1. "For a teenage girl to have any sort of status in a group whose dominant members are boys, either she must be good at something they value or she must be pretty. If she has neither of these assets, chances are she will be ignored. These are not things she can acquire by trying hard: she has little control over them. She may have had high status in the girls’ groups of her childhood, but that is of no avail if in adolescence she turns out not to be pretty.

    Two things that affect how a person feels about herself are status and mood. If her status in her group is low and there is nothing she can do to improve it, her self-esteem goes down. Her self-esteem also goes down if she’s depressed. From early adolescence on, females are twice as likely as males to become clinically depressed."
    Judith Rich Harris: The Nurture Assumption
  2. "In one recent study, more than 100 university psychologists were asked to rate the CVs of Dr. Karen Miller or Dr. Brian Miller, fictitious applicants for an academic tenure-track job. The CVs were identical, apart from the name. Yet strangely, the male Dr. Miller was perceived (by both male and female reviewers) to have better research, teaching, and service experience than the luckless female Dr. Miller. Overall, about three-quarters of the psychologists thought that Dr. Brian was hirable, while only just under half had the same confidence in Dr. Karen. The same researchers also sent out applications for the position of tenured professor, again identical but for the male and female name at the top. This time, the application was so strong that most of the raters thought that tenure was deserved, regardless of sex. However, the endorsement of Karen’s application was four times more likely to be accompanied by cautionary caveats scrawled in the margins of the questionnaire: such as, ‘I would need to see evidence that she had gotten these grants and publications on her own’ and ‘We would have to see her job talk.’"
    Cordelia Fine, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference (via cockchomp)

    (via cervicks-deactivated20141013)

  3. neurosciencestuff:

Giving White People The Illusion Of Darker Skin Makes Them Less Racist
An optical illusion can change the implicit biases of Caucasian people against people with darker skin, according to a study published in the August 2013 edition of Cognition.
The research, a collaboration between Royal Holloway University of London, the Central European University in Budapest and Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, analyzed the implicit racial biases of 34 Caucasian participants, then subjected them to something called the Rubber Hand Illusion, where they watched a rubber hand being touched by a paintbrush as they felt their own hand being stimulated out of sight. The illusion creates the sense that the fake hand is part of the subject’s body, even when it’s of a completely different skin color.
The more the participants felt like the darker skinned fake hand was their own, the less racist they came off in a second implicit bias test.
In another test, participants underwent the same process, but some saw a white hand, while others saw a dark hand. The implicit bias test showed that the opinions of those who saw the white hand didn’t change, while again those who felt ownership of the darker hand felt less racial bias.
“Across two experiments, the more intense the participants’ illusion of ownership over the dark-skinned rubber hand, the more positive their implicit racial attitudes became,” the authors write.
“It comes down to a perceived similarity between white and dark skin,” lead author Lara Maister of Royal Holloway University of London said in a press statement. “The illusion creates an overlap, which in turn helps to reduce negative attitudes because participants see less difference between themselves and those with dark skin.”
The study suggests that racial biases aren’t necessarily cemented by adulthood, but that they can be altered. “Changes in body-representation may therefore constitute a core, previously unexplored, dimension that in turn changes social cognition processes,” the authors write. They suggest that future research into different social groups and stereotypes could expand on their work, since this research only explored the attitudes of white individuals.

    neurosciencestuff:

    Giving White People The Illusion Of Darker Skin Makes Them Less Racist

    An optical illusion can change the implicit biases of Caucasian people against people with darker skin, according to a study published in the August 2013 edition of Cognition.

    The research, a collaboration between Royal Holloway University of London, the Central European University in Budapest and Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, analyzed the implicit racial biases of 34 Caucasian participants, then subjected them to something called the Rubber Hand Illusion, where they watched a rubber hand being touched by a paintbrush as they felt their own hand being stimulated out of sight. The illusion creates the sense that the fake hand is part of the subject’s body, even when it’s of a completely different skin color.

    The more the participants felt like the darker skinned fake hand was their own, the less racist they came off in a second implicit bias test.

    In another test, participants underwent the same process, but some saw a white hand, while others saw a dark hand. The implicit bias test showed that the opinions of those who saw the white hand didn’t change, while again those who felt ownership of the darker hand felt less racial bias.

    “Across two experiments, the more intense the participants’ illusion of ownership over the dark-skinned rubber hand, the more positive their implicit racial attitudes became,” the authors write.

    “It comes down to a perceived similarity between white and dark skin,” lead author Lara Maister of Royal Holloway University of London said in a press statement. “The illusion creates an overlap, which in turn helps to reduce negative attitudes because participants see less difference between themselves and those with dark skin.”

    The study suggests that racial biases aren’t necessarily cemented by adulthood, but that they can be altered. “Changes in body-representation may therefore constitute a core, previously unexplored, dimension that in turn changes social cognition processes,” the authors write. They suggest that future research into different social groups and stereotypes could expand on their work, since this research only explored the attitudes of white individuals.

  4. laughingsquid:

How Common Is Your Birthday, A Chart of Birth Date Frequencies
  5. "We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right."
    George Orwell (1946)
  6. Patients with social phobia whose brains “lit” up the most, particularly in two regions towards the back of the brain that process what we see, responded the best to psychotherapy. (Source: Gabrieli Lab, MIT)
Brain Imaging Predicts Psychotherapy Success in Patients with Social Anxiety Disorder
National Institute of Mental Health
Treatment for social anxiety disorder or social phobia has entered the personalized medicine arena—brain imaging can provide neuromarkers to predict whether traditional options such as cognitive behavioral therapy will work for a particular patient, reported a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study that was published in the January 2013 issue of JAMA Psychiatry.
Although psychotherapy and drugs, such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, exist as treatments for SAD, current behavioral measures poorly predict which would work better for individual patients. “Half of social anxiety disorder patients have satisfactory response to treatment. There is little evidence about which patient would benefit from a particular form of treatment,” said John D. Gabrieli, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “Currently, there is no rational basis for prescribing one treatment over the other. Which treatment a patient gets depends on whom they see.”
Enter personalized medicine, the use of genetic or other biological markers to tailor treatments to those who would actually benefit from them, thus sparing the expense and side effects for those who would not. Brain imaging could identify neuromarkers or targeted areas of the brain that could one day optimize treatment for individual patients. Neuromarkers are being used in other areas of mental illness, for instance, to predict the onset of psychosis in schizophrenia and the likelihood of relapse in drug addiction.
Read the article

    Patients with social phobia whose brains “lit” up the most, particularly in two regions towards the back of the brain that process what we see, responded the best to psychotherapy. (Source: Gabrieli Lab, MIT)

    Brain Imaging Predicts Psychotherapy Success in Patients with Social Anxiety Disorder

    National Institute of Mental Health

    Treatment for social anxiety disorder or social phobia has entered the personalized medicine arena—brain imaging can provide neuromarkers to predict whether traditional options such as cognitive behavioral therapy will work for a particular patient, reported a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study that was published in the January 2013 issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

    Although psychotherapy and drugs, such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, exist as treatments for SAD, current behavioral measures poorly predict which would work better for individual patients. “Half of social anxiety disorder patients have satisfactory response to treatment. There is little evidence about which patient would benefit from a particular form of treatment,” said John D. Gabrieli, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “Currently, there is no rational basis for prescribing one treatment over the other. Which treatment a patient gets depends on whom they see.”

    Enter personalized medicine, the use of genetic or other biological markers to tailor treatments to those who would actually benefit from them, thus sparing the expense and side effects for those who would not. Brain imaging could identify neuromarkers or targeted areas of the brain that could one day optimize treatment for individual patients. Neuromarkers are being used in other areas of mental illness, for instance, to predict the onset of psychosis in schizophrenia and the likelihood of relapse in drug addiction.

    Read the article

  7. Pessimism About the Future May Lead to Longer, Healthier Life, Research Finds

    American Psychological Association
    February 27, 2013

    Older people who have low expectations for a satisfying future may be more likely to live longer, healthier lives than those who see brighter days ahead, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

    "Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade," said lead author Frieder R. Lang, PhD, of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. "Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions.” The study was published online in the journal Psychology and Aging®.

    (…)

    Because a darker outlook on the future is often more realistic, older adults’ predictions of their future satisfaction may be more accurate, according to the study. In contrast, the youngest group had the sunniest outlook while the middle-aged adults made the most accurate predictions, but became more pessimistic over time.

    "Unexpectedly, we also found that stable and good health and income were associated with expecting a greater decline compared with those in poor health or with low incomes," Lang said. "Moreover, we found that higher income was related to a greater risk of disability."

    (…)

    The findings do not contradict theories that unrealistic optimism about the future can sometimes help people feel better when they are facing inevitable negative outcomes, such as terminal disease, according to the authors. “We argue, though, that the outcomes of optimistic, accurate or pessimistic forecasts may depend on age and available resources,” Lang said. “These findings shed new light on how our perspectives can either help or hinder us in taking actions that can help improve our chances of a long healthy life.”

    Read about the study

  8. neurosciencestuff:

To Make Mice Smarter, Add A Few Human Brain Cells
For more than a century, neurons have been the superstars of the brain. Their less glamorous partners, glial cells, can’t send electric signals, and so they’ve been mostly ignored.
Now scientists have injected some human glial cells into the brains of newborn mice. When the mice grew up, they were faster learners. The study, published Thursday in Cell Stem Cell, not only introduces a new tool to study the mechanisms of the human brain, it supports the hypothesis that glial cells — and not just neurons — play an important role in learning.
Read more

    neurosciencestuff:

    To Make Mice Smarter, Add A Few Human Brain Cells

    For more than a century, neurons have been the superstars of the brain. Their less glamorous partners, glial cells, can’t send electric signals, and so they’ve been mostly ignored.

    Now scientists have injected some human glial cells into the brains of newborn mice. When the mice grew up, they were faster learners. The study, published Thursday in Cell Stem Cell, not only introduces a new tool to study the mechanisms of the human brain, it supports the hypothesis that glial cells — and not just neurons — play an important role in learning.

    Read more

  9. Paul Bloom: The Psychology of Everything
    What Compassion, Racism, and Sex tell us about Human Nature 

    Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University

    Give Paul Bloom one hour, and he’ll teach you “the psychology of everything,” illustrating some of the most fundamental elements of human nature through case studies about compassion, racism, and sex. He discusses some of the biggest questions in the nature versus nurture debate, including “Are we hard-wired to care about others?” Bloom points out why stereotyping can be both detrimental and beneficial, and he even explains what the porn preference of monkeys tells us about our own sexual choosiness, or lack thereof. After the hour is up you’ll understand why Bloom calls psychology, because of its cross-disciplinary nature, “the perfect liberal arts major.”