Welcome to Sott.net
Fri, 27 Jan 2023
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit
Map

People

US: Study finds shifting domestic roles for men who lost jobs in current recession

Image
© Unknown
The acute economic downturn that began in 2008 sometimes is called the "mancession" to reflect its harsher impact on men than women. As recently as last November, 10.4 percent of adult men were unemployed as compared to 8 percent of adult women.

But how do unemployed men cope with their shifting domestic roles, especially when they become financially dependent on a wife or female partner?

One University of Kansas researcher has investigated the impact of joblessness on masculinity and the "breadwinner ideology" within the context of traditional families.

"It changes how men think of themselves," said Ilana Demantas, doctoral student in sociology, who has interviewed 20 recently unemployed men. "Usually men see themselves as supporters of the family, and since a lot of them are no longer able to do that alone on their income, they have to construct their identity in a new way to allow them to still think positively of themselves."

Demantas will present her findings at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

People

Study reveals cultural characteristics of the Tea Party movement: Authoritarianism, libertarianism, fear of change, and nativism

Image
© Unknown
American voters sympathetic to the Tea Party movement reflect four primary cultural and political beliefs more than other voters do: authoritarianism, libertarianism, fear of change, and negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration, according to new research to be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

"Our findings show that the Tea Party movement can best be understood as a new cultural expression of late 20th century conservatism," said Andrew J. Perrin, an associate professor of sociology in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's College of Arts and Sciences, and lead author of the study, "Cultures of the Tea Party."

Findings are based on two telephone polls of registered voters in North Carolina and Tennessee (conducted May 30-June 3, 2010 and Sept. 29-Oct. 3, 2010), and a set of interviews and observations at a Tea Party movement rally in Washington, N.C. Nearly half of poll respondents (46 percent) felt favorably toward the Tea Party movement.

Bulb

Experience puts the personal stamp on a place in memory

Image
© Unknown
Seeing helps map a place in the mind, but exploration and experience are vital, researchers say.

Seeing and exploring both are necessary for stability in a person's episodic memory when taking in a new experience, say University of Oregon researchers.

The human brain continuously records experiences into memory. In experiments in the UO lab of Clifford G. Kentros, researchers have been studying the components of memory by recording how neurons fire in the hippocampus of rats as they are introduced to new activities. As in humans, brain activation in rats is seen in particular locations called "place cells." It has been believed that these cells together form a mental map of the environment.

There are subtle but important differences, though, in how mapping is done, the researchers say in a paper online in advance of regular publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Rats need to directly experience a place to create a stable representation of it in their brains, researchers say. Seeing provides the big picture, but exploration burns it into memory.

Heart

Is Marriage Good for the Heart? Wedded Bliss Triples Long-Term Survival After Bypass Surgery

Image
© Credit: J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester
Dennis Greco is enjoying life with his wife of 32 years, Susan Greco, more than a decade after undergoing bypass surgery. His secret? A happy marriage, according to a new study from the University of Rochester. The effect of marital satisfaction is “every bit as important to survival after bypass surgery as more traditional risk factors like tobacco use, obesity, and high blood pressure,” says study coauthor Harry Reis.
Giving your heart to a supportive spouse turns out to be an excellent way to stay alive, according to new research from the University of Rochester. Happily wedded people who undergo coronary bypass surgery are more than three times as likely to be alive 15 years later as their unmarried counterparts, reports a study published online August 22 in Health Psychology, a publication of the American Psychological Association.

"There is something in a good relationship that helps people stay on track" says Kathleen King, professor emerita from the School of Nursing at the University of Rochester and lead author on the paper.

In fact, the effect of marital satisfaction is "every bit as important to survival after bypass surgery as more traditional risk factors like tobacco use, obesity, and high blood pressure," says coauthor Harry Reis, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

Family

Carrying a baby facing forwards is 'cruel, stressful and terrifying', claims Australian expert. But is it really so?

Mothers who carry their babies facing forwards are cruel and selfish, according to a leading child health expert.

She said the same accusations could be applied to those who take babies out in pushchairs which face away from the parent.

Cathrine Fowler, a professor of child and family health nursing, claimed youngsters are frightened if they are carried in a sling or pushed in a pram looking away from their parents.

Image
© Alamy
Cruel? Professor Catherine Fowler from Sydney's University of Technology said youngsters are terrified as they are carried looking forwards by their mothers in a busy world. Picture posed by model
'Imagine if you were strapped to someone's chest with your legs and arms flailing, heading with no control into a busy shopping centre - it would be terrifying,' said Professor Fowler.

'Outward-facing baby carriers and prams give babies a bombardment of stimulus, creating a very stressful situation.

Magnify

At Last, A Reason Why Stress Causes DNA Damage

definition of stress
© Getty Images
For years, researchers have published papers that associate chronic stress with chromosomal damage.

Now researchers at Duke University Medical Center have discovered a mechanism that helps to explain the stress response in terms of DNA damage.

"We believe this paper is the first to propose a specific mechanism through which a hallmark of chronic stress, elevated adrenaline, could eventually cause DNA damage that is detectable," said senior author Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at Duke University Medical Center.

The paper was published in the Aug. 21 online issue of Nature.

In the study, mice were infused with an adrenaline-like compound that works through a receptor called the beta adrenergic receptor that Lefkowitz has studied for many years. The scientists found that this model of chronic stress triggered certain biological pathways that ultimately resulted in accumulation of DNA damage.

Comment: There is one proven technique called Éiriú Eolas that can greatly assist you with reducing your stress, to lessen the risk of damaging your DNA and it has many other proven benefits for your mind, body, and emotional well-being.


No Entry

Study: Psychopaths Have "Potholed" Brains

psychopath treatment
© iStockphoto
The study may open the way to the development of treatments for dangerous psychopaths in the future
Psychopaths have faulty connections between the part of the brain dealing with emotions and that which handles impulses and decision-making, scientists have found.

In a study of psychopaths who had committed murder, manslaughter, multiple rape, strangulation and false imprisonment, the British scientists found that roads linking the two crucial brain areas had "potholes", while those of non-psychopaths were in good shape.

The study opens up the possibility of developing treatments for dangerous psychopaths in the future, says Dr Michael Craig of the Institute of Psychiatry at London's King's College Hospital, and may have profound implications for doctors, researchers and the criminal justice system.

"These were particular serious offenders with psychopathy and without any other mental illnesses," he says.

Health

Not All Psychopaths Are Criminal

Image
© British Psychological Society
Experts have recognised for some time that not all psychopaths are violent criminals. Many of them live inconspicuously amongst us (see item 4 here). But according to Mehmet Mahmut and his colleagues, these more benign psychopaths have been relatively uninvestigated. It's not even clear how comparable they are to their more notorious counterparts.

One hundred university students completed a self-report measure of psychopathy that probed four key areas - lack of empathy, grandiosity, impulsivity and delinquency. The top 33 per cent and bottom 33 per cent of scorers subsequently formed high and low psychopathy groups. The low and high psychopathy groups then completed the kinds of neuropsychological tests that have often been used on research with criminal psychopaths.

The high psychopathy students, as well as recording low empathy on the self-report test, also scored poorly on the Iowa Card Gambling task (relative to the low psychopathy students), reflecting the same kind of performance seen in criminal psychopaths. This gambling task is thought to measure functioning in a specific frontal region of the brain called orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), which is known to be involved in emotion and decision-making.

Magnify

Psychopaths' Brains Wired to Seek Rewards, No Matter the Consequences

psychopathic brain
© Gregory R.Samanez-Larkin and Joshua W. Buckholtz
Abnormalities in how the nucleus accumbens, highlighted here, processes dopamine have been found in individuals with psychopathic traits and may be linked to violent, criminal behavior.
The brains of psychopaths appear to be wired to keep seeking a reward at any cost, new research from Vanderbilt University finds. The research uncovers the role of the brain's reward system in psychopathy and opens a new area of study for understanding what drives these individuals.

"This study underscores the importance of neurological research as it relates to behavior," Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said. "The findings may help us find new ways to intervene before a personality trait becomes antisocial behavior."

The results were published March 14, 2010, in Nature Neuroscience.

"Psychopaths are often thought of as cold-blooded criminals who take what they want without thinking about consequences," Joshua Buckholtz, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and lead author of the new study, said. "We found that a hyper-reactive dopamine reward system may be the foundation for some of the most problematic behaviors associated with psychopathy, such as violent crime, recidivism and substance abuse."

Wine

A Radical New Definition of Addiction Creates a Big Storm

addiction graphic
© n/a
A sweeping new definition of addiction stakes out controversial positions that many, including the powerful psychiatric lobby, are likely to argue with.

If you think addiction is all about booze, drugs, sex, gambling, food and other irresistible vices, think again. And if you believe that a person has a choice whether or not to indulge in an addictive behavior, get over it. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) blew the whistle on these deeply held notions with its official release of a new document defining addiction as a chronic neurological disorder involving many brain functions, most notably a devastating imbalance in the so-called reward circuitry. This fundamental impairment in the experience of pleasure literally compels the addict to chase the chemical highs produced by substances like drugs and alcohol and obsessive behaviors like sex, food and gambling.

The definition, a result of a four-year process involving more than 80 leading experts in addiction and neurology, emphasizes that addiction is a primary illness - in other words, it's not caused by mental health issues such as mood or personality disorders, putting to rest the popular notion that addictive behaviors are a form of "self-medication" to, say, ease the pain of depression or anxiety.