You've heard the saying that money won't buy happiness; of course, that is true though some of it is also sweet lemons rationalization.   

So why is it that so many special interest groups insist they need more money or special treatment in order to be happy?   

Professor Mariano Rojas from Mexico's Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales  agrees and says that public policy programs aiming to tackle poverty need to move beyond simply raising people's income - because there's more to quality of life than money.
Until recently, I admired the autism parent community from afar. Like the parents who awakened and changed the schizophrenia treatment world, parents of autistic children have moved both treatment and public opinion about the disorder almost 180 degrees from where it had been.

They did it fairly quickly, too: bringing autism from an obscure and stigmatized issue to a topic discussed openly in less than a generation.

I’ve watched with wonder as the autism world has developed and changed. While public knowledge, research funding, and public services aren’t adequate, they’ve come so far.


Sep 03 2009 | 0 comment(s)

What was it that my late aikido and Zen sensei asked me to do, on that day twenty-some years ago?  I do remember his request struck me as difficult to carry out, and perhaps not really necessary. I recall with great clarity the short exchange that followed the request:

“I’ll try,” I waffled.

Sensei just stared at me.

“OK, I get it.  There is no try, only do or don’t do.”  I weakly attempted to mollify Sensei with a line from the new film, Karate Kid.

A recent article on LiveScience asks "What Makes a Psychopath?  Answers Remain Elusive".  While the paper focuses on various aspects of brain function in determining what makes a psychopath, there is another more philosophical question that can be asked.

When we consider the questions of "individualism" and "collectivism", or for less politically charged words, the idea of social animals (including humans).  It brings into certain focus the question of the role that natural selection may play in predisposing individuals to be cooperative or not.

Put your hand up if you think you have poor social skills?  If you just raised your hand, I've got some good news and some bad news for you.  The bad news is, maybe you do.  The good news is, you shouldn't rely on your own appraisal of your social skills to determine this; in other words, your social skills are probably better than you think they are.  If you were feeling dramatic (which I am) you might call this the social skills delusion.

A new study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry says nearly 15 percent of preschoolers have high levels of depression and anxiety.    

Their investigation also said depressed pre-schoolers were more likely to have mothers with a history of depression.   So is that actual depression or learned social behavior that seems like depression?

Being a kid is not easy, of course, despite what parents think.   But is finding pre-school depression in high numbers due to better diagnosis or, in the cases of rampant ADD prescriptions in the 1990s, a new field looking for patients?   If it's better diagnosis, finding it earlier may be a help.   
Researchers writing in, ironically, the journal Addiction have associated abstaining from alcohol with an increased risk of depression.

Doesn't make sense, right?   Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to poor physical and mental health but they cite evidence saying that levels of alcohol consumption that are too low may also be associated with poor mental health possibly - obviously, abstainers may have other issues or even be reformed heavy drinkers. 
Women hedge and issue disclaimers and ask questions when they communicate, all traits that can suggest uncertainty and lack of confidence, but men do the same on gender-specific topics, according to new research from the University of California - Davis.

In his study, Nicholas Palomares, assistant professor of communication at UC Davis, asked nearly 300 UC Davis undergraduates, about half female and half male, to write e-mails explaining how to change a flat tire or buy make-up, among other gender-stereotyped and gender-neutral topics. Students were given the name and gender of the person they were e-mailing.
Is music more than the sum of its parts?   We're going to find out if the right words and musical notes can lead to Frankenstein-ish success.
How can companies get the best possible performance out of their employees? Let them do whatever they want! And furthermore, don't offer incentives. Sound counter-intuitive? Not if you look at what research has shown regarding the economics of motivation.