Study Finds Antidepressants Blunt Empathy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Markus Rütgen Post-doctoral researcher Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit Faculty of Psychology University of Vienna

Dr. Ruetgen

Dr. Markus Rütgen PhD
Post-doctoral researcher
Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit
Faculty of Psychology
University of Vienna 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Previous research has reported empathy deficits in patients with major depressive disorder. However, a high percentage of patients taking part in these studies were taking antidepressants, which are known to influence emotion processing. In our study, we wanted to overcome this important limitation. We were interested in whether the previously reported empathic deficits were attributable to the acute state of depression, or to the antidepressant treatment.

To this end, we performed a longitudinal neuroimaging study, in which we measured brain activity and self-reported empathy in response to short video clips showing people in pain. We measured acutely depressed patients twice. First, before they started their treatment, second, after three months of treatment with a state-of-the-art antidepressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

Continue reading

Head Tilt Can Assert Dominance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zachary Witkower University of British Columbia PhD Student

Zachary Witkower

Zachary Witkower
University of British Columbia
PhD Student  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: When we form judgments about other people –what their personality is like, or how they are feeling at the moment– we tend to focus our attention towards their face. This is not surprising, as facial shape and facial expressions contain all kinds of information that can be used to inform judgments.

However, faces are almost never viewed in isolation. Instead, faces are almost always viewed as they rest upon the face’s physical foundation: the head. Yet little is known about how head position might influence judgments about personality or social status, or – importantly – how head position might change the way faces are perceived. In the present research, we examined how and why head position might influence social judgments made from the face.  Continue reading

Are Younger People Really Addicted to Their Smartphones?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brittany I. Davidson MA Doctoral Researcher in Information Systems University of Bath

Ms. Davidson

Brittany I. Davidson MA
Doctoral Researcher in Information Systems
University of Bath

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Typically, research interested in the impact of technology, or more specifically, smartphones on people and society, use surveys to measure people’s usage. Almost always, these studies claim potential harms from using smartphones, like depression, anxiety, or poorer sleep. However, these studies simply ask people about  their behaviour rather than actually measuring it.

In our study, we took 10 widely used surveys to  measure screen time, which typically asks how often people use their smartphone or how problematic their usage is. We compared this to people’s objective smartphone usage from Apple Screen time (e.g., minutes spend on iPhone, number of times they picked up their phone, and the number of notifications received).

We found that there is a large discrepancy between what people self-report and what they actually do with their iPhone. This is highly problematic as the sweeping statements that claim smartphones (or technology more generally) have a negative impact on mental health are not  based on solid and robust evidence at this time, which leaves much to be desired in terms of what we really know about the  impacts of technology use on people.

Continue reading

What Kind of Personality Goes to the Emergency Room Often?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen L. Ristvedt, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Washington University St. Louis, MO  63110-1093

Dr. Ristvedt

Stephen L. Ristvedt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
Washington University
St. Louis, MO  63110-1093 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Having a usual source of healthcare – either with a regular doctor or a medical clinic – is the best way to manage one’s health in a proactive way.  Doctors and clinics can provide ongoing guidance with regard to the use of preventive medical screenings as well as the management of chronic illness.  Unfortunately, a significant proportion of US adults do not have a usual source of healthcare.  Also, many people often rely for their healthcare needs on a hospital emergency department, where there is neither sufficient continuity of care nor counseling for prevention.

We wanted to investigate what factors might contribute to suboptimal utilization of healthcare resources.  We were particularly interested in looking at individual psychological factors that might play a role in the choices that people make when seeking healthcare.  One specific psychological characteristic proved to be important in our study.  That characteristic is called “threat sensitivity,” and it is measured with a simple questionnaire.  People who are relatively high in threat sensitivity are prone to experience high levels of anxiety in potentially threatening situations  Continue reading

Intercourse Frequency – Who Compromises More in a Relationship?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Leif Edward Ottesen KennairDepartment of PsychologyFaculty of Social and Educational SciencesNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyProf. Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Previous studies on intercourse frequency mainly focused on individual data, with no possibility to verify the perceived initiative or frequency. Couples data gave us that possibility. Previous studies had also mainly treated relationship quality as one measure. Therefore it was also interesting to distinguish between various aspects of relationship qualities to try to disentangle how these different aspects were related to frequency of intercourse.

In addition we had some ideas about how a measure of sexual personality or sociosexuality—how interested in short-term sex one is—might be relevant for compromise within the relationship?

Continue reading

Doctor, My Close Friend Died and I am Still Grieving

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Wai-Man (Raymond) Liu, PhDAssociate ProfessorResearch School of Finance, Actuarial Studies & StatisticsCollege of Business & Economics BuildingThe Australian National UniversityProf. Wai-Man (Raymond) Liu, PhD
Associate Professor
Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies & Statistics
College of Business & Economics Building
The Australian National University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In our study, we studied survey responses of over 26,000 people from the largest Australian household survey over a period of 14 years. The survey was funded by the government called “The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey”. The survey was conducted by the Melbourne Institute.

In the survey more than 9,500 of these respondents had experienced the death of a close friend.

Continue reading

Does Marijuana Really Cause the Munchies?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Chocolate Brownies" by Kurtis Garbutt is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Jessica S. Kruger PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Community Health and Health Behavior
School of Public Health and Health Professions
University of Buffalo
Daniel J. Kruger PhD
Adjunct Faculty Associate, Population Studies Center.
Michigan’s Population Studies Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The legal environment for cannabis is changing rapidly and an increasing proportion of people are using cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. All policy and practice should be informed by science, yet there is a large gap between evidence and existing practices, and the current scope of research on cannabis users is limited.

Public Health has the responsibility of protecting the public, maximizing benefits and minimizing harm in any area. However, the Public Health approach to cannabis has largely been limited to a focus on abstinence, and Federal regulations have restricted the scope of cannabis-related research.

Continue reading

How Do Men Express Grief After Pregnancy Loss?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with

Haley Kranstuber Horstman, Ph.D.Department of CommunicationUniversity of Missouri

Dr. Kranstuber Horstman

Haley Kranstuber Horstman, Ph.D.
Department of Communication
University of Missouri

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Miscarriage is a prevalent health concern, with one in five pregnancies ending in miscarriage, which is a pregnancy loss before 20 weeks’ gestation. Past research has shown that women who have miscarried often suffer mental health effects such as heightened grief, depression, loneliness, and suicidality.

Although much of the research on coping with miscarriage has focused on women’s health, many miscarriages occur within romantic relationships and affect the non-miscarrying partner as well. Women in heterosexual marriages report that their husband is often their top support-provider. Past research has shown that husbands suffer with mental health effects after a miscarriage, sometimes for even longer than their wives, but are not often supported in their grief because miscarriage is a “woman’s issue” and they feel uncomfortable talking about it.

Continue reading

Birth Control Pills May Make It Harder for Women To Identify Complex Emotions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alexander Lischke, Dipl.-Psych. Universität Greifswald Institut für Psychologie Physiologische und Klinische Psychologie/Psychotherapie University of Greifswald, Germany

Dr. Lischke

Dr. Alexander Lischke, Dipl.-Psych.
Universität Greifswald
Institut für Psychologie
Physiologische und Klinische Psychologie/Psychotherapie
University of Greifswald, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We know for a long time that cyclic variations in womens’ estrogen and progesterone levels affect their emotion recognition abilities by modulating neural activity in brain regions implicated in emotion processing. We also know that oral contraceptives suppress cyclic variations in womens’ estrogen and progesterone levels. We, thus, assumed that oral contraceptives would affect womens’ emotion recognition abilities due to the aforementioned suppression of cylic variations in estrogen and progesterone levels that modulate neural activity in brain regions during emotion processing. To test this assumption, at least with respect to the behavioral effects of oral contraceptive use on emotion recognition, we performed the current study.

We recruited regular cylcling women with and without oral contraceptive use for our study. None of the women were in psychotherapeutical or psychopharmacological treatment at the time of the study. During the study, women performed a emotion recognition task that required the recognition of complex emotional expressions like, for example, pride or contempt.
Continue reading

ADHD May Offer an Edge To Creative Endeavors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Holly White, PhD Research Scientist Basic and Applied Cognition Laboratory Department of Psychology University of Michigan

Dr. White

Holly White, PhD
Research Scientist
Basic and Applied Cognition Laboratory
Department of Psychology
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study was inspired by my previous findings of higher originality and creative achievement among adults with ADHD, as well as my personal observations of individuals with ADHD choosing non-traditional approaches to problem solving. College students with ADHD sometimes ignore task instructions and examples, and while this may lead to errors, it may also lead to extraordinarily unique answers and solutions. I was curious as to whether this tendency of ADHD individuals to think in an unconventional and expansive manner might lead to resistance to conformity during creative tasks.

In the present study, college students with ADHD were less likely to copy experimenter-provided task examples, compared to non-ADHD peers, on a product label invention task. ADHD participants were also less likely to create imaginary fruits that resembled typical Earth fruit, compared to non-ADHD participants. Students with ADHD were less likely to conform to pre-existing prototypes of fruit and therefore invented more original creations.

Individuals with ADHD may be more flexible in tasks which require creating something new, and less likely to rely on examples and previous knowledge. As a result, the creative products of individuals with ADHD may be more innovative, relative to creations of non-ADHD peers.  Continue reading

Healthcare Employees Can Work in a ‘Culture of Fear’, Where Speaking Up is Discouraged

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods Director, The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institut (THIS Institute) University of Cambridge

Prof. Dixon-Woods

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods
Director, The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute
(THIS Institute)
University of Cambridge 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The challenges around employee voice are well documented. For various reasons, employees in all industries are often reluctant to raise concerns when they witness disruptive or unsafe behaviour from their colleagues. But it’s crucial that they speak up – especially in healthcare. Patient safety may depend on it.

Our study focused on a large academic medical centre in the US that wanted to improve employee voice. Despite having reporting mechanisms in place, the organisation still had issues with disruptive behaviour from group of powerful senior individuals that went unchallenged and contributed to a culture of fear.

Through confidential interviews with 67 frontline staff and leaders and the organizational actions that followed, we learned it’s important for employees to feel that their concerns will be dealt with authentically. It also helps when healthcare organisations have clear definitions of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and well-coordinated response mechanisms. Once someone does raise a concern, organizations need good, fair and transparent systems of investigations and be prepared to implement consequences for disruptive behaviour consistently.  Continue reading

Functional Imagery Training Improved Weight Loss and Keeping Weight Off

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Linda Solbrig PhD University of Plymouth

Dr. Solbrig

Dr Linda Solbrig PhD
University of Plymouth

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Diets are restrictive; they work in the short-term, but re-gain is common. Individuals trying to manage their weight find that motivation fades over time and that this is the hardest part about maintain a healthy weight. When given choice to self-set goals we are much more likely to stick with them; they are more sustainable and we can succeed long-term. Using multi-sensory mental imagery supports motivation to change in the long run and also the opportunity to test out in our imagination if the actions we decided will lead to personal goal success actually fit with our lives, or whether we need to tweak, or even change them.

Functional Imagery Training (FIT) is based on two decades of research showing that mental imagery is more strongly emotionally charged than other types of thought and that it can directly interfere with unwanted food cravings. It uses multi-sensory mental imagery to strengthen people’s motivation and confidence to achieve their own goals, and teaches people how to do this for themselves, so they can stay motivated even when faced with challenges. It is not about creating a static picture, but encourages the use of all our senses, how a situation may feel, seeing with the mind’s eye and hearing with the mind’s ear and so on, creating a mini movie in our minds where we are the lead actors working on our personal goals, overcoming adversity and succeeding.  Continue reading

Highly Empathetic People Perceive Music Differently

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Divine Piano” by François Philipp is licensed under CC BY 2.0Zachary Wallmark, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Musicology Directo
MuSci Lab SMU Meadows School of the Art
Music Division Dallas, TX 75275

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Music making and listening is an intensely social behavior. Individual differences in trait empathy are associated with preferential engagement of social cognitive neural circuitry, including regions of the medial prefrontal cortex, cingulate, and insula, during the perception of socially relevant information.

In our study, we used fMRI to explore the degree to which differences in trait empathy modulate music processing in the brain.

We found that higher empathy people experience greater activation of social circuitry as well as the reward system while listening to familiar music, compared to lower empathy people.  Continue reading

Not All In Your Head: Psychological Therapies Not a Panacea for Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. M. Carrington Reid, MD PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Irving Sherwood Wright Associate Professor in Geriatrics Joachim Silbermann Family Clinical Scholar in Geriatric Palliative Care Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College 

Dr. Reid

Dr. M. Carrington Reid, MD PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Irving Sherwood Wright Associate Professor in Geriatrics
Joachim Silbermann Family Clinical Scholar
Geriatric Palliative Care
Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response: Major guidelines (American College of Physicians, Centers for Disease Control, Veterans Administration) on the management of chronic pain strongly encourage clinicians to use nonpharmacologic approaches to include psychological therapies when managing pain.

While many studies have evaluated psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral theraphy (CBT) in nonelderly populations with chronic pain, far fewer have evaluated these treatments in studies of older adults. We identified 22 randomized controlled trials that evaluated a psychological therapy for chronic pain in older adults and examined the impact of these treatments on salient outcomes to include ability to reduce pain and pain-related disability, improve patients’ self efficacy to manage pain, and improve their physical health and function and their psychological health (by reducing rates of anxiety and depression).

Continue reading

Optimistic Outlook Associated With Better Outcome in Chronic Angina

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alexander Fanaroff, Duke

Dr. Fanaroff

Dr. Alexander Fanaroff MD
Duke University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Among patients with chronic angina, there are strong associations between depression and clinical outcomes, which illustrates the important interplay between psychosocial symptoms and physical symptoms in this condition. But depressive symptoms are distinct from expectations and optimism regarding recovery and returning to a one’s normal lifestyle. Patients with chronic angina may not be optimistic about their outlook for a number of reasons, including uncertainty about their prognosis or lack of medical knowledge, but for many patients with chronic angina, the outlook is actually quite good.

We examined data from RIVER-PCI, a clinical trial that randomized patients with chronic angina and incomplete revascularization to ranolazine or placebo, and were followed for the primary outcome of ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization. Patients were asked at baseline, 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months how much they agreed with the phrase, “I am optimistic about my future and returning to a normal lifestyle.” We categorized patients by their responses at baseline – we coded “strongly agree” as very optimistic, “agree” as optimistic, “neutral” as neutral, and “disagree” and “strongly disagree” as not optimistic – and evaluated the association between baseline optimism and the primary outcome over long-term follow-up.

We found that most patients were optimistic at baseline – 33% were very optimistic, 42% were optimistic, 19% were neutral, and 5% were not optimistic – and the majority remained optimistic over long-term follow-up. The most optimistic patients had a lower prevalence of prior myocardial infarction, heart failure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease and less severe angina at baseline than less optimistic patients. The rate of the ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization was higher in neutral (32.8%) and not optimistic (35.0%) patients compared with the most optimistic patients (24.4%). Even after adjusting for baseline comorbidities and angina frequency, the most optimistic patients had a 30% lower risk of ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization compared with neutral or not optimistic patients.

Continue reading

How Old is Old?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Im Spiegel / In the mirror” by njs-photographie is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0William Chopik PhD
Department of Psychology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The motivation for the study was that we saw a lot of differences in the way people defined “old age”. We also noticed that there is a stigma that goes along with being old. So we had a natural curiosity to see how these perceptions my change as people age.

As people aged, the tended to report feeling younger and consider an older adult as “always in the future”–never quite where they are now.

We found that our results confirmed a lot of existing theories about how our attitudes toward aging change as we age ourselves.

Continue reading

Benefits and Downsides of Companion Animals in Mental Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Homes for Pets - Doggie Dash” by Homes For Pets is licensed under CC BY 2.0Helen Louise Brooks BSc, MRes, PhD
Psychology of Healthcare Research Group
Department of Psychological Sciences,
Institute of Psychology, Health and Society
University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: It is increasingly being acknowledged that companion animals can have a positive impact on mental health. However, there has been no systematic review of the evidence related to how pets might benefit people living with mental health problems.

Continue reading

More Women Than Men Deemed Difficult or Demanding By Family and Coworkers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shira Offer PhD Associate Professor Department of Sociology and Anthropology Bar-Ilan University

Dr. Offer

Shira Offer PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Bar-Ilan University
https://biu.academia.edu/ShiraOffer 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The major goal of the University of California Social Network Study (UCNets) is to promote our understanding of people’s social lives and their implications for health and well-being. The study collected information about whom individuals are connected to and the characteristics of those connected people. The participants in the study were asked to name the people with whom they usually get together and do social activities, whom they confide in about important things in life, and who give them practical help or assistance during emergencies. They were also asked to name the people whom they find “demanding or difficult.” This question allowed us to explore the negative aspect of personal relationships. Personal relationships are complicated but most research focuses on positive ties, or on the positive side of social ties. In this study we had the opportunity to also examine their negative aspect.

Continue reading

Deep Brain Stimulation Helpful For Some Visual Hallucinations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Foltynie

Dr. Foltynie

Thomas Foltynie MD PhD
Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Neurologist
Unit of Functional Neurosurgery Institute of Neurology and
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
University College London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Stimulation of the Nucleus Basalis of Meynert can enhance cholinergic innervation of the cortex in animal models and has been previously reported to have beneficial cognitive effects in a single patient with Parkinson’s Disease dementia.

In this double blind crossover trial, six patients with Parkinson’s Disease underwent low frequency stimulation to the NBM bilaterally.  While there were no consistent objective improvements in cognitive performance, there was a marked reduction in visual hallucinations in two of the participants. .

Continue reading

A Computer Can Predict Health From A Photograph Of A Face

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Credit: Stephen et al. 2017

Credit: Stephen et al. 2017

Dr Ian Stephen PhD
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders,
Perception in Action Research Centre
Macquarie University, Sydney
NSW, Australia

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Since the 1990s, the dominant view of attraction in the scientific community has been that it is an evolved mechanism for identifying appropriate, healthy, fertile mates. People who are attracted to appropriate, healthy, fertile people are more likely to have more, healthy offspring and therefore any genes for having these preferences will become more common. On the other hand people who are attracted to inappropriate, unhealthy, infertile people will be less likely to pass on their genes to the next generation, so genes for this attraction pattern will become less common. However, for this model to be correct, two things have to be true. First, we should be able to identify cues in the face and body that people find attractive/healthy looking. And second, these cues must be related to some aspect of actual physiological health. The first part of this is well established – cues like symmetry, skin color, body shape are all related to looking healthy and attractive. But there is much less research on the second part.

The computer modeling techniques that we use allowed us to build a model based on 272 African, Asian and Caucasian face photographs that identifies three aspects of physiological health – body fat, BMI (a measure of body size) and blood pressure – by analysing facial shape. We then used the model to create an app that predicts what different faces would look like if those individuals increased or decreased their fatness, BMI or blood pressure. We gave this app to some more participants and asked them to make the faces look as healthy as possible. We found that, to make the faces look healthy, the participants reduced their fatness, BMI and (to a lesser extent) blood pressure.

Continue reading

People Who Seek Revenge Are Often Sadistic and Plan Vengeful Attacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Chester, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychology Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Chester

David Chester, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Virginia Commonwealth University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We wanted to understand what personality traits define people who tend to seek revenge. We observed that the defining personality characteristic of revenge-seekers is sadism, which is the tendency to enjoy the suffering of others. Put simply, the people who seek revenge are the ones most likely to enjoy it. We also found some other interesting results, namely that revenge-seekers are also prone to premeditation. They like to plan out their actions ahead of time, which settles a long-standing debate about whether revenge seekers act on impulse or plan out their vengeful acts.

Continue reading

In Rugby, and Maybe at Work, Mixing Cultures Affects Motivation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Rugby” by Jim Ceballos is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Yusuke Kuroda PhD
Massey University
New Zealand

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Similar study, examining motivational personality among rugby players from four different countries (but all from predominantly Anglo-Saxon), was conducted in the late 1980s, and that study showed that elite rugby players, regardless of nationality, possessed serious minded and goal oriented personality. Number of studies examined athletes in different sports and showed similar results.

Previously, I had a chance to examine Maori and Japanese people engaged in traditional dance from their own culture; and, the Maori people were predominantly playful and spontaneous oriented, while the Japanese people were predominantly serious minded and goal oriented.

Dr Farah Palmer, one of co-authors, and I wanted to examine whether Maori All Blacks and Japanese National Team rugby players and see whether motivational personality of them were driven by being elite athletes or from cultural background. To play for the Maori All Blacks, players have to have a Maori background. The Japanese National Team, on the other hand, was consisted of Japanese and foreign born players. To examine the effect of culture, we also examined cultural identity among players.

With the help from Associate Professor Makoto Nakazawa, we got to measure motivational personality and cultural identity from both teams, and results showed that the Maori All Blacks players were more playful minded spontaneous oriented, while the Japanese National Team players were serious minded and goal oriented. Cultural identity showed that the Japanese National Team players, even with foreign born players, showed a greater knowledge of the Japanese culture and higher comfort level in their own culture than the Maori All Blacks players (or their own culture). However, the Maori All Blacks players felt more positive and sustain the Maori culture.

Continue reading

Shifting Attention Causes Momentary Brain Freeze

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alex Maier, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychology Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science Vanderbilt University

Dr. Maier

Alex Maier, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Vanderbilt University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We were interested in finding out about how the brain shifts attention from one location to another. We knew that when we attend a certain location, brain activity increases in a specific way. This increase in activity is how we perform better when we use attention. What we knew less about is what happens when attention moves between locations.

To our surprise, we found that there is a brief moment in between these attentional enhancements, while attention moves from one location to another, where the brain does the complete opposite and decreases its activity. Shifting attention thus has a brief negative effect on our brain’s ability to process information about the world around us.

Continue reading

Babies Can Understand When The Effort Might Be Worth The Reward

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shari Liu Dept Psychology Harvard University Cambridge, MA 02138 

Shari Liu -image by Kris Brewer.

Shari Liu
Dept Psychology
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Every day, we look out into the social world and see more than pixels changing across our retinas, or bodies moving in space. We see people brimming with desires, governed by their beliefs about the world and concerned about the costs of their actions and the potential rewards those actions may bring. Reasoning about these mental variables, while observing only people’s overt behaviors, is at the heart of commonsense psychology. Continue reading

Are You A ‘Material Girl’ (or Boy)? Then You Love Facebook

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“FACEBOOK(LET) Front” by FACEBOOK(LET) is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Phillip Ozimek M.Sc.
Department of Social Psychology Faculty of Psychology Ruhr-University Bochum UniversitätsstrBochum, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We started reading the classic book by Erich Fromm „To have or to be“ out of personal interest. I was very much interested in studying social media, so we wondered how materialists would use facebook. After all Facebook seemed to be a perfect tool for people who love social comparisons.

Furthermore, Facebook is for free – materialists love tools that do not cost money!

Continue reading

Study Finds Religious Belief Mostly Likely Rooted in Culture Rather Than Intuition

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Miguel Farias, DPhil Reader in Cognitive and Biological Psychology Coventry University

Dr. Farias

Dr. Miguel Farias, DPhil
Reader in Cognitive and Biological Psychology
Coventry University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Over the past 20 years, cognitive psychologists have suggested that believing in the supernatural is something that comes to us ‘naturally’ or intuitively. Previous studies have suggested people who hold strong religious beliefs are more intuitive and less analytical, and when they think more analytically their religious beliefs decrease.

Our new research has challenged this. We used various experimental methods, including field research in the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela and neural stimulation. , by academics from Coventry University’s Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science and neuroscientists and philosophers at Oxford University, suggests that is not the case, and that people are not ‘born believers’.

Continue reading

Men and Women Have Different Perspectives on Infidelity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mons Bendixen and Leif Edward Ottesen Kennai
r

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Using infidelity scenarios, we aimed to study coupled women and men’s willingness to forgive their partner’s infidelity and their beliefs about being forgiven when cheating on their partner.

The study therefore reproduces the core findings from an earlier study by Friesen, Fletcher & Overall (2005) that looked at cognitive biases in forgiveness following actual transgressions in couples (some severe, others minor).

The theoretical framework for our study is Error Management Theory (EMT), developed by the evolutionary psychologists Martie Haselton & David Buss. EMT makes specific predictions regarding beliefs about being forgiven for own transgressions. Transgressors will underperceive signals of forgiveness, they tend not to believe they are forgiven despite signals of forgiveness from their partner (e.g., “don’t worry about it” and “I forgive you”).

MedicalResearch.com: This sound a little odd, how can misperception be evolutionary adaptive?

Response: The evolved function of this biased belief is, according to EMT, to guide the organism toward reparative behavior securing that the transgressions are fully mended. Lack of biased beliefs may be a potential threat to the relationship, because reparative behaviors signal remorse, empathy, and willingness to commit. Lack of reparative behaviors increase the risk of the relationship ending up on the rocks.

MedicalResearch.com: Why did you consider forgiveness of infidelity?

Response: We studied reactions to anticipated infidelity. Infidelity represents one of strongest threat to any intimate relationship. Infidelity may be primarily sexual: having a sexual affair, or primarily emotional, being deeply and emotionally involved with somebody else.

We know that women and men differ in their responses to sexual and emotional infidelity. Across studies using a variety of methods and samples, compared to women, men seem to be less upset by imagining their partner falling in love with someone than imagining their partner having sex with someone. Typically, men become more jealousy of sexual infidelity, women of emotional infidelity. This sex difference origins from the “mother’s baby – father’s maybe” dilemma, and the sex difference in minimum parental investment. We have previously published several papers on jealousy.

MedicalResearch.com: Who were the participants?

Response: We invited students and their partners to take part in a study on infidelity and forgiveness. 92 couples participated. At arrival, they were guided to separate rooms to fill in the questionnaires. After completion, each participant returned the questionnaires in a sealed envelope, and the couple received debriefing and two cinema tickets.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We found a robust negative forgiveness bias following one’s own imagined infidelity for both male and female transgressors. Relative to the likelihood of being forgiven, transgressors reported that they believed less that their partner would forgive their cheating. We also found that a woman is more likely to hire a Colorado Private Investigator to catch their spouse cheating.

We found diminished negative forgiveness bias for emotionally unfaithful men, but not for sexually unfaithful women. Emotionally unfaithful men evinced less bias in the analyses of their partner’s expressed forgiveness. Relative to women, men not only seem to be more willing to forgive emotional infidelity by their partner, they also tend to believe more that their emotional infidelity will be forgiven – put more simply: Men underestimate the distress women experience in emotional infidelity, and are maybe a little naïve about the threat their partners emotional infidelity poses. For some men, it gets so bad that they have to use a love doll from time to time, which really takes a hit on their confidence.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: What is most striking with our results is how men do not quite understand how serious women perceive and deem emotional infidelity to be; while men cannot be described as naïve about this aspect of their relationship, they certainly are not as concerned with emotional infidelity as women are.

Even though both men and women perceive both emotional and sexual infidelity as relationship threats, they have very different appreciations of the severity of especially emotional infidelity. This is true for both own and partner’s transgressions. This may potentially be a source of misunderstanding, conflict and miscommunication in couples, and maybe a topic that couple counselors need to address.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Rather than studying imagined infidelity, future research may study couples seeking counseling or therapy following actual infidelity, including questions on beliefs of being forgiven, reparative behaviors, signals of forgiveness, and internal (non-communicated) forgiveness. But some have been known to turn to comprehensive services similar to reverse phone lookup to discover unfaithful partners.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Forgiving the Unforgivable: Couples’ Forgiveness and Expected Forgiveness of Emotional and Sexual Infidelity From an Error Management Theory Perspective.

Bendixen, Mons,Kennair, Leif Edward Ottesen,Grøntvedt, Trond Viggo

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, Sep 28 , 2017, No Pagination Specified

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

Montessori Education Has Potential To Equalize Performance For Low Income School Children

“Tempura Finger Paint Grand Rapids Montessori School” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Tempura Finger Paint Grand Rapids Montessori School” by Steven Depolo

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Angeline Lillard PhD

Professor of Psychology
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Montessori education was developed in the first half of the last century, but has been subject to little formal research. Prior research on its outcomes was problematic in using poor control groups, very small samples, demographically limited samples, a single school or classroom, or poor quality Montessori, or data from just a single time point and limited measurements.

This study addressed all these issues: it collected data 4 times over 3 years from 141 children, experimental children were in 11 classrooms at 2 high quality Montessori schools at which the control children were waitlisted and admission was done by a randomized lottery, family income ranged from $0-200K, groups were demographically equivalent at the start of the study, and many measures were taken.

Continue reading

Neurobiology of Jealousy Mapped In Monkey Brains

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Monogamous  Titi monkeys

Monogamous Titi monkeys

Karen L. Bales PhD
Professor of Psychology
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response:  Titi monkeys are a socially monogamous species in which adults form pair bonds.  In my laboratory we are studying the neurobiology of pair bonding, and understanding jealousy is important because it’s one mechanism by which the pair bond is maintained.  In this study, male titi monkeys viewed their pair mate next to a stranger male, and we examined the neural, behavioral, and hormonal consequences.  Continue reading

Eye-Tracking Uncovers Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying High Level Human Judgments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tobias Gerstenberg, PhD

MIT

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The question of how causation is best understood has been troubling philosophers for a long time. As psychologists, we are particularly interested in understanding how people make causal judgments.

In our experiments, we showed participants video clips of colliding billiard balls. Participants were asked to say whether one ball (ball A) caused another (ball B) to go through a gate, or prevented it from going through. We used eye-tracking technology to record participants’ eye-movements as they were watching the clips.

The results showed that participants spontaneously engaged in counterfactual simulation when asked to make causal judgments. They not only looked at what actually happened, but also tried to anticipate where ball B would have gone if ball A hadn’t been present. The more certain participants were that ball B would have missed the goal if ball A hadn’t been there, the more they agreed that ball A caused ball B to go through the gate.

In a control condition we asked participants about what actually happened. In this condition, participants were much less likely to simulate where ball B would have gone. Together, these findings demonstrate a very close link between counterfactual simulation and causal judgment.

Continue reading