Showing posts from June, 2016

Exercise Better for Kids' Brains Than Bodies

Now I'm really in trouble.

I have a couch potato (maybe call him a computer chair) kid who hardly ever goes outside and is as pale as unbleached flour. 

A new study says that kids who perform physical activity (or just run around) improve their academic standing and brain power, according to

The website reports that time taken away from lessons for physical activity is time well-spent and does not come at the cost of getting good grades, say the 24 signatories to a statement on physical activity in schools and during leisure time, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The Statement, which distills the best available evidence on the impact of physical activity on children and young people, was drawn up by a panel of international experts with a wide range of specialisms, from the UK, Scandinavia, and North America, in Copenhagen, Denmark, in April of this year.

Now my son does play soccer for hours with friends when they're all availa…

Helicopter Parent? Your Kid May Have Trouble in College

I'm in trouble.

A new study says helicopter parents may have an effect (and not a good one) as kids transition to adulthood.

Guilty as charged.

As thousands of young adults prepare to leave the nest and attend college for the first time, parents may want to examine whether they are kind and supportive or hovering into helicopter parent territory, according to

Parental involvement is crucial to a child’s development into an adult, but Florida State University (FSU) researchers are finding that crossing the line between supportive and too involved could indirectly lead to issues such as depression and anxiety for young adults.

“Helicopter parents are parents who are overly involved,” says FSU doctoral candidate Kayla Reed. “They mean everything with good intentions, but it often goes beyond supportive to intervening in the decisions of emerging adults.”

I suppose it makes sense.  If you do everything for your kid (me), and try to influence teachers over a bad …

Working in Teams. Good or Not?

I've never been a group person.  Leave me in a room alone with my work and let me at it.

Though groups are necessary in the business world, and other places, a new study has found that maybe I'm more normal than I know (nah).

According to, whether people enjoy working in groups or not, the cohesiveness of a team can be instrumental in the success or failure of group activities and each person's fulfillment of individual goals.

But can teamwork be taught?

Patrick Sonner, PhD, and Michelle Newsome, PhD, instruct a core natural sciences course for undergraduates in which students work in groups of four for the duration of the semester. “Anecdotally, students report poor experiences working in teams even though, individually, all students in the team are intelligent and capable of completing the task. This suggests that there are certain skills that must be learned in order to work effectively in a team,” the researchers wrote in their abstract. 


Women Who Work Long Hours May Die Sooner

So we live longer, but less healthier than men.  And now a new study says women's long work hours are linked to alarming increases in cancer and heart disease, according to

And it's not just the workaholics who toil for 60 or 70 hours a week.  It's those of us who work 40 hours, as well.

Women who put in long hours for the bulk of their careers may pay a steep price: life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.

Work weeks that averaged 60 hours or more over three decades appear to triple the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis for women, according to new research from The Ohio State University.

The risk begins to climb when women put in more than 40 hours and takes a decidedly bad turn above 50 hours, researchers found.

Women – especially women who have to juggle multiple roles – feel the effects of intensive work experiences and that can set the table for a variety of illnesses and disability,” says Allard Dembe, p…

In Your Kid's Face? Watch Out For Depression or Anxiety In Him

I'm guilty of this.

I'm an overprotective (some might call it "intrusive") parent and now a new study is saying that parents like me could lead my son to be overly critical of himself. High levels of self-criticalness are linked to depression and anxiety

Great.  I've tried so hard to be a good parent, given my late start, and now this. reports that, in a five-year study on primary school children in Singapore, researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that children with intrusive parents had a higher tendency to be overly critical of themselves and this tendency increased over the years. Children in the study who demonstrated high or increased levels of self-criticalness also reported elevated depression or anxiety symptoms. The study examined how maladaptive perfectionism - commonly known as the ‘bad’ form of perfectionism - develops in primary school children in Singapore.

“When parents become intrusive in their chi…

Out of Work? Depressed? Treatment the Same for Both

Unemployed? Desperate for a job?  Go to a therapist.

Well, not really.  But a new study has found that people who use the cognitive skills often taught in therapy can help in landing a new job.

Unemployed people were more likely to land a job if they used skills commonly taught as part of cognitive therapy for depression,according to

These skills included identifying negative thoughts and countering them with more positive responses and planning enjoyable activities to improve mood.

This study is the first to show that cognitive behavioral (CB) skills not only predict changes in depression symptoms, but also real-life functioning, says Daniel Strunk, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

Searching for a job is difficult in any circumstance, but it may be even more difficult for people who are depressed,” Strunk says. “But we found that there are specific skills that can help not only manage the symptoms of de…

Women Live Longer Than Men. But Men, You Live Healthier.

It's probably something you've always wondered.  Why do women live longer than men? Maybe not.

And the answer is, no one knows!  When I was a kid, it was thought because most women didn't work (outside the home, that is!). They stayed home and baked brownies and took the kids to the park and the playground and looked pretty and fetching when Dad came home.  Well, some moms did.  (Not mine.)

But a new study says that women do live longer than men, and their bonus lifespan is the same in mammals and some birds and primates and just about any living (human) thing walking around on the earth.

"Humans are the only species in which one sex is known to have a ubiquitous survival advantage,” the UAB researchers write in their research review covering a multitude of species, according to “Indeed, the sex difference in longevity may be one of the most robust features of human biology.”

Though other species, from roundworms and fruit flies to a spectrum of mam…

Go to Church. You'll Live Longer.

I'm going back to church.

People who do this live longer.

At least that's what a new study has found, according to The New York Times. 

Researchers used data from a long-term study of 75,534 women that tracked their health and lifestyle, including their attendance at religious services, over 16 years through 2012. 
After controlling for more than two dozen factors, they found that compared with those who never went to church, going more than once a week was associated with a 33 percent lower risk for death from any cause, attending once a week with a 26 percent lower risk, and going less than once a week a 13 percent lowered risk.
Risks for mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer followed a similar pattern. The researchers statistically eliminated the possibility of reverse causation — that is, that healthy people go to church more than unhealthy ones. And they found that some variables, such as social support and a tendency not to smoke, contributed to t…

Cruel But True, People Are Less Likely to Trust Those They See As Ugly

OK.  So your nose is a little big.  And your chin's a little too soft.  You may feel self-conscious about these things.  You know your beauty is deep inside.  But there's a reason that that self-consciousness may persist.

Children are less likely to trust ugly people.

According to, children think the uglier you are, the less trustworthy you are. In a study recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers have found that as children, how we perceive someone's trustworthiness is linked to how attractive we find them. Our ability to make this trustworthiness judgment develops as we grow, becoming more consistent as we approach adulthood, and, girls are better at it than boys.

Many psychology studies have proven the existence of the so-called "beauty stereotype". This describes the phenomenon whereby more attractive people are also considered to be smarter, more sociable and more successful. To be attractive is to be treated better by …

Would You Help a Friend Who Is Sick? How About One Who's Unemployed?

Here's an interesting thought.  If your friend were sick, would you help him?  What about if he was unemployed?

If you'd only be willing to help where illness is concerned, join the crowd.  A newstudy says that, though illness and unemployment are two types of ordinary risks to which we are all exposed, from a historical perspective, unemployment and illness represent two very different types of risks. Unemployment came about as a result of industrialization, while illness is something the human species has faced for millions of years. This difference is reflected in current-day political attitudes, according to

Why do people generally prefer helping the ill and not the unemployed?" This is the question posed by two professors in political science, Carsten Jensen and Michael Bang Petersen, from Aarhus University.

Using techniques to uncover people's implicit intuitions, the researchers explored the fundamental differences behind our attitudes t…

When You Read the Word, "Beach," Do You See Waves and Sand? You're Not Alone

Ever thought your brain worked the same way when looking at pictures and text?

Not so much.  In the brain, one area sees familiar words as pictures andnother sounds out words, according to

Skilled readers can quickly recognize words when they read because the word has been placed in a visual dictionary of sorts which functions separately from an area that processes the sounds of written words, say Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) neuroscientists. The visual dictionary idea rebuts a common theory that our brain needs to “sound out” words each time we see them. 

“Beginning readers have to sound out words as they read, which makes reading a very long and laborious process,” says the study’s lead investigator, Laurie Glezer, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow. The research was conducted in the Laboratory for Computational Cognitive Neuroscience at GUMC, led by Maximilian Riesenhuber, PhD.

I don't know about you but when I read about the beach, I imm…

Hello, I'm Right Here? Sorry, I'm Phubbing

You see it everywhere, people talking on their phones or pecking at the keyboards (maybe you do it, too).

But a new study has looked into what causes this behavior - known as 'phubbing' - and how it's come to be regarded as normal, according to

Research from psychologists at the University of Kent suggests people's internet addiction is leading them increasingly to 'phub' - and experience being 'phubbed' - in social situations. This, in turn, leads them to view this phubbing behaviour as normal.

The research, by Varoth Chotpitayasunondh and Professor Karen Douglas from the University's School of Psychology, identified a number of factors that were linked to smartphone addiction. These were Internet addiction, a fear of missing out and a lack of self-control.

Who knew?

 I tend to think people who do this when I'm around have better things to do, but isn't it interesting that it might be that they're afraid of being le…

Think You Use Your Brain the Same in Everything You Do? Maybe Not So Much

How about this?  You may use one part of your head to braid your daughter's hair and another to balance your checkbook.

That's right.  You may think of yourself as using the same level of wisdom on each thing you do, but according to a new study, that's not quite right.

While we may think some people are consistently wise, we actually demonstrate different levels of wisdom from one situation to the next, and factors such as whether we are alone or with friends can affect it, according to new research from the University of Waterloo.The study defines wise reasoning as a combination of such abilities as intellectual humility, consideration of others' perspective and looking for compromise, reports. 

"This research does not dismiss that there is a personality component to wisdom, but that's not the whole picture," says Professor Igor Grossmann, from the Department of Psychology at Waterloo and lead author of the paper. "Situations …

Want Meaningful Work? Bosses, Stay Out

This should come as no surprise -- meaningful work is not created by your boss, but you.  Did you know, though, that meaningful work can be destroyed by your boss?

According to a new study, bosses play no role in fostering a sense of meaningfulness at work - but they do have the capacity to destroy it and should stay out of the way, new research shows. reports that the study by researchers at the University of Sussex and the University of Greenwich shows that quality of leadership receives virtually no mention when people describe meaningful moments at work, but poor management is the top destroyer of meaningfulness.

I should know.  I couldn't count on the fingers on one hand the number of bosses I've had who have (sometimes, intentionally) tried to shut me down when it comes to trying to create work that means something to me.  I even had one boss try to get me fired because I spoke up to his boss about looking for more work, trying to find something more m…

Want to Read Your Partner's Mind?

Admit.  Wouldn't you like to get into the head of your partner?  Maybe not.

But now a new study is saying that the desire to understand other people's thinking and perspectives can foster teamwork and be good for relationships.

Hmm.  Not so sure.

But actually that might help me.  I have a habit of suspecting people of the deepest, darkest, disappointing thoughts about me.  Take my recent birthday.  My husband (whose is a day after mine), is not big on them.  So every year I prepare to be disappointed.  But this year he sent me flowers (on the day BEFORE my birthday), making me think that was all I was going to get.  Then he and our son surprised me with earrings on the actual day. 

That was a really nice surprise.  But would I want to know if he were down to our last dollar (yes, I suppose so) or if he found our young neighbor more attractive than, well, his old wife?  Probably not.

MRM, a newly coined term for the practice of observing and interpreting bits of social informa…

Want to Influence Others? Take the High Ground

Want to influence someone's opinion?

Just tell them it's moral.

According to a new study, if you want to strengthen your opinion, the way to do it is to imply you are taking the moral path.  But, as Dr. Phil would say, do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? reports that simply telling people that their opinions are based on morality will make them stronger and more resistant to counterarguments, the new study suggests.

Researchers found that people were more likely to act on an opinion – what psychologists call an attitude – if it was labeled as moral and were more resistant to attempts to change their mind on that subject.

The results show why appeals to morality by politicians and advocacy groups can be so effective, says Andrew Luttrell, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University.
“The perception that an attitude we hold is based on morality is enough to strengthen it,” Luttrell says. "Fo…