Psychology

Is Our Wealth and Privilege Making Us Miserable?

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Psychologist Adam Blanch considers why so many Australians are anxious despite being safer, wealthier, more privileged and more educated than ever before. Adam Blanch ProBono “Dear Adam, I am interested in your perspective. I look around and think as a society that we have more than we have ever had, but everyone seems more anxious and more depressed than ever before. What do you think is going on?” – Anon Dear Anon, I have had the privilege of living in ... Read More »

Trump migrant separation policy: Children ‘in cages’ in Texas

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Reporters and Democratic lawmakers have been allowed inside a detention centre that lies at the heart of a growing storm over a… BBC Authorities did not allow photos or videos to be taken inside the centre, but US Customs and Border Protection later released several images. Former First Lady Laura Bush has compared it to the internment camps used for Japanese-Americans during World War Two. A Democratic congressman who visited the site said it was “nothing short of a prison”. ... Read More »

Sleep problems are influenced by our genes – but this doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed

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Some people struggle greatly with sleeplessness, whereas others appear to be able to nod off effortlessly, regardless of the circumstances. Alice M Gregory The Conversation Perhaps the most obvious explanation for differences between us in terms of our sleep is the environmental challenges that we face. An unrelenting stint at work, relationship difficulties or receiving bad news are just some of the many life challenges that can lead to sleepless nights. It’s no surprise that stressful life events are associated ... Read More »

Australia sexual abuse: PM accepts landmark inquiry proposals

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The Australian government has accepted almost all recommendations from a landmark inquiry into child sexual abuse as it prepares to deliver a national apology to victims. BBC The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions. PM Malcolm Turnbull said that his government would act on 104 of 122 official recommendations. The remaining 18 had not been ruled out, he… He will make the apology on 22 October. “The survivors have told their stories ... Read More »

What Is Sadness, and What Is Depression?

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I stood onstage as an audience of over a thousand people applauded and cheered. My hosts placed an award in my hands. I nodded to the crowd, and they all rose to their feet. Hooray for you, the strangers shouted. Hooray! Jennifer Finney Boylan The New York Times Less than a week later, I sat up in bed in my house in Maine. A voice said: “You’re nothing. You’re a joke. They’d never have given you that award if they ... Read More »

When possessions are poor substitutes for people: hoarding disorder and loneliness

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A decomposed, mummified body of a man was recently found by forensic cleaners in a Sydney apartment. Authors: The Conversation The apartment’s owner is thought to have suffered from hoarding disorder, and police believe the decomposed body had been there for more than ten… We occasionally read stories involving people with hoarding disorder – people whose possessions pose a serious burden. Clutter might prevent them from sitting on their sofa, taking a shower, cooking a meal, or sleeping in their… ... Read More »

The Insatiable and Unknowable Anthony Bourdain

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Anthony Bourdain devoured the world. That’s not hyperbole. It’s not even metaphor. Frank Bruni The New York Times There was no place that he wasn’t curious to explore, no food that he wasn’t determined to try, no cap on his hunger and no ceiling, or so it always seemed, on his joy. In his writing and especially on his TV shows, most recently CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” he exhorted the rest of us to follow his lead and open our eyes ... Read More »

How we talk about Kate Spade could help others survive

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I was sitting at my desk when a push notification came on my phone about Kate Spade’s suicide, and I felt a rush of vertigo, as if the room had tipped sideways. Gayle Brandeis CNN I had to clutch the arms of my desk chair to steady myself, had to take a few deep breaths. My mother took her own life in 2009, and whenever I hear news of a suicide, it both reopens that grief and sends my heart ... Read More »

Why long-term separation from parents harms kids

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As a society, we often wax eloquent about how important it is to nurture, support and protect our children. David Rosenberg The Conversation The sad reality, however, is that all too often major, life-changing decisions are made without any consideration of their potential lifelong and devastating impact on kids. Case in point: children separated from their parents at borders as new immigration policies are debated. Separation from parents for even short periods can cause anxiety disorders that can last a ... Read More »

Syrian refugees in America: The forgotten psychological wounds of the stress of migration

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War in Syria and the refugee crisis have been the subject of a heated debate in United States politics, leading to a travel ban and drastic reduction in the number refugees to the U.S. this year. Arash Javanbakht The Conversation We occasionally hear about brutal deaths and starvation of civilians in Syria from the news, as a far concept happening in another world. This is a group of people who may justifiably feel betrayed by the world. But what do ... Read More »

In praise of doing nothing

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In the 1950s, scholars worried that, thanks to technological innovations, Americans wouldn’t know what to do with all of their leisure time. Simon Gottschalk The Conversation Yet today, as sociologist Juliet Schor notes, Americans are overworked, putting in more hours than at any time since the Depression and more than in any other in Western society. It’s probably not unrelated to the fact that instant and constant access has become de rigueur, and our devices constantly expose us to a ... Read More »

Why CEOs need to embrace fear

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Running a business can be a frightening undertaking. CEOs make decisions that affect the livelihoods of dozens, if not thousands. Authors: The Conversation Only one in two new businesses last more than five years, few big businesses remain intact for more than a decade, and the shelf life of a corporate CEO is an… The human emotions that come with this undertaking are often brushed aside or even frowned upon. This is despite the fact that emotions play a crucial, ... Read More »

Is it rational to trust your gut feelings? A neuroscientist explains

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Imagine the director of a big company announcing an important decision and justifying it with it being based on a gut feeling. This would be met with disbelief – surely important decisions have to be thought over carefully, deliberately and rationally? Valerie van Mulukom The Conversation Indeed, relying on your intuition generally has a bad reputation, especially in the Western part of the world where analytic thinking has been steadily promoted over the past decades. Gradually, many have come to ... Read More »

Yanny or Laurel? It’s your brain not your ears that decides

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As a speech scientist, I never thought I’d see so much excitement on social media about one tiny little word. Jennell Vick The Conversation The clip, which went viral after being posted on Reddit, is polarizing listeners who hear a computer voice say either “Laurel” or “Yanny.” @AlexWelke tweeted, “This is the kinda stuff that starts wars.” While I can’t prevent a war, I can explain some reasons why this sound file has created such a controversy. Basically, the “word” ... Read More »

Why remembering matters for healing

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April 12 marks Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each year communities and schools plan various events such as reading the names of Holocaust victims and survivors, forums of Holocaust survivor speakers, or panel discussions with historians. Nancy Berns The Conversation These events run through an entire week of remembrance. Such formal days of remembrance are important. As a sociologist who studies grief and justice, I have seen how these events and permanent memorials can be both healing and inspirational. I will share ... Read More »

What’s Lust Got to Do With It?

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Why would a woman go home with a man, decide she’s not attracted to him but have sex with him anyway? Maureen Dowd The New York Times WASHINGTON — I’ve noticed a weird pattern, in fiction and life, about sexual encounters: Women decide they’re not attracted to a guy they’re nestling with. Limerence is not in the cards. But they go ahead and… First, we have college student Margot in The New Yorker’s much-discussed short fictional story “Cat Person” who recoils as ... Read More »