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The Top Ten Brain Science And Psychology Studies Of 2013

The Top Ten Brain Science And Psychology Studies Of 2013 | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Putting it mildly, 2013 was an eventful year for brain science. This Top 10 list isn’t meant to be exhaustive (given how many studies are published each year, it never could be), but it’s a sturdy sampling of incredible work being conducted around the world, moving us closer to solving some extremely vexing puzzles about brains and behavior.

 


Via Sandeep Gautam
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Apparently, blind people can still actually "see" (you know that feeling when someone is watching you...), and it turns out that coffee is a protective factor against suicide. These are bad news for stalkers, and good news for coffee lovers!

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Which dating apps are winning the hearts of the world?

Which dating apps are winning the hearts of the world? | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Millions of people use dating apps to overcome social barriers, busy schedules and shyness in their hunt for "the one". Many have found themselves empowered but others tell of despair and, in extreme cases, threats of blackmail. With data provided exclusively to the BBC by analytics company App Annie, it is also possible to tell the story of the apps behind the phenomenon.

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The dating game - are apps changing the way we find love?

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How Love Happens in Your Brain

How Love Happens in Your Brain | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

If you've ever fallen madly, passionately, head over heels in love, then you know the frustratingly crazy and wonderful traits that go along with the condition: sweaty palms, heart palpitations, tongue tied, can't think straight, and butterflies in the stomach whenever the object of your affection is around. All you can do is daydream about your love constantly and want to be with them. Euphoria. Non-stop, super human energy. Sleep? Who needs sleep? According to research, those intense, in-love feelings are due to highly complex, pretty unromantic chemical, cognitive, and goal directed brain processes involving over 12 areas of the brain working together to produce the magic. 

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Physically speaking, love happens in your brain, not your heart.

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New Study Shows That Fish Really Is Brain Food

New Study Shows That Fish Really Is Brain Food | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

A century ago, the evidence that fish is brain food was virtually nonexistent. Researchers have been looking at this question ever since, and the evidence has been mixed. Even if fish is good for the brain, the mercury content in some fish might have the opposite effect. A new study that appeared last week in JAMA answers this question: fish is indeed good for the brain. More precisely, eating fish regularly was associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This benefit occurred despite the fact that people who ate more fish did have higher levels of mercury in the brain. Apparently, the levels of mercury were too low to cause harm, and the benefits of eating fish easily outweighed any risks. 

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Eating fish regularly is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, no protective effects found for fish oil supplementation.

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You Can Trick Your Brain Into Craving Healthful Food

You Can Trick Your Brain Into Craving Healthful Food | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Eating healthfully would be approximately 100 percent more fun if you craved good stuff like broccoli instead of junk like Doritos, and now new research hints this could actually happen -- although not overnight. A brain-scan study published in Nature by Tufts University researchers showed that after overweight and obese adults spent six months following a healthy diet, their brains responded less strongly to images of high-calorie foods like fried chicken or French fries. For the study, five volunteers formed the control group and made no changes to their eating habits; the other eight participated in an eating program called the iDiet, which was developed by Tufts scientists and mostly features foods that are high in fiber and low on the glycemic index (a way of measuring the impact of a food's blood sugar on our bodies).

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

A healthy diet can dampen the rewarding effect that junk food triggers in the brain.

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Barbie Gets The Makeover She’s Needed For Decades (Now She's Curvy! Or Petite! Or Tall!)

Barbie Gets The Makeover She’s Needed For Decades (Now She's Curvy! Or Petite! Or Tall!) | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Following a decades-long debate about Barbie's harmfully unrealistic body type, Mattel has finally made a change to the iconic doll.

Today, the toy company unveiled three new Barbie body types: petite, tall and curvy. They are all available on Barbie.com, along with the original doll. Each doll also comes in a variety of skin colors and hair styles. Time magazine broke the news of the announcement with an exclusive cover story by Eliana Dockterman. The cover image features the new "curvy" Barbie. "The company hopes that the new dolls, with their diverse body types, along with the new skin tones and hair textures introduced last year, will more closely reflect their young owners’ world," writes Dockterman. After countless anti-Barbie protests, psychological studies about the potential harm the doll might do to young girls, and the development of empowering doll alternatives, Mattel is finally taking action, as the increasing demand for change has been reflected in Barbie's continuously plummeting sales in recent years.


See also: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-01-28/barbie-gets-a-new-bod

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It's a miracle! Now every girl can be a Barbie!!

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Only 4 Of Your Facebook Friends Really Matter, New Study Finds

Only 4 Of Your Facebook Friends Really Matter, New Study Finds | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Having lots of friends online doesn't mean you'll have more people to pick you up when you're down. Research published last week in The Royal Society Open Science journal shows that we tend to keep our friend groups small -- on the internet and in real life. Study author and Oxford psychologist Robin Dunbar analyzed a survey of 3,375 Facebook users in the United Kingdom. He found that, despite having about 150 Facebook friends on average, the participants would only turn to about four of those friends in an “emotional crisis.” They relied on about 14 for “sympathy.”

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Your Facebook friend count is a sad, empty lie.

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10 Surprising Facts About Rejection

10 Surprising Facts About Rejection | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

We know that rejection really hurts, but they can also inflict damage to our psychological well-being that goes well beyond mere emotional pain. Here are 10 lesser known facts that describe the various effects rejection has on our emotions, thinking, and behavior. Let’s begin by examining why rejection hurts as much as it does.

 

See also: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2015/12/25/rejection-and-physical-pain-are-the-same-to-your-brain/?ss=pharma-healthcare#2ac08421720b

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Rejection is a greater risk for violence than drugs, poverty, or gang membership!

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Acquaintances in Social Networks May Find Themselves 'Replaced'

Acquaintances in Social Networks May Find Themselves 'Replaced' | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Although social networking sites let users keep in touch with a wide group of acquaintances, new research shows that people still put most of their efforts into communicating with a small group of friends or family members.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

There is a big difference between networking via social media and having real personal social relationships. While we can have an ever expanding circle of "friends" or "connections" online, the case for close social ties is entirely different. We seem to have a finite capacity to sustain emotional closeness with a fixed number of friends. While this number varies from person to person, what holds true in all cases is that at any point individuals are able to keep up close relationships with only a small number of people, so new friendships come at the expense of ‘relegating’ existing friends .

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How Japan’s toilet obsession produced some of the world’s best bathrooms

How Japan’s toilet obsession produced some of the world’s best bathrooms | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Toto, the beloved Japanese toilet maker, has opened a $60 million museum to celebrate its 100th anniversary. And it's a hit. If there’s one thing Japan is passionate about, it’s toilets. Potties, loos, restrooms, john, powder room, however you say it, Japan has put a lot of thought into the smallest room of the house. Japan is famous for its high-tech, derriere-washing, tushie-warming toilets. These are now such a valued part of Japanese culture that Toto, the beloved Japanese brand, has just built a $60 million museum devoted to its renowned product, at its home base in Kita-Kyushu, on the southern-most of Japan’s four main islands.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

If you thought that your toilet was the only place left still sacred and uncorrupted by the invasion of technology... well, think again!

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Guys, Quitting Smoking Makes It Bigger. Really.

Guys, Quitting Smoking Makes It Bigger. Really. | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Forget Viagra. Studies show that for firmer, faster erections, men should quit smoking. Men who successfully kicks cigarettes has thicker, more rigid erections and reaches maximal arousal five times faster than smokers who relapse. Smoking is known to damage blood vessels and hinder proper blood flow, which can also affect erectile function. Previously, researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that men who made lifestyle changes to improve their cardiovascular health — by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, losing weight and exercising — also improved their symptoms of ED. 

 

See also: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/161/4/346.long

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

For many people, the long-term fear of cancer or heart disease isn’t enough to motivate them to quit — or, worse, it can backfire by increasing stress and, in turn, the urge to smoke — but the promise of immediate and measurable improvements where it counts might be just the incentive male smokers need.

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Narcissism or education? Universities offer 'selfie course' to teach students the art of self-capturing

Narcissism or education? Universities offer 'selfie course' to teach students the art of self-capturing | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it
Selfies and the art of snapping them is surely going places with universities deciding to start study courses around them.
An Indiana University Northwest communications professor has decided to explore selfies in a 400-level class.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Self-promotion on social media is now so ingrained in society that the phenomenon can be studied intensively as the central topic in 400-level university courses. 

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How To Read Someone's Emotions With 90% Accuracy

How To Read Someone's Emotions With 90% Accuracy | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Brain scans can read human emotions with 90% accuracy, a new study finds. Researchers have been able to predict the intensity of negative emotions to evocative images. They found that negative emotions have a ‘neural signature’ which a computer could learn. This has enormous implications for improving our understanding of how emotions are generated and regulated, which have been notoriously difficult to define and measure. In addition, these new types of neural measures may prove to be important in identifying when people are having abnormal emotional responses — for example, too much or too little — which might indicate broader issues with health and mental functioning.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Brain imaging has the potential to accurately uncover how someone is feeling without knowing anything about them other than their brain activity.

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Reducing the risks of bullying and violence at work

Reducing the risks of bullying and violence at work | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it
Bullying and violence can have severe consequences for individuals affected as well as for organisations. The causes of bullying and violence vary across different sectors but risk factors such as bad work organisation or poorly defined task roles can make a workplace more at risk. Fortunately tools like EU-OSHA’s e-guide can help.
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Employers need to be aware of their legal obligations to protect their workers. At EU-level an agreement on harassment has been agreed by unions and employers, which presents common positions on how to deal with harassment and violence at work. Under this agreement, employers have obligations with regards to prevention, and for dealing with harassment. Employers should also check what their legal obligations are in their own country as these differ across the EU.

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Couch potatoes may have smaller brains later in life

Couch potatoes may have smaller brains later in life | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Poor physical fitness in middle age may be linked to a smaller brain size 20 years later, according to a study published in the February 10, 2016, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. For the study, 1,583 people enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study, with an average age of 40 and without dementia or heart disease, took a treadmill test. They took another one two decades later, along with MRI brain scans. The researchers also analyzed the results when they excluded participants who developed heart disease or started taking beta blockers to control blood pressure or heart problems; this group had 1,094 people.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Direct correlation found between poor fitness and brain volume two decades later, indicating accelerated brain aging.

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United Arab Emirates to create 'minister for happiness' post

United Arab Emirates to create 'minister for happiness' post | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

A new post, Minister of State for Happiness, will align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also the ruler of Dubai, made the comments on Twitter after appearing at the World Government Summit being hosted by the emirate. He announced that some government ministries would be merged, while a minister of state position would be created to oversee tolerance in the Arab Gulf country that is home to many faiths and ethnicities.

 

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

The prime minister of the United Arab Emirates has announced that the country will create a state minister position devoted to ensuring the happiness of its citizens.

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Neuroplasticity: the battle in your brain

Neuroplasticity: the battle in your brain | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, he had to work in an awkward position with his head thrown back looking up. During the project, his brain adapted so that he saw the world in that weird upside down way all the time. Upon completion, his vision took several months to go back to normal. Studies have revealed that musicians, who play stringed instruments, have larger areas of their brains dedicated to their active hands. Brain scans of London taxi drivers have shown that the more years a driver has on the job correlates to a larger portion of their brain handling the storage of spatial relationships. Meditators exhibited denser parts of their brains activated when paying close attention to something.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

For decades, it was believed that by adulthood the brain was hardwired, fixed in form and function. Research in the past decade has completely overturned this dogma. We now know that the adult brain retains impressive powers of “neuroplasticity,” the ability to change its structure and function in response to experience.

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An awful boss could be as bad for your health as cigarettes

An awful boss could be as bad for your health as cigarettes | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Could your terrible boss be as damaging for your health as passive smoking? The long term health effects of a nasty boss could be just as dire. The longer you stay in a job working for a terrible manager, the bigger the toll on your physical and mental health. The American Psychological Association reports that 75% of US workers cite their boss as the biggest cause of stress at work but the majority (59%) of workers with a poor manager don’t leave, reported Quartz.  It seems people get very comfortable with their jobs, even if being treated badly which makes it more difficult to leave and find a healthier workplace.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Common work stresses can have the same negative health effects on staff as exposure to substantial amounts of second-hand smoke.

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Gratitude Physically Changes Your Brain, New Study Says

Gratitude Physically Changes Your Brain, New Study Says | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Fad diets aside, we all know the basic formula for greater physical health -- eat less junk and exercise more. The same can be said for greater happiness. Sure mental health is hugely complex, but the research on how to promote basic, day-to-day well-being couldn't be clearer -- just cultivate gratitude. "Something as simple as writing down three things you're grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism and it holds for the next six months. Other studies show gratitude increases willpower, helps keep you calm, and can even boost employee morale. All of which is both interesting and useful, but it begs the questions -- why? Why is simply paying attention to the good things in your life so powerful? A new brain imaging study reveals the biology of why gratitude is such a powerful happiness booster. 

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Remember, even if you think there is nothing good in your life to be grateful for, you can always be grateful that things are not worse than they are!

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Top 10 Important or Intriguing Psychology Articles of 2015

Top 10 Important or Intriguing Psychology Articles of 2015 | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

The field of psychology is diverse and large — the American Psychological Association alone has divisions representing more than 54 separate topic areas. Tens of thousands of psychology papers are published every year in peer-reviewed journals. In 2015 alone, there were more than 2,000 meta-analyses papers (research that summarizes and examines other research) published in psychology’s PsycINFO research database. Here are ten psychology articles published in the past year that I think were important or intriguing, and advanced the field of psychology significantly.

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Some bedtime reading...

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How Your Thoughts Change Your Brain, Cells, And Genes

How Your Thoughts Change Your Brain, Cells, And Genes | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

Every minute of every day, your body is physically reacting, literally changing, in response to the thoughts that run through your mind.

It’s been proven over and over again that just thinking about something causes your brain to release neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that allow it to communicate with parts of itself and your nervous system. Neurotransmitters control virtually all of your body’s functions, from hormones to digestion to feeling happy, sad, or stressed. Studies have shown that thoughts alone can improve vision, fitness, and strength. The placebo effect, as observed with fake operations and sham drugs for example, works because of the power of thought. Expectancies and learned associations have been shown to change brain chemistry and circuitry, which results in real physiological and cognitive outcomes, such as less fatigue, lower immune system reaction, elevated hormone levels, and reduced anxiety.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Your biology doesn’t spell your destiny, and you aren’t controlled by your genetic makeup. Instead, your genetic activity is largely determined by your thoughts, attitudes, and perceptions. By changing your thoughts, you can influence and shape your own genetic readout.

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Your Toothbrush Likely Has Poop On It, Study Finds

Your Toothbrush Likely Has Poop On It, Study Finds | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

There's a solid chance your toothbrush is riddled with fecal bacteria, according to a new study. Researchers at an American Society for Microbiology meeting on Tuesday presented a study showing that 60 percent of toothbrushes analyzed in communal bathrooms at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Happy New Year everyone! And if you still have not come up with a New Year's resolution for 2016, here is one for you: Don't leave your toothbrush in the bathroom - ever!

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Is productivity contagious?

Is productivity contagious? | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

What makes a worker productive? There is growing evidence that worker productivity may actually be quite contagious. Research by Falk and Ichino (2006), Mas and Moretti (2009), Bandiera et al. (2010), and De Grip and Sauermann (2012) all demonstrates that co-workers can exert economically significant effects on their peers via channels often not explicitly created by their firms. The mechanisms that most researchers have in mind when discussing peer effects in worker productivity fall into two broad categories: work place norms, which includes mechanisms such as peer pressure and conformist behaviour; and worker complementarities, which includes mechanisms like knowledge spillovers, collaborative efforts, and/or task specialisation. Our reading of the literature leads us to conclude that there is strong evidence supporting the idea that there exist meaningful peer effects in worker productivity among workers performing low-skilled tasks, and that these effects arise primarily from conformist behaviour or peer pressure.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Productivity spreads through social networks. As does happiness, optimism, health, depression, obesity, violence, and even suicide. Social connectedness is a powerful thing, both for the better and for the worse.

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Study: Mindfulness Reduces Emotional Pain by 44%

Study: Mindfulness Reduces Emotional Pain by 44% | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

According to a new study, mindfulness meditation exhibited even stronger physical pain reductions than morphine, says the study's lead investigator.


Via American Institute Health Care Professionals
Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

Meditation can reduce pain intensity and emotional pain.

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American Institute Health Care Professionals's curator insight, November 13, 2015 2:07 PM

Great article emphasizing once again the power of meditation and how it can help one through the emotional distress of life.  The emotional distress of life can cause health issues and also unwanted stress.  Meditation has the ability to reduce emotional pain

If you would like to learn more about becoming a meditation instructor then please review the program

#becomingameditationinstructor

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This is the best drug commercial you will ever see

Set in the world of a spoofed prescription drug commercial, Nature Rx offers a hearty dose of laughs and the outdoors - two timeless prescriptions for whatever ails you. Side effects may include confidence, authenticity, remembering you have a body, and being in a good mood for no apparent reason. Behind the humor and parody of Nature Rx is good science. Research shows that spending more time in nature improves your health, wellbeing, and leads to making better environmental decisions. Find out more...http://www.nature-rx.org/research/

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Ask your doctor if nature is right for you!

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Is rudeness in the workplace contagious?

Is rudeness in the workplace contagious? | Psychology, Health and Happiness | Scoop.it

We experience rudeness and incivility all the time. From simple insults and offhand remarks to purposely excluding others from groups, these behaviors are largely tolerated in our daily lives and in the workplace. The question is, what effect do these behaviors have on us? It’s pretty clear that high-intensity negative behaviors like abuse, aggression and violence are harmful. But what’s the harm in just being rude and uncivil? A growing body of research offers compelling evidence that experiencing rudeness, and even simply witnessing rudeness, can have surprisingly harmful effects on performance, creativity and even helpfulness. However, it might not even end there. What if rudeness was actually contagious? This would mean that rudeness may not only hurt those who experience or witness it, but also have secondary effects. People who’ve experienced rude behavior from others are now “infected” with rudeness themselves, and will be rude to the people they interact with next.

Ziggi Ivan Santini's insight:

What comes around, goes around...

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