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Researchers Identify Gene Linked to PTSD

The Compassionate Mind

Violence: An American Archetype

Alone: The Mental Health Effects of Solitary Confinement

People See Sexy Pictures of Women as Objects, Not People

Children in U.S. and U.K. Share Risk Factors for Behavior Problems

Kudzu May Curb Binge Drinking, New Study Suggests

The Pain of Social Rejection: As far as the brain is concerned, a broken heart may not be so different from a broken arm.

Foul-Mouthed Characters in Teen Books Have It All

 

 

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New Study Suggests A Better Way to Deal with Bad Memories

 

Research uncovers a simple and effective emotion-regulation strategy that has neurologically and behaviorally been proven to lessen the emotional impact of personal negative memories.

April 18, 2014—What’s one of your worst memories? How did it make you feel? According to psychologists, remembering the emotions felt during a negative personal experience, such as how sad you were or how embarrassed you felt, can lead to emotional distress, especially when you can’t stop thinking about it. 

When these negative memories creep up, thinking about the context of the memories, rather than how you felt, is a relatively easy and effective way to alleviate the negative effects of these memories, a new study suggests.
(Full story . . . )

Scientists Discover Brain's Anti-Distraction System

April 17, 2014—Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors’ perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders.
(Full story . . . )

“Date at Your Own Risk”: Coworkers Perceptions of Workplace Romances

 

Study finds honesty is the best policy with coworkers

April 16, 2014—Workplace romances are very common in contemporary organizations. In 2004, The Wall Street Journal reported that 47% of employees were currently involved in a workplace romance, and 19% would engage in one if the opportunity arose. However, little attention has been placed on other colleague reactions to workplace romances, and how they might perceive those involved.
(Full story . . . )

Kids Misbehave within 10 Minutes of Spanking

 

First-of-its-kind study also finds that parents ignored best practices recommended by spanking advocates

April 15, 2014—A new study based on real-time audio recordings of parents practicing corporal punishment discovered that spanking was far more common than parents admit, that children were hit for trivial misdeeds and that children then misbehaved within 10 minutes of being punished.
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How Mothers Help Children Explore Right and Wrong

 

Concordia study shows that parental talks support children’s understanding of their moral experiences

April 15, 2015—There’s no question that mothers want their children to grow up to be good people—but less is known about how they actually help their offspring sort out different types of moral issues. According to a new study published in Developmental Psychology and led by Holly Recchia, assistant professor in Concordia’s Department of Education and Centre for Research in Human Development, many mums talk to their kids in ways that help them understand moral missteps.
(Full story . . . )

Study Links Domestic Abuse to Mental Health Problems in New Mothers

April 14, 2014—A new study shows that domestic abuse is closely linked to postpartum mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in mothers. The research also found that specific types of abuse are associated with specific mental health problems. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.
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Hereditary Trauma Traced to RNA Molecules                                              

April 13, 2014—The phenomenon has long been known in psychology: traumatic experiences can induce behavioural disorders that are passed down from one generation to the next. It is only recently that scientists have begun to understand the physiological processes underlying hereditary trauma. "There are diseases such as bipolar disorder, that run in families but can't be traced back to a particular gene", explains Isabelle Mansuy, professor at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. With her research group at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich, she has been studying the molecular processes involved in non-genetic inheritance of behavioural symptoms induced by traumatic experiences in early life. Mansuy and her team have succeeded in identifying a key component of these processes: short RNA molecules.
(Full story . . . )

There's No Faking It: Your Sexual Partner Knows If You're Really Satisfied

April 10, 2014—There is no point faking it in bed because chances are your sexual partner will be able to tell. A study by researchers at the University of Waterloo found that men and women are equally perceptive of their partners' levels of sexual satisfaction.
(Full story . . . )

Single Mothers Don't Delay Marriage Just to Boost Tax Credit, Study Says

MADISON, WI: April 10, 2014—When the Earned Income Tax Credit was expanded in 1993, supporters hoped it would reward poor parents for working while critics feared that it might discourage single mothers from marrying or incentivize women to have more children to boost their tax refund.
(Full story . . . )

The Surprising Truth about Obsessive-Compulsive Thinking


International study finds that 94 percent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts

Montreal, April 8, 2014—People who check whether their hands are clean or imagine their house might be on fire are not alone. New research from Concordia University and 15 other universities worldwide shows that 94 per cent of people experience unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images and/or impulses.
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DNA Changes Found in Blood That Are Directly Related to Changes in the Brain

 

Research linked to stress in mice confirms blood-brain comparison is valid

April 8, 2014—Johns Hopkins researchers say they have confirmed suspicions that DNA modifications found in the blood of mice exposed to high levels of stress hormone—and showing signs of anxiety—are directly related to changes found in their brain tissues.
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Lipid Levels during Prenatal Brain Development Impact Autism

 

Exposure to environmental chemicals known to affect these levels

TORONTO, April 8, 2014—In a groundbreaking York University study, researchers have found that abnormal levels of lipid molecules in the brain can affect the interaction between two key neural pathways in early prenatal brain development, which can trigger autism. And, environmental causes such as exposure to chemicals in some cosmetics and common over-the-counter medication can affect the levels of these lipids, according to the researchers.
(Full story . . . )

Language Structure: You’re Born with It

April 8, 2014—Humans are unique in their ability to acquire language. But how? A new study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that we are in fact born with the basic fundamental knowledge of language, thus shedding light on the age-old linguistic “nature vs. nurture” debate.
(Full story . . . )

Perceptions of Student Ability, Testing Pressures Hinder Some Science Teachers

 

Boston College researchers find barriers to use of science teaching method

Chestnut Hill, MA ; April 5, 2014—A survey of science teachers finds they support a new approach to science education, but they struggle to believe that all students are capable of exploring science using a method called argumentation, according to researchers from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.
(Full story . . . )

Indoor Tanning by Teens Linked to Unhealthy Weight Control Methods

 

Indoor tanning may be marker of eating disorder-related behaviors, suggests recent study

Philadelphia, PA; April 4, 2014—High school students who use indoor tanning also have higher rates of unhealthy weight control behaviors—such as taking diet pills or vomiting to lose weight, reports a study in the April Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
(Full story . . . )

Grandparents May Worsen Some Moms' Baby Blues

 

Married and single moms suffer higher rates of depression living with parents

April 4, 2014—Does living with grandparents ease or worsen a mother's baby blues? The answer may depend on the mother's marital status, a new study from Duke University suggests.
(Full story . . . )

Drawing Conclusions

Researcher finds drawing pictures can be key tool in investigations of child abuse

April 3, 2014—Is a picture worth only a thousand words? According to Dr. Carmit Katz of Tel Aviv University's Bob Shapell School of Social Work, illustrations by children can be a critical tool in forensic investigations of child abuse.
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Infants Are Sensitive to Pleasant Touch

April 2, 2014—Infants show unique physiological and behavioral responses to pleasant touch, which may help to cement the bonds between child and parent and promote early social and physiological development, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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For Most Adolescents, Popularity Increases the Risk of Getting Bullied

WASHINGTON, DC; April 1, 2014—A new study suggests that for most adolescents, becoming more popular both increases their risk of getting bullied and worsens the negative consequences of being victimized.
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Oxytocin, the 'Love' Hormone, Promotes Group Lying, Say Researchers

 

Findings highlight why collaboration turns into corruption

BEER-SHEVA, Israel; April 1, 2014—According to a new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the University of Amsterdam, oxytocin caused participants to lie more to benefit their groups, and to do so more quickly and without expectation of reciprocal dishonesty from their group. Oxytocin is a hormone the body naturally produces to stimulate bonding.
(Full story . . . )

Kinder, Gentler Med School: Students Less Depressed, Learn More

 

Curriculum changes, resilience training lowers anxiety, SLU research shows                                           

ST. LOUIS; March 31, 2014—Removing pressure from medical school while teaching students skills to manage stress and bounce back from adversity improves their mental health and boosts their academic achievement, Saint Louis University research finds.
(Full story . . . )

Study: Online Self-Injury Information Often Inaccurate

March 31, 2014—People seeking help or information online about cutting and other forms of self-injury are likely finding falsehoods and myths, according to new research from the University of Guelph.
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Four in 10 Infants Lack Strong Parental Attachments

PRINCETON, NJ; March 27,2014—In a study of 14,000 U.S. children, 40 percent lack strong emotional bonds—what psychologists call "secure attachment"—with their parents that are crucial to success later in life, according to a new report. The researchers found that these children are more likely to face educational and behavioral problems.
(Full story . . . )

Neurobiologists Find Chronic Stress in Early Life Causes Anxiety, Aggression in Adulthood

Cold Spring Harbor, NY; March 27, 2014— In recent years, a plethora of independently conducted experiments have looked at the impact of chronic, early-life stress upon behavior—both at the time that stress is experienced, and upon the same individuals later in life, during adulthood. Today, a research team led by Associate Professor Grigori Enikolopov of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) reports online in the journal PlOS One the results of experiments designed to assess the impacts of social stress upon adolescent mice, both at the time they are experienced and during adulthood. Involving many different kinds of stress tests and means of measuring their impacts, the research indicates that a "hostile environment in adolescence disturbs psychoemotional state and social behaviors of animals in adult life," the team says.
(Full story . . . )

Researchers Find New Chemical Involved in Depression Risk

March 26, 2014—Scientists have shown for the first time that a chemical in the brain called galanin is involved in the risk of developing depression.
(Full story . . . )

Mentally Challenging Jobs May Keep Your Mind Sharp Long after Retirement

ANN ARBOR, MI; March 25, 2014—A mentally demanding job may stress you out today but can provide important benefits after you retire, according to a new study.
(Full story . . . )

The Unconscious Mind Can Detect a Liar Even When the Conscious Mind Fails

March 24, 2014—When it comes to detecting deceit, your automatic associations may be more accurate than conscious thought in pegging truth-tellers and liars, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
(Full story . . . )

Diabetes Drug Shows Promise in Reducing Alzheimer's Disease in an Experimental Model

BOSTON; March 24, 2014—Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that the diabetic drug, pramlintide, reduces amyloid-beta peptides, a major component of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the brain and improves learning and memory in two experimental AD models. These findings, which appear online in Molecular Psychiatry, also found AD patients have a lower level of amylin in blood compared to those without this disease. These results may provide a new avenue for both treatment and diagnosis of AD.
(Full story . . . )

New Study Shows We Work Harder When We Are Happy

March 21, 2014—Happiness makes people more productive at work, according to the latest research from the University of Warwick.
(Full story . . . )

Can 'Love Hormone' Protect against Addiction?

March 20, 2014—Researchers at the University of Adelaide say addictive behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse could be associated with poor development of the so-called "love hormone" system in our bodies during early childhood.
(Full story . . . )

Childhood Abuse May Impair Weight-Regulating Hormones

 

Early stress on endocrine system raises risk of excess belly fat later in life

Washington, DC; March 20, 2014—Childhood abuse or neglect can lead to long-term hormone impairment that raises the risk of developing obesity, diabetes or other metabolic disorders in adulthood, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).
(Full story . . . )

Safety First, Children

 

University of Iowa study examines how parents can teach their children to be safer

March 20, 2014—As parents, we’ve all been there: Watching our children teeter on a chair, leap from the sofa, or careen about the playground, fearing the worst. And, we all wonder, how can we teach them to be safer?
(Full story . . . )

Social Groups Alleviate Depression

March 19, 2014—Building a strong connection to a social group helps clinically depressed patients recover and helps prevent relapse, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Queensland. Senior Fellow Alexander Haslam, lead author Tegan Cruwys and their colleagues conducted two studies of patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety. The patients either joined a community group with activities such as sewing, yoga, sports and art, or partook in group therapy at a psychiatric hospital.
(Full story . . . )

Social Feedback Loop Aids Language Development

March 19, 2014—Verbal interactions between parents and children create a social feedback loop important for language development, according to research forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. That loop appears to be experienced less frequently and is diminished in strength in interactions with autistic children.
(Full story . . . )

Who’s Afraid of Math? Study Finds Some Genetic Factors


Genetics plays a role, but researchers say environment still key

COLUMBUS, OH; March 18, 2014—A new study of math anxiety shows how some people may be at greater risk to fear math not only because of negative experiences, but also because of genetic risks related to both general anxiety and math skills.
(Full story . . . )

Emotional Children's Testimonies Are Judged as More Credible

MAR 17, 2014—A new study from the University of Gothenburg, show that aspiring lawyers assess child complainants as more credible and truthful if they communicate their statement in an emotional manner. Thus, there is a risk that children that behave in a neutral manner may be perceived as less credible in court.
(Full story . . . )

What's so Bad about Feeling Happy?

 

Study sheds light on how cultures differ in their happiness beliefs

March 17, 2014—Why is being happy, positive and satisfied with life the ultimate goal of so many people, while others steer clear of such feelings? It is often because of the lingering belief that happiness causes bad things to happen, says Mohsen Joshanloo and Dan Weijers of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Their article, published in Springer’s Journal of Happiness Studies, is the first to review the concept of aversion to happiness, and looks at why various cultures react differently to feelings of well-being and satisfaction.
(Full story . . . )

Stimulants Used to Treat ADHD Influence BMI Growth Patterns Through Childhood With a BMI Rebound in Late Adolescence

 

ADHD Stimulant treatment initially slowed BMI Growth: Findings are first to link childhood ADHD treatment to possible later obesity

March 17, 2014—A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that children treated with stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experienced slower body mass index (BMI) growth than their undiagnosed or untreated peers, followed by a rapid rebound of BMI that exceeded that of children with no history of ADHD or stimulant use and that could continue to obesity.
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Study Identifies Most Common, Costly Reasons for Mental Health Hospitalizations for Kids

March 17, 2014—Nearly one in 10 children are hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of a mental health condition, and depression alone accounts for $1.33 billion in hospital charges annually, according to a new analysis led by the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children's Hospital.
(Full story . . . )

Male, Stressed, and Poorly Social

 

Stress undermines empathic abilities in men but increases them in women

March 17, 2014—Stressed males tend to become more self-centred and less able to distinguish their own emotions and intentions from those of other people. For women the exact opposite is true. This is the main finding of a study just published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, carried out with the collaboration of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Triest.
(Full story . . . )

Democrats, Republicans See Each Other as Mindless—Unless They Pose a Threat

March 17, 2014—We are less likely to humanize members of groups we don’t belong to—except, under some circumstances, when it comes to members of the opposite political party. A study by researchers at New York University and Harvard Business School suggests that we are more prone to view members of the opposite political party as human if we view those individuals as threatening.
(Full story . . . )

Brain Mapping Confirms Patients with Schizophrenia Have Impaired Ability to Imitate

March 14, 2014—According to George Bernard Shaw, "Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it's the sincerest form of learning." According to psychologists, imitation is something that we all do whenever we learn a new skill, whether it is dancing or how to behave in specific social situations.
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Husband's Health and Attitude Loom Large for Happy Long-Term Marriages

MARCH 13, 2014— A husband’s agreeable personality and good health appear crucial to preventing conflict among older couples who have been together a long time, according to a study from University of Chicago researchers. The report found that such characteristics in wives play less of a role in limiting marital conflict, perhaps because of different expectations among women and men in durable relationships.
(Full story . . . )

Study Suggests Potential Association between Soy Formula and Seizures in Children with Autism

MADISON, WI; March 13, 2014—A University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher has detected a higher rate of seizures among children with autism who were fed infant formula containing soy protein rather than milk protein.
(Full story . . . )

'Love Hormone' Could Provide New Treatment for Anorexia

March 12, 2014—Oxytocin, also known as the 'love hormone', could provide a new treatment for anorexia nervosa, according to new research by a team of British and Korean scientists.
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Youth Who Help Others and Volunteer are Less Likely to Associate with Deviant Peers and Engage in Problem Behaviors

 

Intervention programs should focus on encouraging “prosocial” behaviors in youth

Columbia, MO; March 11, 2014—Prosocial behaviors, or actions intended to help others, remain an important area of focus for researchers interested in factors that reduce violence and other behavioral problems in youth. However, little is known regarding the connection between prosocial and antisocial behaviors.  A new study by a University of Missouri human development expert found that prosocial behaviors can prevent youth from associating with deviant peers, thereby making the youth less likely to exhibit antisocial or problem behaviors, such as aggression and delinquency.
(Full story . . . )

Giving Potentially Dangerous Employees Organizational Socialization and Close Supervision Can Avoid Tragedy, Say Researchers

March 11, 2014—James Campbell Quick and M. Ann McFadyen of the College of Business management department analyzed FBI reports, case studies and human resource records to focus on the estimated 1 to 3 percent of employees prone to workplace acts of aggression, such as homicide, suicide or destruction of property. The team advances the case for “mindfully observing” employees and found that human resources professionals and supervisors can advance health, wellbeing, and performance while averting danger and violence by identifying and managing high-risk employees, anticipating their needs and providing support and resources.
(Full story . . . )

Book Review: Mild Autism? Or Something Else?

Back to Normal: Why Ordinary Childhood Behavior Is Mistaken for ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Enrico Gnaulati, PhD. 2013. Beacon Press, Boston. 239 pages.


March 9, 2014—If you have a child with serious forms of autism, with ADHD, or with bipolar disorder, you know what a struggle it can be to secure his or her wellbeing in a society that doesn’t go out of its way for those who are atypical. You know how real your child’s diagnosis is; and how meaningless it could become if it became “watered down,” so to speak, by being mistakenly assigned to children who may, in fact, have very different challenges.
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Preschoolers Outsmart College Students at Figuring out Gizmos

BERKELEY; March 6, 2014—Preschoolers can be smarter than college students at figuring out how unusual toys and gadgets work because they’re more flexible and less biased than adults in their ideas about cause and effect, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh.
(Full story . . . )

Study: Classroom Focus on Social and Emotional Skills Can Lead to Academic Gains

WASHINGTON, DC; March 6, 2014—Classroom programs designed to improve elementary school students’ social and emotional skills can also increase reading and math achievement, even if academic improvement is not a direct goal of the skills building, according to a study to be published this month in American Educational Research Journal (AERJ). The benefit holds true for students across a range of socio-economic backgrounds.
(Full story . . . )

Experiential Avoidance Increases PTSD Risk following Child Maltreatment

March 5, 2014—Child abuse is a reliable predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder, but not all maltreated children suffer from it, according to Chad Shenk, assistant professor of human development and family studies, Penn State, who examined why some maltreated children develop PTSD and some do not.
(Full story . . . )

Playing with Barbie Dolls Could Limit Girls' Career Choices, Study Shows

CORVALLIS, OR; March 5, 2014—In one of the first experiments to explore the influence of fashion dolls, an Oregon State University researcher has found that girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys.
(Full story . . . )

New Evidence Confirms IQ Is Not Static: Change is Linked to Brain Cortex Thickness

 

Montreal scientists play key role in long-term international study

March 4, 2014—Rate of change in the thickness of the brain’s cortex is an important factor associated with a person’s change in IQ, according to a collaborative study by scientists in five countries including researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and HospitalMcGill University and the McGill University Health Centre. The study has potentially wide-ranging implications for the pedagogical world and for judicial cases in which the defendant’s IQ score could play a role in determining the severity of the sentence.
(Full story . . . )

Frequent Childhood Nightmares May Indicate an Increased Risk of Psychotic Traits

February 28, 2014—Children who suffer from frequent nightmares or bouts of night terrors may be at an increased risk of psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to new research from the University of Warwick.
(Full story . . . )

Retention Leads to Discipline Problems in Other Kids

 

Kids who are 'held back' may contribute to disruptive middle school environment

DURHAM, NC; February 28, 2014—When students repeat a grade, it can spell trouble for their classmates, according to a new Duke University-led study of nearly 80,000 middle-schoolers.
(Full story . . . )

The Pain of Social Exclusion

 

'Social' pain hurts physically, even when we see it in others

February 27, 2014—We would like to do without pain and yet without it we wouldn't be able to survive. Pain signals dangerous stimuli (internal or external) and guides our behaviour. Its ultimate goal is to prioritize escape, recovery and healing. That's why we feel it and why we're also good at detecting it in others.
(Full story . . . )

Effective Treatment for Youth Anxiety Disorders Has Lasting Benefit

 

New study finds majority of youth respond well

Washington D.C., February 27, 2013— A study published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that the majority of youth with moderate to severe anxiety disorders responded well to acute treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication (sertraline), or a combination of both. They maintained positive treatment response over a 6 month follow-up period with the help of monthly booster sessions.
(Full story . . . )

Study Shows Why Breastfed Babies Are so Smart

 

Two parenting skills deserve the credit

February 26, 2014—Loads of studies over the years have shown that children who were breastfed score higher on IQ tests and perform better in school, but the reason why remained unclear until now.
(Full story . . . )

Psychological Side-Effects of Anti-Depressants Worse than Thought

LIVERPOOL, UK; February 26, 2014—A University of Liverpool researcher has shown that thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and emotional numbness as a result of anti-depressants may be more widespread than previously thought.
(Full story . . . )

Can Babies Learn to Read? Probably Not, NYU Study Finds

February 25, 2014—Can babies learn to read? While parents use DVDs and other media in an attempt to teach their infants to read, these tools don't instill reading skills in babies, a study by researchers at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development has found.
(Full story . . . )

Parents' Attitudes about Helping Their Grown Children Affect Their Mental Health

February 24, 2014—Older parents frequently give help to their middle-aged offspring, and their perceptions about giving this help may affect their mental health, according to a team of researchers.
(Full story . . . )

Culture Influences Young People's Self-Esteem

February 24. 2014—Regardless of our personal values, we base most of our self-esteem on the fulfilment of the dominant values of our culture, reveals a global survey supervised by social psychologist Maja Becker. We can all think of situations that give us a positive image of ourselves, such as success at school or at work, satisfying relationships with friends and family, living up to our moral standards in our interactions with others or having desirable possessions. We can also think of other things we are less proud of and that do not make us feel so good about ourselves. But why are they important? What are the factors that influence our self-esteem?
(Full story . . . )

 

 

 

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