Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Adult Development and Aging, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Assessment, Depression, Disorders of Childhood, General Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Children Adolescents, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, Psychological Disorders, Psychological Health, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Think about what sports of factors might be involved in how refugees cope with distress once they have arrived in a relatively safe place and are trying to get on with their lives. Certainly the potentially horrific stressful events they endured in their original homes and in their flight towards safety could be important factors in their ability to adjust in a new (safer) setting. However, those providing counseling and therapy to refugees are telling us that a sole focus on previous traumatic events is not sufficient to help refugees find ways to cope and thrive. Think about what else might be involved and think about the implications of those other factors for what therapy plans might need to look like or involve if refugee well-being is to improve.

Source: What Are the Roots of Distress Among Refugees? Kenneth E. Miller, Psychology Today.

Date: August 16, 2017

Photo Credit:  Esfera/Shutterstock

Links:  Article Link — https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-refugee-experience/201708/what-are-the-roots-distress-among-refugees

In developmental psychology (my main area of work) we have figured out that single life events (bad or good) by themselves have little impact upon developmental outcomes. To have long term impact something from that event must be carried forward through development either by the developing individual or by their environment if downstream developmental outcomes are to be effected. Parent mistakes need not be a big deal but ongoing parental incompetence or ongoing parental aggressiveness or a defensive attachment model within the developing child are all things that follow children along their developmental pathways and continue to nudge them towards negative or atypical developmental outcomes.  The points in the article linked below on the impact of current and ongoing stressors on the mental health and well-being of refugees essentially makes the same point. Related to this is the recent observation that resilience, reflected in the fact that some people cope and even thrive in the face of life challenges, is not an individual difference variable (something that is part of individual character or personality) but a contextual variable lining personal traits and skills with social and community variables and together helping people cope and thrive. Given the state of the world it is critically important for us to better understand the situations and the coping and resilience supports needed by refugees.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Do past traumatic life events have impacts upon current adjustment and mental health?
  2. What other factors are involved in the adjustment and mental health of refugees?
  3. Beyond the implications of the finding in the linked article for individual refugee therapy what are some implications for how we process and manage refugee claimants at local and national levels?

References (Read Further):

Miller, K. E., & Garbarino, J. (2016). War torn: stories of courage, love, and resilience. Larson Publications.

Miller, K. E., & Rasco, L. M. (2004). An ecological framework for addressing the mental health needs of refugee communities. The mental health of refugees: Ecological approaches to healing and adaptation, 1-64. http://www.drkenmiller.org/Ken_Miller,_Ph.D./CV_files/Mental%20Health%20of%20Civilians%20Displaced%20by%20Armed%20Conflict_1.pdf

Betancourt, T. S., & Khan, K. T. (2008). The mental health of children affected by armed conflict: protective processes and pathways to resilience. International review of psychiatry, 20(3), 317-328. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613765/

Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American psychologist, 56(3), 227. http://www.ocfcpacourts.us/assets/files/list-758/file-935.pdf

Posted by & filed under Health Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: What sorts of things in our personal profiles make or break our relationships? Certainly religious differences might lead to us not pursuing a relationship — whether or not the other person wants children may be another such thing. But what about brand preferences? Coke or Pepsi? Think about how differences in brand preferences across a couple in a relationship might impact the well-being of the relationship and the individuals involved. Once you have a hypothesis or two in mind (not just does it matter but how differences might play out within the relationship) than have a look at the article linked below.

Source: Coke or Pepsi? Partner’s choices can make you miserable. ScienceDaily.

Date: August 14, 2017

Photo Credit:  Shutterstock, Nasdaq.com

Links:  Article Link — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170814125347.htm

Perhaps it was not a surprise to see that differences in brand preferences can make a difference in people’s happiness in a relationship. From a research design point of view it is important to note that brand preference differences alone are not necessarily sufficient to produce impacts on well-being within a relationship. The researchers also measured relationship power as in whose preferences and decisions most often hold sway in the relationship. Being the lower power member in a relationship means you end up putting up with the brand choices or preferences (among other things) of your partner more often than not. It is the combination of these variables that seems to negatively impact ones feelings within a relationship. These sorts of linking variables or mediating or moderating variables are very important parts of research design with psychology because as I hope you already know things are rarely simple in human functioning and human interaction.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How can brand preference differences impact ones well-being in a relationship??
  2. What other variables might be useful to consider in this area of research besides relationship power?
  3. How might these findings apply in organizational settings?

References (Read Further):

Danielle J. Brick, Gráinne M. Fitzsimons, Tanya L. Chartrand, Gavan J. Fitzsimons. Coke vs. Pepsi: Brand Compatibility, Relationship Power, and Life Satisfaction. Journal of Consumer Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/jcr/ucx079

Hafeman, D. M. (2017). Relationship Power in Health Care: Science of Behavior Change, Decision Making, and Clinician Self-Care.

Brick, D. J., & Fitzsimons, G. J. (2017). Oppositional brand choice: Using brands to respond to relationship frustration. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 27(2), 257-263.

Gottman, J., & Gottman, J. (2017). The Natural Principles of Love. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 9(1), 7-26.

Posted by & filed under Basic Cognitive Functions In Aging: Information Processing Attention Memory, Child Development, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Human Development, Intervention: Children and Adolescents, Learning, Motivation-Emotion.

Description: Back when I was a child (a loooong time ago) one of the biggest parental concerns was whether or not they should limit the amount of time we spent watching television. After a couple of decades of research it was decided that the amount of television watched mattered partly because of what was watched (non-cognitively stimulating fare) and what was NOT done (physical activities replaced by “couch potatoing”). So where are we at with such concerns today? It must be all figured out right? Oh my no! One of today’s largest points of popular and developmental research debate is not TV time but “Screen Time”, including internet use, gaming and smartphone use with numbers that make TV use back in my childhood look like nothing at all. Think about what you think our level of concern should be about teenager’s screen time these days and then read the article linked below. As you do think about what sorts of studies we need to do to start to sort ot the questions assictaed with concerns over the amount and content of screen time among children and youth these days. (These sorts of questions have NOT been even slightly sorted out as yet).

Source: Are smartphones really making our children sad? Ian Tucker, the Observer.

Date: August 13, 2017

Photo Credit:  Alamy

 

Links:  Article Link — https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/13/are-smartphones-really-making-our-children-sad

So obviously there are strong and extreme views on this matter. But sporting our the questions and the answers with research is difficult in the same way it was difficult with TV. When most people have or use something it is VERY hard to sort out its effects from the compounding effects of other things. We need to pay attention to what is being done on the screens but we also need to attend to what is NOT being done; like physical activity — Pokemon Go was supposed to be a fix for that – like face-to-face social interaction (we are still trying to figure out the impact of THAT reduction. And how much is just that things like life in the world is simply going to be different going forward. We have a LOT of research AND thinking to do! And parents need some guidance.

 Questions for Discussion:

  1. So how big a deal is the amount of screen time spent by children and youth these days?
  2. What does research tell us about the developmental effects of screen time?
  3. What sorts of research are need to clearly address the questions and issues that are posed by screen time concerns and how should (or can) that research be designed?

References (Read Further):

Stop children binging on social media during holidays, parents urged. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/05/children-bingeing-social-media-anne-longfield-childrens-commissioner

Encourage children to spend more time online, says former GCHQ head, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/encourage-children-to-spend-more-time-online-says-former-gchq-head

Screen-based lifestyle harms children’s health, https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/25/screen-based-lifestyle-harms-health-of-children 40 academics weigh in.

Screen time guidelines need to be built on evidence, not hype, https://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2017/jan/06/screen-time-guidelines-need-to-be-built-on-evidence-not-hype , More than 40 academic respond to this concern calling it moral panic.

Twenge, Jean (2017) iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood – and What That Means for the Rest of Us. Simon and Schuster.

Lowe, B., Smith, M., Jaine, R., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., … & Mhurchu, C. N. (2016). Watching the watchers: quantifying the duration and nature of children’s after-school screen time. Obesity Reviews, 17, 181. https://diet.auckland.ac.nz/sites/diet.auckland.ac.nz/files/Watching%20the%20watchers%20quantifying%20the%20duration%20and%20nature%20of%20children’s%20after%20school%20screen%20time.pdf

Posted by & filed under Adult Development and Aging, Child Development, Cognitive Development: Piagetian and Vygotskian Approaches, Cognitive Development: The Information-Processing Approach, Development of the Self, General Psychology, Health Psychology, Human Development, Student Success.

Description: In discussing one of the courses I developed a couple of years ago (a dual credit course for high school students focused upon the psychology of student transition and adjustment to post-secondary developmental pathways) I often found myself consistently pointing out that Psychology as a discipline is uniquely situated to provide insight and opportunities for self-reflection and development to students studying its content. After all, human development and learning are right in our research and application wheelhouse. The article/blog linked below does a fantastic job of providing an overview of areas of psychological research enquiry that speak directly to how students learn and develop. While aimed at teachers of elementary and secondary level students there is much here for learners at ALL levels to become interested in and to reflect upon. Especially, for students heading off to colleges and universities next month there is much here that can be filed in your virtual backpack and reflected upon as you figure out what it means for you to be a college or university student.

Source: 20 Psychology Principles That Will Help Your Students Learn Effectively, Nancy Fenton, Psych Learning Curve, American Psychological Association.

Date: August 17, 2017

Photo Credit:  American Psychological Association

Links:  Article Link — http://psychlearningcurve.org/these-psychological-principles-will-help-your-students-learn-more-effectively/

The 20 areas of research covered in the article linked above can be usefully used in several ways by students either on their way to college or university or by those already there. If you have wondered what it will be like to be a college or university student this list provides a rich Psychological overview of what you can expect in ways that will allow you to reflect upon how the issues discussed in each area apply to you and what this might mean for you as you start to figure out how you will manage and thrive in the post-secondary learning environment. Alternatively, this article is a good place to start if you are already a post-secondary student and you are finding that some parts of your experience are not as positive, as engaging, or as successful as you had hoped they would be. The areas covered in the article can provide you with some clues as to which of your post-secondary tactics or strategies or which of your personal commitments or approaches to your current development might stand with some reflection and tweaking.  Finally, it can serve as a valuable resource for you to pass along to friends who might talk with you about aspects of their own post-secondary experiences that are not going as they had hoped. There is LOT here to think about, discuss and apply as, ultimately, what you get out of your post-secondary  learning and developmental opportunities is up to you (well and to the insight, support and assistance you can go and find related to some of the 20 areas of Psychology that bear upon the quality of your learning experiences).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are your (Psychological) preparations for your first year post-secondary experience going (or how are things now that you have been “in” for a year or two?
  2. Are there areas within the 20 presented in the article that clarify some of your concerns or challenges?
  3. If pathways to the improvement of your future or current post-secondary situation are still not clear what options are available to you at your college or university for assistance (look for student advising, student wellness centers, etc. and GO and talk to them, you will find they can help you try some of these psychological finding and insights on for size)?

References (Read Further):

Follow the many links in the article linked above to find additional resources.

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Adult Development and Aging, Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Clinical Psychology, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Health Psychology, Human Development, Intervention: Adults-Couples, mental illness, Neuroscience.

Description: You have likely heard that the baby-blues or post-partum depression is a very real issue and concern. This is true. Postpartum depression is very much a form of real depression that is triggered by the hormonal and circumstantial changes associated with giving birth. Recognizing its signs and symptoms and treating it as we would treat depression in general is very important given the potential impact of a depressed parent on infant development (as well as on parental well-being). With this in mind what might you hypothesize (or guess) about possible relationships between symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and having a new baby? Include in your hypotheses some thinking about potential relationships between genetics, psycho-social circumstances and OCD symptoms then read the article linked below to see what research has said about these things.

Source: Maternal Instinct or OCD? Kelly Kautz, Well, Family, New York Times.

Date: August 2, 2017

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/well/family/maternal-instinct-or-ocd.html

So how did your hypotheses do? What is the relationship between formal OCD and the behaviours in new parents sometime called “ocd” without data based links to the formal disorder?  While the population rate of OCD symptom bursts following birth is low at 2% this rate is still double that of the general population. This suggests a relationship between birth and increased risks for OCD and 1% of the estimated 360,000 birth per day globally is a rather large number. Our understanding of the shifting patterns of risk and how they might be linked to important developmental moments in the lives of parents and children is growing. Findings like those discussed in the linked article can inform professionals (such as pediatricians and GP’s) and others (if information is made generally available) about the sorts of negative and positive issues possibly associated with moments of developmental life change. With this knowledge we can respond more quickly and more effectively when developmental advancements are put at risk.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are symptoms of depression or OCD related to life events such as giving birth?
  2. What information should be generated and provided to professionals such as pediatricians and GP’s in relation to OCD and new parents?
  3. What additional research is needed if we are to properly engage in the actions suggested in question 2 above or to make information about things like OCD and birth available to the public in general?

References (Read Further):

Abramowitz, Jonathon (2017) Beyond the Blues: Postpartum OCD. Accessed August 2017, https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/postpartum-ocd/

National Institute of Mental Health (2016) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, accessed August 2017, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

Fairbrother, N., & Woody, S. R. (2008). New mothers’ thoughts of harm related to the newborn. Archives of women’s mental health, 11(3), 221-229. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nichole_Fairbrother/publication/5387569_New_mothers%27_thoughts_of_harm_related_to_the_newborn/links/574b377908ae5c51e29ea689/New-mothers-thoughts-of-harm-related-to-the-newborn.pdf

Fairbrother, N., Barr, R. G., Pauwels, J., Brant, R., & Green, J. (2015). Maternal thoughts of harm in response to infant crying: An experimental analysis. Archives of women’s mental health, 18(3), 447-455. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nichole_Fairbrother/publication/267931686_Maternal_thoughts_of_harm_in_response_to_infant_crying_an_experimental_analysis/links/574b373308ae5c51e29ea685.pdf

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Consciousness, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Motivation-Emotion, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology.

Description: OK so you are an open and honest individual right? Of course you are. But do you have any secrets from anyone? Come along, be honest! Keeping secrets from other people comes with a toll. The easy thing to say is that it is hard work to keep a secret and that is likely true but what actually IS the hard part of keeping a secret exactly? Well think on that for a moment and then read the article linked below to see an account of some interesting Social Psychological research into the nature of the tolls associated with secret keeping.

Source: The worst part of keeping a secret, Julie Beck, The Atlantic.

Date: May 15, 2017

Photo Credit:  Roxi/Flickr

Links:  Article Link – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-death-and-the-self/201705/why-social-stigma-matters

What I find fascinating about the research discussed in the linked article is that none of the usual social memes about the psychological weight of keeping a secret are seriously examined. Rather we hear of an inquiry into the cognitive consequences of noting the secret being held in our own minds over and over and over. It ties in the ways in which our minds wander and continue to stumble over the secrets we are keeping. It is a very innovative way to think about an individual/social issue.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is keeping a secret hard?
  2. What factors contribute to the fact that keeping a secret id hard?
  3. What would the research discussed in the link about suggest we should do to lessen the psychological impacts of keeping a secret? And what if we cannot simply be more honest – what then?

References (Read Further):

Slepian, M. L., Chun, J. S., & Mason, M. F. (2017). The Experience of Secrecy.

Wismeijer, A. A., & Vingerhoets, A. J. (2006). The emotional burden of secrets. Consequences for somatic health and implications for health care.

Slepian, M. L., Masicampo, E. J., Toosi, N. R., & Ambady, N. (2012). The physical burdens of secrecy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141(4), 619. http://web.stanford.edu/group/ipc/pubs/Slepian-Masicampo-Toosi-Ambady_Physical-Burdens-of-Secrecy_2012_JEPG.pdf

Slepian, M. L., Masicampo, E. J., & Ambady, N. (2014). Relieving the burdens of secrecy: Revealing secrets influences judgments of hill slant and distance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(3), 293-300. https://www.ericaceae.org/~masicaej/Slepianetal2013SPPS.pdf

Posted by & filed under Persuasion, Social Cognition, Social Influence, Social Perception, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: Xenophobia involves an intense dislike and/or fear of people from other countries. What sorts of factors keep people from thinking xenophobic thoughts, expressing xenophobic views or acting in xenophobically hateful or dangerous ways? Well, morality and rationality would, we hope, play something of a limiting role in this but another big factor are the social pressures of disapproval or more succinctly put, the stigma associated with xenophobic thoughts, statements and actions. Does that all make sense? OK so now here is a question: looking across American culture what role does Donald Trump and the Trump presidency play in the maintenance and advancement of social stigma against xenophobic views and action? Think about that and then read what recent research has to say about this question.

Source: Why Social Stigma Matters, Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin, Psychology Today.

Date: May 22, 2017

Photo Credit:  Roxi/Flickr

Links:  Article Link – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-death-and-the-self/201705/why-social-stigma-matters

So any surprises there? What IS clear is that we tend to assess the social landscape in order to assess what is, or will be acceptable. Our assessments can bed open to influence by information about the views of others AND by the statements made by people of influence like Donald Trump who made a large number of xenophobic-tinged statements prior to and since his election. The author of the linked article suggest we need to be vigilant and ready for the possibility that, in terms of xenophobic behavior, things could be getting a whole lot worse.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the xenophobia?
  2. How are the thoughts, statements, and actions of individuals with xenophobic views influenced by or linked to the current social norms regarding the acceptability of certain statements and actions?
  3. What role might the statements and actions of Donald Trump be playing in a possible increase in Xenophobic behavior up to and including the murder of black individuals by white supremacists influenced individuals?

References (Read Further):

Cialdini, R. B., Reno, R. R., & Kallgren, C. A. (1990). A focus theory of normative conduct: Recycling the concept of norms to reduce littering in public places. Journal of personality and social psychology, 58(6), 1015. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~prestos/Downloads/DC/pdfs/Krupka_Oct13_Cialdinietal1990.pdf

http://www.nber.org/papers/w23415

Abdelmonem, A., Bavelaar, R. E., Wynne-Hughes, E., & Galán, S. (2016). The’Taharrush’connection: xenophobia, Islamophobia, and sexual violence in Germany and beyond. Jadaliyya, 2016(Mar 1). http://orca.cf.ac.uk/87454/1/TheTaharrushConnectionInGermany.pdf

Bursztyn, L., & Jensen, R. (2016). Social Image and Economic Behavior in the Field: Identifying, Understanding and Shaping Social Pressure (No. w23013). National Bureau of Economic Research. http://home.uchicago.edu/~bursztyn/Bursztyn_Jensen_ARE_Social_Image_December2016.pdf

Posted by & filed under Altruism Prosocial Behaviour, Group Processes, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Personality, Social Psychology, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: What happens, inevitably, when you give someone power over others? Baron Acton said it very succinctly, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Too true, right? Well no one, and especially psychological researchers and anyone interested in human behavior should be comfortable saying that a saying perfectly captures human behavior. The author of the article linked below reviews research into this general question of the effects of power on leaders and essentially is pointing out that like a LOT of human behavior, it depends. Before you read the article think little bit about what it might depend upon. What sorts of personal, situational and experiential variables will sort out how leaders react to having power? Once you have worked out your hypotheses have a rad through the article and see how your thoughts match up with those of Psychological, researchers interested in these questions.

Source: When Power Makes Leaders More Sensitive, Matthew Huston, New York Times, Job Market.

Date: May 19, 2017

Photo Credit:  Tom Grillo, New York Times

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/jobs/power-leaders.html       

As you saw in the article there are a number of contextual factors that influence how people react to having power. Most interesting, some of those contextual factors are open to manipulation as are factors such as transparency and accountability, all things that companies and organizations can influence through training and rules and expectations for workplace performance. Essentially the culture of the workplace with regards to leadership and power expectations can create a very positive or a very negative context for leaders with power to act. Leaders that see power as freedom tend to behave selfishly when they have it whereas leaders who see power as a responsibility tend to behave in more supportive and empowering ways with their subordinates. Essentially, organizational structures can be built in ways that produce positively empowered leaders.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is the difference between a leaders seeing power as providing freedom and one that sees it as a responsibility?
  2. What are some of the contextual factors that can influence how leaders act when given power?
  3. What does the research suggest companies and organizations should do to ensure their leaders deploy their power positively and responsibly?

References (Read Further):

Hu, M., Rucker, D. D., & Galinsky, A. D. (2016). From the Immoral to the Incorruptible: How Prescriptive Expectations Turn the Powerful Into Paragons of Virtue. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(6), 826-837.

Rus, D., van Knippenberg, D., & Wisse, B. (2010). Leader self-definition and leader self-serving behavior. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(3), 509-529. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/bf0b/bd449257158460181f97c575ab37b72ddd36.pdf

Galinsky, A. D., Magee, J. C., Rus, D., Rothman, N. B., & Todd, A. R. (2014). Acceleration with steering: The synergistic benefits of combining power and perspective-taking. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(6), 627-635. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Joe_Magee/publication/259338626_Acceleration_With_Steering_The_Synergistic_Benefits_of_Combining_Power_and_Perspective-Taking/links/0c96053befb0359f43000000.pdf

Scholl, A., Sassenberg, K., Scheepers, D., Ellemers, N., & Wit, F. (2017). A matter of focus: Power‐holders feel more responsible after adopting a cognitive other‐focus, rather than a self‐focus. British Journal of Social Psychology, 56(1), 89-102.

Williams, M. J. (2014). Serving the self from the seat of power: Goals and threats predict leaders’ self-interested behavior. Journal of Management, 40(5), 1365-1395. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.942.4172&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, General Psychology, Intergroup Relations, Interpersonal Attraction Close Relationships, Learning, Memory, Motivation-Emotion.

Description: Think about all that you know about how human memory and cognition work…. about how we think about and prepare for interacting within our world. Now, based on all that, on how we store memories, on how memories can become or be made unreliable, and on our cognitive biases answer this question: Are we ‘built’ to function in, or to focus mostly upon, the past, the present, or the future? Certainly ‘living in the moment’ is often suggested as a way to live life more fully but is that what we do when we are living our day to day lives (reflecting and learning about the world)?  The article linked below is co-authored by Martin Seligman, a psychologist who has, over his many years in psychology, provided us with many thoughtful, discipline changing, reflections on the nature of Psychology and on where it is or should be looking as we move into the future. Seligman was one of several psychologists influential in the development of the new sub-field or perspective on psychology called Positive Psychology. In this article he is, again, challenging us to examine our assumptions about basic human psychology. Have a read and see what he has to say.

Source: We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment, Martin Seligman and John Tierney, New York Times, Sunday Review.

Date: May 19, 2017

Photo Credit:  Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch, New York Times

Links:  Article Link — https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/opinion/sunday/why-the-future-is-always-on-your-mind.html      

So what do you think? Does thinking about ourselves as ‘homo prospectus’ or forward looking change the way you think about parts of psychology? Certainly the idea that memories are not simply stored as on a hard drive but parsed by the hippocampus into portions having to do with what, when, and where the event being memorized happened provides new ways to think about the long-known observation that people’s memories can be changed or even created by how questions are asked in investigations or how a clinician digs into possible earlier life events when trying to help a troubled client. There is a LOT here to ponder and if you would like to do so there is a wealth of general articles with direct links below in the Read Further section to get you started. Think about it! You could be part of the reconfiguring the future of psychology!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does it mean to ‘live in the moment’?
  2. What is Martin Seligman suggesting that we as a species actually tend to do in terms of thinking and memory instead of ‘thinking in the moment’?
  3. What are some examples of the way we think about and approach memory and cognition in research that might need to be re-configured if Seligman’s perspective makes sense?

References (Read Further):

Osvath, M. (2009). Spontaneous planning for future stone throwing by a male chimpanzee. Current biology, 19(5), R190-R191. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982209005478

Baumeister, Roy F. and Vohs, Kathleen D. (2016) The Science of Prospection, Special issue of the Review of General Psychology, 20(1). http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/special/5562001.aspx

Hassabis, D., Kumaran, D., Vann, S. D., & Maguire, E. A. (2007). Patients with hippocampal amnesia cannot imagine new experiences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(5), 1726-1731. http://www.pnas.org/content/104/5/1726.full?linkType=FULL&ck=nck&resid=104/5/1726&journalCode=pnas

Busby, J., & Suddendorf, T. (2005). Recalling yesterday and predicting tomorrow. Cognitive Development, 20(3), 362-372. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Thomas_Suddendorf/publication/224826581_Recalling_yesterday_and_predicting_tomorrow/links/56ddff3408aedf2bf0c870b1.pdf

Gaesser, B., Spreng, R. N., McLelland, V. C., Addis, D. R., & Schacter, D. L. (2013). Imagining the future: evidence for a hippocampal contribution to constructive processing. Hippocampus, 23(12), 1150-1161. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3838494/

Schacter, D. L., & Addis, D. R. (2007). The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: remembering the past and imagining the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1481), 773-786. http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/362/1481/773.long

Buckner, R. L. (2012). The serendipitous discovery of the brain’s default network. Neuroimage, 62(2), 1137-1145. http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1462521.files/Week%2013/Buckner%20-%202011%20-%20The%20serendipitous%20discovery%20of%20the%20brains%20default.pdf

 

Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Depression, General Psychology, Intervention: Adults-Couples, Intervention: Identifying Key Elements of Change, mental illness, Psychological Intervention, Stress Coping - Health, Treatment of Psychological Disorders.

Description: Ok a pop-quiz! Name 5 treatment options for people diagnosed with clinical depression and then rank order them in terms of effectiveness. For a few extra points explain the mechanism by which your top three treatment actually effect symptoms of depression. Given the number of people who deal with depression and related issues each year it is not inconceivable that you may have these questions come up conversationally during your week to week activities. How did you do? Read the article linked below for an overview without a lot of data on these questions.

Source: What is the best way to treat depression? David Levine, Health Care/Patient Advice, US News.

Date: April 25, 2017

Photo Credit:  Getty Images

Links:  Article Link — http://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2017-04-25/what-is-the-best-way-to-treat-depression   

So I hope it is clear that there no definitive answer to the questions that opening this post above. The best advice you can give people who ask about depression and treatments (especially if they may need some assistance) is to suggest that they (or help them to) connect with a medical/clinical professional with experience in treating and managing depression or who can make a referral to someone else with those skills. Did the treatment effectiveness findings surprise you? The bottom line is that anti-depressant medications are not the definitive or necessarily even a part of an effective treatment/movement strategy. What is best for each individual will vary with each individual and choices should be informed and made with support. Finally, note that no studies or data was or were directly discussed in the linked article, things we need to actually develop positions and suggestions (see the Read Further section for a few suggestions).

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Strictly speaking is depression “treatable”?
  2. What would you suggest someone talking with you about their depression issues and symptoms try as a first treatment? What would you need to know about the person to make a specific suggestion?
  3. What is the best way for people to proceed and obtain appropriate assistance in gearing up to deal with their feels of hopelessness and depression??

References (Read Further):

Linde, K., Rücker, G., Schneider, A., & Kriston, L. (2016). Questionable assumptions hampered interpretation of a network meta-analysis of primary care depression treatments. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 71, 86-96. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Levente_Kriston/publication/283455407_Questionable_assumptions_hampered_interpretation_of_a_network_meta-analysis_of_primary_care_depression_treatments/links/56c71e4208ae03b93ddfbfc5.pdf

Simon, G., Ciechanowski, P., Roy-Byrne, P. P., & Solomon, D. (2016). Unipolar major depression in adults: Choosing initial treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/unipolar-major-depression-in-adults-choosing-initial-treatment

Negt, P., Brakemeier, E. L., Michalak, J., Winter, L., Bleich, S., & Kahl, K. G. (2016). The treatment of chronic depression with cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy: a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized‐controlled clinical trials. Brain and behavior, 6(8). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/brb3.486/full

Cuijpers, P. (2016). Are all psychotherapies equally effective in the treatment of adult depression? The lack of statistical power of comparative outcome studies. Evidence Based Mental Health, ebmental-2016.