Psychology

I've been a blog slacker and for that I deserve a spanking. My vote is from the capable hands of the UCLA women's volleyball team. But that's another story. Here's the real story: country music kills.

I've long known that country music makes me want to grab a lariat and hang myself from the nearest old elm tree. And now I find I'm not alone: social psychologists Steven Stack and Jim Grundlach found that the more a city's radio stations play country music, the higher the white suicide rate(1).

Seriously.
"Empathy is one of those ski
Occasionally, as a mother of three on the spectrum and an active autism-related blogger, I need a break from all things autism. Just as the psychology of religion is one of my areas of interest, so too is cultural psychology.


Given that the brain is something of a mystery, almost anything that works is worth doing, even if it ends up being the same as a placebo.

Meditation is often linked to beneficial effects, though no one is sure why, but a new study says people who meditate regularly find pain less unpleasant because their brains anticipate the pain less.  So meditation did not reduce pain but it did reduce the emotional impact of pain.
When I did my master's degree, I split my areas of interest: my thesis and several projects leading up to it focused on a fairly complex intersection of how personality traits, explanatory style, religious well-being and spiritual well-being impacted satisfaction with life and adaptive coping in individuals dealing with pain. I wanted to focus my attention on something that didn't revolve around autism, that directly impacted me, and certainly impacted my mother, and before her, her mother. But I kept getting drawn back to autism, in an intense need to understand everything I could first about my son, and as I dedicated projects towards aspects of autism, to my daughters as well.
When I'm not delving into the science and pseudoscience surrounding autism, I have other areas of interest that I turn my attention to. The psychology of religion is one of those areas of interest.




Introduction to the subject:

The more "macho" the man, the more risks he is likely to take on the road, according to a study by  a psychologist at the University of Montreal.

So what is a macho man? In 2004, an American researcher developed the Auburn Differential Masculinity Inventory, a questionnaire to identify such men. It comprised 60 statements such as "men who cry are weak," or "generally speaking, men are more intelligent than women." Men had to answer questions on a scale of one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree).
One of the worst things I see on the internet, as both a parent of children on the spectrum and as scientifically-based, rational person who works hard to instruct my students in critical thinking skills and being able to detect pseudoscience, is the woo that abounds relating to alternative autism treatments.

The charlatans and snake oil salesmen abound, and one of these individuals, who promises to cure your child of his autism is a chiropractor named Chun Wong who really, really likes the woo. His latest article on his site, dated May 10, is about helminthic therapy for autism, or as I've decided to call it, Wong's wormy wormy woo.
If you want boost your romantic relationship, and achieve and maintain satisfaction with your partner, show some gratitude.

Positive thinking has been shown to have a longstanding constructive effect on our emotional life. Extending these positive emotions and gratitude to our romantic partners can increase the benefit of positive thinking tenfold, say the authors of a new study in Personal Relationships