is not destiny: A quantitative test of Diamond&;s axis of orientation hypothesis</a>,&; was authored by Angela M. Chira, Russell D. Gray, and Carlos A. Botero.</p>

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DATE:
February 26, 2024 at 07:00AM
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TITLE:
Can AI offer hope for loneliness and suicide mitigation among students?
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/can-ai-offer-hope-for-loneliness-and-suicide-mitigation-among-students/

<p>A study published in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s44184-023-00047-6"><em>npj Mental Health Research</em></a> examined the usage and outcomes of Intelligent Social Agents (ISAs) by students, investigating whether they exacerbate loneliness or offer meaningful social support, amidst ongoing debates about their impact on human relationships.</p>
<p>Mental health issues, notably depression and loneliness, affect over a billion people globally each year, with a significant impact observed among college students, many of whom suffer in silence due to stigma and fear of discrimination. Despite the availability of treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and social skills training, a vast majority do not seek help.</p>
<p>The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital therapy, with nearly all psychologists offering remote services in 2020 and the rise of mental health apps that use cognitive-behavioral techniques. However, engagement with these apps remains low, and their effectiveness is varied. Replika, using generative AI to create personalized interactions, stands out with its broad user base and potential for providing social support, highlighting the evolving landscape of digital mental health solutions.</p>
<p>This study, conducted by Bethanie Maples and colleagues, utilized the Replika app, an AI companion that employs large language models including GPT-3 and GPT-4, offering interactions via text, voice, and virtual realities. Despite not being primarily therapeutic, Replika incorporated CBT methodologies and had safeguards for users expressing severe mental health concerns, directing them to human resources when necessary.</p>
<p>Participants included 1006 Replika users who were students, over 18, and had used the app for more than a month. They were randomly recruited via email, with 75% based in the US and 25% international, and completed a survey in exchange for a $20 gift card.</p>
<p>Data collection involved Google Forms surveys, including the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List and the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale to quantitatively assess mental health and loneliness, along with 13 open-response questions for qualitative insights into users’ experiences and perceptions of Replika.</p>
<p>The researchers found that 90% of users experienced loneliness, yet similarly, 90% felt they had medium to high social support. Participants reported four main benefits from using Replika: companionship, therapeutic interactions, positive life changes, and suicide prevention.</p>
<p>A subset of 30 participants attributed Replika with stopping them from attempting suicide, showing a strong negative correlation between loneliness and social support. This group also reported a higher incidence of depression but found Replika more human-like and intelligent. Negative feedback highlighted dependency issues and discomfort with the app’s content, pointing to ethical concerns in AI chatbots.</p>
<p>These findings underscore the importance of further research into the efficacy and safety of ISAs in mental health support.</p>
<p>The study, “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s44184-023-00047-6">Loneliness and suicide mitigation for students using GPT3-enabled chatbots</a>”, was authored by Bethanie Maples, Merve Cerit, Aditya Vishwanath, and Roy Pea.</p>

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DATE:
February 25, 2024 at 04:00PM
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TITLE:
Orgasms “rewire” the brain: Surprising new findings from prairie vole research
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/orgasms-rewire-the-brain-surprising-new-findings-from-prairie-vole-research/

<p>Scientists have unveiled the first comprehensive brain map detailing the regions activated in prairie voles during mating and pair bonding. This small Midwestern rodent, known for forming long-term monogamous relationships, has provided a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of attachment and love.</p>
<p>The study, published in the journal <a href="https://elifesciences.org/articles/87029"><em>eLife</em></a>, reveals that both male and female voles experience nearly identical patterns of brain activity across 68 distinct regions during the stages of mating, bonding, and the development of a stable, enduring bond. The findings also point to a surprising connection between orgasms and neural activity.</p>
<p>The study addresses a fundamental question: how does sex relate to lasting love? Scientists have long recognized the importance of social bonds in enhancing the quality of life, reducing stress, and even extending lifespan across various species, including humans. Yet, the neural mechanisms underpinning these bonds, especially in the context of romantic and enduring partnerships, have remained elusive.</p>
<p>By focusing on prairie voles, a species whose social and mating behaviors closely resemble those of humans in terms of monogamy and long-term bonding, the researchers aimed to shed light on the neural circuits that facilitate these complex social behaviors.</p>
<p>The research team initiated their investigation by selecting sexually naive prairie voles, which were then prepared through a process that ensured females were in estrus, creating a uniform starting point for observing mating behaviors and bond formation.</p>
<p>Through a series of controlled behavioral experiments, more than 200 voles were paired under various conditions, allowing the researchers to monitor the progression from initial mating interactions to the establishment of a stable pair bond. These observations were meticulously recorded, focusing on activities indicative of bonding, such as mating, grooming, and social interactions.</p>
<p>Following the behavioral phase, the voles&; brains were prepared for neuroimaging, employing techniques like perfusion and fixation, immunolabeling for immediate early genes to mark neuronal activity, and scanning with light-sheet fluorescence microscopy to generate high-resolution 3D images of brain tissue.</p>
<p>The researchers found that the formation and maintenance of monogamous relationships. Their findings demonstrated that the experience of mating and subsequent bond formation activates a wide array of brain regions, much broader than previously identified in any studies of social bonding. Specifically, they discovered activity across 68 distinct brain regions, which were grouped into seven major circuits. This widespread neural engagement suggests that the process of forming a lasting bond is not localized to a few areas but involves a coordinated, brain-wide network.</p>
<p>One of the most striking findings from the study was the high degree of similarity in brain activity patterns between male and female voles during the bonding process. This challenged the prevailing hypothesis that sex differences, influenced by sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, would lead to distinct neural pathways for bonding in males and females. Instead, the researchers found that both sexes share nearly identical neural circuitry during the stages of mating, bonding, and the establishment of a stable, enduring bond.</p>
<p>&;That was a surprise,&; said Steven Phelps, a professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin and senior author of the study. “Sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone are important for sexual, aggressive and parental behaviors, so the prevailing hypothesis was that brain activity during mating and bonding would also be different between the sexes.”</p>
<p>Male ejaculation served as the strongest predictor of neural activity across the 68 brain regions associated with bonding in prairie voles. This finding was unexpected, as it suggests that the act of ejaculation during mating plays a crucial role in activating the neural circuits involved in bond formation.</p>
<p>Importantly, this effect was not isolated to males; females exhibited increased bonding-related brain activity when paired with males who reached this milestone, indicating a shared neural response to the mating process that facilitates pair bonding.</p>
<p>The profound impact of male ejaculation on bonding-related neural activity in both partners suggests that this event may serve as a critical biological signal that triggers a cascade of neurological responses conducive to bond formation. This mechanism could be an evolutionary adaptation to enhance reproductive success by promoting the formation of stable, monogamous pair bonds, which are beneficial for cooperative rearing of offspring in species like the prairie vole.</p>
<p>&;The brain and behavior data suggest that both sexes may be having orgasm-like responses, and these ‘orgasms’ coordinate the formation of a bond,&; Phelps said. &;If true, it would imply that orgasms can serve as a means to promote connection, as has long been suggested in humans.&;</p>
<p>While the study represents a significant leap forward in understanding the neurobiology of bonding, the authors acknowledge its limitations. The reliance on immediate early gene induction as a proxy for neural activity may not capture all relevant neuronal activations. Additionally, the experimental design, focusing on sexually receptive animals, might have restricted the variability in sexual behavior, potentially overlooking other factors influencing bond formation.</p>
<p>The researchers advocate for further studies to explore the variety of neural and behavioral dynamics involved in pair bonding, including the role of different cell types within identified brain regions and the effects of non-sexual social interactions. Such investigations could offer deeper insights into the maintenance of bonds and the neural underpinnings of social attachment more broadly.</p>
<p>The study, &;<a href="https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.87029.3">Sexual coordination in a whole-brain map of prairie vole pair bonding</a>,&; was authored by Morgan L. Gustison, Rodrigo Muñoz-Castañeda, Pavel Osten, and Steven M. Phelps.</p>

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DATE:
February 25, 2024 at 12:00PM
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TITLE:
Selfie culture and self-esteem: Study unravels the impact of social media on adolescent girls
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URL:
https://www.psypost.org/selfie-culture-and-self-esteem-study-unravels-the-impact-of-social-media-on-adolescent-girls/

<p>Researchers have uncovered a complex interplay between social comparison, body surveillance, and selfie behaviors among Chinese female adolescents, highlighting the significant role of self-esteem as a moderating factor. This research, published in the journal <em><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00332941231162006">Psychological Reports</a>,</em> provides insight into how the pressures of social media and societal beauty standards influence young women&;s self-image and online behavior.</p>
<p>The digital age has caused a surge of social media platforms — namely platforms in which posting selfies is a main practice, especially among adolescents. Prior studies have indicated a connection between social media use and various psychological issues, such as body dissatisfaction and negative mood. The act of taking and sharing selfies in particular has been criticized for its potential to exacerbate these issues.</p>
<p>At the heart of this phenomenon are two critical concepts: body surveillance, or the ongoing monitoring of one&;s appearance against perceived beauty standards — and social comparison, the tendency to assess oneself against others. These behaviors have been linked to how individuals, particularly women, perceive their physical selves in relation to others.</p>
<p>The motivation behind this study stems from a growing concern over the impact of social media on mental health and self-perception among adolescents. With selfie culture, researchers aimed to delve deeper into the psychological mechanisms that drive selfie-taking and sharing behaviors, particularly among female adolescents. The study sought to explore how these behaviors are influenced by social comparisons on social networking sites (SNS) and whether the process is affected by individuals&; levels of self-esteem and body surveillance practices.</p>
<p>To investigate these relationships, the study utilized a survey method, collecting data from 339 female adolescents averaging 17 years of age, recruited across two high schools in central China. Participants were asked to complete self-report questionnaires that assessed their selfie behaviors, instances of upward and downward physical appearance comparisons, levels of body surveillance, and self-esteem. This allowed the researchers to analyze the relationship between these variables equally.</p>
<p>The findings revealed that body surveillance serves as a mediator between the act of comparing oneself to more attractive peers (upward comparison) and the frequency of selfie posting. In simpler terms, girls who often compared themselves to peers they perceived as more attractive were more likely to engage in behaviors that involved monitoring and scrutinizing their appearance — which in turn led to more frequent selfie posting on social media.</p>
<p>Moreover, the impact of body surveillance on selfie behaviors was found to be significantly stronger among adolescents with lower self-esteem. This suggests that for those with a less positive view of themselves, the cycle of comparison, surveillance, and posting is particularly pronounced.</p>
<p>It is important to consider that the studyʼs design and focus may have certain limitations. These include itʼs cross-sectional nature that only shows associations between variables at a single point in time — not total causality. Additionally, since the research only included female adolescents from China, the findings might not directly apply to other demographic groups or cultural contexts.</p>
<p>Despite these limitations, the research sheds light on the complex dynamics of social comparison, body surveillance, and selfie behavior in the digital age, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of social media&;s impact on adolescent well-being.</p>
<p>The study, “<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00332941231162006">Social Comparison and Female Adolescentsʼ Selfie Behaviors: Body Surveillance as the Mediator and Self-Esteem as the Moderator</a>,ˮ was authored by Zhenyong Lyu, Panpan Zheng, and Dongquan Kou at Yangzhou University.</p>

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