Category Archives: Studies

Why Bond?

Kinderwagen op ski's (slee) op het ijs, voortgeduwd door moeder op schaatsen. Moeder draagt (onpraktische) schaatskleding en de baby vermaakt zich met een speelgoed varkentje. St. Moritz, Zwitserland, 1926.

Another day, another study saying that healthy attachments are good for you (especially if you’re a preschooler).

Research has shown that our children’s chances of future success are driven by a variety of factors, including those that are somewhat beyond our immediate control, such as genes and financial status. The new study, however, found that a caring and emotionally attentive parent is likely to be a solid, long-term game-changer.

 

 

Exercise and Mood

You already know this: Exercise Can Aid in Emotional Regulation (PsychCentral). The way it was measured here may improve your mood (with or without exercise):

The study was conducted on 80 participants (40 men and 40 women) and each was assigned to either an aerobic exercise or no exercise (stretching).

They were asked to complete an online survey to establish their emotional mood and then immediately instructed to either jog for 30 minutes, or stretch for 30 minutes.

They were subsequently asked to watch a sad scene from the film “The Champ.” The participants then completed a range of questionnaires and measures to determine their emotion regulation.

Finally, all participants were instructed to watch a brief, amusing clip from “When Harry Met Sally.”

[P]articipants who had completed 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise reported feeling less sadness by the end of the study, in comparison to individuals who had not exercised.

 

Grow Your Brain

jumpNew studies continue to show that exercise is good for your brain. From the NYT:

Until about 20 years ago, most scientists believed that the brain’s structure was fixed by adulthood, that you couldn’t create new brain cells, alter the shape of those that existed or in any other way change your mind physically after adolescence.

But in the years since, neurological studies have established that the brain retains plasticity, or the capacity to be reshaped, throughout our lifetimes. Exercise appears to be particularly adept at remodeling the brain, studies showed.

Looking for a quick way to exercise? Another study likes this seven minute workout. All you need is a floor, a wall, a chair, and some gravity.

Reading and Empathy

open secretsCheering news for lit snobs via the NYT.  Empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence get a boost from reading–certain reading:

[A] series of five experiments conducted by social psychologists at The New School for Social Research in New York City, people who read excerpts from literary fiction (Don DeLillo, Alice Munro, Wendell Berry) scored better than people who read popular fiction (Gillian Flynn, Rosamunde Pilcher, Mary Roberts Rinehart) on tests asking them to infer what people were thinking or feeling–a field that scientists call “Theory of Mind.”

 

The Importance of Mind-Wandering

A collection of boredom studies from Wired:

The secret isn’t boredom per se: It’s how boredom makes us think. When people are immersed in monotony, they automatically lapse into a very special form of brain activity: mind-wandering. In a culture obsessed with efficiency, mind-wandering is often derided as a lazy habit, the kind of thinking we rely on when we don’t really want to think. (Freud regarded mind-wandering as an example of “infantile” thinking.) It’s a sign of procrastination, not productivity.

In recent years, however, neuroscience has dramatically revised our views…

Relationship Health

Extra motivation for figuring out how to get along better?:   The way you relate to your partner can affect your long-term mental and physical health, study shows (Science Daily).

“We already know from prior research that people in stable, happy marriages experience better overall health than do those in more conflicted relationships,” said Professor Hicks. “We can now further conclude from our current research that individuals who are in insecure relationships are more vulnerable to longer-term health risks from conflict than are others.”

Rejection Pain

Social Rejection Hurts Like Physical Pain (PsychCentral):

“On the surface, spilling a hot cup of coffee on yourself and thinking about how rejected you feel when you look at the picture of a person that you recently experienced an unwanted break-up with may seem to elicit very different types of pain.  But this research shows that they may be even more similar than initially thought.”

 

Couples Communication

Study:  Couples May Not Communicate Better Than Strangers (PsychCentral):

“Although speakers expected their spouse to understand them better than strangers, accuracy rates for spouses and strangers were statistically identical. This result is striking because speakers were more confident that they were understood by their spouse” […]

“A wife who says to her husband, ‘it’s getting hot in here,’ as a hint for her husband to turn up the air conditioning a notch, may be surprised when he interprets her statement as a coy, amorous advance instead,” said Savitsky, who is lead author of the paper, published in the January issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.