1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Staying in the present leads to happiness – study proves February 12, 2011

 

image by axinia

 

I love these sweet studies that prove some old wisdom – it is so lovely to see how someone is trying to prove the obvious. But probably we still need that kind of certification?

 THE STUDY:

 Using an iPhone app called trackyourhappiness, psychologists at Harvard contacted people around the world at random intervals to ask how they were feeling, what they were doing and what they were thinking.

When asked to rate their feelings on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being “very good,” the people having sex gave an average rating of 90. That was a good 15 points higher than the next-best activity, exercising, which was followed closely by conversation, listening to music, taking a walk, eating, praying and meditating, cooking, shopping, taking care of one’s children and reading. Near the bottom of the list were personal grooming, commuting and working.

When asked their thoughts, the people in flagrante were models of concentration: only 10 percent of the time did their thoughts stray from their endeavors. But when people were doing anything else, their minds wandered at least 30 percent of the time, and as much as 65 percent of the time (recorded during moments of personal grooming, clearly a less than scintillating enterprise).

On average throughout all the quarter-million responses, minds were wandering 47 percent of the time. The figure surprised the researchers, Daniel Gilbert and Matthew Killingsworth: “I find it kind of weird now to look down a crowded street and realize that half the people aren’t really there,” Dr. Gilbert says. (more…)

 

The decoding of mysterious Russian soul December 30, 2010

I came across an interesting study revealing the part of the Russian soul’s mystery: although looking ever-suffering, in fact Russians are tend to be less depressed than the Westerners. The study gives an explanation why.

———————————————–

Study co-author Igor Grossmann, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Michigan, said in a university news release, “our study suggests that Russians are actually less likely than Americans to be depressed.”

“Among Westerners, focusing on one’s negative feelings tends to impair well-being, but among Russians, that is not the case,” Grossman stated.

Grossman explained that Americans tend to dwell more on past experiences and negative feelings than Russians do. The Russian people are able to distant themselves much better from these emotions than Americans.

Grossmann and co-author Ethan Kross, a University of Michigan assistant professor of psychology, published their findings in the August issue of Psychological Science.

Grossmann and Kross reported on two studies, funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health: (more…)

 

Children stop being communists at the age of 11, study says June 1, 2010

Many people from different countries and background told me that when they were children it was difficult for them to understand the idea of money and goods distribution. I always thought it is a good proof for my idea that capitalism as  such is a very unnatural institution.

The new study from Norway shows some interesting evidence in support of my supposition. As children progress to adolescence, their sense of fairness changes from pure equality to proportionality based on merit, study says.

The study was conducted at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH) by the research team consisting of Associate Professor Ingvild Almås, Professor Alexander W. Cappelen, Associate Professor Erik Ø. Sørensen, and Professor Bertil Tungodden.

One of the most fundamental questions in the social sciences is how morality and fairness considerations affect human behavior. Previous research has shown that adults differ greatly both in the extent to which they care about fairness considerations and in what they perceive as fair.

“This is, however, the first economic study to show how some of these differences are shaped in adolescence. In doing so, the study also sheds light on how our perceptions of fairness are affected both by the social environment and biological factors,” explains Professor Bertil Tungodden from NHH in Norway.

What is a fair inequality?
Most adults find some inequalities fair. Hence, in contrast, to young children, they do not always think of strict equality as the fair solution to a distributive problem. What explains this and how does this acceptance of inequality develop? These were motivating questions for the present study of the distributive behavior of 500 Norwegian school children 11-19 years old.

“By comparing the behavior for different age groups, we were able to established clear developmental patterns. In particular, the study shows that as children grow older, they increasingly find inequalities reflecting differences in individual achievements fair,” continues Professor Tungodden.

Just luck?
In the experiment, the children worked on a task for 45 minutes. At the end of the work session, some were lucky and received a high price on their production; others were unlucky and received a low price. Thus, there were inequalities in earnings that reflected differences in both individual production and luck.

Each participant then had to decide how to distribute the total earnings between themselves and one other participant. Hence, they had to decide which inequalities they found fair.
“Here we observed a very interesting pattern,” adds Professor Tungodden.

“While almost none of the younger children made a distinction between luck and individual production, a substantial share of the older children did so. They accepted inequalities reflecting differences in individual production, but not inequalities reflecting just luck.” (more…)

 

Human beings are programed by evolution to believe in some super being March 19, 2010

Human beings are programed by evolution to believe in some super being, because it gives them a better chance at survival, researchers have claimed. This conclusion was arrived at by Bruce Hood, professor of developmental psychology at Bristol University after an extensive study as quoted by the Times.

An unusual experiment, conducted by Bruce Hood, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Bristol, demonstrating that even the most rational people behave in irrational ways, became one of the star features at this year’s British Association Festival of Science. Professor Hood conducted the experiment to argue that scientists’ efforts to combat ‘irrational’ beliefs are ultimately futile.

To demonstrate his theory, Professor Hood asked members of the festival audience, if they were prepared to try on an old fashioned blue cardigan in return for a £10 reward. After receiving no shortage of volunteers, he then told the volunteers that the cardigan used to belong to Fred West, the mass murderer. On hearing this most of the volunteers put their hands down. Though a few did try it on, others moved away from them. In fact, the cardigan had not belonged to Fred West. The experiment demonstrated that the belief that it had, made even the most rational of people feel uncomfortable.Professor Hood said: “It is as if evil, a moral stance defined by culture, has become physically manifest inside the clothing.”

“Similar beliefs, which are held even among the most sceptical scientists, explain why few people would agree to swap their wedding rings for identical replicas. The difference between attaching significance to sentimental objects and believing in religion, magic or the paranormal is only one of degree. These tendencies are almost certainly a product of evolution. The human mind is adapted to reason intuitively, so that it can generate theories about how the world works even when mechanisms cannot be seen or easily deduced….Because we operate intuitively, it is pointless to get people to abandon their belief systems because they operate at such a fundamental level that no amount of rational evidence or counter-evidence is going to be taken on board to get people to abandon these ideas.” (more…)

 

Who needs an extra dose of oxytocin? February 19, 2010

 

Another interesting discovery helps us to realize that the roots of many problems may totally differ from our ideas about them.

If you dislike most people you meet, it may simply lay in… the lack of oxytocin! Check out what a study says:

“A chemical best known for cementing the bond between a mother and her newborn child could also play a part in social behaviour. A new study shows that men and women who inhale a whiff of the hormone oxytocin rate strangers as more attractive.

When oxytocin courses through our blood, “we are more likely to see people we don’t know in a more positive light,” says Angeliki Theodoridou, a psychologist at the University of Bristol, UK, who led the new study.This effect adds to the hormone’s known role in human relationships. One study found that oxytocin levels spike after new mothers look at or touch their newborns and may help bonding.

Other work has hinted at the importance of oxytocin in social situations between adults too. People administered the hormone make overly generous offers in an economic game that measures trust, while men who got a dose of oxytocin proved better at remembering the faces of strangers a day later, compared to subjects who got a placebo.

In the latest trial, Theodoridou’s team tested 96 men and women in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. After participants got either a spritz of oxytocin or a placebo, they rated pictures of 48 men and women for attractiveness and 30 for trustworthiness. (more…)

 

Romantic Love = Greater Long term Happiness December 2, 2009

Contrary to popular opinion, it appears that romance doesn’t have to die a natural death in a long-term relationship. In a meta-analysis review of 25 studies with 6,070 individuals in short- and long-term relationships published last week, researchers set out to find out whether romantic love is associated with greater relationship satisfaction.

The findings?

The researchers found that those who reported greater romantic love were more satisfied in both the short- and long-term relationships.

“Many believe that romantic love is the same as passionate love,” said lead researcher Bianca P. Acevedo, Ph.D, then at Stony Brook University (currently at University of California, Santa Barbara).“It isn’t. Romantic love has the intensity, engagement and sexual chemistry that passionate love has, minus the obsessive component. Passionate or obsessive love includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. This kind of love helps drive the shorter relationships but not the longer ones.”

These findings appear in the March issue of Review of General Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association

Perhaps not surprising, those who reported greater passionate love in their relationships were more satisfied in the short term compared to the long term. Companion-like love, on the other hand, was only moderately associated with satisfaction in both short- and long-term relationships.

The researchers looked at 17 short-term relationship studies, which included 18- to 23-year-old college students who were single, dating or married, with the average relationship lasting less than four years.

They also looked at 10 long-term relationship studies comprising middle-aged couples who were typically married 10 years or more. Two of the studies included both long- and short-term relationships in which it was possible to distinguish the two samples.

What’s the secret?

“These people are often very relationship focused,” Acevedo told LiveScience. (more…)

 

I should have everything that is good, genuine and beautiful! June 23, 2009

“I should have everything that is good, genuine and beautiful!”

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Those who are familiar with Mozart life story and character will immediately recognize him in these words. He was not only a genius but something much more… The vibrations of his death place are tremendous like of a swaymbhu… Very special! Apparently they say that his horoscope at the death point was even more impressive than of the birthday. That may mean that he could not only fulfill his life mission but had given us something much more…the eternal character of the music.

I would claim that of all western classical composers Mozart is the only one whose music does not awaken emotions and does not make one think (normally the Western classical music is conceptual, full of thoughts and emotions).

I believe his music has almost the same impact as the classical Indian music – it awakens the happy spirit, washes thoughts away and makes one feel light and joyful.

But that is not all! You must have heard of “Mozart effect” :

The concept of the “Mozart effect” was described by French researcher, Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis in his 1991 book Pourquoi Mozart?. He used the music of Mozart in his efforts to “retrain” the ear, and believed that listening to the music presented at differing frequencies helped the ear, and promoted healing and the development of the brain. (more…)

 

Want to live longer? – find a purpose in life, a new study shows. June 22, 2009

I love the scientific evidence of things that seem logical to me. Here is another good piece of news I want to share with you:

“It can be anything — from wanting to accomplish a goal in life, to achieving something in a volunteer organization, to as little as reading a series of books,” said study author Dr. Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center and an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

We found that people who reported a greater level of purpose in life were substantially less likely to die over the follow-up period — only about half as likely to die over the follow-up period — as compared to people with a lower level of purpose,” Boyle said. The follow-up period averaged nearly three years.

Boyle and her colleagues studied 1,238 older adults already participating in two ongoing research studies at Rush, the Rush Memory and Aging Project and the Minority Aging Research Study. The participants were all dementia-free when the study began and averaged 78 years old.

At the start of the study, the participants answered questions about their purpose in life, rating themselves on different areas meant to measure the tendency to derive meaning from life and to feel that one is working toward goals. (more…)

 

Does talking about trauma really help? – Surprising study results May 25, 2009

 image by me)

Holding myself a certificate in psychology I am rather sceptical to many methods and ideas of psychological treatments. May be because I have found a more efficient way to deal with problems…may be. And even though my close and distant friends often want my psychological help, I never use any “techniques” because I believe that the heart knows better what to say.

Anyway, one of the things I find somewhat wrong is the popular treatment in trauma psychology as well as in conventional wisdom  –to make the victim talk about the happening. News reports after school shootings and other such tragedies tell how specially trained trauma psychologists flood into the affected area to encourage people to talk through their feeling and fears of what has happened. But does it actually help?

I came across a very interesting study concerning responses to the terror attacks of 9/11, with results that may surprise you. Researchers at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, invited 2,138 people, most of whom were not directly exposed to the event, to express their thoughts and feelings on the day of the attack and for several days afterward. Over the next two years the research team did follow-up online inquiries to investigate the correspondents’ mental and physical health. They found that on average, those who chose to say little or nothing about their thoughts and feelings concerning the attack were actually better off than the people who talked about it. The measures of their well-being included physician-diagnosed ailments and levels of distress, including feeling helpless and symptoms of nervousness. (more…)

 

Meditation: a placebo or a real thing? Interesting scientific results in a 9-year evaluation March 17, 2009

  (image by me)

Scientific studies have consistently found that meditation does not give better results than taking a short nap, listening to pleasant music or thinking pleasant thoughts. However, according to recent research, the application of a new definition of meditation involving “mental silence” appears to have effects substantially greater than this, especially with regard to the impact of stress.
Although more than 3,000 scientific studies exist on meditation within the major scientific databases, only about 4% are reports on randomised controlled trials (RCTs) ¾ the only way to reliably exclude the placebo effect.

Researchers who have systematically evaluated these RCTs consistently find that meditation, as it is practised and defined in western society (eg. relaxation, attention focusing and mindfulness), is little more than a sophisticated way of generating a placebo effect. Descriptions of the meditative experience that originated in ancient India, however, reveal that a key feature of meditation is the experience of mental silence. Western definitions have not emphasised this feature.

Currently, the Royal Hospital for Women’s Meditation Research Program (MRP) is systematically evaluating the mental silence perspective of meditation. Over the past nine years, a multifaceted evaluation program has been conducted to evaluate the effect of mental silence on a variety of health and behavioural factors, especially stress. (more…)

 

 
%d bloggers like this: