The Incalculable Value of Finding a Job You Love

The happiness literature has identified one of the most deeply satisfying human psychological states to be one called “flow.” It occurs when you are so immersed in an activity that you lose track of the passage of time. If you can land a job that enables you to experience substantial periods of flow, you will be among the most fortunate people on the planet.

Robert H. Frank, New York Times, July 22, 2016

After Knee or Hip Replacement, No Place Like Home

It may surprise many to learn that, even if joint replacement patients live alone, the overwhelming majority recover equally well and may experience fewer complications if they go home directly from the hospital and get outpatient rehabilitation instead of spending days or weeks in a costly rehab facility.

Based on the findings of recent well-designed studies, Dr. Javad Parvizi, chairman of research in orthopedics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, maintains that “we need to re-examine who, if anyone, should go to a rehab facility after joint replacement.”

Jane E. Brody, New York Times, April 24, 2107

Researchers Examine When People Are More Susceptible To Fake News

Very simply, being around other people seems to increase our propensity to believe in fake news….

Groups trigger a certain attitude in us when it comes to evaluating information….

You somehow feel like you’re part of a crowd and you don’t need to fact check because somebody else will. And maybe down the road, they’re going to tell you, hey, you know the thing you were exposed to or that we all read a few days ago? That actually turns out to be false….

Volunteers did 30 to 50 percent less fact checking when they heard information presented to them in a social media context compared to when they were alone.

Shankar Vedantum, NPR, July 18, 2017

Why are female doctors introduced by first name while men are called ‘Doctor’?

The study, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, looked at videos of 321 speaker introductions at 124 internal medicine grand rounds from 2012 through 2014 at Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona and Minnesota. The results showed that male introducers used professional titles for female doctors only 49 percent of the time on first reference, but introduced male doctors by their titles 72 percent of the time.

Female introducers used titles in introductions of both male and female doctors more often than male introducers (96 percent of the time vs. 66 percent of the time).

Janice Neumann, Washington Post, June 24, 2017

Replacing Vacant Lots With Green Spaces Can Ease Depression In Urban Communities

Kids love the gardens, she says. It gives them a way to briefly forget their worries.

“Having access to a bit of nature, having a tree to read under, or, having a safe space like one of our gardens, definitely makes a huge difference on their stress levels,” says Lemos-Otero. “The feedback that we’ve gotten from a lot of young people is that it makes them feel a little lighter.”

Now a group of researchers from Philadelphia have published research that supports her experience. The study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, found that having access to even small green spaces can reduce symptoms of depression for people who live near them, especially in low-income neighborhoods.

Rhitu Chatterjee, WAMU.org, July 21, 2018

What makes some men sexual harassers? Science tries to explain the creeps of the world.

Over the years, Pryor — a psychologist at Illinois State University — and others have used socially engineered situations in laboratories to study how well the test predicts people’s behavior. And over time, they’ve identified these factors as the most distinctive in harassers: a lack of empathy, a belief in traditional gender sex roles and a tendency toward dominance/authoritarianism.

They also found in studies that the environment surrounding such harassers has a huge effect, Pryor said in a phone interview.

“If you take men who score high on the scale and put them in situations where the system suggests they can get away with it, they will do it,” he said. “Impunity plays a large role.”

“In study after study, we’re seeing that power makes you more impulsive. It makes you less worried about social conventions and less concerned about the effect of your actions on others,” said Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkley.

One of Keltner’s experiments, for example, found that people who see themselves as wealthier were more likely to cut pedestrians off on a crosswalk. Another found that those who felt powerful were even more likely to take candy from childrenOther experiments have shown that powerful people become more focused on themselves, more likely to objectify others and more likely to overestimate how much others like them.

William Wan, Washington Post, December 22, 2017

This simple solution to smartphone addiction is now used in over 600 U.S. schools

He founded a company, Yondr, whose small, gray pouches swallow phones and lock them away from the fingers and eyes of their addicted owners. Since it started in 2014, hundreds of thousands of the neoprene pouches have been used across North America, Europe and Australia

People entering a school, courtroom, concert, medical facility, wedding or other event are asked to slip their phones into the pouches when they enter. Once locked, the phones stay with their owners until they are ready to leave the premises, and then the devices are released from their tiny prisons at an “unlocking base.” The pouches can be rented for a single event or on extended leases. They are now used in more than 600 U.S. schools.

At San Lorenzo High School in California, which this school year began requiring students to Yondr (yes, it’s a verb) their phones from the beginning of first period until the end of the last, the difference has been stark. Grades have gone up, and discipline problems have plummeted, said principal Allison Silvestri. Referrals for defiance and disrespect are down 82 percent, she said, adding that before Yondr, most of them stemmed from arguments between students and teachers over phone use in class.

Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, February 5, 2018

Spending Time With Grandparents Makes Kids Less Prone To Ageism, Says Study

A new study published in the journal Child Development found that children who have good relationships with their grandmas and grandpas are less likely to show bias towards older adults.

“The most important factor associated with ageist stereotypes was poor quality of contact with grandparents,” says lead researcher Allison Flamion, a psychology graduate student at the University of Liege, in a press release. “When it came to ageist views, we found that quality of contact mattered much more than frequency.”

Annamarya Scaccia, Huffington Post, February 2, 2018