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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Psychology News Update
    Posted: 14-Mar-2012 at 12:49
I'll try to keep this one separated from the Science update thread, hence I'll post only articles that explore purely psychological phenomena. Such separation is hard one to be made in psychology, since the work of the brain is biologically based, but I'll give it a try anyway.

I'll start with an article from the Scientific American:
"...Unflagging Optimism
Why adjusting our expectations to reality is so difficult
By Andrea Anderson
 | March 17, 2012

...Most of us hold unrealistically optimistic views of the future, research shows, downplaying the likelihood that we will have bad experiences. Now a study in Nature Neuroscience last October has found clues to the brain’s predilection for the positive, identifying regions that may fuel this “optimism bias” by preferentially responding to rosier information....

Using functional MRI, the resear­chers found areas in the prefrontal cortex, where conscious reasoning takes place, that were active when participants received infor­mation that was better than anticipated. The greater the difference between the subjects’ initial guess of their risk and the true probability, the more activity appeared in these regions, hinting that they contribute to positive error correction.

Activity in another part of the brain, the right inferior frontal gyrus, changed in response to discouraging information. There, however, activity did not correspond as closely with the magnitude of error in the participants’ initial risk estimates, matching the poorer correction later. That incon­sistent neural response was ob­served most clearly or most often in individuals who scored higher on standard tests for optimism as a personality trait.

This finding jibes with past studies that observed an optimism bias in about 80 percent of the population. Its absence can signal anxiety or depression. Yet being overly optimistic has consequences, too, Sharot says, preventing us from taking some precautions to avoid harm or misfortune. Realizing the brain’s partiality may be half the battle. “If you are aware of the optimism bias, you can commit to actions or rules that will help protect you,” Sharot notes. ..."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=unflagging-optimism

My own life experience had shown me that males are more prone to "unflagging optimism", that's why in general they are prone to taking more risks; I suppose women are more cautious because they by nature have to think primarily about day-to-day survival of their children, so they would opt for "a sparrow in the hand" rather that "eagle in the sky" more frequently than men do, with all the possible repercussions for the choice made in one and the other case.

Unrealistic expectations are dangerous, one can create a virtual/not-real reality under their influence; and are quite widespread - for a reason that relates to above-personal level, level of basic humanity - the natural bias of our mind, it's effort to avoid pain and disappointment and feel good, even on the price of unrealistic self-delusions.


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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2012 at 16:58
Surprisingly, people with higher working capacity exhibit more "wandering thoughts", which enable them to work on several projects at once.

"...ScienceDaily (Mar. 15, 2012) — Odds are, you're not going to make it all the way through this article without thinking about something else. In fact, studies have found that our minds are wandering half the time, drifting off to thoughts unrelated to what we're doing -- did I remember to turn off the light? What should I have for dinner?

...In both tasks, there was a clear correlation. "People with higher working memory capacity reported more mind wandering during these simple tasks," says Levinson, though their performance on the test was not compromised.The result is the first positive correlation found between working memory and mind wandering and suggests that working memory may actually enable off-topic thoughts."What this study seems to suggest is that, when circumstances for the task aren't very difficult, people who have additional working memory resources deploy them to think about things other than what they're doing," Smallwood says.

Interestingly, when people were given a comparably simple task but filled with sensory distractors (such as lots of other similarly shaped letters), the link between working memory and mind wandering disappeared."Giving your full attention to your perceptual experience actually equalized people, as though it cut off mind wandering at the pass," Levinson says.Working memory capacity has previously been correlated with general measures of intelligence, such as reading comprehension and IQ score. The current study underscores how important it is in everyday situations and offers a window into the ubiquitous -- but not well-understood -- realm of internally driven thoughts...."http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315161326.htm



Edited by Don Quixote - 16-Mar-2012 at 17:35
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2012 at 17:01
Great stuff DQ. Excellent idea. Keep em comming. Even I, read the psycho-babblers. LOL
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2012 at 17:37
Thanks, CVSmile. I'll try to stay on the top of it.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2012 at 23:55
Meditation not only makes the brain stronger, but more "folded" too - thus enabling it to save more info:
"...Earlier evidence out of UCLA suggested that meditating for years thickens the brain (in a good way) and strengthens the connections between brain cells. Now a further report by UCLA researchers suggests yet another benefit.

Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification ("folding" of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Further, a direct correlation was found between the amount of gyrification and the number of meditation years, possibly providing further proof of the brain's neuroplasticity, or ability to adapt to environmental changes....
...The cerebral cortex is the outermost layer of neural tissue. Among other functions, it plays a key role in memory, attention, thought and consciousness. Gyrification or cortical folding is the process by which the surface of the brain undergoes changes to create narrow furrows and folds called sulci and gyri. Their formation may promote and enhance neural processing. Presumably then, the more folding that occurs, the better the brain is at processing information, making decisions, forming memories and so forth....

...Perhaps most interesting, though, was the positive correlation between the number of meditation years and the amount of insular gyrification.
"The insula has been suggested to function as a hub for autonomic, affective and cognitive integration," said Luders. "Meditators are known to be masters in introspection and awareness as well as emotional control and self-regulation, so the findings make sense that the longer someone has meditated, the higher the degree of folding in the insula."
While Luders cautions that genetic and other environmental factors could have contributed to the effects the researchers observed, still, "The positive correlation between gyrification and the number of practice years supports the idea that meditation enhances regional gyrification." ...
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/242996.php 

Praying is meditation too - so, whoever can do, meditate - it's good for you, doc said soSmile.





Edited by Don Quixote - 18-Mar-2012 at 23:56
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Mar-2012 at 04:27
"....A new book by a University of New Hampshire researcher and Vietnam-era disabled veteran sheds new light on the long-term psychological trauma experienced by the coalition force in recent wars in the Gulf and Balkans that, when left untreated, can have deadly consequences....
....Instead of looking at PTSD traditionally as it has been narrowly defined by the Veteran's Administration - requiring that a person be in a combat situation - French found that traumatic stress should be redefined as being on a continuum, with PTSD at the end of the continuum and applied to a wider range of military forces as well as civilians.

This continuum begins with the inability to make an automatic adjustment to a new situation, which creates an adjustment disorder. Residual clinical issues remain if the adjustment disorder is not remedied and can lead to PTSD. There is no single cure for post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms include insidious depression, panic and anxiety disorders, and brief psychotic breaks. ...

..."By focusing on only a narrow definition of PTSD, the Veteran's Administration was excluding a lot of people," French says. "Unresolved traumatic stress, regardless of where it falls on the continuum, can result in suicide."..."
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/243107.php
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Mar-2012 at 02:05
Smoking may help restore depleted self-control - and this effect is probably contributing to the nicotine addiction that smokers have.

"...A study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Vol. 121, No.1) reveals that researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, have discovered that smoking a cigarette may restore self-control after it has been depleted....
""..."We found that smoking did have a restorative effect on an individual's depleted self-control resources. Moreover, smoking restored self-control, in part, by improving smokers' positive mood."The authors say that evidence is increasing with regard to demonstrating that self-control is a limited resource that acts similar to a muscle. For instance, having to use self-control on a task leads to a short-term effect of depleted resources, which increases the difficulty to perform another task that requires self-control....

...Previous studies have established that nicotine enhances the performance of various cognitive activities, like motor abilities, attention and memory. However, this is the first study that evaluates the effects of smoking on self-control. This study indicates that the desire to restore depleted self-control may contribute to smokers' addiction to tobacco.
Study co-author Thomas H. Brandon, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center, and psychology professor at USF comments:

"Smoking is obviously a maladaptive way to restore self-control. Finding other ways to relax or enhance one's mood would be much healthier alternatives. In fact, even raising glucose level - perhaps by consuming a sugary drink - has been shown to restore self-control."..."http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/243256.php




Edited by Don Quixote - 23-Mar-2012 at 02:12
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Mar-2012 at 07:57
Sexualized Clothing on Kids Sends Troubling Signals
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Mar-2012 at 11:26
Interesting article, CV. I my time in Bulgaria, in school we have to wear a knee-long blue dress that covered all the clothes we wore - at the time I was raving against it, but later when the communism fell and everyone started wearing what they had, the difference on the standard pf living of every kid became apparent and a source for peer pressure and unwarranted shame and low confidence in kids from poorer families.

In all the schools I sub there is dress code, but many girls are wiggling it around by having a sweater over sexualised clothing, and getting it off when a teacher is not around or not looking at them, and on when someone alerts the principal. They don't understand that the dress code is for their own protection, for building their own positive image - I suppose due to the mass culture's signals.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Mar-2012 at 15:37
"...A study from the Stanford University School of Medicine is published this week in Psychological Science showing that children who experience difficulty with math exhibit an altered brain function from anxiety.
The same part of the brain that responds to fearful situations, such as seeing a spider or snake, also shows a heightened response in children with high math anxiety."

Menon and his team used functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans on nearly 50 students with low and high math anxiety. The children were also assessed for math anxiety with a modified version of a standardized questionnaire for adults, and also received standard intelligence and cognitive tests.
As Menon continues, math anxiety has been known about for a long time, but has never really been studied in terms of its effect on students, and especially younger ones, when maths skills are built:
"..."It's remarkable that, although the phenomena was first identified over 50 years back, nobody had bothered to ask how math anxiety manifests itself in terms of neural activity ... You cannot just wish it away as something that's unreal. Our findings validate math anxiety as a genuine type of stimulus- and situation-specific anxiety."
Essentially what he is saying is that his team's observations show that math anxiety is neurobiologically similar to other kinds of anxiety or phobias. In theory, the process may work for many other issues that children and even adults have difficulty dealing with...."
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/243328.php
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Mar-2012 at 18:24
Help for teachers - teaching is a very requiring profession, and one of those who affect the most the health of those practicing it / a larger percentage of lung diseases, high stress levels, anxiety, and alcoholism is found among teachers that among other professions; teachers rate together with miners, according to studies I read somewhere.

"...ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2012) — Schoolteachers who underwent a short but intensive program of meditation were less depressed, anxious or stressed -- and more compassionate and aware of others' feelings, according to a UCSF-led study that blended ancient meditation practices with the most current scientific methods for regulating emotions....
..."The findings suggest that increased awareness of mental processes can influence emotional behavior," said lead author Margaret Kemeny, PhD, director of the Health Psychology Program in UCSF's Department of Psychiatry. "The study is particularly important because opportunities for reflection and contemplation seem to be fading in our fast-paced, technology-driven culture."

Altogether, 82 female schoolteachers between the ages of 25 and 60 participated in the project. Teachers were chosen because their work is stressful and because the meditation skills they learned could be immediately useful to their daily lives, possibly trickling down to benefit their students.

... -Concentration practices involving sustained, focused attention on a specific mental or sensory experience;

 - Mindfulness practices involving the close examination of one's body and feelings;

 - Directive practices designed to promote empathy and compassion toward others.

In the randomized, controlled trial, the schoolteachers learned to better understand the relationship between emotion and cognition, and to better recognize emotions in others and their own emotional patterns so they could better resolve difficult problems in their relationships. All the teachers were new to meditation and all were involved in an intimate relationship...."http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120328142852.htm


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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2012 at 14:55
It seems that people who developed PTSD do so because they have genetic predisposition to it:

Study Identifies PTSD Genes


"...Why do some persons succumb to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while others who suffered the same ordeal do not? A new UCLA study may shed light on the answer.
UCLA scientists have linked two genes involved in serotonin production to a higher risk of developing PTSD. Published in the April 3 online edition of the Journal of Affective Disorders, the findings suggest that susceptibility to PTSD is inherited, pointing to new ways of screening for and treating the disorder.

"People can develop post-traumatic stress disorder after surviving a life-threatening ordeal like war, rape or a natural disaster," explained lead author Dr. Armen Goenjian, a research professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. "If confirmed, our findings could eventually lead to new ways to screen people at risk for PTSD and target specific medicines for preventing and treating the disorder."
PTSD can arise following child abuse, terrorist attacks, sexual or physical assault, major accidents, natural disasters or exposure to war or combat. Symptoms include flashbacks, feeling emotionally numb or hyper-alert to danger, and avoiding situations that remind one of the original trauma. ..."

"...Affecting about 7 percent of Americans, PTSD has become a pressing health issue for a large percentage of war veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The UCLA team's discovery could be used to help screen persons who may be at risk for developing PTSD.
"A diagnostic tool based upon TPH1 and TPH2 could enable military leaders to identify soldiers who are at higher risk of developing PTSD, and reassign their combat duties accordingly," observed Goenjian. "Our findings may also help scientists uncover alternative treatments for the disorder, such as gene therapy or new drugs that regulate the chemicals responsible for PTSD symptoms."

According to Goenjian, pinpointing genes connected with PTSD symptoms will help neuroscientists classify the disorder based on brain biology instead of clinical observation. Psychiatrists currently rely on a trial and error approach to identify the best medication for controlling an individual patient's symptoms.

Serotonin is the target of the popular antidepressants known as SSRIs, or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, which prolong the effect of serotonin in the brain by slowing its absorption by brain cells. More physicians are prescribing SSRIs to treat psychiatric disease beyond depression, including PTSD and obsessive compulsive disorder. ..."
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/243688.php
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2012 at 15:38
It seems that people perceive virtual communication in the same way as they do the face-to-face one in real life - with all the pluses and minuses of it:

"... Most people would probably expect that being ignored or rejected via a remote source like the Internet would not hurt as much as being rejected in person. Yet, our studies show that people may experience similar psychological reactions to online exclusion as they do with face-to-face exclusion."...
...The team found that participants in both scenarios responded similarly to being excluded.

"Contrary to our expectation, the students' responses to rejection were not primarily characterized by severe distress, but rather characterized by numbness and distancing or withdrawal," Smyth said. Overall, the team showed that the participants expected the exclusion to be much worse than what they actually reported when they experienced the exclusion. The results of both studies appeared in a recent online issue of Computers in Human Behavior.

"What we found interesting is that in the lab setting, the vast majority of participants attributed their exclusion as being no fault of their own, but rather due to the other individuals in the room," Filipkowski said. "In other words, people said, 'it isn't me, it's you.' This may have been a type of protective mechanism in order to buffer their mood and self-esteem."...

...The results suggest that our culture may not differentiate between in-person and online experiences as much as we might think, according to the researchers.

"Although the meaningfulness of online or remote interactions may seem troubling, these data may also hold a more positive message," Smyth said. "Meaningful online interactions may support the utilization of remote interventions that can enhance physical and psychological well-being, in turn providing increased access to opportunities for people who are in need."..."http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/243773.php

Which supports my opinion that human communication is psychologically based, and the visual communication is only second-rate to the mental one; we communicate mind-to-mind, not body-to-body, in other words.



Edited by Don Quixote - 09-Apr-2012 at 15:42
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2012 at 15:51
Chronic Stress Linked To Inflammation And Disease
"...Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and body. For example, psychological stress is associated with greater risk for depression, heart disease and infectious diseases. But, until now, it has not been clear exactly how stress influences disease and health.

A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University's Sheldon Cohen has found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body's ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of disease...
...In the second study, 79 healthy participants were assessed for their ability to regulate the inflammatory response and then exposed to a cold virus and monitored for the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the chemical messengers that trigger inflammation. He found that those who were less able to regulate the inflammatory response as assessed before being exposed to the virus produced more of these inflammation-inducing chemical messengers when they were infected.

"The immune system's ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease," Cohen said. "When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well."

He added, "Knowing this is important for identifying which diseases may be influenced by stress and for preventing disease in chronically stressed people." ..."
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/243702.php

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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Apr-2012 at 16:18
Pshaw ole pard... we/I have known this fer years...who in the hell is the this current wannabe. Other then to make money on tapes.... books and the lecture circuit..or in ACADEMIA (the fall back position of the would be) to attempt to amaze me with the obvious.
 
When in doubt....Wink drink Scot's whiskey and listen to the songs of warriors and angels...if no time is available..... then pray for the return of He who is all things....(and hold yer whiskey an songs in reserve) while drawing yer gawdamn saber and charging.
 
Music and whiskey will lessen stress. trust me.
 
Sabers help as well. LOL
 
But what ever ya do...don't let these charlatans make a living off what they want ya to believe... iow. it's a problem that only they.... have a solution for.
 
For the correct response for that is:
 
bullshit.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

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Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2012 at 01:26
Well, it is known for a long time that stress weakens the body and causes diseases - in the said article the mechanism how that happens is shown - through producing inflammation-inducing chemicals. This is an important detail, because it may show a way how this can be corrected, by countering the said chemicals.

The devil is in the detailsSmile - otherwise I wouldn't bother to waste my time to read and post it.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2012 at 01:31
Tattoos and piercings are more than a fashion - they show propensity to risky behavior, in a positive correlation the more the tattoos and piercing, the more the risky behavior:
"...Tattoos and body piercings have become so popular in western societies that many consider them fashion trends. While people acquire tattoos and piercings for different reasons, prior research has shown that individuals who do so are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors that include substance and alcohol use. This study was the first in France to find more alcohol per liter of exhaled breath in association with tattooing and body piercing....
...I thought the approach to studying this topic was fascinating," said Armstrong. "However, I am concerned with the tendency to see a tattoo or piercing and automatically profile or stereotype that individual as a 'high-risk person' as this may or may not be conducive for helping them. A clinician, for example, can spend some time not judging individuals about their present tattoos, but talking to them about safe tattooing, etc. and alcohol in general ... not because they have tattoos or piercings but because they are in a high-risk age group."

She added that people have tattoos or piercings for different reasons, such as religious beliefs. In addition, there is a difference between those who have few tattoos or piercings and those who have many.

"In 2009, we conducted a study of those with one to two, three to four, and five or more tattoos," she said. "We found that those with only one tattoo were very similar to those without any tattoos in terms of high-risk behaviors, including alcohol. We also graded body piercings and found that individuals with seven or more were the really high-risk group. In other words, be very careful about generalizing among those with many tattoos or piercings and those with only one." ..."
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/244176.php
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  Quote Centrix Vigilis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2012 at 03:28
Originally posted by Don Quixote

Well, it is known for a long time that stress weakens the body and causes diseases - in the said article the mechanism how that happens is shown - through producing inflammation-inducing chemicals. This is an important detail, because it may show a way how this can be corrected, by countering the said chemicals.

The devil is in the detailsSmile - otherwise I wouldn't bother to waste my time to read and post it.
 
Yep as I noted... been noted for years...so why the need for the new regurgitation by this wannabe...what does he offer in the way of new or better yet re-interpreted. Don't eat salt, don't do drugs, live a life of monastic purity, abstain from sex or for those unable engage in tantric sex..chant...listen to music...use scent candles....get a pet..learn to play an instrument... watch yer diet...don't use caffeine...don't drink fluoridated water..drink vinegar...eat turmeric...eat yer fruits and veggies...don't eat processed foods...watch your bad cholesterol.....take a shower often don't shower often ....etc.etc.etc. till I puke.
 
It's all psych-babbler bullshit. All the rest was as I also noted by and for those who make a living perping this.
 
Psychology didn't exist perse in 1825....what were they doing then to alleviate stress?
What ever in the hell they wanted or advised by the medicos of the day told em.... and stress, a concept they probably didn't even recognise as a detriment to long life was a non-issue.
 
 
Drink heavily when ya feel like it and don't give a damn and ya will find your stress goes down.
 
I'm living proof.Wink
 
LOL


Edited by Centrix Vigilis - 18-Apr-2012 at 03:35
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Apr-2012 at 09:59
There wasn't stress in 1830 in the way there is now. Then it was / or the most countries/ pre-industrial society, social roles were set, people when unhappy knew that they cannot change it, there weren't for women expectations for successful careers on the top of housekeeping, there were no cars, people didn't live by the clock, and there wasn't the today's alienation, everyone lived with their relatives and had a lots of support groups. Besides people lived shorted lives, and died before getting all the diseases of worn bodies, from arthritis to dementia. We live in completely different circumstances, torn between expectations planted in us by media, alienated from relatives, too set on paying bills or we'll lose what we have /stress for life/, while in 1830 people didn't have loans. Our lives are unstable, every drop in the market affects everyone, one don't have family to rely on, and in addition there is constant competition one is involved in.

So, the live 2 centuries ago and now cannot be compared. Besides, what works for you may not work for everyone. Drinking works for people how have the so called "good drunkenness" - they stay in the early stages of intoxication when alcohol depression hadn't hit yet; but not eveyone does so. About 12% of people become alcoholics when trying to alleviate stress with drinking, the reasons may be psychological or physiological, or both - I had alcoholic father and step-father, and had observed that. So, for such people drinking have the opposite effect.

Besides, not giving a damn is not exactly a choice, one can force ones to do so for a time, but in general not everyone can do it. Besides, there are different lives, some people have to cope with PTSD sinnce it's genetically set, on hormonal basis - we are chemical beings - so that can't be changed with willing it to go. Some people are lucky to be more durable, some are not. I told you about the detail - that's why I posted it. Many new works ate just detailing and precising old ones.
So far, as far as I'm concerned, there isn't found a way to deal with stress - diet, music, etc is nothing, just concentrating on something else, and lack of sex would completely take one of balance, so it's not theraputic. We are still looking for the magic button to alleviate stress - that's what locating the reason in this hormonal stuff is an important detail.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-May-2012 at 17:25

Are Believers Really Happier Than Atheists?


"...In the least religious nations—which include Estonia, the Scandinavian countries, Hong Kong and Japan—the role of faith in public life can still be surprisingly complex, however. Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist at Pitzer College, spent 14 months interviewing people in Denmark, one of these hallowed lands where religious belief is low, yet people’s spirits are high. Just 19 percent of the population considered religion important, according to Diener’s survey...

...Denmark and Sweden buck conventions in more ways than one. They have the lowest church attendance in the world. Ask them if they believe the basic tenets of Christian doctrine, and by and large they say they do not. “Even the vast majority of the clergy don’t believe in God,” Zuckerman says. Yet most Danes and Swedes baptize their babies, get married in churches and pay a tax that supports the church.

How the presence of the church contributes to Scandinavians’ well-being is an open question. The institution likely represents a sense of community, a shared moral foundation and a national heritage. Yet as one Danish bishop told Zuckerman, “Danes don’t need to go to church to feel community. They live in Denmark.” The country has been described as a modern tribe; with a language spoken by only about six million people and few immigrants, Denmark’s homogeneity serves as social glue. The country also has egalitarian workplaces, with minimal social distance separating bosses and employees.

That is all well and good for the Danes, but for the rest of us some lessons can emerge. Belief in God or gods is not a prerequisite for a pleasurable existence, although it can make life easier. Socializing with like-minded people on a regular basis, and living and working in a supportive community, can offer many of the same benefits. As Diener puts it, “Religion can certainly help people to be happier, but other things can help you do the same thing. A peaceful, cooperative society, even in the absence of religion, seems to have the same effect.”..." http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=healthy-skepticism&page=4

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