7 psychology researches that changed our thinking of what it is to be human.

by Komal Sharma, freelance contributor 

 

This article is a digest for everyone who thinks psychology is common sense and for wiser others too.

Today you will read about intriguing psychological studies (scientifically proven) showing our default mode of being which is interwoven thickly in our system. You will find most of them, if not all, resonate with your experiences and will also give meaning to them.

 

1) Forgetting is intelligent :

 

Our brain actively works to gather  and store information from our immediate surrounding beyond our awareness too, but it also functions to discard information to optimize decision-making. According to recent research at University of Toronto, forgetting helps us eradicate outdated information and helps in making better decisions in given circumstances by understanding bigger picture over specific details. This concept is called ‘regularization’ in Artificial Intelligence for building computer models. Now you can quote this research when you forget some General Trivia Question next time!

 

2) Warmth over competency: 

 

If you are one of those who worry to perfect your first impression by trying very hard not to do anything stupid? You can do something much simpler. Harvard research finds that 80% of our judgments about people come down to warmth and competence. And given in any situation your skills do not complement, the more important quality to focus on is warmth. To put it candidly, we all, all of us, will prefer a company of lovable moron over a competent jerk most of the time.

 

3) False Consensus:

 

Do you think most people have same belief and faith system as yours? To your (mis)fortune, I am going to prick your bubble! According to a 1977 – Stanford University psychology experiment showed that we can incorrectly infer that others think the same way they do, or form a “false consensus” about the beliefs and preferences of others. So the next time your girlfriend does not like your favorite food, cut her some slack!

 

4) Cognitive Dissonance:

 

Mount Everest is ‘not’ the tallest mountain. It is Mauna Kea if we measure area underwater! Did you feel little uncomfortable with this information? There will be a tacit shift how you see another tall mountain now. This concept of cognitive dissonance was studied by Leon Festinger, he addresses to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This conflict produces an innate sense of unsettlement and discomfort. It requires a change in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to mitigate or eliminate the discomfort and restore balance.

 

5) Bad Habits or choices?

 

You do not actively think for 50% of your day, as you have learnt it by repetitively doing it. Basketball coaches emphasize on learning the right arm-action to hoop a ball through net otherwise it will become a natural way of shooting impacting your overall game. A Duke study shows a full 40% of your daily choices aren’t choices — they’re habits. So if your habits are not building you, you’re simply a machine functioning around screwing your life up. You need to understand how bad habits work, how to snap out of the loop, and how to ‘replace’ it with better habits.

 
6) Halo Effect:

 

Do you think attractive people have it easy? Well, we let them have it easy by associating goodness with them. It is a University of Michigan study where The Halo Effect states that people generally assume that people who are physically attractive are more likely to be intelligent, friendly, and display good judgment. Halo Effect impacts personal logic, judgment, inferences and then produces more complex social behaviors (which we can talk about the next time).

 

7) Emotional Intelligence:

 

Were your exams screwed due to emotional turbulence during that phase? Yes, that’s most of us. Emotional intelligence often matters more than cognitive intelligence when it comes to acing in life. It is just not about your academic aptitude which will lead you to success; ability to channelize your emotions to work in your favor is far more a rare and important competency that contributes to your growth in personal and professional domains.

 

-If these were not enough for your psychological appetite, then use Boredom to your benefit – Research suggests that you will do a good job when you pursue creative tasks when bored. Is that a hack to your boredom?

 

Komal is a post-graduate in Psychology, an alumnus of Delhi University, with a number of academic research papers published. Her core interests lie in psychoanalysis, social psychology and understanding gender roles. She values the importance of an overall emphasis on the holistic fitness of mind and body. In her alternate world, she reads for profession and her passion. She is young, intense and aware of the gravity of the work she does.
Mail: komal7722@gmail.com

 

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7 ways in which we delude ourselves

 

by Ridhi Murari, Freelance Contributor

 

Resistance stems from a deep and intense struggle between wanting to change and wanting to hold on to our habitual patterns of reacting, emoting and behaving; more often than not in a desperate attempt in protecting ourselves from facing our demons. When we actually confront a problem which is seen by us as unmanageable or difficult we fall into a pattern of deluding ourselves; here are 7 ways in which we do that:

 

 

  1. Publishing Odd Future GIF-downsized_largeREPRESSION When we forget things we find unpleasant, it is called repression. We all have incidents that shake our core from within, hitting us with the impact of a physical blow. This is where repression comes in. The thoughts that flow through our minds in this stage are typically, “Oh, I’m so mad at her that I can actually pick up a matchstick and burn her in hell, oh God, how did I become so violent? Let me not think of her this way. “

 

 

 

  1. sad love and hip hop GIF by VH1-downsized_large            SUPPRESSION- When one is aware that a particular feeling, thought, or want has made way into ones consciousness and yet they make a deliberate effort to not dwell on it―one, by not thinking about it (internally) and two, by not acting on it (externally). for eg a wife may be peeved about her husband’s behavior but because of some guests around her, she may control her reaction at that time. But one should also be aware of the possibility that these impulses and thoughts might make way again, and that they will need to be dealt with at the time that they do.

 

              

 

               

  1. world series no GIF by Brett Eldredge-downsized_large           DEPRIVATION- He has it and I don’t and the endless discourses on how the world is an unfair place to live in which follow; such comparison is inevitable, someone has the intangibles we want. This deprived state leads to complaining, resenting, and dwelling in a spiral of negativity and eventually, being exhausted by the process, seeking refuge in a sea of optimism through any means possible. PS- Beware of over-enthusiastic people, it’s often a reversal of the deprived state that makes them overjoyed.

 

 

 

  1. Brendan Fraser What GIF-downsized_large                   AMBIGUITY INTOLERANCE- “But you have to tell me what do I do next?” “If I knew what to do why would I come to you?”; to avoid those uncomfortable situations of awareness, reflection and introspection, we would do anything in the world for another being to dictate the steps of our life so I can later blame them for all of it. The degree to which an individual is comfortable with uncertainty, unpredictability, conflicting directions, and multiple demands. In essence, tolerance for ambiguity is manifest in a person’s ability to operate effectively in an uncertain environment.

 

                                                                                                                                                                              

  1. like GIF-downsized_large                                         INERTIA- “Okay, let’s do one thing since I’ve tried everything from my end, there is nothing more I can do so let it be. This is my fate and destiny, so what’s the point?”. This is the world of the inertia, of people who have given up and entered the realm of learned helplessness. The psychological meaning of the word “inertia” implies an indisposition to change – a certain “stuckness” due to human programming. It represents the inevitability of behaving in a certain way, to the extent that it may have been indelibly inscribed somewhere in the brain.
  2. routine GIF-downsized_largeROUTINE SEEKING- There are, among us, people who need to know what to do at each step. Bound by routine, they are beings who hate stepping out of their comfort zones. Change is uncomfortable for most of us, even if this resistance does not manifest itself in the form of an incessant need to stick to a staunch routine. Not that all routines are bad. We need routines, but the question is: who is the master? us or the routine.

 

 

 

7. hd GIF-downsized_largeENTITLEMENT– We all want things. But some people feel they are entitled to whatever it is they want, and they feel they deserve it all now. That can make for very difficult relationships, a lot of disappointment, and never receiving what is most important in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life

 

Kritika Joshi, Freelance Contributor

Stay positive, all other choices are pointless punishments to your psyche”  – Joe Peterson

The “positive psychology” field has been around for decades, but only in the recent years, thanks to some notable researches have we been able to recognize its profound impact on society. Fortunately, many of these studies point to specific ways of thinking and acting that can strongly impact our sense of happiness and peace of mind.

So here are 10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life.

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL MASTERY

 

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It is the degree to which you feel competent to meet the demands of your situation. It is the sense that we have an influence on the events in our lives. We can say it is the sense that we are capable of acting on our own behalf. In simple terms, environmental mastery is the ability to create environment suitable to satisfy one’s own psychological needs.

  1. FLOURISHING

 

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The ability to flourish is defined as the ability for a person to grow as a human being through good times and through life struggles. Flourishing is the product of pursuit and engagement of an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness. It is a state where people experience positive emotions, positive psychological functioning and positive social functioning most of the time.

 

  1. LEARNED OPTIMISM

 

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Coined by the famous positive psychologist Seligman, It is a mechanism where people systematically remove depressive thoughts by concentrating on the positive. Optimists have a belief that they have control over situations and because of this, the opportunity to influence the result they are highly motivated to achieve. It can be summed up as a pattern of persisting in the face of difficulty.

 

  1. FLOW

 

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The idea of flow is that “a person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside’, just by changing the contents of consciousness. Happiness is about changing the contents of our consciousness and the way to do this is by putting ourselves in the state of optimal experience called flow. Flow is that state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

 

  1. UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD

 

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The concept of unconditional positive regard requires a person to suspend any form of personal judgement and accepts other human beings, regardless of the content of any disclosure they may have made or any behavior they may have displayed. It can help create better relationships with your spouse, friends, relatives and even strangers.

 

  1. CONGRUENCE

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Congruence is when the inner beliefs and concepts of a person match his experience of the external world. According to Carl Rogers, personality is like a triangle made up of ideal self, real self and perceived self. When there is a good fit between these three the person has congruence.

 

  1. CONDITIONS OF WORTH

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Conditions of Worth are the conditions we think we must meet in order for other people to accept us as worthy of their love or positive regard. Children raised in an environment of unconditional positive regard have the opportunity to fully actualize themselves. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard feel worthy only if they match conditions that have been laid down for them by others

 

  1. EUDAIMONIC WELL BEING

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Eudaimonic well being refers to effectiveness of an individual’s psychological functioning that helps them to realize their true potential. True happiness is found in expression of goodness. Eudaimonic  view of well being conceptualizes well being in terms of cultivation of personal strengths or acting in accordance with one’s inner nature and deeply held values.

 

  1. GOAL ORIENTATION

 

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It refers to the goals individuals implicitly pursue while attaining performance outcomes. It can be differentiated into two types – mastery and performance goals. Mastery goals involve learning and developing mastery as one approaches tasks. Performance goals involve approaching tasks with a focus on performance relative to others.

 

  1. TRANSCEDENCE

 

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It means ‘going beyond’ a prior state. It involves connection to something or someone larger than oneself, a theme that unites the character associated with it. In positive psychology, the virtue of transcendence is associated with the strengths of meaning that connects you with the larger world and helps you make sense of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 indications that you’re overthinking stuff

Shivangi Srivastava, Freelance Contributor

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Do things keep playing in your head on repeat mode?
Are you always trying to crack some secret code?
Does your sleep ditch you at night?
Are you constantly worrying about your future?

To think about things or situations in life is necessary but when ‘thinking’ goes overboard, that’s when we start facing problems in life. Over-thinking is a state of constant worrying, where our mind starts to work extra hard, unnecessarily.
Here are 10 indications that will help you understand if you’re over thinking it:

1) You’re hesitant when it comes to giving a voice to your opinions.

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You may find it very difficult to share your thoughts and opinions regarding a certain topic or situation because you fear that people will JUDGE you for how you think and for the kind of choices you’ve made or are currently making in life.

2) All the possibilities are only assessed as either ‘BAD’ or ‘WORSE’.

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For you, ‘WORST-CASE SCENARIOS’ are the only possible scenarios. You may find yourself focusing too much on all the things that can possibly go wrong. Good outcomes are just a matter of luck for you. Also, you tend to be over critical about yourself. People who overthink rarely are able to see their own positive sides because they’re too busy evaluating themselves on their negatives.

3) It seems as if the whole world is conspiring against you.

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You may feel as if people around you observe all the things that you do and judge you for it. It may seem as if everybody around you is talking about you, is criticizing your actions and has formed strong opinions AGAINST you.

4) You believe that one must know ‘EVERYTHING’ in order to understand you.

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You try to include all the possible details while telling somebody about anything. In your opinion, missing out on any piece of information would mean that the message was not conveyed exactly how you wanted it to be and now people won’t understand you and may form negative opinions about you.

5) Creative skills are mostly used in decoding ‘HIDDEN’ messages which may not exist at all.

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Being an over-thinker, it is possible for you to consume your energy in looking for underlying meanings for every word that you hear. You may find yourself constantly worrying if somebody’s motive was to indirectly tell or indicate something to you while conversing with you.

6) You cross-check the messages you’re about to send multiple times.

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It takes you a lot of time to send a message to somebody. You keep going through the messages, again and again, deleting or editing its content. You have the notion of sending an error-free or so-called ‘perfect message’ so that the person on the receiving end does not take you for a dumb individual.

7) Maladaptive daydreaming
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As an over thinker, you experience frequent and intrusive daydreams that can disrupt your everyday tasks and quality of life. Certain situations are often stuck in repeat mode inside your head or you start imagining things that have no end to them and eventually find it very difficult to come to reality and do your daily tasks.

8) You take ‘LITTLE’ things very ‘SERIOUSLY’.
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While having a conversation with somebody, you may find yourself taking little things very seriously. There may be times when people are just talking or discussing things on a very general level but you might take things personally and feel disturbed. It sometimes gets a little difficult to convince you that everything’s okay because you usually want every piece of information to make up your mind.

9) Your behaviour and actions are mostly based on your ‘ASSUMPTIONS’.
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The term ‘over-thinking’ itself suggests thinking more than required; thinking more than there is to think actually. Over-thinkers usually pre-assume a lot of things (basically, jumping to conclusions) and later are found constantly worrying about things that may or may not exist. This eventually leads them to behave oddly around people.

10) Anxiety knocks and blows good night’s sleep away.
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Overthinking often generates anxiety and results in panic attacks. This anxiety holds you back and disrupts your normal functioning. Messing up one thing might mean messing up the entire thing, in your opinion. You keep ruminating about it and thus, face trouble sleeping.

 

 

 

 

10 psychology terms that’ll help you make sense of the world

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, Staff Writer

1. Availability Heuristic

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It states that we tend to base our evaluations, judgments and perceptions of the world around us on the basis of the information that is easily available to us which means that more often than not, our conclusions are based on incomplete, or in some cases, irrelevant information just because it happened to be in front of us.

2. Mere-Exposure Effect

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It is a psychological principle which states that people tend to rate things, people or places positively when they are familiar with them, often disregarding actual qualities or drawbacks for familiarity. This is interesting because it has no basis in logic. In studies of interpersonal attraction, the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likable that person appears to be.

3. Social Loafing

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In social psychology, social loafing is the phenomenon of a person exerting less effort to achieve a goal when they work in a group than when they work alone. This is seen as one of the main reasons groups are sometimes less productive than the combined performance of their members working as individuals.

4. Learned Helplessness

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It is a phenomena wherein repeated negative experiences of individuals lead to implanting of pervasive and enduring negative beliefs regarding their abilities within them. Research also shows that a single positive experience has the power of arresting this downward spiral.

5. Spiral of Silence

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This theory that draws from political science says that individuals have a fear of isolation, which results from the idea that a social group or the society in general might isolate, neglect, or exclude them due to their opinions. This fear of isolation consequently leads to remaining silent instead of voicing opinions.

6. Pluralistic Ignorance

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Pluralistic ignorance occurs where the majority of individuals in a group assume that most of the others are different in some way, whilst the truth is that they are more similar than they realize. They thus will conform with supposed beliefs of other individuals and the supposed beliefs will become the group norm rather than actual beliefs of that group.

7. Cognitive Dissonance

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Discomfort or tension that arises from holding two or more psychologically incompatible thoughts at the same time. Research posits that people are motivated to avoid or minimize cognitive dissonance whenever possible.

8. Conformation Bias

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A tendency to search for and weigh information that confirms one’s preconceptions more strongly than information that challenges them.

9. Counterfactual Thinking

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Imagining alternative scenarios and outcomes that might have happened, but didn’t.

10. Deindividuation

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A loss of self-awareness that occurs when people are not seen or paid attention to as individuals (for example, when they become absorbed in a role that reduces their sense of individuality or accountability, or when they become part of a crowd or a mob).

 

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7 most common negative thought patterns and how to handle them

by Avnie Garg, Freelance Contributor

All of us in life go through failures, doubts, criticisms which make us think negatively. These thought patterns can prove to be dangerous for our mental health and eventually may negatively affect our personal and social life. It is important to realize your negative thought patterns to live a peaceful and happy life. Following are some examples that you may like to go through:-

  1. Only bad things happen to me:

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Many of us generalize the life events and think that this is how things have happened till now and this is how they will continue to be. We start pitying ourselves and create the thought that things might never get better.
How to handle: realize that you may be only considering negative aspects of all that happens to you. Try some gratitude exercises which will help you to thank all the good things in life.

2. What if this happens? :

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We may overthink many trivial things which do not even require our attention. We tend to think the most extreme consequence of a particular situation that we are going through in life. This muddles our thought process and we end up taking undue stress.
How to handle: realize that this is doing you a lot of harm. Train yourself to ‘go-with-the-flow’. Engage in useful stuff that prevents you from overthinking.

3. “What could have been”:

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Some people contemplate a lot about what could their lives have been, had a particular thing not happened. They delve into the past just too much. This keeps bad memories intact and creates emotional and professional problems.
How to handle: ask yourself if your thoughts are really true! You may think that other alternative in life would have been better but you are ignoring the cons related with it. Try being happy in the present and work hard for things to happen your way from now on.

4. I can’t do it :

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Questioning one’s abilities creates feelings of self-doubt. We start losing faith in ourselves. This thought is a big obstacle in achieving success in life.
How to handle: practice self- compassion. Be kind to yourself and think instead of your accomplishments. Find out what you are good at and hone your skills in that area.

5.’must/should’ statements:

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“Everyone should love me”, “I must be present there” etc. are some of the unrealistic thoughts we create in our mind. It is essential to refrain from such thoughts. It affects the way you think about yourself and the world.
How to handle: flexibility rules the world, rigidity does not. Counter question yourself next time you think of such statements. For instance, “why should everyone love me?” tell yourself that you loving yourself after all is the most important thing.

6.All-or-none thinking:

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It happens when you think at the extreme ends. Example- “there is nothing good about my job” or “Leela is worst person I’ve come across in life”. So you think no in-between. It is also called black and white thinking.
How to handle: try thinking the pros and cons of everyone and everything you get extreme thoughts about. This will help you to balance your viewpoint. And take some time before you make judgments about others.

7.I’m so unlucky:

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This thought may be the outcome of the people around you (your mom tells she has been unwell since she gave birth to you) or you might have created them in your head(I’ve never won a lottery in my life). Incidents taking place now and then reinforce this thought.
How to handle: realize that luck is just a probability. Try affirmations like “I am fortunate to have a so and so thing”, “I am really lucky for myself”.

The most important thing is to firstly identify your negative thoughts, know that they are not permanent and then distort them one by one. You can also write them down on a piece of paper and destroy the paper after that. This can help relieve you!

 

 

 

10 Neuro-psychology Researches that’ll change the way you look at the world

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, staff writer

Here are 10 recent neuroscience and psychology researches that’ll transform the way you look at and perceive the world.

  1. Is your thought process really a private phenomenon?

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Scientists in Germany used pattern recognition software to predict, from functional magnetic resonance imaging of people’s brains, whether each person had secretly decided to add or subtract two numbers he was looking at. The computer correctly predicted the decision more often than not. What’s stopping a super computer from surveilling our brain?

 

  1. Our brain is capable of beautiful things

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Some people have been brought up in hate and are taught to despise the world (see: terrorists and xenophobes) but a new study, from the University of Zurich, reports that having just a few positive exchanges with a person from an outside group can trigger neuronal changes in the brain that cause someone to become more empathetic towards strangers from an outside group.

 

  1. You can train your brain to change the quality of your life

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Neuroscientists at Oxford University recently discovered a neurobiological mechanism that might explain how one can overcome apathy and stay active and motivated.  They hypothesize that anyone who is healthy can change the functional connectivity of his or her brain by consciously changing habits of behavior and patterns of thinking. Because the brain is plastic—your mindset, explanatory styles, and predisposition to be motivated or apathetic are never fixed.

 

  1. The brain has a separate, small beating heart, all for itself

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A team led by Prof. Ed Wu at the University of Hong Kong revealed that low frequency (1Hz) oscillations in the hippocampus help to synchronize activity in the brain. They used optogenetics and resting-state fMRI to explore the role of the slow hippocampal-cortical oscillatory activity in controlling and connecting different areas of the brain.

 

  1. Stress can actually change the structure of your brain; and not for the better

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Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that chronic stress triggers long-term changes in brain structure and function. Their findings might explain why young people who are exposed to chronic stress early in life are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and mood disorders later in life, as well as learning difficulties.

 

  1. There was a marked increase in the number of suicides following Robin William’s suicide

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A new study revealed that there was a 10 percent increase in suicides in the months following Robin Williams’ death. Researchers report, significantly, there was a 32 percent increase in suffocation suicides in the 5 months following Williams’ death by the same method. This is a known psychological phenomenon with the rates of suicides in general population increasing after most high-profile suicides.

 

  1. People who daydream may be intellectually advanced

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People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering. Eric Schumacher and his team at Georgia Tech found that people who report frequent daydreaming score higher on creative and intellectual ability and have measurably more effective brains than those who don’t. Apparently, the smarter you are, the more you daydream. Dream on!

 

  1. Emotions can alter your ability to learn and perceive

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Educational situations where students feel stressed, shamed, or just uncomfortable can actually make it more difficult for them to learn, increasing negative emotions and sparking a vicious cycle that may leave some children reluctant to attend class. Research is revealing why, as the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system has the ability to open up or shut off access to learning and memory. When under stress or anxiety, the brain blocks access to higher processing and stops forming new connections, making it difficult or impossible to learn.

 

  1. Dopamine is a magic liquid running inside us and it becomes active when we experience new things

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Researchers have found that novelty in the world around us causes the dopamine system in the brain to become activated, sending the chemical throughout the brain. Dopamine is often regarded as the “feel good” chemical, scientists have now shown that it actually plays a much bigger role, encouraging feelings of motivation and prompting the brain to appreciate and learn about new and novel stimuli in the surroundings. Really, they should be selling this stuff on amazon.

 

  1. Cognitive Offloading: How the Internet is Increasingly Taking Over Human Memory

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Researchers from UC Santa Cruz and the University of Illinois report that our ever-increasing reliance on the internet and our ease of access to new information is affecting our ability to learn and recall facts from memory, as well as impeding our ability to solve problems. Basically, the internet is making us dumber.