Psychology

While communicating with out hands is often considered strange (or even rude) today, gesturing may actually improve our communication abilities, according to research conducted by an international team of scientists and published in a recent issue of Psychological Science. The authors say the finding has important social implications for "everyday communicative situations," like political speeches and classroom lectures.
Women's minds and bodies respond differently to sexual arousal, whereas men's bodies and minds tend to be more in tune with each other, according to research conducted by an international team of scientists. The team's meta-analysis of the extent of agreement between subjective ratings and physiological measures of sexual arousal in men and women is published online this week in Archives of Sexual Behavior.
We already know that "suffering builds character", but a new study suggests that it may do a lot more than that. Successfully coping with stress at an early age may significantly increase your chances of being a more resilient adult, as well as strengthen your ability to regulate emotions.
When New Year's Eve rolls around and you're deciding whether to have another glass of champagne, your decision may be predicted by your perspective on the future. A pair of Kansas State University researchers found that people who tend to think in the long term are more likely to make positive decisions about their health, whether it's how much they drink, what they eat, or their decision to wear sunscreen.

"If you are more willing to pick later, larger rewards rather than taking the immediate payoff, you are more future-minded than present-minded," said James Daugherty, a doctoral student in psychology who led the study. "You're more likely to exercise and less likely to smoke and drink."
It's common for powerful public figures to use their status to lecture the rest of us about how we should live. But it's also no secret that the politicians, business leaders and entertainers who make up this elite group of decision makers in our society don't practice what they preach. And coming out of 2009, a year that may well be remembered for its scandal-ridden headlines, from admissions of extramarital affairs by elected leaders and athletes, to corporate executives preaching about free markets while taking bailout money, it may be reasonable to ask: why are powerful people hypocrites?
Kim Peek, the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain man" died Saturday, Dec 19th 2009 at age 58, after suffering a major heart attack.

A truly fascinating individual, Kim was classified as a "mega-savant" who was a strange juxtaposition of disability and genius.  While some may dispute the use of such terms, there is little doubt that Kim possessed some of the most unusual and remarkable abilities ever witnessed.

He will be missed and I would extend my sympathies to his father and caregiver;  Fran Peek.

http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/savant_syndrome/savant_profiles/kim_peek
Young people who want to be better appreciated and respected within their group are willing to be violent, says a new study that looked in depth at the social relationships between male and female teenagers, relational violence, and psycho-social adjustment factors such as loneliness and self-esteem.

Published recently in Psicothema,  the study focused on the relationship between relational violence between teenagers, their social adjustment and their reputation, in order to show how young people who long for high "reputation status" are more likely to use relational violence as a tool for achieving this objective.
A new study featured online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that depression patients are unable to sustain activity in brain areas related to positive emotion. The authors say The study challenges previous notions that individuals with depression show less brain activity in areas associated with positive emotion. Instead, the new data suggest similar initial levels of activity, but an inability to sustain them over time.

During the study, 27 depressed patients and 19 control participants were presented with visual images intended to evoke either a positive or a negative emotional response. While viewing these images, participants were instructed to use cognitive strategies to increase,
If your kids want a Wii, PlayStation or Xbox 360 this holiday season, you may actually have good reason to give them one; it turns out there is some redeeming value in the hours that kids spend transfixed by these video game systems.  A new study in Current Directions in Psychological Science reports that regular gamers are fast and accurate information processors, not only during game play, but in real-life situations as well.
In the Dec. 18 issue of Science, Researchers from Tufts University say popular television programs are spreading racial messages to their viewers through biased facial expressions and body language, and it's happening without the audience even knowing it.

The Tufts team studied the prevalence, subtlety and impact of nonverbal race bias in 11 popular weekly scripted television shows. They found that characters on the shows exhibited more negative nonverbal behavior toward black characters than to white characters of the same status. Exposure to "pro-white" (vs. "pro-black") nonverbal bias also increased viewers' race bias, as assessed with reaction-time and self-report measures.