Psychology

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.


Different kind of chocolate factory. Credit: Cklaighe/Conversation composite

By Jordan Gaines Lewis, Penn State College of Medicine

Millions of Americans are thought to experience mental illness in a given year, and the impacts of mental illness are undoubtedly felt by millions more in the form of family members, friends, and coworkers.

Though there are concerns about a lack of evidence-based treatment in mental health, it is better than doing nothing - yet nothing is what up to 40% of individuals with serious mental illness get, according to a new report in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. They cite stigma as a significant barrier to care for many individuals with mental illness.


Unless you are part of the 1 percent with your stock portfolio climbing, you are probably not an American who factors your experience into which price you pay these days. 

A common belief is that the economy affects what one purchases and that is independent of income; all people feel nervous when the economy is doing poorly. Yet the authors find that the influence of the economy even impacts the degree to which consumers incorporate past service experiences into their future purchases - especially when the economy is doing better. Counter to popular wisdom that firms should double down on improving customer experience when economic times are challenging, the authors of a new paper find that firms should do so when times are good.