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Mon, 19 Mar 2018
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


Creativity: The silver lining of social rejection

Creative mind
Being rejected socially makes people more creative, research finds.

Feeling outside the group helps people generate more novel ideas.

It may help to explain why so many great artists were outsiders - people who lived separate lives in order to produce works that would surprise and delight the rest of us.

The study's authors call it the 'outsider advantage'.

Professor Jack Goncalo, who led the study, said:
"If you have the right way of managing rejection, feeling different can help you reach creative solutions.

Unlike people who have a strong need to belong, some socially rejected people shrug off rejection with an attitude of 'normal people don't get me and I am meant for something better.'

Our paper shows how that works."

Comment: Learning to carry on in the face of adversity is one of life's great lessons.


Hey kids time to unplug! Students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens

© ShutterStock
Today's students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We've seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks.

In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions.


A sign of the times: Why are kids impatient, bored, friendless and entitled?

"Kids today are in a devastating emotional state! Most come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this." ~V.P.

In her practice, my friend Victoria Prooday, OT is seeing something so widespread and alarming that I asked if I could share her thoughts. Due to the overwhelming interest and conversation on this topic, I am re-sharing her post.

I encourage every parent who cares about the future of his/her children to read it. I know that many would choose not to hear what she says in the article, but your children needs you to hear this message.

Arrow Down

Nervous breakdown: What are the signs?

nervous breakdown depression
Nervous breakdown and mental breakdown are dated terms describing emotional or physical stress that temporarily makes someone unable to function in day-to-day life.

Though once used as a catchall for a wide range of mental illnesses, the medical community no longer uses the term "nervous breakdown" to describe any specific medical condition.

Nonetheless, a so-called nervous breakdown remains a sign of a recognized, underlying mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

So, the signs and symptoms of what some people may still call a nervous breakdown depend on the underlying medical condition.

Comment: As Western society continues to spiral through its collective mental breakdown, it will no doubt become more and more common for individuals to cope. Knowing the signs of excessive stress and breakdown, and the ability to recover, is becoming more and more important. See also:

Snakes in Suits

Which hairstyles make you look most intelligent and attractive?

© Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
Hairstyles as depicted on an ancient sculpture of women in the Louvre, France.
Certain hairstyles made people look more sexy, others more good-natured or even more narrow-minded.

Medium-length casual-looking styles are judged as making women look more intelligent, a survey finds.

These styles are also linked to being good-natured.

Shorter, highlighted hairstyles on a woman make them look more outgoing and confident.

However, in one of those inevitable and irritating trade-offs, shorter hair is seen as less sexy on women.

The hairstyle that gives an intelligent sheen to a man was medium-length side-parted hair.

The bad news for men with these haircuts is that they were also seen as narrow-minded.

The sexiest hairstyle for a man was rated as short hair with a 'front-flip'.

Actors Matt LeBlanc and Ben Affleck both often sport the front-flip.

The front-flip, however, was linked to being self-centred.

Comment: It should be interesting to read this article in light of what we know of cognitive bias and prejudice:


Jordan Peterson's '12 Rules for Life: A compass for the lost

Professor Jordan Peterson
When I read Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson's new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, last fall, it read like a bestseller-to-be.

Well-written, insightful, and best of all, practical. Since its release in January, it has sat atop the Amazon bestseller chart. And thank God.

Peterson's book occupied my mind for weeks after I finished it. His points, or "rules," of personal conduct - surround yourself with people who want the best for you; pursue meaning, not expedience; speak precisely and deliberately - are universally invaluable.



Give yourself a tailwind: The value of chasing discomfort, pain and fear

dragon of discomfort fear
There's a remarkable amount of value in chasing discomfort.

Look at the projects on your plate, and ask which make you feel the least comfortable. You'll usually find these projects are extraordinarily valuable, and that your aversion is caused by the fact that they're difficult, frustrating, and ambiguous. While these feelings are uncomfortable, they are precisely what make certain experiences valuable.

Similarly, think of the conversations you've been meaning to have at work and at home. The ones you're most averse to are probably the most important. The same goes for DIY projects you're avoiding; emails left unanswered in your inbox; and books you've been meaning to read, but have been too intimidated to start.

Anyone can do easy tasks, but few want to do ones that make them uncomfortable. By running towards discomfort, instead of away from it, you do what others don't want to-and as a result, deliver unique value. This gives you a leg up on others who don't want to do the work.

Comment: Stepping outside your comfort zone: Ten uncomfortable challenges that will pay off forever


Researchers find stress can be contagious and alter the brains of your partner

© Getty Images
Stress is contagious, and it can alter the brains of others.
Stress transmitted from others can actually change the brain, scientists at the University of Calgary have found.

In a new paper published in Nature Neuroscience, the authors report the results of research on mice that were exposed to brief electroshocks on their feet and then reunited with a sibling.

Jaideep Bains, professor of Physiology & Pharmacology at the University of Calgary and one of the study authors, said previous research has shown that stress changes the brain and that it can be, in a sense, contagious.

"We thought, if stress causes long-lasting changes in the brain of the person who was stressed, or the mouse, and stress can be transmitted, does the transmitted stress cause the same changes in the brain?" Bains said in an interview Wednesday.

Comment: More from Psyblog:

Dr Toni-Lee Sterley, who led the study, said:
"There has been other literature that shows stress can be transferred - and our study is actually showing the brain is changed by that transferred stress.

The neurons that control the brain's response to stress showed changes in unstressed partners that were identical to those we measured in the stressed mice."
The conclusion comes from a study on pairs of male and female mice.

One of the pair was exposed to a mild stress before being returned to its partner.

The results showed that both the stressed mouse and the one that was not directly stressed had the same changes in critical brain networks.

Professor Jaideep Bains, who led the research, said:
"What we can begin to think about is whether other people's experiences or stresses may be changing us in a way that we don't fully understand.

The study also demonstrates that traits we think of as uniquely human are evolutionary conserved biological traits."
Stress caused the mice to release a chemical signal in the form of a pheromone to alert its partner.

Social interactions helped the female mice bounce back from the stress: the affected neurons recovered by around 50%.

The social interaction did not not help the male mice.

Professor Bains said:
"If some of the effects of stress are erased through social interactions, but this benefit is limited to females, this may provide insights into how we design personalized approaches for the treatment of stress disorders in people."


Study suggests maximum income for optimal happiness is $75K per year

money man
The maximum income for optimal happiness is between $60,000 and $75,000 per year, new research finds.

Any more than that is associated with falling levels of happiness - perhaps because, above this level, the sacrifices are not worth it.

The researchers also asked people about their satisfaction with life.

Comment: See also:


The pineal gland doesn't produce enough DMT for psychedelic experiences, says researcher

pineal gland
© rob3000
Psychedelic researcher David E. Nichols is pushing back against the belief that the pineal gland in the brain produces mystical experiences because it creates a powerful psychoactive substance called N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

The pineal gland is a small structure inside the brain that influences the sleep cycle by secreting the hormone melatonin. But claims have spread that the pineal gland also can produce DMT, a claim that has been used as a biological explanation for dreams, UFO abductions, and other out of body experiences.

Trace amounts of DMT have been detected in the pineal gland and other parts of the human body. But Nichols, an adjunct professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry at the University of North Carolina, said in an article published the scientific journal Psychopharmacology that there is no good evidence to support the link between the pineal gland, DMT, and mystical experiences.