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.

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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.

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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. .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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’.

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