Recent quotes:

Study casts doubt on evidence for 'gold standard' psychological treatments -- ScienceDaily

"One of the things that becomes really obvious when you look at the literature is researchers are collecting and analyzing their data in ways that are extremely flexible," Sakaluk said. "If you don't follow certain rules of statistical inference, you can inadvertently trick yourself into claiming effects that aren't really there. For EST research, it may become important to define in advance what researchers are going to do -- like how they'll analyze data -- and go on record in a way that restricts what they're going to do. This would coincide with a movement to encourage researchers to propose what they'd like to do and get reviewers and journal editors to weigh in before -- not after -- scientists do research, and to publish it irrespective of what they find."

You become what you believe

A week later, the participants were given a result, based not on their actual data, but rather on one of two groups into which they had been randomly placed. Some were told they had the form of a gene called CREB1 that makes a person tire easily; others were told they had the high-endurance version. Then they ran on the treadmill again. This time, those who had been told they had the low-endurance version of CREB1 did worse on the test, even if they had the other variant. Compared with their results on the first test, on average their bodies removed toxic carbon dioxide less efficiently, their lung capacity dropped, and they stopped running 22 seconds sooner, the team reports today in Nature Human Behavior. And those who thought they had the high-endurance form of the CREB1 gene ran slightly longer on average before feeling hot and tired, regardless of what gene variant they had. “Simply giving people this information changed their physiology,” Turnwald says. The team also tested a second group of 107 people for its version of FTO, a gene that influences how full we feel after eating. Some versions can also predispose people to obesity. Participants ate a small meal and rated their fullness. After being told, at random, that they had a version of FTO that made them hungrier than average or one that made them easily sated, participants ate the same meal. Those told they had the “hungry” version of the gene didn’t feel any different. But those who were told they had the other version felt less hungry on average after eating; they also had higher blood levels of a hormone that indicates a feeling of fullness.

Column: You Are What You Measure

If we want to change what they care about, we should change what we measure. It can’t be that simple, you might argue— but psychologists and economists will tell you it is. Human beings adjust behavior based on the metrics they’re held against. Anything you measure will impel a person to optimize his score on that metric. What you measure is what you’ll get. Period. This phenomenon plays out time and again in research studies. Give someone frequent flyer miles, and he’ll fly in absurd ways to optimize his miles.

Could robots be counselors? Early research shows positive user experience: New research has shown for the first time that a social robot can deliver a 'helpful' and 'enjoyable' motivational interview -- ScienceDaily

"We were pleasantly surprised by how easily the participants adapted to the unusual experience of discussing their lifestyle with a robot," she said. "As we have shown for the first time that a motivational interview delivered by a social robot can elicit out-loud discussion from participants. "In addition, the participants perceived the interaction as enjoyable, interesting and helpful. Participants found it especially useful to hear themselves talking about their behaviour aloud, and liked the fact that the robot didn't interrupt, which suggests that this new intervention has a potential advantage over other technology-delivered adaptations of MI.

Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

Our research shows that a region’s historical industries leave a lasting imprint on the local psychology, which remains even when those industries are no longer dominant or have almost completely disappeared. We found that in regions like Blaenau Gwent in the UK and the Rust Belt in the U.S., people reported more unhappy personality traits, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy than otherwise similar regions where these industries did not dominate (think Sussex and Dorset in the non-industrial South of England and regions in the American West). For example, in the UK, neuroticism was 33% higher, conscientiousness 26% lower, and life satisfaction 29% lower in these areas compared with the rest of the country. This effect was robust even when controlling for other historical factors that might have affected the well-being of regions, such as historical energy supply, education, wealth, geology, population density, and climate.

Stock Bulls in Trump Country Are Freaking Out Their Brokers - Bloomberg

To those who study market psychology, it’s no stretch that passionate belief in a president would translate into throwing money on the table. Particularly this president, with whom his admirers have a strong bond. “There’s a feeling of identity with Trump,” said Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, an economics professor at Yale University. “The man they identify with is in power and that’s exhilarating.”

Jeans made with child labor? People choose willful ignorance: Consumers 'forget' when products have ethical issues -- ScienceDaily

"It's not necessarily a conscious decision by consumers to forget what they don't want to know," said Rebecca Reczek, co-author of the study and associate professor of marketing at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. "It is a learned coping mechanism to tune out uncomfortable information because it makes their lives easier."

Pong paddles and perception: Our actions influence what we see: A new study faces head-on the notion that previous experimental subjects have been victims of response bias -- ScienceDaily

Response bias happens when subjects guess or infer the purpose of an experiment, so they adjust their behaviors or answers - consciously or subconsciously. For example, a Psychology 101 student, familiar with how scientists run experiments, might volunteer as a study subject in which they are asked to wear a backpack, and guess the incline of a hill. They might infer, "I bet the hypothesis is that the backpack will affect how I see the slant of the hill," so they might say the slant is 25 degrees, rather than 20.

Lower class wiser about interpersonal conflict than middle class -- ScienceDaily

New research from the University of Waterloo finds that lower class populations are wiser than their middle-class counterparts in their ability to reason about interpersonal matters.

Yes, Time Really Slows Down When You’re Running Hard | Runner's World

In the hardest effort, they thought they were done after about 1,025 seconds on average (a bit longer than 17 minutes), a time warp of about 15 percent, most of which happened in the last (and most painful) half of the effort. The 30-second bike test, on a much shorter timescale, produced similar results.

Ravens have paranoid, abstract thoughts about other minds | WIRED UK

The ability to hide food is extremely important to ravens, and they behave completely differently when they feel they are being watched -- hiding food more quickly, for example, and are less likely to return to a hiding place for fear of revealing the location to a competitor. READ NEXT Drones are bad news for planes, but geese are a nightmare <img src="https://wi-images.condecdn.net/image/XD7Oe04wnvg/crop/200/square" class="global__image" /> Drones are bad news for planes, but geese are a nightmare By James Temperton The study replicated this behaviour. Two rooms were connected by windows and peepholes, both of which could be opened and closed. The ravens were trained to look through the peepholes to observe human experimenters making stashes of food. Finally, both windows were covered while a single peephole remained open -- and, though no bird was present, the ravens still hid the food as if they were being watched.

Witnessing Parental Psychological Abuse May Do More Harm Than Physical Abuse | Psych Central News

“When children were exposed to physical violence in the home as well as psychological domestic abuse, they were more likely to be happier with the social support they were able to access. Psychological domestic abuse when it occurred alone seems to be the most damaging, perhaps because people are unable to recognize and speak out about it,” she said.

Leave something out

“You want to make sure your messaging is clear and direct, but you want make sure you leave some things out so people still call you,” he said, explaining if a listing has too much information, would-be buyers might think they don’t have to see the space. For instance, a new Hell’s Kitchen project at 318 W. 47th St. has a stove with an induction cooktop, which is all the rage among designers right now. But the marketing team did not play up the feature, hoping to lure house hunters into the space to tell them more about it in person, he explained.

When Things Go Missing

Data from one insurance-company survey suggest that the average person misplaces up to nine objects a day, which means that, by the time we turn sixty, we will have lost up to two hundred thousand things. (These figures seem preposterous until you reflect on all those times you holler up the stairs to ask your partner if she’s seen your jacket, or on how often you search the couch cushions for the pen you were just using, or on that daily almost-out-the-door flurry when you can’t find your kid’s lunchbox or your car keys.) Granted, you’ll get many of those items back, but you’ll never get back the time you wasted looking for them. In the course of your life, you’ll spend roughly six solid months looking for missing objects; here in the United States, that translates to, collectively, some fifty-four million hours spent searching a day. And there’s the associated loss of money: in the U.S. in 2011, thirty billion dollars on misplaced cell phones alone.

Kids should pay more attention to mistakes, study suggests -- ScienceDaily

The children then took a fast-moving accuracy task on a computer while their brain activity was recorded. The task: Help a zookeeper capture escaped animals by pressing the spacebar when an animal appeared -- unless it was a group of three orangutan friends, who were helping capture the other animals, in which case they had to withhold their response. Within half-of-a-second after making a mistake, brain activity increases as the person becomes aware of and pays close attention to what went wrong. Essentially, a bigger brain response means the person is focusing more on the error. Children with growth mindsets were significantly more likely to have this larger brain response after making a mistake in the study. In addition, they were more likely to improve their performance on the task after making a mistake.

Super Bowl Psychology: Why Athletes "Choke" &mdash; and How to Avoid It - Scientific American

The cerebellum, the area below and behind the cerebrum responsible for motor control, coordinates complex actions when we are on autopilot. But as soon as we start focusing on the individual steps, the cerebral cortex, which controls higher-order conscious thought, takes over and we stumble into trouble. […]“My work really suggests that there is a toolbox of techniques that we can use to perform better in stressful situations,” she says, “And some people happen to utilize those better than others. But I think it’s something that can be learned.” She suggests practicing skills under pressure, in conditions close to those of the actual event. “That means for everyday people, if you’re going to be playing in front of your friends and family, you should probably practice that way, too,” she says. She also recommends not dwelling on the task ahead of time, adding that it can be helpful to distract yourself by singing a song or repeating a key word: “Something that takes your mind off the mechanics of what you're doing.” Her work has shown that in high-stress situations, the best athletes are able to succeed by focusing on the overall outcome rather than on the individual steps.

Just a few weeks of therapy can achieve half a lifetime's maturity

The analysis has found that just a few weeks of therapy is associated with significant and long-lasting changes in clients’ personalities, especially reductions in the trait of Neuroticism and increases in Extraversion. Talk of personality change can sound unsettling because we think of our personalities as reflecting our essential “me-ness”. But from a wellbeing perspective, the trait changes uncovered by this new research are welcome and may even underlie the benefits of therapy. Neuroticism or emotional instability is an especially important risk factor for future poor mental and physical health, and meanwhile high scorers on Extraversion are known to be happier on average and more optimistic. The authors of the new research, Brent Roberts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his colleagues, also report that personality change appeared to occur remarkably quickly. Roughly four or more weeks of therapy was enough to induce meaningful change. In fact, beyond eight weeks, more therapy was not associated with greater personality change. Therapy-related changes to trait Neuroticism were especially significant – a few weeks of therapy led to about half the amount of increase in emotional stability that you would typically expect to see someone exhibit over an entire lifetime (as a general trend, most of us slowly but surely become more emotionally stable as we get older).

Look at the ends -- what's being controlled -- not the means

HomeFeatured Study Reveals How Little We Know About Each Other’s Intentions Neuroscience NewsJanuary 19, 2017 FeaturedNeuroscience VideosOpen Neuroscience ArticlesPsychology5 min read Summary: Researchers report people need to understand what a person is trying to control by using a certain behavior, rather than trying to change the behavior itself. Source: University of Manchester. Psychologists from The University of Manchester have shown how difficult it is for us to guess the true intention of each other’s behaviour. The study, published today in Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, has important implications on public policies designed to impact on areas such as smoking, obesity, eating disorders, self-harm, alcohol use and gambling. Clinical psychologist Dr Warren Mansell, who led the study, says policy makers need to accurately understand what a person is trying to control using their behaviour, rather than trying to change the behaviour itself. He said: “We think we know what someone is doing just by observing them. For example if we see someone move a steering wheel of their car, we assume they are aiming to keep their car in the centre of the lane. “But our study shows that it is incredibly easy to be mistaken – and that has important implications on anyone whose task is to change human behaviour. “In psychological research, for example, this study suggests that some behaviour studied may be no more than a side effect of participants’true intentions. “We should therefore avoid focusing on people’s behaviour itself . That would lead to multiple and inevitably futile interventions for each and every problem.” He added: “In terms of public policy, we frequently we see money spent on another new initiative for ‘behaviour change’. “Yet if these behaviours are just side effects of people trying to exert control, then this multi-pronged approach to health is highly inefficient and fails to address the common root cause of people’s difficulties. “You need to ask people what they want in their life and how they solve their problems. Smoking, for example, is just one of many different ways in which a person might try to control something important to them – such as their social confidence, or emotional state.”

4 kinds of playful :)

The psychologist has identified four basic types of playful adults: "There are people who like to fool around with friends and acquaintances. We describe this as other-directed playfulness. By contrast, light-heartedly playful people regard their whole life as a type of game," says Proyer. Another category includes people who like to play with thoughts and ideas - this describes intellectual playfulness. These people are able to turn monotonous tasks into something interesting. The psychologist describes the final group as being whimsically playful. "These people tend to be interested in strange and unusual things and are amused by small day-to-day observations."

"Exploration personality type" for beers, breads, coffees, toilet papers, washing detergents and yogurts

"If people show a particular shopping pattern for one product type, they tended to show it for the others as well," says lead author Dr Peter Riefer, who conducted the study for his PhD at UCL and now works at dunnhumby. "This suggests that people have individual 'exploration personalities' when they shop, which is really remarkable given how different the six products were. Over a timescale of many years, the rate at which people explore is remarkably stable -- people are always exploring at about the same rate. What we find is that within that stability there are these trends in exploration and exploitation."

Dress clothes require (and spark) abstract thought?

Rutchik found that participants who rated their clothing as more formal than that of their peers tended to select the more abstract answers—a curious correlation. After following up with four additional sub-studies, each of which controlled for socioeconomic background (but not race) and either used different measures of abstract processing or manipulated the participants’ clothing, he confirmed the results from the principle study. In two of them, for instance, participants were asked to change from casual to formal clothing or from formal to casual clothing midway through the experiment.

Childhood poverty can rob adults of psychological health -- ScienceDaily

In his study, Evans tracked 341 participants over a 15-year period, and tested them at ages 9, 13, 17 and 24. Short-term spatial memory was tested by asking adult study participants to repeat increasingly complex sequences of lights and sounds by pressing four colored pads in the correct order -- similar to the "Simon" game. The adults who grew up in poverty had a diminished ability to recall the sequences, compared to those who did not. "This is an important result because the ability to retain information in short-term memory is fundamental to a host of basic cognitive skills, including language and achievement," the study said. Although the participants were assessed on this measure only when they were adults, this test had the strongest association with childhood poverty of the four measures. Helplessness was assessed by asking the participants to solve an impossible puzzle. Adults growing up in poverty gave up 8 percent more quickly than those who weren't poor as kids. Previous research has shown chronic exposure to uncontrollable stressors -- such as family turmoil and substandard housing -- tends to induce helplessness. Mental health was measured with a well validated, standardized index of mental health with statements including "I argue a lot" and "I am too impatient." Adults who grew up in poverty were more likely to agree with those questions than adults from a middle-income background. Chronic physiological stress was tested by measuring the participants' blood pressure, stress hormones and body mass index. Adults who grew up in poverty had a higher level of chronic physical stress throughout childhood and into adulthood.

Computational Neuroscience Approach to Biomarkers and Treatments for Mental Disorders. - PubMed - NCBI

For many disorders, the reported accuracies have reached 90% or more. However, we note that rigorous tests on independent cohorts are critically required to translate this research into clinical applications. Finally, we discuss the utility of the disorder-specific features found by the data-driven approach to psychiatric therapies, including neurofeedback. Such developments will allow simultaneous diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders using neuroimaging, thereby establishing "theranostics" for the first time in clinical psychiatry.

Use your words: Written prisoner interactions predict whether they’ll clean up their acts -- ScienceDaily

The first, called "pushups," are congratulatory notes to a peer -- something like, "Good job talking about your triggers in group today, man." The second, called "pull-ups," are meant to steer a fellow prisoner toward better choices -- something like, "Hey brother, next time try talking to me instead of getting into a fight." Once approved as appropriate for group consumption, the written notes are typically read aloud to the group during meal time or a meeting. Doogan and Warren examined how these communications changed for each of 2,342 men included in their study. They looked at pushups and pull-ups in each inmate's first two to three months in the program and held those up against the messages they sent fellow prisoners in the second two to three months. In all, the researchers analyzed about 267,000 messages. Only graduates of the program were included in the study. The more their word combinations shifted, the greater the chance the men didn't return to prison. In cases where the inmates did return, those who showed the least change in how they thought and wrote tended to return to prison most quickly. The study didn't focus on "positive" or "negative" word choice, but on change in general, with the goal of getting a handle on whether the program was reshaping the participant's way of thinking, Doogan said. "It wasn't so much sentiment, but whether we could measure some form of change in the individual," he said. The sheer number of interactions for an individual resident didn't seem to make a difference -- only the changing nature of those notes. That's important because it seems to mean that simply interacting isn't enough and that a person has to be engaged and evolve in his thinking, the researchers said. Shifts in how we put together our thoughts and express them in writing are a good indication of a true evolution in how we think, Warren said. "Learning is a change in connections between ideas," he said. "In a therapeutic community, you would hope that they are abandoning some old connections and developing some new ones." The researchers created a tool for analyzing word choices, identifying 500 words that could potentially be combined in a note to one participant from another. Doogan and Warren counted change when inmates added new word combinations or abandoned old ones. They attempted to control for variables outside of changed language including race, age and education level. Understanding -- and being able to measure -- changes linked to reduced rates of repeat incarceration could eventually help program directors refine how they approach different participants, the researchers said. For instance, if it was clear an addict's communications with others in the program were not changing in nature, it might be a clue that the individual needed more one-on-one attention, Doogan said.

what makes for an effective mantra?

An effective mantra addresses what you want to feel, not the adversity you're trying to overcome, says Robert J. Bell, Ph.D., a certified consultant of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. In fact, when discomfort strikes, the worst thing you can do is embrace the pain, says Walker. "When you start thinking, Oh, this hurts, Oh, I have a side stitch, Oh, my legs are tired—those negative thoughts pile on," he says. A good mantra diverts your mind from thoughts that reinforce the pain to thoughts that help you transcend it.

Generation Adderall - The New York Times

During the first weeks of finally giving up Adderall, the fatigue was as real as it had been before, the effort required to run even a tiny errand momentous, the gym unthinkable. The cravings were a force of their own: If someone so much as said “Adderall” in my presence, I would instantly begin to scheme about how to get just one more pill. Or maybe two. I was anxious, terrified I had done something irreversible to my brain, terrified that I was going to discover that I couldn’t write at all without my special pills. I didn’t yet know that it would only be in the amphetamine-free years to follow that my book would finally come together.