Psychology

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that it's no fun to feel hungry - the drive to tame hunger pangs can sabotage even the best-intentioned dieter.

But how exactly is it that fasting creates these uncomfortable feelings and consuming food takes them away? 

Working to unravel the complex wiring system that underlies this intense physiological state, investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have identified a long-sought component of this complicated neural network.


Psychologists have postulated that blaming victims, such as saying 'you were in the wrong place at the wrong time', is a defense mechanism that helps blamers feel the world is still just even when there is evidence it's not.


It's not a surprise that in a modern materialistic society, the desire to buy the latest iGimmick will lead to sadness if the money to do so is not available but we fortunately have the statistics to back that up. The recent Great Recession was accompanied by a significant and sustained  major depression claims by U.S. adults, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.


If you want to know the secrets of healthier eating, think of the kitchen fruit bowl. A fruit bowl makes fruit more convenient, attractive, and normal to eat than if the same fruit were in the bottom of the refrigerator.

A new Cornell study analyzed 112 studies that collected information about healthy eating behaviors and found that most healthy eaters did so because a restaurant, grocery store, school cafeteria, or spouse made foods like fruits and vegetables visible and easy to reach (convenient), enticingly displayed (attractive), and appear like an obvious choice (normal). "A healthy diet can be as easy as making the healthiest choice the most convenient, attractive, and normal," said Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.


If you're finding it difficult to stick to a diet, a new paper says you can likely blame hunger-sensitive cells in your brain known as AGRP neurons. According to new experiments, these neurons are responsible for the unpleasant feelings of hunger that make snacking irresistible. 


When consumers taste cheap wine and rate it highly because under the belief it is expensive, is it just a placebo or has belief actually changed their brain function, causing them to experience the cheap wine in the same physical way as the expensive wine? 

People enjoy identical products such as wine or chocolate more if they have a higher price tag so a new study examined the neural and psychological processes required for such marketing placebo effects to occur. The authors conclude that preconceived beliefs may create a placebo effect so strong that the actual chemistry of the brain changes in a brain imaging analysis.
The occurrence of altruism and spite - helping or harming others at a cost to oneself - depends on similarity not just between two interacting individuals but also to the rest of their neighbors, according to a new model developed by psychologist DB Krupp and mathematician Peter Taylor of Queen's University.

Individuals who appear very different from most others in a group will evolve to be altruistic towards similar partners, and only slightly spiteful to those who are dissimilar to them but individuals who appear very similar to the rest of a group will evolve to be only slightly altruistic to similar partners but very spiteful to dissimilar individuals, often going to extreme lengths to hurt them.

Self-driving cars are expected to revolutionize the automobile industry. Rapid advances have led to working prototypes faster than most people expected. The anticipated benefits of this emerging technology include safer, faster and more eco-friendly transportation.

Most psychiatric disorders - including depression -- do not predict future violent behavior, according to a longitudinal study of delinquent youth. Some delinquent youth with current psychiatric illness may also be violent - males with mania were more than twice as likely to report current violence than those without - but those relationships are not necessarily causal. 

The one exception is when there is substance abuse and dependence. That was a predictor of violence in people with psychiatric conditions.


Up to 6 out of 1,000 children worldwide may be on the spectrum of an autistic disorder (ASD) and 50 percent of those kids demonstrate serious and disruptive behavior, including tantrums, aggression, self-injury and noncompliance. For children with ASD, serious disruptive behavior interrupts daily functioning and social skills development, limits their ability to benefit from education and speech therapy, can increase social isolation and intensify caregiver stress. 

Luc Lecavalier and colleagues from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center conducted a 24-week parent training study designed to effectively reduce serious behavioral problems in young children with ASD.