Psychology

Essential reading to get your head around Australia’s aged care crisis

Tonight ABC’s Four Corners will air the first of a two-part investigation into the often shocking treatment of the elderly in aged care homes around Australia. Sasha Petrova The Conversation The timing coincides with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s weekend announcement of a royal commission into Australia’s aged care system. The prime minister said poor standards had led authorities to close one aged centre per month since the Oakden aged mental health home scandal. South Australia’s Oakden facility closed nearly a ... Read More »

We are predisposed to forgive, new research suggests

When assessing the moral character of others, people cling to good impressions but readily adjust their opinions about those who have behaved badly, according to new research. Yale University EurekAlert! This flexibility in judging transgressors might help explain both how humans forgive — and why they sometimes stay in bad relationships, said the study’s authors. The research — conducted by psychologists at Yale, University of Oxford, University College London, and the International School for Advanced Studies — appeared Sept. 17 ... Read More »

Ashes to ashes: Britons follow David Bowie in choosing direct cremations

Demand for simpler services grows as tastes change and cost of lavish funerals increases Rupert Jones The Guardian The “cost of dying” is continuing to rise, figures out next week are expected to show. But the good news for those on a tight budget, or who simply don’t want a big fuss made, is that the cost of the very… “Direct cremation” is a low-cost, no-frills option where there is no funeral service and mourners aren’t present. In its most ... Read More »

Why do people talk politics online? Because they don’t care what you think

Wading into a political debate online can be a minefield. Search any comment section or thread on a social media site, and you’re likely to come across some pretty strong views. Authors: The Conversation But that’s not necessarily just the nature of the debate. It could also reflect the kind of personalities that are drawn to online discussions of this kind. In our research, we’ve found that people who don’t care about what others think are more likely to engage ... Read More »

Young and resilient

The first study of young refugees settling in Australia suggests they are adapting well to their new country By Dr Winnie Lau and Professor Meaghan O’Donnell, University of Melbourne Pursuit For people fleeing war and persecution, forced migration is an arduous and risky journey. But even for those who find new hope in a different country, adapting to a new culture is a… And of the 68.5 million people around the globe displaced by war and political conflict, over half ... Read More »

Working long and hard? It may do more harm than good

Nearly half of people in the EU work in their free time to meet work demands, and a third often or always work at high speed, according to recent estimates. Authors: The Conversation If you are one of them, have you ever wondered whether all the effort is really worth it? Employees who invest more effort in their work report higher levels of stress and fatigue, along with lower job satisfaction. But they also report receiving less recognition and fewer ... Read More »

Happiness at work trumps money for most Australians

What is more important to you at work: happiness or money? If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering why you need to choose. And yes, I’m the first to argue that “both” is a reasonable answer in the real world. But let’s say… Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times If you’re like most Australians, you’ll plump for happiness. Nearly two out of three Australians value happiness over work, according to a survey commissioned by workplace meaning and happiness consultancy Rise. The poll, ... Read More »

What would happen if we banned emails at the weekends

Maybe we all need ‘the right to disconnect’ Chris Stokel-Walker BBC For the average working person, there’s no greater feeling than powering down your computer and kissing goodbye to your avalanche of work emails for the day. If we’re lucky enough to disconnect from the job on evenings and weekends, we’re overjoyed to leave work email and the stress that comes with it in the office. But experts say we’re increasingly failing to do so, instead bringing the burden home ... Read More »

Australian Catholic Church rejects calls for priests to report child abuse confessions

Australia’s Catholic Church has rejected calls for priests to be compelled to report child abuse revealed in confessionals. By Euan McKirdy and Ben Westcott, CNN The Church said Friday it would accept “98%” of recommendations made by a high-level government inquiry into child sexual abuse, which uncovered shocking accounts of widespread abuse inside… But church leaders said that they would maintain the sanctity of confession, arguing to remove it would infringe on religious liberties. “The only recommendation we can’t accept ... Read More »

People who see men and women as fundamentally different are more likely to accept workplace discrimination

How should people who care about gender equality in the workplace argue their case? The most popular approach is to make the “business case” argument: that greater inclusion of women enhances profits and performance. Authors: The Conversation Unfortunately, the business case argument often draws on a “gender essentialist” view. This holds that women are fundamentally, immutably and naturally different from men. The inclusion of women benefits the organisation, it suggests, because women bring uniquely female skills and perspectives that complement ... Read More »

Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound

When the reading brain skims texts, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings or to perceive beauty. We need a new literacy for the digital age Maryanne Wolf The Guardian Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email ... Read More »

Explainer: what is resignation syndrome and why is it affecting refugee children?

Reports from Nauru are raising concerns about an outbreak of a severe trauma-related mental disorder known as traumatic withdrawal syndrome, or resignation syndrome. Louise Newman The Conversation Recent legal action resulted in urgent medical evacuation of a child in an unconscious state following a progressive social withdrawal and failure to speak, eat or drink. The child was unresponsive, dehydrated and at risk of death from the physical complications of this extreme state. Medical experts noted there are no adequate medical ... Read More »

It’s not all in your mind: how meditation affects the brain to help you stress less

In Australia, about one in six adults practise meditation, while one in ten practise yoga. People often turn to yoga or meditation as a way to to take time out and manage the stress of their day-to-day lives. Michaela Pascoe The Conversation Stress is common, and ongoing stress can contribute to the onset of a range of psychological issues, such as depression and anxiety. Meditation and yoga have been shown to reduce people’s self-reported levels of stress. This is likely ... Read More »

Could different cultures teach us something about dementia?

Picture two different families, each dealing with a diagnosis of dementia in one of its members. Authors: The Conversation In one case, the patient is a retired executive, whose family tries as long as possible to keep the diagnosis secret, relying primarily on professional caregivers and eventually a nursing home. In another case, the patient is a grandmother. As soon as the diagnosis is suspected, her family pulls together, bringing her into their home and surrounding her with affection. These ... Read More »

How sheds can help men stave off loneliness after retirement – according to our new research

When people hear the word shed, they may think about a rickety wooden building at the bottom of a garden crawling with spiders, filled with old paint tins, a lawnmower and out-of-date weedkiller. Jenny Fisher The Conversation It has also been associated with the term “man cave” – a space where a man spends time on his own, tinkering with junk or avoiding his partner. But our new research found there was more to the humble shed than meets the ... Read More »

How we use good deeds to justify immoral behaviour

We all like to think of ourselves as morally sound individuals. However in doing so we often assume that morality is static – that we are consistently moral to some extent over time. Nishat Babu The Conversation In reality, research suggests that most of us will behave in contradictory ways and act both morally and immorally from time to time. Interestingly, when we think about our past moral actions, we are likely to engage engage in compensatory behaviour and act ... Read More »