When we last spoke about sex, we discussed the neurotransmitters involved in pleasure and attraction, namely dopamine and oxytocin. Now let's look a little deeper into the action of those neurotransmitters and how we can manipulate their action- to extend the neurological orgasm for as long as possible.
There’s an apparent paradox in the research on positive emotions, and how they relate to the immune system, something that doesn’t make sense on first inspection. But like many things in psychology, I think the answer has something to do with sex.
I was quite surprised to find out how much research there is into the effects of positive mood on our physiological state. It’s interesting how many markers there are of positive emotions in our physiology. Some are quite obvious, such as duchenne smiles and other changes in facial expression, but there are also changes in neurochemistry, and activation in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain.
One particularly interesting finding, though, is the result that positive emotions evoke an increased immune response.
One of the main areas of research in positive psychology is the search for positive traits of character, aka 'strengths'. There are a few models of strengths out there now, such as Gallup's workplace-oriented StrengthsFinder model (if you've seen the book 'Now, discover your strengths', that what that is all about), and the more recent Realise2 model from the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology. I'll look at a different one here, the "Values in Action" model, or VIA, which was sort of the flagship project of pos psych. I might write something about the others another time, but it'll be hard since Gallup are stingy about releasing their data (it's a commercial product) and I know little about Realise2.
An introduction: in the online autism community, there are a lot of heated debates. One of them is related to the nature of autism research. Some are insistent that more research focus on vaccines. Others push for more research on treatments. Still others insist that autism research is skewed because studies, especially brain imaging studies, have narrow parameters and exclude intellectual disability. The following post is a response to this last argument and an explanation as to why studies are conducted as they are.
Fear blinds us, immobilizes us, and makes fools of us. Scary stories abound on the internet, through emails, and in conversations, and dangers lurk in the dusty corners waiting to pounce on us and tear our loved ones from our grasps. We know this. We feel it viscerally. And sometimes we shake in our boots.
We've got enough real dangers, and we do, without adding in made-up ones. We do a terrible job at assessing risk. Don't believe me? Which is safer? Driving or flying? If you said driving, you're so terribly wrong and have let both the illusion of control and the availability heuristic make you run with your gut.
Look at a waterfall for 30 seconds. Now look at something stationary. The stationary object will appear to drift upwards. The same phantom movement is true after stepping off an airport walkway: if you close your eyes and stand still, you should continue to feel yourself moving.
Ever heard of the idea that for some illnesses and disorders to develop, you need to have an inherited risk factor plus environmental stress? It’s known commonly as the diathesis-stress model (diathesis basically meaning predisposition), and it’s a common explanation for a large range of phenomena, from schizophrenia to serial murder. In this model, both diathesis and stress need to be present for the illness to arise.
This has been the prevailing view for some time, but a few researchers, such as Jay Belsky and Michael Pluess of Birkbeck University, are now making a slightly different case (1).
Despite being one of psychology's most memorable concepts and a genuinely good idea, Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, immortalized in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" and later Motivation and Personality, needs a makeover, say some researchers.
Maslow's hierarchy says humans will fulfill basic needs before moving on to higher level ones. If you're unemployed and losing your house because fuzzy 'jobs saved or created' statistics have no real value to you, for example, global warming will not be your biggest concern.
There are many definitions out there, but they all point towards roughly the same thing:
Semantic: "of, pertaining to, or arising from the different meanings of words or other symbols: semantic change; semantic confusion."
Pedantic: "overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, esp. in teaching."