Psychology

How we talk about Kate Spade could help others survive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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 »

Antipsychotics used to manage autism and intellectual disability behaviour can have serious side effects – new study

Antipsychotic medication is typically licensed in the UK for people with serious mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia. Sinead Brophy The Conversation But in recent years, some antipsychotic drugs have been prescribed more and more “off label”. That is, for a condition for which they do not have approval from the medicines regulatory agency to treat. Off label prescribing can be done under certain circumstances, such as when the prescriber believes it is in a patient’s best interests. For example, ... Read More »

Hitman threats and high-quality drugs: Journalist reveals dark web investigation

Investigative journalist Eileen Ormsby has spent the past five years wading through the deep, dark depths of the internet’s “evil twin”. Amy Mitchell-Whittington Brisbane Times The 48-year-old has chatted to hackers and was the target of a hitman and will later this month share her experiences in Brisbane at the launch of her latest book The Darkest Web. She said the idea of exploring the dark web came to her after researching Silk Road, an online black market platform used to ... Read More »

What if we have got it wrong on Alzheimer’s?

Science is about getting it wrong, until you get it right. What if we’re refusing to admit we’re wrong about a horrifying disease? Liam Mannix The Sydney Morning Herald “The hard but just rule is that if the ideas don’t work, you must throw them away,” wrote astronomer Carl Sagan. But when your career and everything you’ve ever worked for is on the line, admitting you might be wrong is very hard to do. Despite decades and billions of dollars ... Read More »

Why Denmark dominates the World Happiness Report rankings year after year

The new World Happiness Report again ranks Denmark among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed – a distinction that the country has earned for seven consecutive years. Marie Helweg-Larsen The Conversation The U.S., on the other hand, ranked 18th in this year’s World Happiness Report, a four-spot drop from last year’s report. Denmark’s place among the world’s happiest countries is consistent with many other national surveys of happiness (or, as psychologists call it, “subjective well-being”). Scientists like to ... Read More »

Picture a Leader. Is She a Woman?

Most people will draw a man. Researchers investigate the consequences. Heather Murphy The New York Times This series of images emerged from a simple prompt: “Draw an effective leader.” Tina Kiefer, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, fell upon the exercise accidentally, while leading a workshop full of executives who did not speak much English. Since then it has been adopted by organizational psychologists across the world. In terms of gender, the ... Read More »

Lessons about risks of gambling piloted in British schools

Thinktank trials scheme to teach children about problems that can ‘wreak havoc on people’s lives’ Sally Weale The Guardian Lessons about the risks of gambling have been trialled in secondary schools in an attempt to address high levels of gambling among school-age children. Around 25,000 children in the UK are currently classed as problem gamblers, with one recent survey finding that one in six 11-to-15-year-olds admitted to gambling in the last week. Yet according to the cross-party thinktank Demos, gambling is rarely included in ... Read More »

Sensory aspects of speech linked to language issues in autism

Children with autism pay just as much attention to speech that doesn’t match lip movements as to speech in which sight and sound are coordinated, according to a new study1. Hannah Furfaro Spectrum Typical children prefer speech in which the sensory cues are in sync. Some people with autism have trouble learning to speak and understand words. Some people with the condition have minimal verbal skills or don’t speak at all. The new work suggests that these problems may be partially rooted ... Read More »