Psychology

Are the sexual interests and behaviors of Quebec residents abnormal? 

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), sexual interests fall into two categories: normal (normophilic) and anomalous (paraphilic). But a new survey finds that a number of legal sexual interests and behaviors considered anomalous in psychiatry are actually common in the general population. So they may be abnormal, yet they are still common. Which is yet another way DSM-5 has suspect value, even as a glossary of psychology.

Can "mindful" eating - taking the time to bring awareness to present-moment experiences with an open attitude of curiosity and non-judgment - lower the risk of Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease?

Yes, say alternative medicine proponents, because in the modern world of science and technology, with extended periods of screen time and regular social outings, it can be easy to fall into the habit of mindless eating - where we're too distracted to pay attention to how much, what and why we're eating. Jennifer Daubenmier, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that the impact of mindful eating could be great. 

Dispositional, or “everyday” mindfulness, is being aware of one’s present thoughts and feelings and a new paper measured health indicators of 399 people, including dispositional mindfulness and blood glucose, and found those with higher scores for mindfulness were significantly more likely than people with low scores to have healthy glucose levels.

Survey data find that homeopathic purchases are primarily made by a small segment of the U.S. population for common, self-limited conditions such as the common cold or back pain. Though they can't do anything, a survey in the American Journal of Public Health finds that those who report visiting homeopathic practitioners find the use of these products helpful and that they also tend to pay for complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) gimmicks - even more so than users of supplements do.  

Adults who use marijuana are five times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence compared with adults who do not use the drug. Adults who already have an alcohol use disorder and use marijuana are more likely to see the problem persist, finds a paper in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

A new Northwestern Medicine study has found an adolescent male's attitude toward risky sex, pregnancy and birth control can predict whether or not he will stick around after the baby is born.

The longitudinal study -- one of the first reproductive health studies to focus on young men and fatherhood -- also found it was possible to predict whether some young men would become teen fathers. In addition, the research was able to predict fatherhood patterns over 14 years as young men transitioned from being teenagers into young adulthood.

The rapid pace of artificial intelligence (AI) has raised fears about whether robots could act unethically or soon choose to harm humans. Some are calling for bans on robotics research; others are calling for more research to understand how AI might be constrained. But how can robots learn ethical behavior if there is no "user manual" for being human?

Researchers Mark Riedl and Brent Harrison from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology believe the answer lies in "Quixote" -- to be unveiled at the AAAI-16 Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. (Feb. 12 - 17, 2016). Quixote teaches "value alignment" to robots by training them to read stories, learn acceptable sequences of events and understand successful ways to behave in human societies.

Want to suck all of the fun out of romance and dating? Talk with a humanities scholar in family dating researcher. 

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a University of Illinois academic has identified four distinct approaches that dating couples use to develop deeper commitment. "The four types of dating couples that we found included the dramatic couple, the conflict-ridden couple, the socially involved couple, and the partner-focused couple," said Brian Ogolsky, assistant professor of human development and family studies.

Sociology scholars say the stereotype that Native Americans are genetically or psychologically predisposed to alcoholism are all smoke and no firewater. 

Instead, Native Americans were more likely to abstain from alcohol use than Caucasian Americans and there was no difference in Native Americans' binge and heavy drinking rates, according to surveys.

A new analysis indicates that states’ Web-based and phone-based tobacco cessation programs can help people quit smoking, but certain personal characteristics may lead individuals to prefer one type of program over the other. 

Quitline (telephone-based counseling) programs are effective tools for people who are trying to give up smoking, and the evidence for Web-based cessation services is building. Research has found that only one percent to two percent of adult tobacco users in the United States access state quitlines each year, however. Also, sustained use of Web-based interventions is low, with most users visiting some cessation websites fewer than three times.