Psychology

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The Secrets of Happy People

Most of the time I ate chocolate bars without much thought. In fact, I'd often half-consciously find a wrapper in my hand without any real memory of eating a chocolaty treat. The ease with which I could afford chocolate bars had caused me to appreciate and savour them less. I came to think of this phenomenon as the cost of convenience -- a failure to appreciate things.
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Lather Up for Global Handwashing Day

October also brings in a day that commemorates what should be a part of our daily activities but for many is either forgotten or simply ignored: handwashing. It's not a surprise as handwashing is not considered -- other than perhaps in the public health field -- to be an incredibly important part of living.
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Can Joan Rivers' Signature Help Us Understand the Separatists?

As a psychotherapist, I'm always intrigued by the question of what makes people tick. It's always most important to listen and to ask, but the truth is that people tell a lot about themselves indirectly. Two signatures -- Joan Rivers' and that of former Bloc Québecois leader Gilles Duceppe -- gave me food for thought, as I pondered the psychology of the Separatist.
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What Makes Suicides Newsworthy?

Is suicide really contagious? Along with celebrity suicides, research has linked copycat deaths to news stories describing specific locations and/or methods of committing suicide that increases the likelihood of vulnerable people killing themselves in the same way. However, looking at the data on a per-country basis reveals a different story about how suicide is reported, and why.
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So Your Home Is in Foreclosure - What Now?

If you find yourself in a foreclosure situation, emotions will overtake you, so it's critical that you deal with them in order to keep a clear head and survive the trauma. You are well able to defend your home from foreclosure, but first you must take control of your emotions. And you will survive!
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Rex Murphy and the Myth of the Angry Atheist

A few days ago, the well known and respected commentator Rex Murphy presented a blistering critique of atheists, which seems to have been triggered by the recent debate over whether atheists soldiers should have access to their own chaplain. I believe it is worthwhile to highlight another glaring weakness of Mr. Murphy's article -- his misuse of the term anger.
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Eight Ways to Pick a Great Partner

A marriage for many years, if it will involve children, is an extremely complex partnership and here are some nuggets that I have gleaned over the years from experiences, my therapist sister and the hundreds of self-help books that I have devoured as a frustrated shrink myself.
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The Lives We Present Online Aren't Always What They Seem

Those friends of yours who appear to have the perfect marriage may post gorgeous photos of their weekend in Montreal, but they are not going to post updates about their massive debts or the fight they had last night about how to manage them. That colleague who just posted the ultrasound photo of her first child may not have tweeted about the three miscarriages she had prior to its conception.
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Why Taking an Antidepressant Is Right for Me

Hello, my name is Erica Berman and I take an antidepressant. Do you think I'm crazy to admit it? Or just plain crazy? Well think what you want. I have been taking a low dose of a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) for almost four years, not for depression, but for anxiety. Yes, in case you were unaware, some antidepressants are very helpful for controlling anxiety.

6 Cognitive Biases That Make Politics Irrational

These seemingly irrational flaws in judgement can lead to perpetual distortion, inaccurate judgement, and illogical interpretation -- all of which are key ingredients in the widening of cultural rifts, the deepening of global disparity gaps, and the general intensifying of political upheavals.

Creating New Horizons: Paradigms at Work

Some paradigms support us better than others. 'The world is flat' was believed to be true until Christopher Columbus proved it otherwise. And though we need paradigms to help us make sense of the world, the minute we turn them into concrete truths we become enslaved by them.

What Marilyn Monroe Taught Us About Suicide Notes

But could Marilyn Monroe's own writings provide clues about her suicidal intentions? Many of the letters, poems, and personal notes that Monroe wrote in the years leading up to her death were recently collected in a single book, Marilyn Monroe's Fragments. Her writings have only recently become available for serious study by suicide researchers.

How I Overcame My Fear of Needles

When I was nine, I had a bad experience while in the hospital with scarlet fever. A nurse restrained me and abruptly poked a needle into my arm, inflicting a pain that felt worse than a bee sting. I avoided having blood taken for the next 20 years, even if it meant risking my health.
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Why Are so Many Veterans in Prison?

Increasing numbers of military veterans are entering the U.S. prison system. Why? A recent study highlights the important role that anger can play in how well veterans reintegrate into society after traumatic tours of duty -- and how likely they are to run into problems in prison, if that's where they end up.

The Leonardo da Vinci of Mental Manipulation

A trial still unfolding in Bordeaux, France is already attracting lurid headlines as a man is facing prosecution over his nine-year domination of an aristocratic French family. Thierry Tilly of Oxford, England has been described by prosecutors as the "Leonardo da Vinci of mental manipulation."

Are Suicide Rates Declining Worldwide?

Although collecting health statistics across the world can seem almost impossible because of political unrest, economic problems, wars, and simple bureacracy, the World Health Organization has been collecting mortality statistics since the 1950s for most countries. Are suicide rates declining worldwide?
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Does Your Airplane Have Psychological Safety?

A recent review published in Aviation Psychology and Applied Human Factors argues that flight attendants and other members of the flight crew who have lower ranking are often afraid to contradict the pilots, even in critical situations. This reluctance can often spell the difference between life and death.
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Just Because Your Brain Objectifies Women Doesn't Make it Right

Cognitive psychologists have discovered that our brains reduce women to their sexual body parts, and treat those parts as objects. The data confirms what many of us have suspected all along: we objectify women without even thinking about it. But does that mean that sexism is an inevitable result of our physiology? That's not so easy to answer.
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What Osama bin Laden's Signature Tells Us About Evil

The field of graphology, or handwriting analysis, asserts that handwriting, in general, and signatures, specifically, relay information about the identity of the writer. The signature -- chosen as the writer's representative on the page -- often embeds symbols that may tell us about the writer's identifications. Here's what Osama Bin Laden's signature says about his terrible ways.
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What Donald Trump's Signature Says About Him

Take a look at Trump's signature. In general, cursive handwriting is comprised of straight lines and loops. But Trump favours straight lines and does away with curves or loops. For the graphologist, roundedness implies emotionality and softer aspects of the personality. But what is the meaning of the straight line?
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Are You Really Conscious Right Now?

While the world celebrates the discovery of the Higgs boson, these scientists are hard at work on one of the most profound mysteries left: Why, and how, did humans become conscious? Until we can figure out what consciousness physically is, there won't be any consensus on what function it serves, or indeed whether it serves any function at all.
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Depression Has Many Faces

Why is it so difficult to treat depression? Part of the problem is in our definition of the term. In fact, there are two distinct depressions: situational and clinical. It would be so much easier if we called the two depressions by different names, for then we could explain better how we feel and know better what might help.