Psychology

In the UK, where health care is paid for by the government, and in the United States, where health care is increasingly government controlled, fat shaming has become the norm. Since everyone will have to pay for health care, and obese people are more likely to need it, gthe public gets to have a voice in behavior.

The federal government has even taken to micromanaging school lunches.

But does it work, or is it just a way for elite social authoritarians to assert their superiority over the masses? New University College London research funded by Cancer Research UK finds that discrimination is a poor tactic, even if it is subtle, like newspaper articles and government programs fat shaming indirectly.


A pop song goes that rainy days and Mondays bring people down. There was always some truth to that and a new paper in JAMA quantifies the link between a lack of sunshine and suicide. The authors found that lower rates of suicide are associated with more daily sunshine in the prior 14 to 60 days.

Light interacts with brain serotonin systems and possibly influences serotonin-related behaviors. Those behaviors, such as mood and impulsiveness, can play a role in suicide.


African American women and their female children have the highest obesity prevalence of any demographic group in the United States, and they are also most likely to underestimate their body weight, according to a paper from Rush University Medical Center.

The authors say cultural norms for body size may prevent awareness among many African American women about the potential risks of obesity and the benefits of weight loss.


If you are fat, you might look for excuses that go beyond eating too much and not exercising - and nutritionists and people selling miracle products and fad diets are happy to jump on the latest trend, like that fat, sugar or wheat is doing it to you.

But though some people can become addicted to eating for its own sake, there remains no evidence that specific foods such as those high in sugar or fat are addictive. There remains no addiction for substances in certain foods because the brain does not respond to nutrients in the same way as it does to addictive drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Anyone who claims it does is not interested in evidence, they are interested in selling you a book or a food.


An analysis of over 7,000 women over a decade after unsuccessful fertility treatment found that women who have difficulty accepting the fact that they can't have children following unsuccessful fertility treatment have worse long-term mental health than women who are able to let go of their desire for children.

The study is the first to look at a large group of women to try to understand mental health after unsuccessful fertility treatment, including factors such as whether or not they have children, whether they still want children, their diagnosis and their medical treatment.


Despite challenges, prescription drug monitoringprograms are essential tools in ensuring opioids and other addictive medicinesare prescribed and used appropriately.

By Rob Brooks, UNSW Australia.

Settle in for a long read. Over the coming weeks you will be bombarded by shorter, snappier pieces about a controversy inflaming the front where evolutionary and social psychology meet. I’ve touched on this controversy already, and promised you more. Here’s that more, in 2,300 words of detail … rather too long for a column, I know.

Still with me? Thanks.

America is a liberal democracy. 

Given the modern colloquial connotation of 'liberal' and its undertones of social authoritarianism, calling the United States a liberal democracy will make conservatives bristle, but it's true, and it is part of the reason they then say America is the greatest country in the world, or at least was until January of 2009. Ironically, conservatives, even those living in a liberal democracy, are happier than liberals pretty much...anywhere. 

An analysis of 16 Western European countries found that liberals are less happy overall, while conservatives tend to be more cheery, say psychologists. 


Feeling comfortable in our own skin when it comes to clothes is more complicated than just “being yourself”. Image: Flickr, Maria Morri

By Rosie Findlay, University of Sydney.