How Parents ‘Pass On’ Empathic Ability To Their Children & Grandchildren (M)

Learn the science-backed methods for nurturing empathy in your children.

Learn the science-backed methods for nurturing empathy in your children.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean



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Longest Personality Study Reveals How Much 60+ Years Changes People (M)

Longest ever study of personality dramatically answers the old question of whether people really change with age.

Longest ever study of personality dramatically answers the old question of whether people really change with age.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean



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The Dark Side Of Mimicking People’s Body Language To Gain Rapport (M)

Why therapists could have to rethink the strategy of mimicking body language in sessions.

Why therapists could have to rethink the strategy of mimicking body language in sessions.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean



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This Weight Loss Technique Instantly Reduces Food Cravings

People using this strategy find that it is easier to resist acting on their desires.

People using this strategy find that it is easier to resist acting on their desires.

Mindfulness is a proven strategy to reduce cravings for food, cigarettes and alcohol, a review concludes.

Multiple studies have found that mindfulness can instantly reduce cravings.

Mindfulness involves the acceptance of moment-by-moment experiences, such as the desire to eat, smoke or drink.

Acceptance involves seeing cravings as a normal result of stress or other problems in life.

Over time, people practising mindfulness find that it is easier to resist acting on their desires.

Mindfulness helps the mind simply acknowledge these cravings and then let them mentally flow away.

Being mindful occupies the part of the mind that generates cravings, studies suggest.

Mindfulness also emphasises the separation between thoughts and feelings and the self.

In other words, it is possible to think and feel, without acting on those thoughts and feelings.

Dr Katy Tapper, the study’s author, said:

“The research suggests that certain mindfulness-based strategies may help prevent or interrupt cravings by occupying a part of our mind that contributes to the development of cravings.

Whether mindfulness strategies are more effective than alternative strategies, such as engaging in visual imagery, has yet to be established.

However, there is also some evidence to suggest that engaging in regular mindfulness practice may reduce the extent to which people feel the need to react to their cravings, though further research is needed to confirm such an effect.”

Here are some mindfulness exercises to try.

The study was published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review (Tapper, 2018).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean

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The Silent Threat Lurking In Your Home: Chemicals That Attack Your Brain (M)

How exposure to everyday chemicals might be damaging the protective insulation of your brain cells.

How exposure to everyday chemicals might be damaging the protective insulation of your brain cells.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean



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A Peaceful Sign That You Are An Introvert

Discover the difference between healthy solitude and harmful isolation in this study.

Discover the difference between healthy solitude and harmful isolation in this study.

Both extraverts and introverts need solitude to recharge — although introverts prefer to have more alone time, psychologists find.

Wanting to be alone is not necessarily a red flag for depression or isolation, the research concludes.

In fact, choosing solitude can be a sign of self-acceptance and personal growth.

Periods of solitude can provide spiritual renewal, critical self-reflection and even a chance for creative expression.

Professor Margarita Azmitia, study co-author, said:

“Solitude has gotten a lot of bad press, especially for adolescents who get labeled as social misfits or lonely.

Sometimes, solitude is good.

Developmentally, learning to be alone is a skill, and it can be refreshing and restorative.”

Wanting to be alone is not necessarily about shyness or loneliness, Professor Azmitia said:

“There’s a stigma for kids who spend time alone.

They’re considered lacking in social skills, or they get labeled ‘loners’.

It’s beneficial to know when you need to be alone and when you need to be with others.

This study quantifies the benefits of solitude and distinguishes it from the costs of loneliness or isolation.”

The conclusions come from a study of 979 young people who completed a survey about solitude.

The results showed that those who sought solitude because they felt rejected were at a higher risk of depression and anxiety.

However, those who sought solitude for positive reasons did not face any of these risks.

Dr Virginia Thomas, the study’s first author, said:

“These results increase our awareness that being alone can be restorative and a positive thing.

The question is how to be alone without feeling like we’re missing out.

For many people, solitude is like exercising a muscle they’ve never used.

You have to develop it, flex it, and learn to use time alone to your benefit.”

Dr Thomas said both introverts and extraverts need solitude:

“Introverts just need more of it.

Our culture is pretty biased toward extroversion.

When we see any sign of shyness or introversion in children, we worry they won’t be popular.

But we overlook plenty of well-adjusted teens and young adults who are perfectly happy when alone, and who benefit from their solitude.”

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescence (Thomas et al., 2019).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean

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This Is How Long Social Pressure Really Lasts (M)

What group influence is doing to you and how long until you reclaim your independence.

What group influence is doing to you and how long until you reclaim your independence.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean



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These Forbidden Words Soothe Embarrassment And Rejection

Certain words can reduce both social pain and physical pain.

Certain words can reduce both social pain and physical pain.

Swearing can help to relieve hurt feelings and an aching heart, research has found.

Swearing aloud helps to quickly reduce various types of ‘social distress’ such as being socially excluded.

The experiment was carried out to test ‘Pain Overlap Theory’.

This is the idea that physical pain is processed in a similar way by the brain as social pain, the kind you get from being rejected or embarrassed.

Dr Michael Philipp, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“The results suggest that socially distressed participants who swore out loud experienced less social pain than those who did not.

Previous research suggests that social stressors, like rejection and ostracism, not only feel painful but also increase peoples’ sensitivity to physical pain.

Pain Overlap Theory suggests that social distress feels painful because both social and physical pain is biologically coupled.

Pain overlap theory predicts that anything affecting physical pain should have similar effects on social pain.”

In the study some people shouted out swear words in response to social pain.

Others shouted out non-swear words.

Swearing reduced the social pain and also reduced people’s sensitivity to physical pain.

This suggests that physical and social pain are related, as the theory suggests.

It means the hurt you feel when someone gives you the silent treatment is, in some sense, similar to that caused by banging your thumb with a hammer.

Dr Philipp said:

“There is still speculation about why swearing aloud has the effect it does on physical pain and social pain.

What’s clear is that swearing is not a completely maladaptive reaction to a sore thumb or a broken heart.”

Dr Philipp was also quick to warn that swearing all the time reduces its power.

So save it up for when you really need it.

The study was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology (Phillip et al., 2017).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean

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7 Psychology Studies On Love’s Strange Secrets

Uncover love’s strange secrets with these seven illuminating psychology studies on relationships.

Uncover love’s strange secrets with these seven illuminating psychology studies on relationships.

These seven psychology studies explore how we navigate love, loss and connection.

They shed light on how our gender can influence our priorities, how we recover from heartbreak and the subtle dynamics that shape long-term partnerships.

They also explore the impact of bullying on teenagers and the power of self-compassion in romantic relationships.

These studies are all from the members-only section of PsyBlog — if you are not already, find out how to become a PsyBlog member here.

1.

Are you misinterpreting your partner’s jealousy triggers?

2.

Researchers tracked over 200,000 people to reveal the hidden impact of breakups on mental health.

3.

Learn why positivity might not be enough to save your love life.

4.

How bullying in adolescence plants seeds of suspicion that lead to mental health struggles later in life.

5.

The transformative power of this emotion in romantic relationships.

6.

Up to 5 percent of people in the U.S. report they are currently in a consensual non-monogamous relationships.

7.

Saying “I love you” is a risk — if it is not reciprocated it could irreparably damage the relationship.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean

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Cooking Fish This Way Linked To 14% Larger Brain Volume In Key Area

Brain regions responsible for cognition were 14 percent larger in those who ate fish cooked with this method.

Brain regions responsible for cognition were 14 percent larger in those who ate fish cooked with this method.

Eating both baked and broiled fish once a week protects the brain from loosing gray matter with age, according to new research.

The findings found no link between eating fried fish and better brain health.

Dr Cyrus Raji, who led the study, explained:

“Baked or broiled fish contains higher levels of omega-3s than fried fish because the fatty acids are destroyed in the high heat of frying, so we took that into consideration…”

The data came from 260 people who had their brains scanned and who also provided information on what they had been eating.

They were all part of a 10-year study starting in 1989 which was originally designed to reveal the lifestyle factors important in cardiovascular health.

The study found that people who ate baked or broiled fish had, on average, 4.3% larger brain volumes in the areas responsible for memory and 14% larger volumes in areas responsible for cognition.

Professor James T. Becker, who co-authored the study, explained the results:

“Our study shows that people who ate a diet that included baked or broiled, but not fried, fish have larger brain volumes in regions associated with memory and cognition.

We did not find a relationship between omega-3 levels and these brain changes, which surprised us a little.

It led us to conclude that we were tapping into a more general set of lifestyle factors that were affecting brain health of which diet is just one part.”

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are also found in seeds, nuts and certain oils, have been repeatedly found to enhance brain health.

However, in this study there was no link between actual omega-3 levels in the body and changes in the brain.

Dr Becker said:

“This suggests that lifestyle factors, in this case eating fish, rather than biological factors contribute to structural changes in the brain.

A confluence of lifestyle factors likely are responsible for better brain health, and this reserve might prevent or delay cognitive problems that can develop later in life.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Raji et al., 2014).

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks. View all posts by Jeremy Dean

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