Psychology

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood, afflicting between between 1 and 4 per 1,000 kids born worldwide. It's more common among boys than girls and only about half of adolescents with it can walk independently but regardless of that, kids with cerbral palsy rate their quality of life pretty high.

Either adolescents with cerebral palsy are doing pretty well or able-bodied adolescents in general invent problems when they have none. 


Sexting may be a new "normal" part of adolescent sexual development and not strictly limited to at-risk teens, according to a paper in Pediatrics, which the authors say is the first survey to address the relationship between teenage sexting, or sending sexually explicit images to another electronically, and future sexual activity. 

The  results indicate that sexting may precede sexual intercourse in some cases and further cements the idea that sexting behavior is a credible sign of teenage sexual activity. Further, the researchers did not find a link between sexting and risky sexual behavior over time, which may suggest that sexting is becoming a part of growing up. 


Call it cathartic but one modern way people in a bad mood feel better is to go on social media like Facebook and find friends doing even worse.

A new paper says that generally people use social media to connect with people who are posting positive and success-oriented updates. No one wants to hang out with downers - unless they are in a bad mood. Then people want to read about less attractive, less successful and more miserable people. The authors believe the
findings give more context to recent papers stating that found people who spend a lot of time on Facebook tend to be more frustrated, angry and lonely – presumably because of all the happy updates from friends that make them feel inadequate. 


When choosing a new leader, people base their decision on desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness. However once leaders are in power, can we trust them to exercise it in a prosocial manner? 

A new paper in The Leadership Quarterly finds that everyone gradually becomes susceptible to power the longer they have it.  Study author John Antonakis and his colleagues from the University of Lausanne explain, "We looked to examine what Lord Acton said over 100 years ago, that 'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'"

To investigate this the authors used experimental methods to distinguish between the situational and individual component; and determine if power corrupts or if corrupt individuals are drawn to power.


Consuming an alcoholic beverage may make men more responsive to the smiles of others in their social group,  but now women.

That suggests to psychologists behind a new paper in Clinical Psychological Science that since alcohol increases sensitivity to rewarding social behaviors like smiling, it may contribute to problem drinking among men.


Almost everyone agrees the Western world is over-prescribed; except the people doing the prescribing. Symptom-based medicine stopped being used 50 years ago but when it comes to mood disorders, it is still the norm. And "brief depression symptom measures," the self-administered questionnaires are used in primary care settings to determine the frequency and severity of depression symptoms among patients, are being linked to antidepressant medications being prescribed when they may not be needed, according to a paper in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.


We know our bodies don't just change in size, which makes it an effective metric in a world in motion.

Psychologists have found that people tend to perceive their dominant hand as staying relatively the same size even when it's magnified, lending support to the idea that we use our hand as a constant perceptual "ruler" to measure the world around us.

To size up the world around us, we need to be able to translate the information that comes in through our eyes into units that are relevant to our everyday lives. The body is a particularly effective metric because it allows us to relate information about object size to actions that we're able to perform on or with the object.


There's a common trope in Hollywood celebrities who gain weight and receive attention for it. They talk about how much healthier and better they feel about themselves at higher weight - and then they immediately lose weight and talk about how much healthier and better they feel about themselves.

Severely obese people who aren't famous also experience much better spirits once they shed weight through diet, lifestyle changes or medical intervention but Valentina Ivezaj and Carlos Grilo of the Yale University School of Medicine write in Obesity Surgery that it is not a psychological magic bullet.


Antidepressants are the most commonly used treatment for social anxiety disorder but we know they don't work for many people and their efficacy goes down over time.

New research finds they are not even needed in many instances. 

Social anxiety disorder is a condition characterized by fear and avoidance of social situations. It affects as many as 13 percent of the Western world. For most people, it is not severe, and they never receive treatment for the disorder but those who do get treatment are usually assigned medication.



Sympathetic or jealous? Credit: Belly by Shutterstock

By Arthur Brennan, St George's, University of London

Harry Ashby, the 29-year-old security guard who was signed off work with morning sickness, cravings, a growing stomach and breasts during his girlfriend’s pregnancy, was told he had Couvade syndrome.