Tag Archives: Psychology

Night Owls More Likely to Experience Nightmares

Good reason to turn in early….

girl having a nightmare
Like to stay up late? The downside may be more bad dreams, research suggests.

CREDIT: Dreamstime

Night owls might think staying up late is a real hoot, but a new study hints that delayed sleep might have a sinister side. People who hit the sack late might have a greater risk of experiencing nightmares, according to scientists, although they add that follow-up research is needed to confirm the link.

“It’s a very interesting preliminary study, and we desperately need more research in this area,” says Jessica Payne, director of the Sleep, Stress and Memory Lab at the University of Notre Dame, commenting on the new findings.

Previous reports have estimated 80 percent of adults experience at least one nightmare a year, with 5 percent suffering from disturbing dreams more than once a month. The new paper, from a group of scientists writing in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms, surveyed 264 university students about their sleep habits and frequency of nightmares, defined as “dysphoric dreams associated with feelings of threat, anxiety, fear or terror.”

Continue reading at livescience.com

Why The Trip Home Seems To Go By Faster : NPR

This story has to do with trips in vehicles but I experience the same thing while hiking.

Does getting home from your vacation spot always seem to take less time than getting there? A new scientific study provides an explanation for why.

Harold M. Lambert/Lambert/Getty Images

Does getting home from your vacation spot always seem to take less time than getting there? A new scientific study provides an explanation for why.

text size A A A

September 5, 2011

In 1969, astronaut Alan Bean went to the moon as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12. Although the trip going to the moon covered the same distance as the trip back, “returning from the moon seemed much shorter,” Bean says.

People will often feel a return trip took less time than the same outbound journey, even though it didn’t. In the case of Apollo 12, the trip back from the moon really did take somewhat less time. But the point remains that this so-called “return trip effect” is a very real psychological phenomenon, and now a new scientific study provides an explanation.

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

Case 1 (heard at 8:50 a.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

Case 2 (heard at 3:10 p.m.): A Jewish Israeli serving a 16-month sentence for assault.

Case 3 (heard at 4:25 p.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

There was a pattern to the parole board’s decisions, but it wasn’t related to the men’s ethnic backgrounds, crimes or sentences. It was all about timing, as researchers discovered by analyzing more than 1,100 decisions over the course of a year. Judges, who would hear the prisoners’ appeals and then get advice from the other members of the board, approved parole in about a third of the cases, but the probability of being paroled fluctuated wildly throughout the day. Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.

The odds favored the prisoner who appeared at 8:50 a.m. — and he did in fact receive parole. But even though the other Arab Israeli prisoner was serving the same sentence for the same crime — fraud — the odds were against him when he appeared (on a different day) at 4:25 in the afternoon. He was denied parole, as was the Jewish Israeli prisoner at 3:10 p.m, whose sentence was shorter than that of the man who was released. They were just asking for parole at the wrong time of day.

There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior, which was reported earlier this year by Jonathan Levav of Stanford and Shai Danziger of Ben-Gurion University. The judges’ erratic judgment was due to the occupational hazard of being, as George W. Bush once put it, “the decider.” The mental work of ruling on case after case, whatever the individual merits, wore them down. This sort of decision fatigue can make quarterbacks prone to dubious choices late in the game and C.F.O.’s prone to disastrous dalliances late in the evening. It routinely warps the judgment of everyone, executive and nonexecutive, rich and poor — in fact, it can take a special toll on the poor. Yet few people are even aware of it, and researchers are only beginning to understand why it happens and how to counteract it.

Read the rest here: nytimes.com

The U.S. Is The Only Developed Country Where Citizens Aren’t Guaranteed Paid Vacation

Looking at this makes me need a vacation….

For some Americans, vacations only happen in the movies.

Many political pundits and conservative politicians have seized the opportunity to criticize President Obama’s planned vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. Former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said he wouldn’t be doing the same if he were president, and the political paper Politico even consulted a group of “political strategists” to compile a list of less politically sensitive locations Obama could vacation instead.

But the real outrage here isn’t the fact that Obama is taking paid vacation (at 1/3 the rate of his predecessor), but rather that working Americans aren’t guaranteed any paid vacation days at all.

In fact, the United States is alone among the developed world in not providing its citizens with guaranteed vacation days (paid or unpaid) as a right of employment, as the following chart of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries shows:

As you can see, the United States is virtually alone among rich nations in depriving citizens of these basic necessities. But unfortunately, it isn’t just the rest of the developed world that has the U.S. beat. If you live in Kazahkstan, for example, you are guaranteed 24 calendar days a year. The citizens of Uruguay get 20 working days off to start, and vacation days accrue with years worked.

Rather than focusing solely on the location or length of our presidents’ vacations, the political press should be asking our political leaders why average Americans are not guaranteed the same right to some time off.

(for webtech) Posted in Economy, General, Home Page –>

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Difficult Online Game Supports Cancer Patients

video game imageMiniclip and Teenage Cancer Trust have designed a game that turns a difficult subject into a fun and fresh experience.

The game, called “Funky Nurse,” is short but surprisingly hard to win. The player takes on the role of nurse in a cancer care unit and must manage patients’ happiness by bringing them to entertainment rooms, keeping them fed and providing medical care while scrounging for hospital upgrades. The game was developed with input from three former teen cancer patients.

Eye-opening stats on teenagers with cancer in the UK are displayed at the end of every level. “Every day in the UK, six young people aged 13 to 24 are told they have cancer,” reveals one. “That’s about 2,100 a year.” Another points out that one in 312 males and one in 361 females will get cancer before they are 20. You can also learn more about Teenage Cancer Trust, upgrade your ward or proceed to the next level.

Teenage Cancer Trust is a charity aimed at caring for youths with cancer. The charity says most teens diagnosed with cancer are placed in kids’ wards or in elderly wards, leaving them isolated. Teenage Cancer Trust builds special wards in hospitals to provide a friendly, effective area for teens to get better together.

funky nurse image

Funky Nurse promotes the charity to more than 65 million monthly players on gaming site Miniclip.

Miniclip has supported the charity since 2009, including free online advertising and fundraising events. Teenage Cancer Trust has 17 units in the UK with another 16 planned for the near future. The organization helps young people fight cancer by also funding clinical and research staff, an education program for schools, family support networks and an annual conference for patients.

What do you think of supporting a charity through a video game? And how far did you get?

Mashable, 92Y and the UN Foundation present the second annual Social Good Summit. The Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges. The most innovative technologists, influential minds and passionate activists will come together this September with one shared goal: to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place.  


Date: Monday, September 19 to Thursday, September 22

Time: 1 to 5 p.m. ET each day

92Y, New York City





Image courtesy of Flickr, Ken-ichi

Four sanity restoring strategies for the over-committed | Unclutterer

Four sanity restoring strategies for the over-committed

If you’re constantly pressed for time, it could be because you think you have more time in your day than actually exists or you can’t stop saying, “yes,” to every commitment that comes your way. If you’re being pulled in more directions than you want to be, now is a great time to start putting the breaks on the constant agreements and start being more selective with your time commitments.

None of the following ideas is revolutionary, and you have likely heard them before today. However, they’re good reminders for all of us, especially those who fall into the realm of the over-committed.

  1. “Let me get back to you,” should be the first thing you say in response to any request that comes your way. A little time between you and the request can give you some perspective.
  2. Make rules for your agreements — If the request is from someone very dear to you and the request is for her well-being, you will very likely accept the request. If the request is from an organization you find morally questionable, and you don’t want to do the work, you’ll say, “no.” Length of commitment, obligations outside of meetings, and the person or organization making the request should all be considered when creating your rules.
  3. Keep your attention focused on what matters most to you. (If you aren’t clear about what matters most to you, check out “Make a list, check it twice.”) Keep your eye on the big prize.
  4. Reframe your perspective. Saying, “no,” to a less-important action gives you the opportunity to say, “yes,” when a request you really want to accept comes your way.

Posted by Erin on Aug 15, 2011 |

Understanding the Mind by Mapping the Brain


Maybe a little social-media fatigue isn’t such a bad idea

Interesting piece, saying what I’ve what I’ve pointed out a number of times to people who go off the rails about too much time online. Frankly, we, as a species, have always been time-wasters. You can use a Franklin Planner or a journal of some sort to track how you spend you time, whether you’re wired or not. Let’s not blame the technology – it’s out use of it that matters.

As Google tries to boost its social market share with its new Google+ network — which just got some Facebook-style games designed to increase engagement — and Twitter adding new activity streams to pull users in, and Facebook trying to become the one network that rules them all, social-media fatigue seems to be an increasingly likely outcome. Some are already complaining about the number of directions they are being pulled in when it comes to social content-sharing, and cartoonist Scott Adams recently argued that all this constant stimulation is actually getting in the way of true creativity. Are we amusing ourselves to death online, and if so, what is the cure?

Read the rest here: gigaom.com

Are Your Co-Workers Killing You? #in

A new study led by Arie Shirom at Tel Aviv University reveals the powerful impact of the workplace on longevity. The researchers tracked 820 adults for twenty years, starting with a routine health examination in 1988. The subjects worked in various professions, from finance to manufacturing to health care. They were interviewed repeatedly about conditions at their workplace, from the behavior of the boss to the niceness of their colleagues. Over the ensuing decades, their health was closely monitored, allowing the scientists to control for various medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, smoking and depression.

The first thing the researchers discovered is that office conditions matter. A lot. In particular, the risk of death seemed to be correlated with the perceived niceness of co-workers, as less friendly colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying. (What’s troubling is that such workplaces seem incredibly common.) While this correlation might not be surprising – friendly people help reduce stress, and stress is deadly – the magnitude of the “friendly colleague effect” is a bit unsettling: people with little or no “peer social support” in the workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study, especially if they began the study between the ages of 38 and 43. In contrast, the niceness of the boss had little impact on mortality.

What’s driving this effect? Why are caustic co-workers so unhealthy? One interesting factor influencing the correlation between peer social support and mortality was the perception of control. This makes sense: the only thing worse than an office full of assholes is an office full of assholes telling us what to do. Furthermore, this model of workplace stress being driven by the absence of control has plenty of empirical support. The most impressive support comes from the Whitehall study, an exhaustive longitudinal survey launched in 1967 that tracked some 28,000 British men and women working in central London. What makes the study so compelling is its uniformity. Every subject is a British civil servant, a cog in the vast governmental bureaucracy. They all have access to the same health care system, don’t have to worry about getting laid off, and spend most of their workdays shuffling papers.

Read the rest here at wired.com

Facebook Linked To Psychological Disorders In Teens

Facebook isn’t inherently evil but remember you need balance in life and so do your kids.

The argument has been made but not enough on the social debilitation that people tend to suffer by the over usage of social media. We are in a technologically advanced age, its okay to observe that; however, what must the cost must be?

Anti-social behavior, narcissism and other negative characteristics are the price.

Facebook usage above and beyond that of being a mere frequenter is common amongst most teens. Unfortunately, it is that same age group that is the primary social media users that suffer from the negative characteristics and other psychological disorders according to a recent study conducted by Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University.

Read more at technorati.com