It’s been a bizarre year; more so in the USA than most other countries. Not only did America have the pandemic to tackle but also a Presidential Election campaign being fought in very trying circumstances, against a polarised backdrop. With the constant culture war that was being waged combined with how the pandemic was affecting the US population in 2020 compared to other countries, is it any wonder that the US media was offering a negative view of Covid-19 compared to science journals and the international media? It’s likely that the effects of the coronavirus were impossible to disentangle from management (or non-management) of attempts to control the spread of the virus. US news has been overly negative Source: Ono Kosuki/Pexels Why did this happen? David Leonhardt in The New York Times thinks it might be something about how journalists need to expose the truth, it’s a core part of their role in society. And perhaps in the impact and management of Covid-19 in … [Read more...] about Do Americans Prefer Bad News?
Body image is a complicated concept, as it encompasses perceptions, thoughts and feelings about the body over time. As people age, the focus on body features tends to shift predominantly onto facial attractiveness including the skin, eyes, cheekbones and jawline. It follows that facelift procedures are some of the most common aesthetic surgical procedures undertaken by those over 40 years of age. While the primary goal of facelift surgery is to create an outward appearance that reflects the patient's inner spirit and sense of beauty, studies have not shown any relationship between the degree of facial aging and the amount of patients’ concern. Furthermore, there is no documented association between the amount of objective improvement after facelift surgery and patient satisfaction. To fully understand the impact of facelift procedures on mental health, we need to examine patients’ underlying motivations for surgery, the immediate postoperative effects, and longer term quality of … [Read more...] about The Psychological Impact of a Facelift
Do you feel you are more sensitive to pain than most people? That you respond to painful stimuli more deeply and intensely than most others? Unsurprisingly, the basis of this sensory phenomenon is rooted in your DNA. But not in the way you think it is. Believe it or not, the reason for this heightened pain sensitivity is actually due to the fact that a small percentage of modern-day humans possess a specific gene variant that originated in Neanderthals. That’s right, Neanderthals. Indeed, it has been known for some time that humans mated with Neanderthals before we likely drove our kinder, gentler evolutionary cousins to extinction because of Homo sapiens’ greater aggressiveness and competitiveness. Nevertheless, Homo neanderthalensis still exists in our “human“ genome. According to a recent report published in the journal Science , as much as 2.6% of the DNA in living humans was inherited from Neanderthals (Science, November, 2017). Moreover, a very recent study in … [Read more...] about Why You’re More Sensitive Than Most People
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” — Bono The brain adapts. What isn’t used is lost, and what’s used constantly is bolstered. If a finger or entire limb is removed, the part of the brain responsible for interpreting its sensory information will shrink, being overtaken by regions responsible for intact portions of the body. If tactile stimulation increases—say your fingertips are constantly poked or prodded—the corresponding cortical areas will expand. In 1995, Thomas Elbert—working at the University of Konstanz in Germany—led an experiment that applied this principle of adaptability to the brains of musicians. Given that musicians like violinists require a considerable amount of manual dexterity, and they constantly use their fingers to press down on the strings of their instruments, Elbert wondered if the brain regions associated with those areas would be different. Recruiting nine people that played the violin, the cello, or guitar, the researchers … [Read more...] about Your Brain on Music
A Paramedic Helps Someone on the Street Source: RODNAE Productions/Pexels The recent spate of attacks on Asian Americans in cities around the United States has reinforced the popular belief that bystanders seldom intervene to help strangers, especially in densely populated urban areas. But is that belief correct? Bystanders Do Not Stand By American Psychologist found that, contrary to conventional wisdom , intervention is the norm in public conflicts. Research psychologist Richard Philpot at Lancaster University and his colleagues examined closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of 219 public quarrels and attacks (Philpot et al., 2020). The incidents occurred on the street in the entertainment and central business districts of three cities: Amsterdam (the largest city in the Netherlands), Cape Town (the largest city in South Africa), and Lancaster (a smaller city in northwest England). Philpot and his team trained four research assistants to count the number of … [Read more...] about How Often Do Victims of Street Violence Receive Help?