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Tue, 26 Mar 2019
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New Harvard study confirms there is no gender wage gap - men and women make different choices

harvard
© Darren McCollester / Getty Images
"Gender pay gap is worse than thought: Study shows women actually earn half the income of men," NBC announced recently in reference to a report titled "Still a Man's Labor Market" by the Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research, which found that women's income was 51 percent less than men's earnings.

The "Gender Pay Gap" Isn't What You Think It Is

What do you think of when you hear the phrase "gender pay gap"? Perhaps you think of a man and woman who work exactly the same job at exactly the same place, but he gets paid more than she does. This sort of discrimination has been illegal in the United States since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

But that is not what is generally meant by the phrase "gender wage gap." Instead, the commonly reported figure - that a woman earns 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man - is derived by taking the total annual earnings of men in the American economy in a given year and dividing that by the number of male workers. This gives you the average annual earnings of an American man. Then you do the same thing but for women. The average annual women's earnings come in at about 80 percent of the average annual man's earnings. Presto, you have a gender wage gap.

Heart

Breathing through the nose may offer unique brain benefits

breathe
© Illustration by Celia Jacobs
Folklore, spiritual traditions and even mothers have for ages drawn an implicit connection between respiration and state of mind: Breathe in deeply through your nose, we are told, to clarify thoughts, achieve serenity, defuse tantrums. There isn't a lot of scientific evidence to back up these ideas, but a growing number of experiments have been looking at the influence that breathing has on our cognition. In October, a study in The Journal of Neuroscience considered the relationship between memory and how we breathe.

Recognizing odors is a key survival mechanism for most creatures - including humans, of course. This is why neuroscientists believe the links between thinking and breathing were early evolutionary adaptations. Studies have shown that when rodents sniff, the flow of even odorless air initiates brain activity by stimulating neurons in what's called the olfactory bulb, which then signal the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in the creation and storage of memories. For the October study, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and other institutions conducted an experiment to see whether something similar happens to us if we breathe through our mouths.

Comment: Read more fascinating information about The Science of breathing: Breathing and meditation exercises help to relieve physical, mental and emotional stress check out the Éiriú Eolas Stress Control, Healing and Rejuvenation Program website and give it a try!


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The Truth Perspective: Herd Behavior: What Gustav Le Bon's Classic Book Can Teach Us About 'The Crowd'

madness of crowds
Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss the French polymath Gustave Le Bon's most famous work, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Le Bon was a physician, soldier, and author of numerous works ranging from anthropology, medicine, physiology, and even physics, where he is credited with anticipating Einstein's theory of relativity.

But it was defeat during the Franco-Prussian War, the radical mentality of the Paris Commune of 1871, and his extensive studies of peoples in Europe, Asia and North Africa that gave him that unique insight into the nature of crowds which, when he published them, resulted in a book which has been described as "one of the most influential books of social psychology ever written."

The Crowd may have been an instant bestseller in the late 19th century but it remains just as relevant today. From radical Islamists in Syria to Antifa in the US, and most recently the Yellow Vests storming Paris, Le Bon provides us key insights regarding the crowd's susceptibility to suggestion, the individual's loss of control, and its potential to be radicalized in the name of senseless violence. If nothing else this knowledge can help to keep us moored while others are swept away in the tide.

Running Time: 01:36:00

Download: MP3


2 + 2 = 4

Think again: Are schools teaching enough critical thinking skills?

critical thinking
© Jonathan Ernst
Critical thinking can feel in short supply these days. Politics is more polarized than ever, the president regularly dismisses his opposition as enemies, losers, or phonies, while critics of the president cannot bear the thought of ever entertaining support for his ideas or actions.

If a lack of civility in public discourse is the problem, a lack of critical thinking may be partly to blame. A recent study by the Reboot Foundation, which was founded to fund research on critical thinking and develop resources for parents and schools, concluded that while the American public claims to engage with opposing views, people don't actually do so in practice.

Comment: Read more about the importance of critical thinking...


Black Cat 2

Can pet ownership alleviate depression symptoms?

pets
© The Flor-Ala
A new study examined the impact of pet ownership on people with treatment-resistant depression.

It's no secret that animals can bring people joy, but a new study indicates that adopting a pet could prove particularly beneficial for those with severe depression.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, found that for those with severe depression that was not easily treatable, adopting a pet could help lessen symptoms.

Jorge Mota Pereira and Daniela Fonte, two Portuguese researchers, recruited 80 study participants who had "treatment-resistant major depressive disorder." They encouraged each one to adopt a pet. Of the 80 participants, 33 agreed to adopt, with 20 individuals choosing a dog and seven choosing a cat.

Blackbox

Are our dreams glimpses of other dimensions?

many worlds hypothesis
If you have ever looked into the 'many world's theory' you know that the world we live in is quite possibly one of many. Regardless of the multiverse hypotheses you choose to follow/look into, each one is truly fascinating for a number of reasons.

Basically, most of them touch on how there are many different worlds, universes, dimensions, or whatever you would like to call them. Each one the same as our own but also different in some way. For instance, in another world, you might be living the same life as you are now but perhaps politics had gone in a different direction. Maybe all of the presidents that were elected here in the US were opposite from how they are in our world. Maybe everything is the same except for you have different colored hair? The differences between worlds could be minuscule or extreme, it all varies.

Comment: See also:


Pocket Knife

Study finds millennial men continue to value traditional masculine qualities

man writing grass
As the famous Village People song declares, "Every man wants to be a macho macho man / To have the kind of body, always in demand." But are "macho macho" mindsets becoming a thing of the past? A new study finds that male millennials are drifting away from stereotypical masculine values.

The research, led by the University of British Columbia, showed that younger men tend to value selflessness, social engagement, and health over traditional male ideals like physical strength and autonomy.


Comment: Autonomy and selflessness are not mutually exclusive and, as the article notes later, it was only marginally rated as less important.


Of course, physique and independence were still prominent values for the 630 Canadian men aged 15 to 29 who took part in the survey, just not as important to participants as selflessness. In fact, selflessness was by far the top-rated male value. Nine in 10 respondents said that men should help others, and 88 percent of the respondents agreed that men should be open to new ideas, new people, and new experiences. Eight in 10 felt it imperative that a man gives back to his community.

Comment: Hedonism, hyper competitiveness and neglecting one's health were never aspirational masculine qualities, they are aberrations men assume when lacking role models and purpose. As noted in the article, these are stereotypes. Most of these 'new' values were traits men in good standing were always admired for.


Boat

How dealing with past trauma may be the key to breaking addiction

Trauma
© Illustration: Eva Bee/Observer
Facing trauma: ‘It takes a lot of work to wake up as a human being, and it’s a lot easier to stay asleep than to wake up.’
Opening up to past trauma is difficult, but self-awareness is key to addressing issues that leave us vulnerable

What's your poison, people sometimes ask, but Gabor Maté doesn't want to ask what my poison is, he wants to ask how it makes me feel. Whatever it is I'm addicted to, or ever have been addicted to, it's not what it is but what it does - to me, to you, to anyone. He believes that anything we've ever craved helped us escape emotional pain. It gave us peace of mind, a sense of control and a feeling of happiness.

And all of that, explains Maté, reveals a great deal about addiction, which he defines as any behaviour that gives a person temporary relief and pleasure, but also has negative consequences, and to which the individual will return time and again. At the heart of Maté's philosophy is the belief that there's no such thing as an "addictive personality". And nor is addiction a "disease". Instead, it originates in a person's need to solve a problem: a deep-seated problem, often from our earliest years that was to do with trauma or loss.

Comment: Dr. Gabor Maté: The stress-disease connection, addiction & the destruction of American childhood


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The Truth Perspective: How To Survive A Totalitarian Nightmare: The Psychology Of Tyranny

kremlin leadership USSR
What is it like to live in a country with a brutal, totalitarian government? According to Dr. Andrew Lobaczewski, the only way to truly know is to actually experience it. Literary accounts and news reports can provide some data, but even that will only be theoretical. Actually experiencing it is something else entirely: a punch in the gut that can cause anxiety, depression, and PTSD. But there's one other way to get an idea: a first-hand experience with malevolence at the hands of someone with a severe personality disorder.

Today on the Truth Perspective we discuss chapter 6 of Lobaczewski's book Political Ponerology: "Normal People Under Pathocratic Rule". The reason people who have lived with a pathological individual know what it's like to live under a pathocracy is because the two experiences are analogous: they both involve personality-disordered individuals in positions of authority. And without an understanding of psychopathology, we can't understand totalitarianism.

In this chapter, Lobaczewski discusses the experience of living under pathocratic rule: the deformations of normal human psychology that result, as well as the skills and values that develop after years of terror. The current polarization we are experiencing in our own society is not a good development, but if we don't do something to stop where it is leading us, the time will come when both sides of the political spectrum are equally terrorized. Ironically, it may only be a real pathocracy that will bring both sides together: a solidarity bred by shared suffering that seems unimaginable to us now.

Running Time: 01:35:11

Download: MP3


Book

Children who start school a year early more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, study shows

kids in school

Children with ADHD find it more difficult to focus and to complete their schoolwork. Credit: public domain image
Could a child's birthday put them at risk for an ADHD misdiagnosis? The answer appears to be yes, at least among children born in August who start school in states with a Sept. 1 cutoff enrollment date, according to a new study led by Harvard Medical School researchers.

The findings, published Nov. 28 in The New England Journal of Medicine, show that children born in August in those states are 30 percent more likely to receive an ADHD diagnosis, compared with their slightly older peers enrolled in the same grade.

The rate of ADHD diagnoses among children has risen dramatically over the past 20 years. In 2016 alone, more than 5 percent of U.S. children were being actively treated with medication for ADHD. Experts believe the rise is fueled by a combination of factors, including a greater recognition of the disorder, a true rise in the incidence of the condition and, in some cases, improper diagnosis.

Comment: Younger kids having a difficult time sitting still for hours and paying attention isn't a medical condition. It's just normal. That a correlation like the above is being made should be ringing alarm bells for those who are trigger-happy with the medication. We'll be surprised if it makes any difference in the over-diagnosis problem.

See also: