Tag: Psychologist (page 1 of 2)

Research Shows that Nutrition, Not Medication, Improves Mental Health

Video – In this critically important talk, clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge explores a range ofscientific research, including her own, showing the significant role played by nutrition in mental healthor illness. Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff. [...]

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Your Smartphone Usage is Linked to Your Level of Depression

April McCarthy, Prevent DiseaseYou can fake a smile, but your phone knows the truth. Depression can be detected from your smartphone sensor data by tracking the number of minutes you use the phone and your daily geographical locations, reports a Northwestern Medicine study.More and more smartphones are able to see what many of us cannot.The ongoing use of this communications technology, as compared to computer-based use such as email, is linked to increased psychological di [...]

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10 Reasons You Should Never Get A Job

Video - In this video, Ralph Smart, a psychologist, life coach and author of Feel Alive by Ralph Smart, encourages every person who is not happy in their job to dream bigger and move towards their passion. [...]

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13 Things Anyone Who Loves A Highly Sensitive Person Should Know

Excerpt from huffingtonpost.com When I was in kindergarten, a boy in my class tossed my favorite book over our elementary school fence. I remember crying profusely, not because I was sad to see it go, but because I was so furious that he was s...

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Seattle Company Raises Minimum Wage to $70,000 a Year For All Employees!






Excerpt from nytimes.com

The idea began percolating, said Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, after he read an article on happiness. It showed that, for people who earn less than about $70,000, extra money makes a big difference in their lives.

His idea bubbled into reality on Monday afternoon, when Mr. Price surprised his 120-person staff by announcing that he planned over the next three years to raise the salary of even the lowest-paid clerk, customer service representative and salesman to a minimum of $70,000.

“Is anyone else freaking out right now?” Mr. Price asked after the clapping and whooping died down into a few moments of stunned silence. “I’m kind of freaking out.”

If it’s a publicity stunt, it’s a costly one. Mr. Price, who started the Seattle-based credit-card payment processing firm in 2004 at the age of 19, said he would pay for the wage increases by cutting his own salary from nearly $1 million to $70,000 and using 75 to 80 percent of the company’s anticipated $2.2 million in profit this year.

Employees reacting to the news. The average salary at Gravity Payments had been $48,000 year. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

The paychecks of about 70 employees will grow, with 30 ultimately doubling their salaries, according to Ryan Pirkle, a company spokesman. The average salary at Gravity is $48,000 year.

Mr. Price’s small, privately owned company is by no means a bellwether, but his unusual proposal does speak to an economic issue that has captured national attention: The disparity between the soaring pay of chief executives and that of their employees.

The United States has one of the world’s largest pay gaps, with chief executives earning nearly 300 times what the average worker makes, according to some economists’ estimates. That is much higher than the 20-to-1 ratio recommended by Gilded Age magnates like J. Pierpont Morgan and the 20th century management visionary Peter Drucker.

“The market rate for me as a C.E.O. compared to a regular person is ridiculous, it’s absurd,” said Mr. Price, who said his main extravagances were snowboarding and picking up the bar bill. He drives a 12-year-old Audi, which he received in a barter for service from the local dealer.

“As much as I’m a capitalist, there is nothing in the market that is making me do it,” he said, referring to paying wages that make it possible for his employees to go after the American dream, buy a house and pay for their children’s education.

Under a financial overhaul passed by Congress in 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission was supposed to require all publicly held companies to disclose the ratio of C.E.O. pay to the median pay of all other employees, but it has so far failed to put it in effect. Corporate executives have vigorously opposed the idea, complaining it would be cumbersome and costly to implement.

Mr. Price started the company, which processed $6.5 billion in transactions for more than 12,000 businesses last year, in his dorm room at Seattle Pacific University with seed money from his older brother. The idea struck him a few years earlier when he was playing in a rock band at a local coffee shop. The owner started having trouble with the company that was processing credit card payments and felt ground down by the large fees charged.

When Mr. Price looked into it for her, he realized he could do it more cheaply and efficiently with better customer service.

The entrepreneurial spirit was omnipresent where he grew up in rural southwestern Idaho, where his family lived 30 miles from the closest grocery store and he was home-schooled until the age of 12. When one of Mr. Price’s four brothers started a make-your-own baseball card business, 9-year-old Dan went on a local radio station to make a pitch: “Hi. I’m Dan Price. I’d like to tell you about my brother’s business, Personality Plus.”

His father, Ron Price, is a consultant and motivational speaker who has written his own book on business leadership.

Dan Price came close to closing up shop himself in 2008 when the recession sent two of his biggest clients into bankruptcy, eliminating 20 percent of his revenue in the space of two weeks. He said the firm managed to struggle through without layoffs or raising prices. His staff, most of them young, stuck with him.

Aryn Higgins at work at Gravity Payments in Seattle. She and her co-workers are going to receive significant pay raises. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

Mr. Price said he wasn’t seeking to score political points with his plan. From his friends, he heard stories of how tough it was to make ends meet even on salaries that were still well-above the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

“They were walking me through the math of making 40 grand a year,” he said, then describing a surprise rent increase or nagging credit card debt.

“I hear that every single week,” he added. “That just eats at me inside.”

Mr. Price said he wanted to do something to address the issue of inequality, although his proposal “made me really nervous” because he wanted to do it without raising prices for his customers or cutting back on service.

Of all the social issues that he felt he was in a position to do something about as a business leader, “that one seemed like a more worthy issue to go after.”

He said he planned to keep his own salary low until the company earned back the profit it had before the new wage scale went into effect.

Hayley Vogt, a 24-year-old communications coordinator at Gravity who earns $45,000, said, “I’m completely blown away right now.” She said she has worried about covering rent increases and a recent emergency room bill.

“Everyone is talking about this $15 minimum wage in Seattle and it’s nice to work someplace where someone is actually doing something about it and not just talking about it,” she said.

The happiness research behind Mr. Price’s announcement on Monday came from Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist. They found that what they called emotional well-being — defined as “the emotional quality of an individual’s everyday experience, the frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection that make one’s life pleasant or unpleasant” — rises with income, but only to a point. And that point turns out to be about $75,000 a year.

Of course, money above that level brings pleasures — there’s no denying the delights of a Caribbean cruise or a pair of diamond earrings — but no further gains on the emotional well-being scale.
As Mr. Kahneman has explained it, income above the threshold doesn’t buy happiness, but a lack of money can deprive you of it.
Phillip Akhavan, 29, earns $43,000 working on the company’s merchant relations team. “My jaw just dropped,” he said. “This is going to make a difference to everyone around me.”

At that moment, no Princeton researchers were needed to figure out he was feeling very happy.

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How to Deal with Narcissism

 Excerpt from hubpages.com By Stephanie HicksWhat is Narcissism?Like many other psychological issues, there is a range of narcissism from mild to severe. Because of our inherent ego (as analyzed by Freud), a tendency to want to protect, celeb...

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How To Fall Asleep By Not Trying

How To Fall Asleep By Not Trying

Excerpt from huffingtonpost.comBy Melissa Dahl  Late at night, when you've been trying and failing for hours to fall asleep, perhaps the thing to do is to try not trying. According to a 2003 study recently highlighted by University of Hertforts...

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Minnesota Twins Provide Intriguing Evidence of Incarnate Road Map


The Jim's.jpg
Minnesota Twins (not the baseball team) James & James, whose similar stories defy chance and coincidence.

Excerpt from people.com 
May 7th, 1979

One of science's so far uncrackable mysteries is the comparative impact of heredity vs. environment. An obvious experimental method would be to raise identical twins separately, but that could hardly be done with humans. So for the last 10 years University of Minnesota psychologist Thomas Bouchard, 41, has been studying twins under less than ideal, lab-controlled conditions—until, eureka, he ran into the stuff of social scientists' dreams. Identical twin males, who had been separated by adoption at three weeks, suddenly rediscovered each other in Ohio at age 39.

Within two weeks after reading about them in the press, Dr. Bouchard had the twins in his Minneapolis lab for tests. At the outset of his investigation the psychologist said, "I think there are going to be all kinds of differences that will surprise even the twins." But what was immediately apparent were eerie similarities that left even Bouchard "flabbergasted."

Curiously, both had been christened James by their adoptive parents, the Jess Lewises of Lima and the Ernest Springers of Piqua, 40 miles away. As schoolboys, both enjoyed math and carpentry—but hated spelling. Both pursued similar adult occupations: Lewis is a security guard at a steel mill, and Springer was a deputy sheriff (though he is now a clerk for a power company). Both married women named Linda, only to divorce and remarry—each a woman named Betty. Both have sons: James Alan Lewis and James Allan Springer.

The two men shared one other fact in common. As Jim Springer put it, "I always felt an emptiness." Neither the Springers nor the Lewises ever met the 15-year-old (unwed) mother of their sons, and both couples were told that their adoptive child had a twin who died at birth. Then one day, when Jim Lewis was 16 months old, his mother visited the Miami County courthouse to settle the adoption paperwork, and an official remarked offhandedly, "They named the other little boy 'Jim' too."

For 37 years that hint tugged at Mrs. Lewis, who occasionally urged her son to find out if it was true. Finally, last Thanksgiving, he agreed to search—though he says he doesn't know why. Jim Lewis wrote the probate court, which had a record of the adoption, and contacted the Springer parents in Piqua. "I came home one day," Lewis recounts, "and had this message to call 'Jim Springer.' " When he phoned Springer, Lewis blurted out: "Are you my brother?" "Yup," Springer replied. Four days later, last Feb. 9, Lewis drove to meet his twin for an emotional reunion.

Dr. Bouchard offered expenses and a small honorarium to get them to Minneapolis for a week of extensive physical and psychological tests. He wanted to begin as soon as possible to preclude their reminiscing together too long and thus "contaminating" the evidence. Though not the first such separated twins—the records show 19 previous sets in the U.S. among some 75 worldwide—Lewis and Springer were believed to have been apart by far the longest.

The detailed results of Bouchard's textbook case will be revealed to the twins themselves, but to protect their privacy will be buried among other data in the professor's book on differential psychology now in progress. There has been one development that may leave the twins still puzzling over heredity and environment. On Feb. 28 Jim Lewis, having divorced his second wife, Betty, married a woman named Sandy Jacobs. Betty and Jim Springer were present, with Jim serving as his newfound brother's best man.

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Study Suggests Baby Chicks Can Count! ~ Video





Excerpt from nbcnews.com
By Tia Ghose, LiveScience



It's not just humans who can count: Newly published research suggests chicks seem to have a number sense, too. 

Scientists found that chicks seem to count upward, moving from left to right. They put smaller numbers on the left, and larger numbers on the right — the same mental representation of the number line that humans use. 

"Our results suggest a rethinking of the relationship between numerical abilities and verbal language, providing further evidence that language and culture are not necessary for the development of a mathematical cognition," said study lead author Rosa Rugani, a psychologist at the University of Padova in Italy.

The left-to-right way of thinking about ascending numbers seems to be embedded in people's mental representations of numbers, but it's not clear exactly why. Is it an artifact of some long-lost accident of history, or is it a fundamental aspect of the way the brain processes numbers? 

To help answer those questions, Rugani and her colleagues trained 3-day-old chicks to travel around a screen panel with five dots on it to get to a food treat behind it. This made the five-dot panel an anchor number that the chicks could use for comparison with other numbers. 

After the chicks learned that the five-dot panel meant food, the researchers removed that panel and then placed the chicks in front of two panels, one to the left and the other to the right, that each had two dots. The chicks tended to go to the left panel, suggesting that they mentally represent numbers smaller than five as being to the left of five. 

When the researchers put the chicks in front of two panels that each had eight dots, the chicks walked to the panel on the right. This suggests the chicks mentally represent numbers larger than five as being to the right of five, the researchers said. 

In a second experiment, the researchers repeated the whole process, but started with a panel that had 20 dots instead of five. They then added two other panels that had either eight or 32 dots. Sure enough, the baby chicks tended to go to the left when the screens had just eight dots, and to the right when they had 32 dots, according to the findings published in this week's issue of the journal Science. 

"I would not at all be surprised that the number spatial mapping is also found in other animals, and in newborn infants," Rugani said.



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Is your weight gain psychological? Why some people find exercise harder than others ~ Social psychologist Emily Balcetis



Why do some people struggle more than others to keep off the pounds? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis shows research that addresses one of the many factors: Vision. In an informative talk, she shows how when it comes to fitness, some people quite literally see the world differently from others — and offers a surprisingly simple solution to overcome these differences.


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Time, the Familiar Stranger


Time allows us to live in the moment, reflect on the past, plan for the future. It’s our most familiar, precious, yet mysterious commodity. Celebrated author and neurologist Oliver Sacks and psychologist Daniel Gilbert draw on converging insights from physical, biological and neurological perspectives to reflect on this most vital factor shaping the human experience.

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Are we sending aliens the right messages?


(Nasa)


bbc.com

Artist Carrie Paterson has long dreamed of beaming messages far out to the emptiness of space. Except her messages would have an extra dimension – smell.

By broadcasting formulae of aromatic chemicals, she says, aliens could reconstruct all sorts of whiffs that help to define life on Earth: animal blood and faeces, sweet floral and citrus scents or benzene to show our global dependence on the car. This way intelligent life forms on distant planets who may not see or hear as we do, says Paterson, could explore us through smell, one of the most primitive and ubiquitous senses of all.
(Wikipedia)
It is nearly 40 years since the Arecibo facility sent messages out into space (Wikipedia)

Her idea is only the latest in a list of attempts to hail intelligent life outside of the Solar System. Forty years ago this month, the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico sent an iconic picture message into space – and we’ve arguably been broadcasting to aliens ever since we invented TV and radio.

However in recent years, astronomers, artists, linguists and anthropologists have been converging on the idea that creating comprehensible messages for aliens is much harder than it seems. This week, Paterson and others discussed the difficulties of talking to our cosmic neighbours at a conference called Communicating Across the Cosmos, held by Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). It seems our traditional ways of communicating through pictures and language may well be unintelligible – or worse, be catastrophically misconstrued. So how should we be talking to ET?

Lost in translation?

We have always wanted to send messages about humanity beyond the planet. According to Albert Harrison, a space psychologist and author of Starstruck: Cosmic Visions in Science, Religion and Folklore, the first serious designs for contacting alien life appeared two centuries ago, though they never got off the ground.


In the 1800s, mathematician Carl Gauss proposed cutting down lines of trees in a densely forested area and replanting the strips with wheat or rye, Harrison wrote in his book. “The contrasting colours would form a giant triangle and three squares known as a Pythagoras figure which could be seen from the Moon or even Mars.” Not long after, the astronomer Joseph von Littrow proposed creating huge water-filled channels topped with kerosene. “Igniting them at night showed geometric patterns such as triangles that Martians would interpret as a sign of intelligence, not nature.”

But in the 20th Century, we began to broadcast in earnest. The message sent by Arecibo hoped to make first contact on its 21,000 year journey to the edge of the Milky Way. The sketches it contained, made from just 1,679 digital bits, look cute to us today, very much of the ‘Pong’ video game generation.  Just before then, Nasa’s Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes each carried a metal calling card bolted onto their frame with symbols and drawings on the plaque, showing a naked man and woman.

Yet it’s possible that these kinds of message may turn out to be incomprehensible to aliens; they might find it as cryptic as we find Stone Age etchings.

Antique tech

“Linear drawings of a male and a female homo sapiens are legible to contemporary humans,” says Marek Kultys, a London-based science communications designer. ”But the interceptors of Pioneer 10 could well assume we are made of several separate body parts (i.e. faces, hair and the man’s chest drawn as a separate closed shapes) and our body surface is home for long worm-like beings (the single lines defining knees, abdomens or collarbones.).”

Man-made tech may also be an issue. The most basic requirement for understanding Voyager’s Golden Record, launched 35 years ago and now way out beyond Pluto, is a record player. Aliens able to play it at 16 and 2/3 revolutions a minute will hear audio greetings in 55 world languages, including a message of ‘Peace and Friendship’ from former United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim. But how many Earthlings today have record players, let alone extraterrestrials?
(Nasa)
Our sights and sounds of Earth might be unintelligible to an alien audience (Nasa)



Time capsule

Inevitably such messages become outdated too, like time capsules. Consider the case of the Oglethorpe Atlanta Crypt of Civilization – a time capsule sealed on Earth in 1940, complete with a dry martini and a poster of Gone With the Wind. It was intended as a snapshot of 20th Century life for future humans, not aliens, but like an intergalactic message, may only give a limited picture to future generations. When, in 61,000 years, the Oglethorpe time capsule is opened, would Gone With The Wind have stood the test of time?


(Nasa)
This message was taken into the stars by Pioneer - but we have no idea if aliens would be able to understand it (Nasa)

Kultys argues that all these factors should be taken into account when we calculate the likelihood of communicating with intelligent life. The astronomer Frank Drake’s famous equation allows anyone to calculate how many alien species are, based on likely values of seven different factors. At a UK Royal Society meeting in 2010 Drake estimated there are roughly 10,000 detectable civilisations in the galaxy. Yet Kultys points out that we should also factor in how many aliens are using the same channel of communications as us, are as willing to contact us as we are them, whose language we hope to learn, and who are physically similar to us.

Another barrier we might consider is the long distance nature of trans-cosmos communication. It means that many years ‒ even a thousand ‒ could pass between sending a message and receiving a reply. Paterson sees romance in that. “Our hope for communication with another intelligent civilisation has a melancholic aspect to it. 
We are on an island in a vast, dark space. Imagine if communication… became like an exchange of perfumed love letters with the quiet agony of expectation... Will we meet? Will we be as the other imagined? Will the other be able to understand us?”

Ready for an answer?

Anthropologist John Traphagan of the University of Texas in Austin has been asking the same question, though his view is more cautious. "When it comes to ET, you'll get a signal of some kind; not much information and very long periods between ‘Hi, how are you?’ and whatever comes back. We may just shrug our shoulders and say 'This is boring’, and soon forget about it or, if the time lag wasn't too long, we might use the minimal information we get from our slow-speed conversation to invent what we think they're like and invent a kind concept of what they're after.”

(20th Century Fox)
The aliens in Independence Day (1996) did not come in peace (20th Century Fox)
While we have been sending out messages, we have not been preparing the planet for what happens when we get an interstellar return call. First contact could cause global panic. We might assume those answering are bent on galactic domination or, perhaps less likely, that they are peaceful when in fact they’re nasty.

Consider how easy it is to mess up human-to-human communications; I got Traphagan’s first name wrong when I e-mailed him for this article. An apology within minutes cleared up the confusion, yet if he had been an alien anthropologist on some distant planet it would have taken much longer to fix. He later confessed: "I could have thought this is a snooty English journalist and our conversation might never have happened."

Even if Earth’s interstellar messaging committees weeded out the typos, cultural gaffes are always a possibility. These can only be avoided by understanding the alien’s culture – something that’s not easy to do, especially when you’ve never met those you’re communicating with.

Rosy picture

So, what is the best way to communicate? This is still up for grabs – perhaps it’s via smell, or some other technique we haven’t discovered yet. Clearly, creating a message that is timeless, free of cultural bias and universally comprehensible would be no mean feat.


But for starters, being honest about who we are is important if we want to have an extra-terrestrial dialogue lasting centuries, says Douglas Vakoch, director of interstellar message composition at Seti. (Otherwise, intelligent civilisations who’ve decoded our radio and TV signals might smell a rat.)

(Nasa)
The golden discs aboard the Voyager spacecraft require aliens to understand how to play a record (Nasa)

“Let's not try to hide our shortcomings,” says Vakoch. “The message we should send to another world is straightforward: We are a young civilisation, in the throes of our technological adolescence. We're facing a lot of problems here on Earth, and we're not even sure that we'll be around as a species when their reply comes in. But in spite of all of these challenges, we humans also have hope – especially hope in ourselves."


Yet ultimately what matters, says Paterson, is that they stop and consider the beings who sent them a message; the people who wanted to say: “Here are some important things. Here’s our DNA, here is some maths and universal physics. And here is our longing and desire to say “I’m like you, but I’m different.”

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Psych Experiment Tricks Students Into Believing in Non-Existent Career

Heather Callaghan, ContributorHow career dreams are born, and then evaporated. Study shows how to convince those with low self-confidence to pursue their career choice – by first crushing their self-esteem….What does it take to convince a person that they are qualified to achieve the career of  their dreams? Researchers found that it’s not enough to tell people they have the skills or the grades to make their goal a reality. No, why stop there?Instead, many people n [...]

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