Science of the Spirit


The toxic influence of a psychopath: Abusive leadership infects entire team

Supervisors who are abusive to individual employees can actually throw the entire work team into conflict, hurting productivity, finds new research led by a Michigan State University business scholar.

The study, conducted in China and the United States, suggests the toxic effect of nonphysical abuse by a supervisor is much broader than believed. Published online in the Journal of Applied Psychology, it's one of the first studies to examine the effect of bad bosses in employee teams. Teams are increasingly popular in the business world.

Lead investigator Crystal Farh said supervisors who belittle and ridicule workers not only negatively affect those workers' attitudes and behaviors, but also cause team members to act in a similar hostile manner toward one another.

"That's the most disturbing finding," Farh said, "because it's not just about individual victims now, it's about creating a context where everybody suffers, regardless of whether you were individually abused or not."



Networking: Enhanced communication key to successful teamwork in dynamic environments
From management consulting projects to research and development laboratories to hospital trauma centers, organizations of all types are increasingly creating teams whose members have diverse professional backgrounds. While the allure of these cross-functional teams is their ability to use their diverse knowledge to solve complex problems, not all such teams are able to reach their full potential.

According to new research led by Christian Resick, PhD, an associate professor of management in Drexel University's LeBow College of Business, these teams need to master the art of "information elaboration" discussions. Only through openly exchanging relevant information and ideas, seeking clarification on perspectives offered by others, and discussing and integrating this information and feedback, will specialized cross-functional teams be able to capitalize on their diverse knowledge resources and achieve success, particularly when their projects are dynamic or face disruptive challenges. Together with co-authors Toshio Murase and Leslie A. DeChurch of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Banner Health's Kenneth R. Randall, Resick published a paper entitled, "Information Elaboration and Team Performance: Examining the Psychological Origins and Environmental Contingencies," in the July 2014 issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

How Psychedelics Saved My Life

Amber Lyon is an Emmy Award-winning former CNN investigative news correspondent.
I invite you to take a step back and clear your mind of decades of false propaganda. Governments worldwide lied to us about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. The public has also been misled about psychedelics.

These non-addictive substances- MDMA, ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, and many more- are proven to rapidly and effectively help people heal from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, addiction and depression.

Psychedelics saved my life.

My Experience with Anxiety and PTSD Symptoms

I was drawn to journalism at a young age by the desire to provide a voice for the 'little guy'. For nearly a decade working as a CNN investigative correspondent and independent journalist, I became a mouthpiece for the oppressed, victimized and marginalized. My path of submersion journalism brought me closest to the plight of my sources, by living the story to get a true understanding of what was happening.

After several years of reporting, I realized an unfortunate consequence of my style- I had immersed myself too deeply in the trauma and suffering of the people I'd interviewed. I began to have trouble sleeping as their faces appeared in my darkest dreams. I spent too long absorbed in a world of despair and my inability to deflect it allowed the trauma of others to settle inside my mind and being. Combine that with several violent experiences while working in the field and I was at my worst. A life reporting on the edge had led me to the brink of my own sanity.

Because I could not find a way to process my anguish, it grew into a monster, manifesting itself into a constant state of anxiety, short-term memory loss, sleeplessness, and hyper arousal. The heart palpitations made me feel like I was knocking on death's door.

Human LSD research resumes "above board" for first time in 40 years

© Getty
The psychedelic drug LSD can be "valuable as tools to understand the mind", say scientists.
For the first time in more than 40 years, scientists are conducting human research using the psychedelic drug LSD in the United Kingdom.

According to the Independent Dr Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College, London presented his research to colleagues in June. He showed them MRI images of the brain of a human subject who was under the influence of LSD.

"We've only looked at six brains so far," Carhart-Harris told the newspaper. "We're at an early, but certainly promising, stage. It's really exciting," he said.

It's the first time that the compound has been used in human research since the act banning it came into force in 1971.
People 2

The surprising impact of weight loss on the emotions

jogging beach
© mikebaird/Flickr
A new study of almost 2,000 overweight and obese adults in the UK has found that those who lost weight were unhappier than those who remained within 5% of their original weight (Jackson et al., 2014).

Although they were physically healthier four years later - with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease - those who lost weight were likely to be less happy.

Comment: Is it any wonder, when the way most people try to lose weight these days is through low fat, severe caloric restriction involving chronic cardio and eating rabbit food, whilst depriving their brains of essential nutrients required for happy neurotransmitters, such as animal proteins and cholesterol?

For information on ways to lift one's mood, see:

- Can a ketogenic diet really fight depression? Low-carb, high fat foods shown to drastically improve mental health
- Face life with Éiriú Eolas, a stress relief program

Wine n Glass

Addicts' Symphony: Addiction 'rife' among classical musicians

© Vadim Ponomarenko/Alamy
A cellist performs. A string player who was addicted to alcohol and legal drugs says such problems are widespread in the classical music world
Performance anxiety, odd hours, working weekends and post-concert socialising often leads classical musicians to use drugs and alcohol.

Addiction is blighting the lives of many classical musicians as they grapple with performance anxiety and anti-social hours, a cellist has said.

Rachael Lander features in a new British documentary which brings together classical musicians whose careers have been derailed by drug and drink problems.

The cellist, who was addicted to alcohol and prescription pills, said the problem was rife in the classical music world.

Comment: Life is difficult, perhaps especially so for those who are sensitive, talented and creative. But it doesn't have to lead us to soul crashing addictions when the simple solution is just a click away:

Face life with Éiriú Eolas, a stress relief program

Life Preserver

A need for balance: Nurses driven mainly by a desire to help others are more likely to burn out

Nurses who are motivated primarily by the desire to help others, rather than by enjoyment of the work itself or the lifestyle it makes possible, are more likely to burn out on the job, University of Akron researchers say.

Nursing is still a female-dominated occupation, and being female is associated with being caring, nurturing, and altrustic. Therefore, the desire to help others is often assumed to be the "right" motivation for entering the field, the researchers say.

However, they found that nurses who pursue their career for reasons other than or in addition to the desire to help others find the job to be less stressful. That results in less burnout, better personal health, and high job commitment.

Study authors, Janette Dill, an assistant professor of sociology, Rebecca Erickson, a professor of sociology, and James Diefendorff, an associate professor of psychology, all at the University of Akron, based their findings on survey data from more than 700 registered nurses in Northeast Ohio. About 90 percent were white females.

Dill will present the paper at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Surveys can make people go extreme

There are all kinds of reasons why people don't tell the truth when asked questions. Sometimes they suddenly turn into fanatics. They hate, or love, anything. Here's how you catch people when they go extreme, or when they try to just get along.

We already know that people deliberately lie when given surveys on sex and drugs, but they also lie when given surveys about the importance of flossing and whether people should smoke in shopping malls.

The difference is, many people don't even know that they're lying. People are driven to exaggerate (or even invent) their likes and dislikes, and so when they're asked to score, from one to five, their support for an issue or agreement with a statement, they avoid the middle and go right for one and for five.

This bias, called "extreme response bias" has annoyed many manufacturers, or politicians, who believed their targeted audience was passionately in favor of a new flavor of coke or a ban on littering, trotted the idea out, and gotten a lackluster response. Sometimes people are actually passionate about a subject, and sometimes they just want to be that way. Researchers took a look at separating out the two. They came up with a few guidelines to tell if people were inflating their opinions.

Parental incarceration can be worse for a child than divorce or death of a parent

With more than 2 million people behind bars, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This mass incarceration has serious implications for not only the inmates, but their children, finds a new University of California-Irvine study. The study found significant health problems, including behavioral issues, in children of incarcerated parents and also that, for some types of health outcomes, parental incarceration can be more detrimental to a child's well-being than divorce or the death of a parent.

Depression linked to Parkinson's disease

Depression is known to be a common symptom of Parkinson's disease, but remains untreated for many patients, according to a new study by Northwestern Medicine investigators in collaboration with the National Parkinson's Foundation (NPF).

In fact, depression is the most prevalent non-motor symptom of Parkinson's, a chronic neurodegenerative disorder typically associated with movement dysfunction.

"We confirmed suspicion that depression is a very common symptom in Parkinson's disease. Nearly a quarter of the people in the study reported symptoms consistent with depression," said Danny Bega, MD, '14 GME, instructor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and first author of the study. "This is important because previous research has determined that depression is a major determinant of overall quality of life."

Using the NPS's patient database, the investigators looked at records of more than 7,000 people with Parkinson's disease. Among those with high levels of depressive symptoms, only one-third had been prescribed antidepressants before the study began, and even fewer saw social workers or mental health professionals for counseling.