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...
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...
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:
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
Recent results from a massive study of female smokers by the University of Oxford highlights the dangers and showed that even light smoking doubled early female mortality rates. The good news was that when women give up smoking, they massively increase their chances of avoiding a premature death. Read more on this study Trying to quit? Take a look at the latest advice on the BBC
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,...
Crossmodal perception research at Oxford University has shown how our olfactory perception can be influenced by the sound. For example, eating a piece of toffee whilst listening to the sound of birds might seem sweeter than when eating the same toffee accompanied by the sound of waves on the beach. Read more on how sound and taste are linked here
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
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
A Medical Research Council study, published on BMJ Open on the 17th October, indicates that levels of anxiety and depression in men rise significantly during times of recession, hitting 16.4% in 2009 and with a similar peek during the 1991-3 recession. The effect can be seen even in those men not directly effected by unemployment or reduced family income. “These recent analyses confirm that the threat of unemployment is in itself harmful” Prof Justine Schneider Read more here: