Botox to aenethetise patients from disgust or sadness

12 April 2013
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In an update on our recent post about the social and health impact of smiles, Cardif University has just released a paper at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Harrogate which has confirmed that the use of Botox to reduce facial lines has a significant impact on the feelings associated with the facial expressions which are impacted by the treatment. For example, where crows feet were treated with the toxin, subjects were less able to produce an intense smile, as a result of they reported being more depressed. The same facial feedback loop that effects us when we smile...

Seeing a smile is a reward in itself.

11 April 2013
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Many studies have shown that smiling is ‘contagious’ in both humans and monkeys, to the extent that when presented by a smiling face some test subjects not only naturally smiled, but found it difficult to form a frown. This empathic and automatic social response offers many social and health benefits. Smiling releases endorphins, which can in turn reduce stress, heart rate and blood pressure as well as giving us a feeling of well being. A recent study at the Wayne State University analysed the intensity of smiles of professional baseball players in a 1952 yearbook and compared their...

The Divided Brain – Reloaded

23 January 2013
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Renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist provides a succinct and fascinating account of the divided brain theory from a contemporary and social perspective, accompanied by the animated illustration of Andrew Park. Watch the film on the RSA website here:

Therapy apps on smart phones. Do they work?

08 January 2013
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With depression on the rise and 50% of the US population owning a smartphone, it is unsurprising that a search on the Apple App Store brings up a huge number of solutions, targeted at relieving stress, or fighting depression. The question is if these techniques work and if mental health practitioners can implement solutions of this kind into their treatment programmes. Read more on the BBC here

The psychology of natural disasters

31 October 2012
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The recent storms to hit the US are a reminder to think about the psychological consequences of natural disasters and how they effect children and families.  Survivors tend to look for leadership and stability in the wake of this sort of shocking change to their environment. Children need to understand the event and be returned to a reassuring routine. Read more about disasters in the school context here Read more from the American Psychology Association

What’s it like to have ADHD?

30 October 2012
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A recent study, by biomedical ethicist Dr Ilina Singh, asking children how they feel about ADHD and possible treatment has identified that the children feel that their medication helps them control their reactions and gives them time in which to think before acting. The children also said that they wanted additional treatment options, however: long waiting lists for children’s behavioral treatments means that there is currently little alternative by rely on prescribing drug treatments. “One of the messages that children have is that they want more treatment options outside of medication,...

The brain’s face recognition centre identified?

27 October 2012
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Routine tests on an epilepsy patient led Dr. Josef Parvizi of Stanford School of Medicine to discover an area of the brain, which when stimulated caused his patient to lose the ability to see faces in the normal way. This exciting discovery could pave the way to treating people suffering from face blindness (Prosopagnosia). Read more here

The secret behind computer game addiction?

24 October 2012
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The success of the simple puzzle game Tetris may be down to the brain’s desire for tidiness. The Zeigarnik Effect, whereby unresolved problems stick in the mind, even if they are forgotten immediately afterwards, may hold the key to why so many millions of hours have been spent, across the globe on games like Tetris. The same phenomena can also be identified in the prolific expansion of online games such as the Sims: taking advantage of our natural desire to tidy up lose ends. Read more on the BBC here

The psychology of football

20 October 2012
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Richard Lee, professional footballer, author and well read, amateur psychologist attributes his positive approach to the power of psychology. He is an active promoter of the use of psychotherapeutic tools in the sport and an advocate of the “psychology of football.” “At times of crisis of confidence, personal doubt or injury, especially recurring injuries, the kind of mental processes I’ve been able to put in place really do help” Richard Lee, Brentford FC goalkeeper Read more here

Can young blood refresh the brain cells other elixirs cannot reach?

19 October 2012
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We have all heard the legends of vampers, living for centuries on the blood of young women. Now, researchers form Stamford University have shown that not only can brain cell growth in old adults be promoted by the infusion of blood from adolescents, but that these changes are directly linked to improved memory and further tests have demonstrated improvement of recall in subjects. At the moment the tests have been restricted to mice but the medical and social impact of these results should be interesting. Read more here 

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