I read a Nature News article recently about gun control in the USA that horrified me so much that I now have to write a bit about this horrifying topic myself. It goes without saying that there is a huge … Continue reading →... Read more »
Researchers have found that, in 2010, about 32 million people in the U.S. have used hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), “magic mushrooms” (psilocybin), or mescaline (peyote and other cacti) at some point in their lives and many of them have used it in the recent past.
“Use of psilocybin mushrooms has increased since the 1970s in the US and worldwide, likely due to dissemination of simple home cultivation techniques, instructions on finding wild mushrooms, and information about effects and methods of psilocybin mushroom use,” Researchers wrote.
Researchers, in this study, used the data from a randomly selected sample of more than 57,000 people, who were 12 years of age or older, and who were asked for the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Researchers found that many of the users of psychedelic drugs (i.e. hallucinogenic drugs) fall in the age range of 30-34 years and men are the frequent users as compared to women. Moreover, LSD and mescaline are more common in the older adults while youngsters use "magic mushrooms" mostly.
Teri S. Krebs, one of the authors of the study, told two myths related to the psychedelics:
“Many people assume psychedelics must be addictive,” she said. “But experts agree that psychedelics do not elicit addiction or compulsive use.”
Psychedelics are not completely banned. Krebs said. “Actually regulated, medical, scientific, and religious use of psychedelics is allowed in the U.S., in other countries, and by international treaties,” she said.
After the use of psychedelics, “People report deeply personally and spiritually meaningful experiences, feelings of connection to nature, insight into problems, and greater understanding of themselves, other people, and the universe,” Krebs said. “To some extent, this is consistent with findings in clinical studies.”
“Psychedelics continue to be widely used in the US. Common reasons given for using psychedelics include curiosity, mystical experiences, and introspection,” Researchers wrote.
Krebs, T., & Johansen, P. (2013). Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States F1000Research DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.2-98.v1... Read more »
Krebs, T., & Johansen, P. (2013) Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States. F1000Research. DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.2-98.v1
Putting the woof in tweet! (source)Hi Julie,Wow! Thanks for sharing the amazing fun tweet-week we had posting for @realscientists on Twitter. It was great to engage with so many people about so many areas of dog (and other animal!) behaviour and research. And poo. So many questions about dog poo! Some things can be relied upon in life; it’s good to know people are always curious about dog poo.If you want to revisit any of those posts or links we exchanged as part of the Real Scientists project, check out the amazing collection of our tweets, compiled via Storify by the fabulous Sarah, genius behind Science for Life . 365. This week, they have an astrophysicist/cosmologist who studies exploding stars and dark energy tweeting – so interesting! He has a beagle named Bagel who has learned to open doors on everything – the house, the fridge, the microwave – he’s keeping himself and everyone following on Twitter entertained!Over recent weeks I have been talking to working dog industry groups and visiting a variety of kennel facilities as part of my ongoing work with the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. It’s been great being back around the wagging tails and eager faces of working dogs again. Seeing a wide range of kennel facilities has been fantastic and has given me some good motivation to complete my PhD research in the area of kennelled working dogs.(source)Kennel facilities (including shelter, boarding/breeding and working dog kennel contexts) are often built to house as many individuals as they can in the space available and to be easily cleaned (usually via chemical wash down and hosing) in order to maintain a hygienic environment. This has historically resulted in spaces formed in concrete and metal that we (as people) readily perceive as barren and sterile. (source)Modern facilities are often built with different materials, and can seem more pleasing to our eye, but I wonder if they’re actually any different in meeting dogs’ behavioural needs? It’s been interesting while visiting the recent facilities to consider the dogs’ experience of living in them. One point of difference that I noted was that some facilities offer the dog/s a view. Others didn’t. (source)This view might be limited to the dog opposite their kennel run, or fairly open to many other dogs, people, surrounding scenery, traffic, animals, etc. especially in areas where dogs have a choice to be in- or outside. The limited research in this area suggests that in situations where dogs are housed singly and have the opportunity to view other dogs, they take it. I find it interesting that human studies have illustrated positive effects of proximity to windows with a view in hospital and workplace environments: improved recovery times and reduced job stress. A review paper by Taylor and Mills (see below) suggests that sensory overstimulation may occur in kennel environments, so what does that mean when we consider what provision should be made for dogs to see outside of their kennel?Someone thinks it's important, with a fence porthole having been launched for pet dogs a few years ago. So is this marketing to the dogs' needs or the people's perceptions? Dogs certainly seem to actively seek out visual information about the world around them.... Read more »
Wells Deborah L., & Hepper Peter G. (1998) A note on the influence of visual conspecific contact on the behaviour of sheltered dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 60(1), 83-88. DOI: 10.1016/S0168-1591(98)00146-4
Taylor K, & Mills D. (2007) The effect of the kennel environment on canine welfare: a critical review of experimental studies. Animal Welfare, 16(4), 435-447. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ufaw/aw/2007/00000016/00000004/art00003
Sop Shin Won. (2007) The influence of forest view through a window on job satisfaction and job stress. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 22(3), 248-253. DOI: 10.1080/02827580701262733
Verderber Stephen, & Reuman David. (1987) Windows, views, and health status in hospital therapeutic environments. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 4(2), 120-133. http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1988-30782-001
‘Long time no see’ is something I heard repeatedly in Britain even though it totally violates all the English grammar I learned at school. Clearly, Brits should correct this expression originating from Chinese Pidgin English rather than adopt it. The reason it entered common usage anyway is at the heart of why you might find [...]... Read more »
Bentz C, & Winter B. (2013) Languages with more second language learners tend to lose case. Language Dynamics and Change. info:/
Lupyan G, & Dale R. (2010) Language structure is partly determined by social structure. PloS one, 5(1). PMID: 20098492
An unemployed neighbor wins the lottery, a friend who regularly boasts about his good health becomes ill. We are highly sensitive to changing fortunes of others. We want to know who’s doing worse and who’s doing better than before, as these shifts in our social environment may have implications for our own well-being. In particular we are drawn to unexpected changes: underdogs that beat the odds and top dogs that fall from grace. Whether we witness the creation of a hero or the demise of a hero – we love it.... Read more »
Feather, N., & Sherman, R. (2002) Envy, Resentment, Schadenfreude, and Sympathy: Reactions to Deserved and Undeserved Achievement and Subsequent Failure. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(7), 953-961. DOI: 10.1177/014616720202800708
by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator
By Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm: Last week in the U.S. Senate, a measure to require universal background checks on gun purchases failed to get the 60 votes needed to survive. The arguments supporting the common good of keeping firearms out of the wrong hands were, to 45 Senators, was not as strong as the individual rights based aversion to new restrictions in any form. Though this decision was out of step with prevailing public opinion (with 86 percent of the public supporting such checks), it was quite consistent with a very common and very American tendency for common good arguments to...... Read more »
Hamedani MG, Markus HR, & Fu AS. (2013) In the land of the free, interdependent action undermines motivation. Psychological science, 24(2), 189-96. PMID: 23302297
by ebender in Daily Observations
APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Michael E. Lamb, University of Cambridge, has won the 2014 G. Stanley Hall Award for Distinguished Contribution to Developmental Psychology and the 2013 Award for The post Lamb Wins G. Stanley Hall Award appeared first on Association for Psychological Science.... Read more »
Even though I consider that I am across the literature at the boundary of economics and evolutionary biology, now and then an article pops up that I somehow missed. The latest article of this type is a 2009 article by Douglas Kenrick and colleagues, titled (as is this post) Deep Rationality: The Evolutionary Economics of Decision Making. [...]The post Deep Rationality: The Evolutionary Economics of Decision Making appeared first on Evolving Economics.... Read more »
Kenrick, D., Griskevicius, V., Sundie, J., Li, N., Li, Y., & Neuberg, S. (2009) Deep Rationality: The Evolutionary Economics of Decision Making. Social Cognition, 27(5), 764-785. DOI: 10.1521/soco.2009.27.5.764
Last week Science published a study (a follow-up of Salimpoor et al., 2011) in which Canadian researchers showed that music can arouse feelings of euphoria and craving, similar to tangible rewards that involve the striatal dopaminergic system. ... Read more »
Salimpoor, V., van den Bosch, I., Kovacevic, N., McIntosh, A., Dagher, A., & Zatorre, R. (2013) Interactions Between the Nucleus Accumbens and Auditory Cortices Predict Music Reward Value. Science, 340(6129), 216-219. DOI: 10.1126/science.1231059
Salimpoor, V., Benovoy, M., Larcher, K., Dagher, A., & Zatorre, R. (2011) Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2726
We’re coming to the end of this multi-post overview of Jaana Suviniity’s PhD thesis on the role of interactive features in lectures delivered in English as a lingua franca (ELF) – when English is not a first language for the speaker or listeners. When students rated these lectures on a scale of “challenging” to “accessible”, it became apparent that a major difference between the more or less accessible lectures was the quantity of interactive features. After giving a general overview of her data and findings, I reviewed Jaana’s findings on control acts in ELF lectures. Now I’ll take the two other interactive features she examined – questions and repetitions.... Read more »
Mauranen, Anna. (2012) Exploring ELF: Academic English Shaped by Non-native Speakers. Cambridge Applied Linguistics series. info:/
Suviniitty, Jaana. (2012) Lectures in English as a Lingua Franca: Interactional Features. Doctoral dissertation, University of Helsinki. info:other/http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-8540-6
Shakespeare wasn't kidding about the "winter of our discontent." In the colder and darker months, people do more internet searches for mental health terms, from anxiety and ADHD all the way to suicide. Search patterns also promise that like a refreshed browser window, better times are due to arrive soon.
John Ayers, of the Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health in San Diego, and other researchers dove into Google Trends to explore whether certain searches vary by season. "Seasonal affective disorder is one of the most studied phenomena in mental health," Ayers says, "with many individuals suffering mood changes from summer to winter due to changes in solar intensity." He wanted to find out whether any other mental health complaints changed with the seasons, as some studies had hinted.
Since Google Trends breaks down searches by category, the researchers started in the "mental health" section. Looking at all mental health searches in the United States between 2006 and 2011, they saw a consistent cycle with peaks in the winter and troughs in the summer. (If you do this search yourself, you'll see that there's also a dip around the December holidays—but the curve reliably bottoms out in July of each year.)
The team did some statistical smoothing and found that mental health searches overall were about 14% higher in the winter than in the summer. To confirm that the difference was due to the season, they ran the same analysis on data from Australia. Searches cycled in the same way—about 11% higher in winter than summer—but the peaks in the southern-hemisphere country were almost exactly 6 months out of sync with the United States.
When the scientists broke down searches by specific symptoms or illnesses, the seasonal cycle remained—and in some cases got much stronger. "We were very surprised" to see this, Ayers says. Searches including the terms ADHD, anxiety, bipolar, depression, anorexia or bulimia, OCD, schizophrenia, and suicide all rose in the winter and fell in the summer.
One of the most dramatically cycling search terms was schizophrenia, at 37% higher in the winter. Eating disorder terms varied just as strongly. (The smallest seasonal difference was for anxiety, which was just 7% higher in the winter in the United States, and 15% in Australia.)
Some of this seasonality might be due to the schedule of the school year, Ayers points out. Referrals for kids with ADHD and eating disorders may come from their schools.
Other explanations involve winter itself. The effect of shorter days on our circadian rhythms and hormone levels might be a factor, the authors write, as in seasonal affective disorder. They speculate that a lack of vitamin D (which we make using sunlight) in the winter might contribute. Even omega 3 fatty acids might matter: we consume less of them in winter, and omega 3 deficiency has been linked to some mental illnesses.
There's also the question of what we're doing all season. People hunkered indoors during the colder months may have fewer chances for socializing, which is "a well-known health emollient," the authors write. The same goes for physical activity.
"There is a lot more we need to learn about mental health and seasonality," Ayers says. "For instance, is there a universal mechanism that impacts our mental health?"
Of course, sometimes our malaise isn't about the season.
Whatever portion of mental health is predictable, though, doctors would love to know about it and use that information to help.
This study doesn't give reveal much about low-income or elderly populations who aren't online. And knowing what people are searching for isn't exactly the same as knowing what symptoms they're experiencing. "We are actively working to address these limitations," Ayers says. Working with Google.org, the charitable branch of Google, he hopes to develop systems similar to Google Flu Trends that can track a population's mental health.
"Intuition suggests that these results are reflective of an important link between the seasons and mental health," Ayers says. For now, we have the reassurance of computer algorithms that skies will be clearer soon.
Ayers, J., Althouse, B., Allem, J., Rosenquist, J., & Ford, D. (2013). Seasonality in Seeking Mental Health Information on Google American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44 (5), 520-525 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.01.012
Image: Skaneateles, NY, by me.
... Read more »
Ayers, J., Althouse, B., Allem, J., Rosenquist, J., & Ford, D. (2013) Seasonality in Seeking Mental Health Information on Google. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(5), 520-525. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.01.012
The Senate’s sad failure to pass any kind of gun control legislation has led to the rehashing of what can now be deemed failed political tactics. Much of the focus has been on the decision of gun control advocates to initially pursue an assault weapons ban: Congressional consideration was also delayed by gun control proponents’ [...]... Read more »
Cialdini, R., & et al, . (1975) Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31(2), 206-215. DOI: 10.1037/h0076284
Feeley, T., Anker, A., & Aloe, A. (2012) The Door-in-the-Face Persuasive Message Strategy: A Meta-Analysis of the First 35 Years. Communication Monographs, 79(3), 316-343. DOI: 10.1080/03637751.2012.697631
Researchers found that the U.S. hospitals get more profit when the surgery goes wrong as compared to the condition when all the tasks go well and patients go home without any complications.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
Quite disturbing report but one of the points to consider in healthcare system is that the finances spent on that industry have to be properly planned.
Do you know nearly $400 billion is spent on the surgical procedures annually, in U.S. only?
For the past few years, effective methods and ways to cut the complications have been introduced in so many researches but hospitals were found slow in getting and implementing those ways. Now researchers have found that finances could be one of the reasons.
“We found clear evidence that reducing harm and improving quality is perversely penalized in our current health care system,” Sunil Eappen, study author and chief medical officer of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, said in a statement.
Researchers found that privately insured surgical patients with complications provided hospitals nearly 330% more profit as compared to the patients with no complications. Medicare patients with some complications provided more than 190% margin.
“It’s been known that hospitals are not rewarded for quality. But it hadn’t been recognized exactly how much more money they make when harm is done,” said senior author Atul Gawande, director of Ariadne Labs, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at HSPH and a surgeon at BWH.
It means reducing complications decreases financial achievements of the hospitals.
“This is clear indication that health care payment reform is necessary,” said Gawande. “Hospitals should gain, not lose, financially from reducing harm.”
I think we have to study the same thing in other developed countries.
Harvard University, The Raw Story
Eappen, S. (2013). Relationship Between Occurrence of Surgical Complications and Hospital Finances JAMA, 309 (15) DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.2773... Read more »
Eappen, S. (2013) Relationship Between Occurrence of Surgical Complications and Hospital Finances. JAMA, 309(15), 1599. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.2773
Scientific research on the evolution of genitalia is not news (though each discovery has made for some interesting reading). But recently, Fox News and others took aim at the “discovery” that U.S. government money was spent to fund these experiments! And in the classic form of “why do we support the X I don’t like, so can’t have the Y I do like” argument, researcher Patricia Brennan’s long-term studies on duck genitals came under fire.... Read more »
Brennan, P., Clark, C., & Prum, R. (2009) Explosive eversion and functional morphology of the duck penis supports sexual conflict in waterfowl genitalia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277(1686), 1309-1314. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.2139
People who have more sex, usually feel better than those who do it less. It’s just like income and friendship: the more you have it, the happier you rate yourself. Scientists have confirmed this common knowledge, but now add more complexity to the story.
Why do you feel better when you have sex frequently? Maybe it’s because that means you have a better sex life than your neighbours. Earlier studies already pointed out how important it is for people to compare their income with others. A new study tested if this was the same with sex.... Read more »
Wadsworth, T. (2013) Sex and the Pursuit of Happiness: How Other People’s Sex Lives are Related to our Sense of Well-Being. Social Indicators Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11205-013-0267-1
Procrastination is a common behavior in 95 percent of people ( Ellis & Knaus, 1977) and in 15 to 20 percent of that group it can be considered chronic and problematic (Harriot & Ferrari, 1996). Recent research shows that men are more likely to procrastinate than women, that procrastinators tend to be less educated, and that their marriages are more likely to fall apart.
Considering procrastination has little benefit, why is it such a common way of behaving? One of the possible causes is performance anxiety. Being afraid you will never get that job discourages you from sending out your resume, while worrying about your grades makes you not want to study for that exam. In other cases, perfectionism is the root of the problem: setting standards for yourself that you will never be able to meet – and therefore don’t even bother. And then there are those who are just plain lazy; lacking the discipline to force themselves to take care of their tasks.... Read more »
Wohl, M., Pychyl, T., & Bennett, S. (2010) I forgive myself, now I can study: How self-forgiveness for procrastinating can reduce future procrastination. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(7), 803-808. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.01.029
What goes through your mind when somebody makes a racist or sexist remark? Perhaps you feel a strong desire to expose their morally bankrupt worldview through an artful recitation of contemporary philosophy and social science research. Perhaps the potential awkwardness of scolding an acquaintance leads you to avoid confrontation. Whatever you’ve done in the past, [...]... Read more »
Rasinski, H., Geers, A., & Czopp, A. (2013) "I Guess What He Said Wasn't That Bad": Dissonance in Nonconfronting Targets of Prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. DOI: 10.1177/0146167213484769
Everybody remembers the kind captain in Titanic, drowning in his own guilt when he realises he has comprised safety regulations for fame, and his decision to go down with the ship. Before meeting his demise, he first makes sure the women and children make it off the ship. Surely this is the proper thing to do in such situations – women and children first- right? Research suggests otherwise.... Read more »
Bruno S. Frey, David A. Savage, and Benno Torgler. (2010) Behavior under Extreme Conditions: The Titanic Disaster. Journal of Economic Perspective. info:/
Bush SP. (2004) Snakebite suction devices don't remove venom: they just suck. Annals of emergency medicine, 43(2), 187-8. PMID: 14747806
What do you mean when you say: what is there? Do you mean something to be perceived, to be felt, to be experienced, or to be understood? Are you asking by any chance what is enlightenment? Or are you asking what is there when the mind has stopped all its wanderings and has come to quietness? Are you asking what there is on the other side when the mind is really still?... Read more »
Jiddu Krishnamurti. (2013) A contemplation on Silence – Jiddu Krishnamurti. whoisbert. info:/
Good research stands out through relevant research questions which are answered applying rigorous research methods. Researchers routinely signal methodological rigor in a detailed methods section and reviewers take great care to check whether all methodological steps are applied properly. Besides rigor, it is necessary to ensure that research is relevant in terms of both theoretical [...]... Read more »
de-Margerie, V., & Jiang, B. (2011) How relevant is OM research to managerial practice? An empirical study of top executives' perceptions. International Journal of Operations , 31(2), 124-147. DOI: 10.1108/01443571111104737
Salvador, F. (2011) On the importance of good questions and empirically grounded theorizing. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 47(4), 21-22. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-493X.2011.03248.x
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