Sunday, 27 April 2014

VIDEO Don't Eat The Marshmallow: Delayed Gratification

Friday, 25 April 2014

10 Psychological Studies Every Parent Should Know About

One of the many reasons parenting is an impossible job is that everyone is giving you advice, and much of it is rubbish. Frankly, it’s amazing we've all made it this far. So, bucking the trend of random anecdote and superstition, here are ten recent psychology studies that every parent should know.

1. Parents are happier than non-parents
In recent years some studies have suggested that the pleasures of having children are outweighed by the pains.

“Ha!” said parents to themselves, secretly, “I knew it!”

Not so fast though: new research has found that, on average, parents feel better than non-parents each day and derive more pleasure from caring for their children than from other activities (Nelson et al.,. 2013).

Fathers, in particular, derive high levels of positive emotions and happiness from their children.

2. Putting your child first is worth it
Underlining the pleasures of having children, research finds that child-centric attitudes are beneficial.

A study by Ashton-James et al. (2013) found that parents who were the most child-centric were also happier and derived greater meaning in life from having children.

Performing child-care activities was associated with greater meaning and fewer negative feelings.

“These findings suggest that the more care and attention people give to others, the more happiness and meaning they experience. From this perspective, the more invested parents are in their children’s well-being — that is, the more ‘child centric’ parents are — the more happiness and meaning they will derive from parenting.” (Ashton-James et al., 2013)

So, what’s good for your kids, is also good for you.

3. Helicopter parenting may be depressing
As with many things in life, though, it’s a fine line between caring and smothering; especially when children have grown up.

Schiffrin et al. (2013) asked 297 undergraduate students about their parents’ behaviour and how they felt about it.

The study found links between ‘helicopter parenting’ and higher levels of depression amongst the students, as well as lower levels of autonomy, relatedness and competence.

“Parents should keep in mind how developmentally appropriate their involvement is and learn to adjust their parenting style when their children feel that they are hovering too closely.” (Schiffrin et al., 2013)
4. Avoid strict discipline
Around 90% of American parents admit at least one instance of using strict verbal discipline with their children, such as calling names or swearing at them.

Rather than helping keep adolescents in line, though, be aware that this may just exacerbate the problem.

A study of 967 US families found that harsh verbal discipline at 13-years-old predicted worse behaviour in the next year (Wang et al., 2013).

And it didn’t help if parents had a strong bond with their children. The study’s lead author Ming-Te Wang explained:

“The notion that harsh discipline is without consequence, once there is a strong parent-child bond–that the adolescent will understand that ‘they’re doing this because they love me’–is misguided because parents’ warmth didn’t lessen the effects of harsh verbal discipline. Indeed, harsh verbal discipline appears to be detrimental in all circumstances.”
5. Regular bedtimes
Regular bedtimes really matter to children’s developing brains.

Researchers followed 11,000 children from when they were 3-years old to the age of 7 to measure the effects of bedtimes on cognitive function, (Kelly et al., 2013).

The researchers found that:

“…irregular bedtimes at 3 years of age were associated with lower scores in reading, maths, and spatial awareness in both boys and girls, suggesting that around the age of 3 could be a sensitive period for cognitive development.”

Regular bedtimes are important for both boys and girls and the earlier these can be implemented, the better for cognitive performance.
6. Do the chores together
Bringing up happy children is easier if Mum and Dad’s relationship isn’t too rocky. One frequent bone of contention between parents is the chores.

A trick for achieving marital satisfaction over the chores is to do them together.

When partners perform their chores at the same time–no matter who is doing what–both people are more satisfied with the division of labour (Galovan et al., 2013).
7. Limit infant TV viewing
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should watch no more than two hours of TV per day after two years of age, and none before that age.

Here’s why: a new study that followed almost 2,000 Canadian children from birth found that an extra hour’s TV viewing at 2.5-years-old predicted worse performance later when they attended kindergarten (Pagani et al., 2013).

The more children exceeded this recommendation at 2.5 years old, the worse their vocabulary, math and motor skills were at 5-years-old.

More on this study: One Extra Hour of TV Reduces Toddlers’ Kindergarten Chances
8. Exercise boosts kids’ school performance
Kids are increasingly sedentary and, as I frequently write here on PsyBlog, exercise is a wonderful way to boost brain power, and it has many other benefits (see 20 Wonderful Effects Exercise Has on the Mind).

A new study of 11-year-olds has found that moderate to vigorous exercise was associated with increased academic performance in English, Maths and Science (Booth et al., 2013).

These gains from exercise were also seen in exams taken at 16-years-old.

Interestingly, girls’ science results benefited the most from extra exercise.
9. Dangers of intense mothering
Some women say that taking care of children is more stressful than being at work. There are also links between child-rearing and stress and guilt.

How can we square this with the reports and research findings that children fill your life with joy and meaning?

It may be down to differences in attitudes to parenting. In particular, being an ‘intense mother’ may be bad for you.

In their study of 181 mothers of children under 5, Rizzo et al. (2012)found that mothers who most strongly endorsed the idea that children were sacred and that women are better parents than men, were more likely to be depressed and experience less satisfaction with life.

Yes, nurture your children, but don’t sacrifice your own mental health.
10. Why siblings are so different
Anyone with more than one child will have noticed a curious thing: their personalities are often very dissimilar.

In fact, according to a study by Plomin and Daniels (1987), siblings have no more in common in their personalities than two completely unrelated strangers.

This is very weird given that 50% of their genetic code is identical.

The answer isn’t in the genes at all, but in the environment in which children grow up.

Far from having the same environments, each child has:
a different relationship with their parents,
a different relationship with their other siblings,
different friends and experiences at school…

…and so on.

And all these differences add up to quite remarkable dissimilarities between siblings–often such that if they didn’t look alike, you’d never know they were related.

All this means, of course, that because their personalities are often so different, parenting strategies that work with one child, may not work with another.

It’s just one more challenge of being a parent!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Popcorn Effect: When Brand Ads Fail

Guest post by John Carvalho

Neuromarketing readers are likely to be familiar with the idea of fluency, and its importance in how we target, craft, and deliver marketing messages that resonate with our audiences.

Recall that human brains are wired to prefer things that are simple for us to process and we prefer that which we can easily understand. Here, we've looked at fluency in the context of image placement, and shown how simple things like the order and spacing of the images used in an ad can influence brand liking.

New research in the Journal of Consumer Psychology has now suggested that yet another way that the brain’s need for fluency can impact advertising’s effectiveness, especially when we encounter new brands.

Mere Exposure Effect

A major psychological principle that guides the effectiveness of advertising, especially for new brands, is something called the mere exposure effect. It sounds deceptively simple, but a tremendous amount of research over the past several years has pointed out that just being exposed to brands over time increases liking and intent to purchase. What’s the mechanism for this?

Sound it Out

Research that took place back in the 1930s has proven that each time we encounter a word, we actually subconsciously pronounce it to ourselves. This takes place below our conscious awareness, but this process of subconsciously pronouncing and repeating novel words helps drive our comfort and familiarity with them, and eventually positive feelings follow.
At The Movies

In this most recent study, researchers in Germany took movie theatregoers, whom marketers traditionally would think of as a captive audience, and disrupted this mere exposure effect in the simplest of ways: with snacks. Subjects were given popcorn, gum to chew, or a sugar cube (as a control). Then, they were shown a series of ads for new and unfamiliar brands, ensuring that the pronunciation effect would take place as subjects encountered and encoded the new brand names. However, those chewing gum or eating popcorn were disrupted from doing so, because they were preoccupied with chewing their food.

In later experiments that tested brand recall and purchase likelihood, those that first encountered ads while busy eating were in fact less likely to remember the brands, and less likely to purchase the brand they’d seen when given the choice.

As Roger Dooley noted in his post at Forbes, Can Chewing Cause Brand Amnesia?, the research suggests that if many ad viewers will be chewing (just before the start of a movie, for example), an ad slot that would work for an established brand like Coca Cola might be riskier for a new brand.
Got Fluency?

This study was limited in scope, but it’s a strong reminder that we need to think about all types of fluency when we talk to customers. In today’s marketplace, we all know that having our customers’ full attention seems impossible. That said, this is further reason to think about compelling, native, experience-based marketing that is less an interruption and more a part of everyday life. Compelling content that is fluent and “easy” in every way to process will win the day and your customers’ hearts.

- See more at:

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Role Of Forensic Hypnosis: Famous Court Cases That Used Hypnosis To Solve Crime

"You are getting sleepy. Very sleepy." Private detective Paul Grey thinks to himself and then laughs at this stereotypical belief of how hypnosis works. Only he knows it’s not that simple and a hypnotized person isn’t asleep even though the Greek root word in hypnosis is hypnos, which means to sleep. Under hypnosis Paul might appear to be asleep, but he is actually in a state of altered consciousness characterized by heightened awareness, deep relaxation, and suggestibility. There is decreased activity in the muscles, slowed breathing and heart rate, but the mind and senses become more alert and memories become more accessible. When hypnotized, Paul can vividly remember events from early childhood, like the first day of school, but in such detail he could tell you what he wore, what his teacher wore, and all of the surroundings he thought were long forgotten.

On his way to his hypnosis appointment Paul is able to focus so precisely on his driving that he blocks out all the stimuli around him, yet he still knows what is going on. He drives his car, but then won’t remember how he got there. Yet, obviously, he was still in control of the car: he didn’t run any red lights or have a wreck. Paul has experienced a form of self-hypnosis, that practically everyone can achieve – he has lost track of time. Hypnosis patients are often surprised their sessions have lasted two hours or longer, yet they feel as if hardly any time has gone by.

Upon arriving, Paul’s hypnotist dispels some common misconceptions about hypnosis spread through its portrayal in Hollywood movies, on television, and hypnosis stage shows. The hypnotist explains that Paul cannot be made to divulge secrets, be forced to tell the truth, or get "stuck" in hypnosis. Paul cannot be made to do crazy or embarrassing things like taking off all his clothes or acting like a chicken unless he is already motivated to do so or it is part of his underlying personality. It is important to realize Paul can lie or make up information while under hypnosis because of the highly suggestible state; however, this would have to be something he would already be willing to do. In other words, the hypnotist cannot control Paul. Even under hypnosis he will not do anything against his own will. Hypnosis makes Paul less inhibited, like the effects of alcohol or drugs, however it is not dangerous to him.

Paul and his hypnotist know the multitude of uses for hypnosis besides entertainment. Its uses include the treatment of many mental and physical conditions like phobias, overeating, smoking, school or sports performance, and self-confidence. The most fascinating use of hypnosis and the reason Paul will be hypnotized is to use hypnosis to solve a crime – forensic hypnosis.

Forensic hypnosis has been used in some high profile cases such as the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, and Sam Sheppard. First of all, forensic hypnosis must be conducted by a trained professional who knows how to get information without leading a witness or accidentally implanting a suggestion or memory. Secondly, very exacting procedures and standards must be met during the hypnosis session. Last, when the case goes to court the jury must consider the four dangers of hypnosis in deciding the case. The four dangers are: (1) suggestibility – a hypnotist could "suggest" a race, height, eye color, etcetera which the subject accepts as truth; (2) loss of critical judgment – under hypnosis personal beliefs and prejudices may influence how an event is interpreted during recall; (3) confabulation or lies – a person who has a reason to lie may create lies while under hypnosis or gaps in the memory may be filled in with false material that supports a self-interest; (4) memory cementing – a false memory seems so real to the witness that he develops false confidence in it. If all of the above conditions are met, then hypnosis testimony may be used in court and has in many cases been used successfully.

One such successful case is that of serial killer Ted Bundy. Theodore Robert Bundy was the handsome, charming stranger who stalked young grade school and college girls and confessed to killing more than thirty of them. No one knows for sure how many women Ted Bundy killed starting in 1974.

On January 15, 1978 Nita Neary returned to her Chi Omega sorority house and saw a man running down the stairs, a club in his hand. She saw the profile of his face. Four girls living in the house had been brutally beaten; two of them died. One week later Nita was put into a hypnotic state and questioned. She selected a photo of Ted Bundy from a photo line-up.

Approximately one month later, on February 9, 1978, a man in a white van abducted, brutalized, and killed twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach. Clarence Anderson was the one eyewitness to the abduction which took place near Kimberly’s school. Anderson underwent hypnosis twice to refresh his memory. Thereafter, he identified the man in the white van as none other than Ted Bundy, and the young girl as Kimberly Leach.

After two escapes from prison and eleven years of trials and appeals, Ted Bundy was convicted for two counts of first degree murder in the Chi Omega killings and a death sentence for the murder of Kimberly Leach. Theodore Bundy finally confessed to nearly thirty murders and was electrocuted in February 1989 surrounded by cheering and celebrations including fireworks and "Burn Bundy Burn" t-shirt sales.

In the case of Sam Sheppard, forensic hypnosis saved an innocent man. Sam Sheppard’s case is the one on which the movie The Fugitive was based. Convicted of murdering his wife, even though he consistently claimed that a "bushy-haired" intruder did it, Dr. Sam Sheppard was later legally exonerated of all charges.

It began in July 1954 when Marilyn Sheppard went to bed, leaving her husband Sam downstairs where he fell asleep watching television. Sam awoke to his wife’s calls and found her being beaten by an intruder. He struggled with the man and was knocked unconscious by a blow to the head. The media’s spin of the events included an "affair" and rumors of Sam’s "dark side" which resulted in a conviction.

After ten years in jail and various appeals, Sam Sheppard’s case returned to court. His defense was conducted by the now famous and brilliant trial lawyer, F. Lee Bailey. Throughout the trial F. Lee Bailey was able to convince the jurors that the original police investigation had been sloppy, ignoring evidence such as a cigarette butt in the toilet although no one in the house smoked, and that no motive had been established for why Dr. Sheppard would kill his wife. Dr. Sheppard had also been examined under hypnosis. He described the attacker and remembered feeling his neck crushed under someone’s foot and hearing someone talk about whether to kill him. He said the person walked with a limp. The juror’s votes in the case were for acquittal.

The decision to use hypnosis in the case of Albert DeSalvo, a.k.a. the Boston Strangler is unique and controversial. Thirteen women were killed in the Boston area from the summer of 1962 to January 1964, all victims of a serial killer who liked to sexually molest and kill the women in their apartments by strangling them with articles of their clothing. None of the killings gave any indication of forced entry, which means the women had let the killer into their homes. Five police jurisdictions eventually became involved, interviewing over 30,000 people, collecting thousands of pieces of evidence including hundreds of thousands of documents.

In 1961, Albert DeSalvo had been arrested for posing as a modeling agent, knocking on women’s doors. Those women who were interested had allowed him inside where he measured them; some had sex with him. He changed his methods, and in 1964 was arrested for entering women’s apartments and raping them. He would either talk or force his way in and caress the woman. Sometimes he would have sex with her. He claimed he never had sex if the woman was unwilling.

The police psychiatrist believed that Albert DeSalvo was moving through psychosexual stages, in which murder of the women was the next logical progression. Albert DeSalvo confessed the crimes to defense lawyer, F. Lee Bailey, claiming he was the Boston Strangler. After more than fifty hours of questioning, Bailey was convinced Albert DeSalvo was telling the truth. Part of the interrogation included putting DeSalvo under hypnosis. While hypnotized, DeSalvo described the murder of one of the women, Evelyn Corbin. During his session he was able to give details that he couldn’t have known unless Evelyn Corbin had told him herself, including information about her medical condition and a warning from her doctor to not have sex. Descriptions of other murders and the women involved had similar results, enough to convince the police detectives.

Forensic hypnosis was used in the Robert Kennedy assassination and the kidnapping of Jimmy Hoffa, as well as other high-profile cases. But forensic hypnosis isn’t just used for high-profile or famous court cases. It has been used hundreds of times for more everyday kinds of crimes from convenience store robberies to bank stick-ups to rapes and child molestation cases.

So let’s get back to Paul, our hypnotism subject. Today Paul is being hypnotized to help solve the mystery behind the death of an Atlanta socialite. Nikki Sills fell to her death from her seventeenth story apartment building. As a witness Paul could possibly remember under hypnosis whether he saw her jump, accidentally fall, or get pushed over. If she were pushed, his evidence and description of the culprit could solve her murder. The difference between Paul’s case and the others above is that Paul’s case is fiction, part of the novel Runner’s High, but the premise remains the same for both fiction and reality. For investigators and police alike, forensic hypnosis provides a valuable investigative tool in conjunction with other evidence, and aids them in their quest to find the guilty party.

For more information on forensic hypnosis:

Article courtesy of:

Sunday, 20 April 2014

VIDEO The Machine Is Changing Us

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Secrets of Deep Meditation

I’ve noticed that when experienced meditators go in search of a means to deepen their meditation, they often start by looking for a new technique.

Sure enough, you may find that a new technique gives your meditation a boost, but in most cases, once you have learned how to meditate, then the best way to improve the depth of your meditation is keep using the same technique, but to approach it a little differently (I'll get into this more in a moment). It may also be beneficial to you to make some positive changes to your lifestyle.

So instead of pondering over techniques or trying to learn some new trick, take a step back with me and let’s consider the larger picture of your life. If deep, blissful meditation is your sincere goal, then let’s explore the real factors that can help. You are already capable of deep meditation. What you may need are some reminders about what it takes to "go deep".

1. Your overall wellbeing – body, mind and soul
Your psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual health are all connected, and all have an impact on your ability to experience deep meditation. If there is an imbalance in one aspect of your life, it will undoubtably affect every other area in one way or another.

This article on body, mind and soul will help you to understand just how intimately connected the various components of your holistic self are. In it, I share a great story that shows how unexpected progress can be made in meditation, by addressing all aspects of personal health and healing.

2. Mindfulness
When you meditate, do you find that you mind is busy? Well you’re not alone. Over the course of a typical day it’s easy to build up an enormous amount of mental chatter.

The good news is that you do have the ability to reduce this build up of inner noise, even while you go about your normal daily routine!

Mindfulness is a powerful practice that will help prevent a buildup of mental chatter and prepare you for very deep meditation. Mindfulness is an incredibly powerful practice that can transform not only your meditations, but also the quality of your normal daily life.

These articles on mindfulness will help you to master your mind so that when you choose to meditate you can go much deeper, much faster.

3. Intention
For millions of people around the world, meditation is a positive part of their daily routine. Perhaps you are one of them. If you are, then be wary of your meditation becoming TOO routine.

I cannot stress just how important it is to understand the role of intention and how it can transform your meditations completely.

Please take a look at this article on the Power of Intention. While you’re in the neighbourhood, why not check out some of these great Quotes on Intention.

4. Binaural Audio
Binaural audio is a specialized form of music that helps to calm the activity in your mind and guide you into a state of deep relaxation. It is an extremely effective way of training the mind to enter a state of deep meditation and it's effective for both beginner and advanced meditators.

All that's really involved is listening to music that contains a technology known as "binaural beats". It's easy, it's very relaxing, and for many people, it brings about a turning point in their meditation and leads to a rapid acceleration in depth. Click here for more information.

5. Commitment and Persistence
I know, I know…commitment and persistence aren’t two of the most “fun” words in the world, but like so many things in life, they are essential to achieving true and lasting results. If you want to be able to slip easily into deep meditation on a regular basis, then you will have to dedicate a little time and effort to succeed.

I know it’s tempting to skip over this section, but I urge you to read this article on commitment. In it, I describe some of the steps you can take to easily elevate the status of meditation in your life and how the status of meditation in your life has a great bearing on how deeply you will be able to meditate.

While we’re on the subject, take a minute to get inspired with a few of these great commitment quotations, or be encouraged by this definition of commitment.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Are Babies Born With An Existing Structure Of Language?

A new study finds evidence that we are born with fundamental knowledge about language, helping to explain one of our greatest abilities.

Researchers in the US and Italy have found that newborn infants between two- and five-days-old already prefer syllables which are more ‘word-like’ over those not usually found in human languages (Gomez et al., 2014).

In the study, the researchers played back ‘good’ and ‘bad’ words to the newborns while using near-infrared spectroscopy to monitor the oxygenation of the blood in their brains.

An example of a ‘good’ syllable is ‘bl’ which is found in many languages around the world: there’s blando in Italian, blusa in Spanish and blink in English, amongst many, many other examples.

In contrast, a ‘bad’ syllable is ‘lb’ which is a much less frequent combination found in low frequencies in few languages (including Russian).

The idea is that we have an inbuilt tendency to prefer particular basic building-blocks of language over others.

In the example above we prefer ‘bla’ over ‘lba’.

The question is whether we are born with this preference or is it something that we learn with exposure to language over time.

The new study supports the idea that these preferences for certain types of syllables are inborn.

Infants who haven’t even learned how to babble yet seem to be born with a sense of how words should sound.

One of the study’s authors, Professor Iris Berent said:
“The results of this new study suggest that, the sound patterns of human languages are the product of an inborn biological instinct, very much like birdsong,”

This helps explain similarities in the structure of many languages, since they are likely based on common inbuilt preference for how languages should sound at a very basic level.

That’s why babies can arrive in the world and be confident that whatever language those around them speak, they will be able to pick it up.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Oscars For Best Psychology Films

As each award season approaches, the world's attention focuses on Hollywood and the best of its yearly productions. Underneath the glitz and the glamour, psychology provides much of the substance that propels producers, directors, and screenwriters to give creative voice to the range of human experiences. Audiences are fascinated by heartless murderers, tragic heros or heroines wrestling with psychological demons, couples who tear each other apart, and families that make their home life a constant nightmare. Whether frightening or at times hilarious, Hollywood's dramatization of the psychological life of its characters is what keeps us glued to the screen.

As it turns out, the Academy Awards are heavily weighted toward films that depict psychological themes. They also do give unusual emphasis to certain types of characters and issues. Here I've compiled a list of psychological themes in award-winning movies including movies that won Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, and Best Picture (although I did cheat in one important instance). This led to a potential set of 252 films and characters. Of these, I count 62 that fit my criteria, leading to the overwhelming statistic that psychology accounts for 25% of all Oscar-winning major films and roles. It's possible that I've missed one or two, and if so, I welcome comments to point these out!

There's one other important way that psychology went to the movies, and that is in the real life of 2010's Best Actor and Best Actress. Both Natalie Portman and Colin Firth are co-authors of published psychological articles. Portman served as an undergraduate research assistant (here's hope to all underpaid and overworked psych students). Firth actually funded a brain imaging study comparing political conservatives to liberals. You can check out those references below. Obviously publishing a psychology article is highly correlated with your chances of winning an Oscar.Who said correlation didn't equal causation? (Just kidding, of course).

And now, can we have the envelope, please?

Best Actress Winners (and their associated disorders):

1939: Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind: Narcissistic personality disorder

1957 Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve : Dissociative identity disorder

1968: Barbra Streisand Funny Girl: Narcissistic personality disorder (tied with Katharine Hepburn for Best Actress)

1972: Liza Minelli Cabaret: Narcissistic personality disorder

1977: Diane Keaton Annie Hall: Generalized anxiety disorder

1999 Hilary Swank: Boys Don't Cry: Gender identity disorder

2000: Angelina Jolie* Girl Interrupted: Borderline personality disorder

2002: Nicole Kidman The Hours: Major depressive disorder

2010 Natalie Portman, Black Swan: Psychotic disorder, not otherwise specified

*Best supporting actress

Best Actor Winners (and their associated disorders):

1945: Ray Milland The Lost Weekend: Alcohol dependence

1948: Laurence Olivier Hamlet: Major depressive disorder

1960: Burt Lancaster Elmer Gantry: Narcissistic personality disorder

1970: George C. Scott (refused) Patton: Narcissistic personality disorder

1972: Marlon Brando (refused) The Godfather: Antisocial personality disorder

1976: Peter Finch Network: Major depressive disorder

1978 Jon Voight Coming Home : PTSD

1980: Robert De Niro Raging Bull: Intermittent explosive disorder

1984 F. Murray Abraham Amadeus : Delusional disorder

1987 Michael Douglas Wall Street: Antisocial personality disorder

1988: Dustin Hoffman Rain Man: Autistic disorder

1991: Anthony Hopkins Silence of the Lambs: Antisocial personality disorder

1997: Jack Nicholson As Good as it Gets: Obsessive Compulsive disorder

1999: Kevin Spacey American Beauty: Pedophilic disorder

2006: Forest Whitaker The Last King of Scotland: Antisocial personality disorder/narcissistic personality disorder

2007: Daniel Day-Lewis There Will be Blood: Antisocial personality disorder

2009: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart: Alcohol dependence

2010: Colin Firth, The King's Speech: Stuttering

Best Picture Winners (and disorders portrayed):

1939: Gone With the Wind: Narcissistic personality disorder

1940: Rebecca: Complicated bereavement

1945: The Lost Weekend: Alcohol dependence

1946: The Best Years of Our Life: PTSD

1948: Hamlet: Major depressive disorder

1950: All About Eve: Dissociative Identity Disorder

1955: Marty: Intellectual developmental disability

1958: Gigi: Pedophilic disorder

1963: Tom Jones: Compulsive sexuality

1968: Oliver: Antisocial personality disorder

1969: Midnight Cowboy: Drug dependence

1970: Patton: Narcissistic personality disorder

1972: The Godfather: Antisocial personality disorder

1973: The Sting: Antisocial personality disorder

1974: The Godfather Part II: Antisocial personality disorder

1975: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest: Schizophrenia (including Jack Nicholson for Best Actor though he did not have schizophrenia)

1977: Annie Hall: Generalized anxiety disorder

1984: Amadeus: Delusional disorder

1986: Platoon: Acute stress disorder

1988: Rain Man: Autism

1991: Silence of the Lambs: Antisocial personality disorder

1992: Unforgiven: Antisocial personality disorder

1994: Forrest Gump: Intellectual developmental disability

1996: The English Patient: PTSD (probable)

1999: American Beauty : Pedophilic disorder

2001: A Beautiful Mind: Schizophrenia

2002: Chicago: Narcissistic personality disorder (Roxie Hart and Billy Flynn) and antisocial personality disorder (Velma Kelly)

2006: The Departed: Antisocial personality disorder

2007: No Country for Old Men: Antisocial personality disorder

2009: The Hurt Locker: Acute stress disorder (or PTSD)

2010: The King's Speech: Stuttering

Movies based on severely impaired family relationships

1966: Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf (including Elizabeth Taylor as Best Actress)

1979: Kramer vs. Kramer

1980: Ordinary people

1983: Terms of Endearment

The Oscars for most frequent psychological disorder go to:

Antisocial personality disorder - 23% of all themes

Narcissistic personality disorder- 19% of all themes

Clearly, psychology features heavily in Hollywood's feature films. Let's hope that someday, the Academcy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences includes psychology as one of its sciences!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

VIDEO Brain Magic: Keith Barry

Friday, 11 April 2014

Why Do Certain Things Annoy Us?

Traffic. Mosquitoes. People who snap their gum. People who crack their knuckles. There are so many things in the world that are just downright annoying.
But what makes them annoying? It's the question that NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca and Science Friday's Flora Lichtman set out to answer in their new book, Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us.

For instance, why is hearing someone else's phone call more irritating than just overhearing a normal conversation? In an interview with Morning Edition's Renee Montagne, Lichtman explains why this is so grating.

"It's half of a conversation," she says. "Your brain goes into this mode where you start trying to predict what that person is going to say next. The thing that's frustrating about a cellphone conversation is that it's very hard to predict, which is one of the things that we found makes something annoying."

A study by a graduate student at Cornell University experimented with this idea of predicting speech by taking half of a conversation and garbling the words. Even though the test subjects couldn't understand half of what was being said, the annoying effects went away. "It's not just about the sound intruding your space," Lichtman says. "It seems to be about the speech itself."

Most people have something that particularly annoys them. For Lichtman, it's people who clip their nails on the subway in New York. That combination of someone else's hygiene habits and the sound of the clippers sets her teeth on edge.

For Palca, the annoyance that tops his list is unexplained delays.

"You're in the airport and a flight is supposed to go at 10," he says. "At a quarter to 10, they haven't boarded the plane. And then at 10, they haven't boarded the plane. And at 10:15 they haven't boarded the plane, and nobody is telling you why."

There are, however, a few things out there that are universally annoying — like fingernails on a blackboard.

"It seems to be something intrinsic about that mix of frequencies," Lichtman says. "The change in volume rapidly — it's called 'rough' in acoustics — most people's ears don't like that stimulus."

While there are plenty of irritants in the world, there aren't a lot of ways to alleviate that sense of annoyance. Palca points out that they're part of human life, and they're something that everyone has to deal with from time to time.

But there are some techniques that people can use — for example, distracting yourself if you're stuck in a long line, or something Palca calls "cognitive restructuring."

"You can tell yourself that that mosquito is just a part of the life flow of the world and I shouldn't be mad," he says. "It's just trying to do what it was genetically programmed to do."

Basically, though, the bottom line is that you're stuck, it's annoying, and that's part of life.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Top 10 Books For Learning Hypnosis

Although I try to include a lot of information about the field of hypnotherapy, the best way to learn is by reading the books of the top pros and taking their courses. lists 10 great books for learning hypnosis from the best...

1. Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman

One of the most regarded books of all time on the subject of hypnosis.

Dave Elman has one of the most effective inductions that is utilized by professional hypnotists all around the World. Personally I've used his methods with foolproof results of getting people to have their eyelids stuck shut with in seconds of the hypnotic process.

2. The How-To Book Of Hypnotism by Tom Silver and Ormond McGill

This how to book shows you exactly what to do to conduct hypnosis with one person or a group. Excellent content from 2 very experienced hypnotists.

I personally trained with the Author and have used his methods to conduct very powerful sessions, as well as perform jaw dropping inductions for crowds.

3. The Everything Self-Hypnosis Book: Learn to use your mental power to take control of your life (Everything (Self-Help)) by Rene A. Bastarache

This author I have trained with as well, he has a very comprehensive approach. Prior to doing hypnosis training with Rene I had limited experience with hypnotizing others.

Using the methods he shares I was able to hypnotize friends and strangers to the deepest degree, create a stage hypnosis show that became my profession and help others with hypnotherapy.

Read this book online for FREE on Google Books.

4. New Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Every hypnotist should have a basic understanding of taking control of the "servo mechanism" that we have been gifted with to use to our advantage.

Very practical methods for hypnosis and de-hypnosis. It's a classic.

5. Ronning Guide to Modern Stage Hypnosis by Geoffrey Ronning

A great guide to performing hypnosis on stage to a group of people. Geoff gives you his group inductions, deepeners and skits.

What I also really like about this book is that it has excerpts from this students that became successful and on their road to getting there.

 6. Tom Silver's Advanced 21th Century Hypnosis Training DVD ~ Hypnosis Trainer Tom Silver

This is a course I have taken in person and the resource from where I got my winning group induction that is quick and effective.

The author has been on dozens of national television shows and was the first person to popularize hypnosis in Asia. Real hypnosis.

7. Self-Hypnosis: Its Theory, Technique and Application by Melvin Powers

I let my friend borrow this book and the craziest thing happened...

He read the first few pages, went through the first induction and fell into a trance. While he was in trance, an ex-girlfriend of his that recently passed away pulled him out of his body and on to an O.B.E (out of body) journey. Real methods.

8. Tricks of the Mind by Derren Brown

If you are searching hypnosis and you do not know who Derren Brown is, open up a new browser window and search him on youtube.

Derren is a genius and his hypnotic effects are completely astonishing.

9. Fun With Hypnosis: The Complete How-To Guide by Svengali

Being able to produce fun, hypnotic effects with people is really one of the biggest keys to success in hypnosis.

If you can stick someone's hand to the wall, you can help them stick to their diet and exercise. If you can make yourself disappear before your subject's eyes, you can do just about anything hypnotically.

10. Mind Control: How to Get Others to Do What You Want by William Horton Psy D

Although it may seem a bit manipulative, when your intentions are right when dealing with people these techniques allow someone to experience massive change or... extreme control.

Please use these techniques with good intentions.

Extra Tips on Learning Hypnosis:
*In these books you will find techniques on how to hypnotize yourself and others... the most important aspect is figuring out for yourself the best methods that work for you.

*Experience helps you most and it's fun to practice! Practicing proven methods like from the books above will enable you to get true hypnotic results from people you work with.

*If you can guide yourself into hypnosis... you can show someone else the way. Just as if you would direct a person in a town they'd never been in, street by street, turn by turn is how the hypnotic process can be induced. This is why I find self-hypnosis to be such an important part to any hypnotist's experience and training.

I know these resources will help as they have for me. When you decide to move forward and pickup one of these books, please leave your experiences in the comment section below!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Creative Uses Of LSD When It Was Legal

Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago.
The abrasive and unorthodox Crick and his brilliant American co-researcher James Watson famously celebrated their eureka moment in March 1953 by running from the now legendary Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to the nearby Eagle pub, where they announced over pints of bitter that they had discovered the secret of life.Crick, who died ten days ago, aged 88, later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD then an experimental drug used in psychotherapy to boost his powers of thought. He said it was LSD, not the Eagle's warm beer, that helped him to unravel the structure of DNA, the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize.Despite his Establishment image, Crick was a devotee of novelist Aldous Huxley, whose accounts of his experiments with LSD and another hallucinogen, mescaline, in the short stories The Doors Of Perception and Heaven And Hell became cult texts for the hippies of the Sixties and Seventies. In the late Sixties, Crick was a founder member of Soma, a legalise-cannabis group named after the drug in Huxley's novel Brave New World. He even put his name to a famous letter to The Times in 1967 calling for a reform in the drugs laws.It was through his membership of Soma that Crick inadvertently became the inspiration for the biggest LSD manufacturing conspiracy-the world has ever seen the multimillion-pound drug factory in a remote farmhouse in Wales that was smashed by the Operation Julie raids of the late Seventies.Crick's involvement with the gang was fleeting but crucial. The revered scientist had been invited to the Cambridge home of freewheeling American writer David Solomon a friend of hippie LSD guru Timothy Leary who had come to Britain in 1967 on a quest to discover a method for manufacturing pure THC, the active ingredient of cannabis.It was Crick's presence in Solomon's social circle that attracted a brilliant young biochemist, Richard Kemp, who soon became a convert to the attractions of both cannabis and LSD. Kemp was recruited to the THC project in 1968, but soon afterwards devised the world's first foolproof method of producing cheap, pure LSD. Solomon and Kemp went into business, manufacturing acid in a succession of rented houses before setting up their laboratory in a cottage on a hillside near Tregaron, Carmarthenshire, in 1973. It is estimated that Kemp manufactured drugs worth Pounds 2.5 million an astonishing amount in the Seventies before police stormed the building in 1977 and seized enough pure LSD and its constituent chemicals to make two million LSD 'tabs'. The arrest and conviction of Solomon, Kemp and a string of co-conspirators dominated the headlines for months. I was covering the case as a reporter at the time and it was then that I met Kemp's close friend, Garrod Harker, whose home had been raided by police but who had not been arrest ed. Harker told me that Kemp and his girlfriend Christine Bott by then in jail were hippie idealists who were completely uninterested in the money they were making.They gave away thousands to pet causes such as the Glastonbury pop festival and the drugs charity Release.'They have a philosophy,' Harker told me at the time. 'They believe industrial society will collapse when the oil runs out and that the answer is to change people's mindsets using acid. They believe LSD can help people to see that a return to a natural society based on self-sufficiency is the only way to save themselves.'Dick Kemp told me he met Francis Crick at Cambridge. Crick had told him that some Cambridge academics used LSD in tiny amounts as a thinking tool, to liberate them from preconceptions and let their genius wander freely to new ideas. Crick told him he had perceived the double-helix shape while on LSD.'It was clear that Dick Kemp was highly impressed and probably bowled over by what Crick had told him. He told me that if a man like Crick, who had gone to the heart of human existence, had used LSD, then it was worth using. Crick was certainly Dick Kemp's inspiration.' Shortly afterwards I visited Crick at his home, Golden Helix, in Cambridge.He listened with rapt, amused attention to what I told him about the role of LSD in his Nobel Prize-winning discovery. He gave no intimation of surprise. When I had finished, he said: 'Print a word of it and I'll sue.'

Sunday, 6 April 2014

VIDEO John Cleese: Creativity, How To Be Creative

Friday, 4 April 2014

Spring Raises Happiness Levels!

 “When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” Ernest Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast.”

It’s springtime and for most people that means getting outside and seeing everything bloom, including us. Spring offers warmer days and lighter and longer evenings, which means we are more inclined to exercise and spend outdoor time and activities with friends.

My question today is, “How much are you doing to increase your happiness to match the renewal time of spring?

For me, I am looking at this because as crazy as it sounds, I forget sometimes to focus on what will make me happier, like being outside and seeing the amazing flower and tree blossoms right outside my door. When I am busy focusing on business and other daily tasks, I might miss that extra hour or two that I could be walking my dog on the trail. Of course work and daily eating and exercising can add happiness, but when we focus on what can bring more happiness this springtime, it can inspire us to take action on planting that garden or planning that vacation or reaching out to friends to go have more outdoor fun , or buying that new bike to take out on trails.

What is Your Gross National Happiness?
I believe Bhutan has it right. In the 1970's their 4th King mandated the state to create an environment for all citizens to pursue their ultimate goal, happiness, and declared that instead of focusing on gross national profit, focus on GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS!

I believe this spring we can have even more profit if we focus on GNH for ourselves and all the people we work, live and play with too.

According to Feng Shui, Spring Equinox March 20 begins the season of Chen relating to Family, New Birth and Fresh Beginnings.

To align with this, here are a few tips:

1. Think spring and ask, “ What do I want to grow?”

Perhaps it's to rejuvenate your garden or redo your office or spiff up your website?

2. Plant some fun activities into your life.

What can you sign up for this spring? Perhaps it’s a tennis clinic or a hiking club?

3. Make More Time For Friends and Family.

Ask who you haven’t seen all winter that you would like to get out with and renew your relationship?

Spring forward my friends!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

7 Strange Uses Of Hypnosis

Hypnosis has many faces, which is part of its fascination as a career. It is conceivable that a single hypnotist could cover all of its facets. Some hypnotists actually combine hypnotherapy with a career on the stage but one of the most incredible things about hypnosis is all its unusual uses.
1. Hypnosis can effectively enhance memory recall, allowing subjects to experience past events very vividly, even to the point of believing that they are consciously present at these events. How far can this go? And as you may have heard, some people think hypnosis can recover memories from a past lifetime.

2. Forensic hypnosis has been used often in enhancing the memory of participants in criminal court cases, primarily with victims or witnesses to enhance the memory of the event. It was used in the cases of Ted Bundy, Sam Shepherd and Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler. In the case of DeSalvo, it was used with the defendant himself.

3. Hypnosis can induce a partial or almost complete state of anaesthesia, making subjects or patients oblivious to the surgeon’s knife, a state presumably similar to that of an Indian fakir, who can stick needles into his arm or lie on a bed of nails without experiencing pain.

4. Another, scientifically verifiable aspect of hypnosis is the ability to create positive hallucinations. When I was in elementary school, I read a book on hypnosis that claimed that the hypnotist had created, for himself, a little pink elephant that followed him around all the time. The trouble was that he couldn’t get rid of it right away. He had forgotten to suggest the possibility for removal of that little pink phantom. That really impressed me as to the potential of hypnosis.

5. Hypnosis can be used to create relaxation during contractions in childbirth. It also helps to create a positive, trusting attitude toward the labor and birthing processes. Stress hormones are eliminated that are fundamentally responsible for the pain in childbirth. Instead, wonderful endorphins that are your body’s natural pain relievers (and nature’s love drug) are elevated, thus keeping the laboring mother in a state of relaxation and having a sense of well-being.

6. One extraordinary use of hypnosis is involved with overcoming specific phobias. Phobias are deeply held unconscious fears which affect a person’s whole life and psychological well-being.

7. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of hypnosis is its ability to suggest and influence courses of action to people both inside of and outside the hypnotic trance. A suggestion given within a state of hypnosis that will have effect outside is called a post-hypnotic suggestion. These types of suggestions can have a profound and meaningful effect when trying to influence discordant habitual behaviour like smoking or gambling.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Psychology Of The Practical Joke: April Fools

Keep it above the belt, stop short of total humiliation and, if possible, mix in some irony, some drama, maybe even a bogus call from the person’s old flame or new boss. A good prank, of course, involves good stagecraft. But it also requires emotional intuition.
“You want to play on people’s weaknesses or dislikes, but not go too hard,” said Tommy Doran, a fireman and paramedic in Skokie, Ill., who as a rookie in Montgomery County, Md., was lured into the station’s kitchen and blasted with multiple cream pies. “For me it’s just the sort of dark humor we use to cope with the job and each other. Nothing dangerous or illegal.”

Psychologists have studied pranks for years, often in the context of harassment, bullying and all manner of malicious exclusion and prejudice.

Yet practical jokes are far more commonly an effort to bring a person into a group, anthropologists have found — an integral part of rituals around the world intended to temper success with humility. And recent research suggests that the experience of being duped can stir self-reflection in a way few other experiences can, functioning as a check on arrogance or obliviousness.

The 1960s activist and prankster Abbie Hoffman reportedly divided practical jokes into three categories. The bad ones involve vindictive skewering, or the sort of head-shaving, shivering-in-boxers fraternity hazing that the sociologist Erving Goffman described as “degradation ceremonies.” Neutral tricks are more akin to physical punch lines, like wrapping the toilet bowl in cellophane, depositing a massive pumpkin on top of the student union building, or pulling some electronic high jinks on a co-worker’s keyboard (though on deadline this falls quickly into the “bad” category).

What Hoffman called the good prank, which humorously satirizes human fears or failings, is found in a wide variety of initiation rites and coming-of-age rituals. The Daribi of New Guinea, for example, have children make a small box and bury it in the ground, telling them that after a while a treasure will appear inside but they must not peek, according to Edie Turner, a professor of anthropology at the University of Virginia.  Invariably the youngsters succumb to curiosity — only to find a sample of human feces.

The Ndembu of Zambia have an adult in a monstrous mask sneak and scare the wits out of boys camping outside the village as part of a coming-of-age ritual in which they are showing their bravery.

“These kind of tricks are very common,” Dr. Turner said, “and they are really a way to put a person down before raising them up. You’re being reminded of your failings even as you’re being honored.”

Jonathan Wynn, a cultural sociologist at Smith College, said pranks served to maintain social boundaries in groups as various as police departments and sororities. “And you gain status by being picked on in some ways,” he said. “It can be a kind of flattery, if you’re being brought in.”

In a paper published last year, three psychologists argued that the sensation of being duped — anger, self-blame, bitterness — was such a singular cocktail that it forced an uncomfortable kind of self-awareness. How much of a dupe am I? Where are my blind spots?

“As humans, we develop this notion of fairness as a part of our self-concept, and of course it’s extremely important in exchange relationships,” said Kathleen D. Vohs, a consumer psychologist at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Vohs and her co-authors, Roy F. Baumeister of Florida State University and Jason Chin of the University of British Columbia, propose that the fear of being had is a trait that varies from near-obliviousness in some people to hypervigilance in others.

The researchers had 55 men and women play a computerized cooperation game and demonstrated that participants who felt they had been burned would go over the experience in their heads, playing out alternative versions of how they might have behaved.

“Being duped holds up this mirror to people,” Dr. Vohs said, “and may in fact show them where they are on the scale” — too trusting or too vigilant. Paranoia, too, has its costs, and it can sour relationships.

Running back the tape mentally, in this case meditating on how an embarrassing event might have turned out otherwise, is known to psychologists as counterfactual thinking. “The feeling of ‘I should have known better’ is the sort of counterfactual that serves to highlight your own shortcomings,” said Neal Roese, a psychologist at the University of Illinois. “A good deal of research has shown that these counterfactual insights can kick-start new behaviors, new self-exploration and, ultimately, self-improvement.”

Those observations may not leap to mind if you just showed up in go-go boots and an Elizabeth Taylor wig to a bogus 1970s cross-dressing party. Or if you fell for the e-mail message announcing you had won an award and should forward a draft of your acceptance speech to a supervisor.

But a good prank is, in the end, a simulation of a crisis and not the real thing. And it serves as a valuable reminder that not every precious box contains precisely the treasure you might expect.