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July 17, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

You Argue When You Care

You Argue When You Care
We are emotionally attached to the products we use regularly, so much so that we become defensive and tense when they are criticized, says a new study from the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. Interestingly, the more committed we are to a product - and thus the more incensed we are by any critique - the more counterarguments we are able to come up with.

"Less loyal individuals more readily agree with the unfavorable information and change their attitudes to be consistent with the new information," write Sekar Raju (University of Buffalo) and H. Rao Unnava (Ohio State University). "More loyal consumers question and argue against the information".

Raju and Unnava explain that we are negatively aroused by criticism of products to which we feel committed. However, this negative arousal can also be induced by an external stimuli, such as an irritating noise. Thus, those who are in a state of agitation and those who are loyal to a brand come up with more counterarguments in response to criticism in an attempt to reduce cognitive discomfort. In contrast, those who are not especially committed to the brand or who are not externally agitated are more likely to change their opinions.

"This difference in the level of tension seems to motivate the more loyal customers to take a much more defensive stand against the unfavorable information," write the authors. "It is our contention in this research that counterarguementation is one way by which highly committed consumers reduce their arousal, and thus the aversiveness that accompanies it".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

July 17, 2006, 8:56 PM CT

Computer Detects Cognitive Changes

Computer Detects Cognitive Changes
A popular, computer-based card game is helping Oregon Health & Science University scientists monitor cognitive changes in the elderly, a new study shows.

Researchers with the OHSU Oregon Center for Aging & Technology, or ORCATECH, observed that a Solitaire-like game called FreeCell, when adapted with cognitive performance assessment algorithms, may be able to distinguish between persons with memory problems and cognitively healthy seniors.

People with mild cognitive impairment are at high risk of developing dementia, which is most usually caused by Alzheimer's disease. The discovery could help doctors plan early therapy strategies by detecting subtle cognitive changes over time in the natural setting of an elder's home.

"We discovered that we can take an existing computer game that people already have found enjoyable and extract cognitive assessment measures from it," said ORCATECH investigator Holly Jimison, Ph.D., associate professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, OHSU School of Medicine, and the study's lead author.

The study results are being presented today during a poster session at the 10th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Madrid.

In FreeCell, players are dealt 52 cards face up in eight columns, with four columns having seven cards and the others having six. The object is to move all the cards into four single-card free "cells" in four suit piles stacked from lowest to highest rank.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

July 17, 2006, 8:33 PM CT

Perpetrators Of Abuse As Well As Victims

Perpetrators Of Abuse As Well As Victims
Women are more likely than men to stalk, attack and psychologically abuse their partners, as per a University of Florida study that finds college women have a new view of the dating scene.

"We're seeing women in relationships acting differently nowadays than we have in the past," said Angela Gover, a UF criminologist who led the research. "The nature of criminality has been changing for females, and this change is reflected in intimate relationships as well".

In a survey of 2,500 students at UF and the University of South Carolina between August and December 2005, more than a quarter (29 percent) reported physically assaulting their dates and 22 percent reported being the victims of attacks during the past year. Thirty-two percent of women reported being the perpetrators of this violence, compared with 24 percent of men. The students took selected liberal arts and sciences courses. Forty percent were men and 60 percent were women, reflecting the gender composition of these classes.

In a separate survey of 1,490 UF students, one quarter (25 percent) said they had been stalked during the past year and 7 percent reported engaging in stalking, of whom a majority (58 percent) were female.

Eventhough women were the predominant abusers, they still made up the largest number of victims in both surveys, accounting for 70 percent of those being stalked, for example.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

July 17, 2006, 7:59 PM CT

Help Child Anxiety Disorders

Help Child Anxiety Disorders
Special skills workshops for parents of anxious young children could offer a breakthrough in addressing this difficult problem, as per psychology experts at The University of Manchester.

Providing psychological therapys for children under ten with anxiety disorders is problematic for health professionals, as the approaches that are most successful with teenagers and adults are difficult to apply to the very young.

As per researcher Dr Samantha Cartwright-Hatton: "A therapy like cognitive behaviour treatment (CBT) relies on the patient having highly-developed verbal skills, and needs them to understand and reflect on the causes of their symptoms. This is very difficult for younger children, and there is not much evidence that it works with them".

The team is therefore investigating a new approach, which allows parents to be much more involved. "Parents raising an anxious child need a very special set of skills which nobody ever teaches you," Dr Cartwright-Hatton explains, "so we're trying out a course which helps them develop the skills to give their child the best chance of becoming a confident, mature adult".

The team is eager to hear from parents of children under ten who display symptoms of anxiety, such as extreme fears, phobias, frequent worry or distress at separating from their parents. If they participate in the study they will either undertake a weekly two-hour session for ten weeks (starting September) at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility on Grafton Street in Manchester, or receive a thorough assessment and detailed advice on how to get the right help for their child.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

July 17, 2006, 7:53 PM CT

Telepathy To The Test

Telepathy To The Test
Researchers at The University of Manchester have created a virtual computer world designed to test telepathic ability.

The system, which immerses an individual in what looks like a life-size computer game, has been created as part of a joint project between The University's School of Computer Science and School of Psychological Sciences.

Approximately 100 participants will take part in the experiment which aims to test whether telepathy exists between individuals using the system. The project will also look at how telepathic abilities may vary depending on the relationships which exist between participants.

The test is carried out using two volunteers who could be friends, work colleagues or family. They are placed in separate rooms on different floors of the same building to eliminate any possibility of communication.

Participants enter the virtual environment by donning a head-mounted 3D display and an electronic glove which they use to navigate their way through the computer generated world.

Once inside participants view a random selection of computer-generated objects. These include a telephone, a football and an umbrella. The person in the first room sees one object at a time, which they are asked to concentrate on and interact with.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

July 17, 2006, 7:47 PM CT

Watching TV Could Help Your Parenting

Watching TV Could Help Your Parenting
Phase two of The Great Parenting Experiment, which aims to find out whether watching "positive parenting" TV shows can really help address problems like child aggression and tantrums, is being launched by clinical psychologist Rachel Calam of The University of Manchester this week.

The ITV1 series Driving Mum and Dad Mad returns on Monday (17 July), and will follow a new set of families as they try out the "Triple P" parenting programme. This was devised by Professor Matt Sanders from The University of Queensland in Australia, and aims to improve children's behaviour by rebuilding positive relationships, tackling discipline and setting rules and limits.

Teams from both universities are collaborating on The Great Parenting Experiment which will run alongside the series, wherein parents of 3 - 9 year old children will be asked to watch the shows and try out its advice for themselves. Funded by the Respect Task Force, the study will test whether, by adopting the ideas suggested, mums and dads can improve their children's behaviour and reduce their own stress levels.

Dr Calam, of the School of Psychological Sciences, explained: "One group of families will simply be asked to watch the programmes and put into practice what they see, whilst another will be given additional support. Everyone will receive a free self-help workbook at some point during the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

July 13, 2006, 9:59 PM CT

Don't Let Job Get In The Way Of Your Relationship

Don't Let Job Get In The Way Of Your Relationship
Do we feel accepted by our partners no matter how good or bad our professional life is going? Do we see our spouses as loving us for better or worse? These questions are explored in a recent study included in the recent issue of SAGE's Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, an official publication of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, published by SAGE Publications.

The article, "For better or worse? Self-esteem and the contingencies of acceptance in marriage" presented research led by Sandra Murray of the University at Buffalo. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, was culled from the daily diaries of over 150 married couples. It concluded that people with low self-esteem incorrectly perceived their partner's acceptance and love to be contingent on their professional accomplishments.

To help to unravel the mysteries of relationships as they naturally occur in real life, husbands and wives reported on their professional successes and failures while also reporting on the degree to which they felt accepted and loved by their partner. Self-esteem was found to be a key indicator of how people perceived their partner's approval and support. Men and women with low self-esteem felt that their partner's love was contingent on their daily professional successes--they felt more loved on days when they were more successful. Low self-esteem women also felt less accepted and loved by their partners on days when they failed at work or school. In contrast, men and women with high self-esteem perceived their partner's love as unconditional. In fact, high self-esteem women even tended to feel more loved on days when they reported failing at work.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

July 12, 2006, 8:42 PM CT

Parents Are Not To Be Blamed

Parents Are Not To Be Blamed
What's the largest study that looked at children's late language development showed? It showed that parents are not to be blamed for the late language development of children. It is not because the parents are not talking to the toddlers that they are not developing the language skills.

This world's largest study has examined speech development of 1766 children in Western Australia from infancy to seven years of age, with particular focus on environmental, neuro-developmental and genetic risk factors. It is the first study to look at predictors of late language.

Chief Investigator Professor Mabel Rice said the research found that about 13 per cent of children at two years of age were late talkers.

This problem affects boys were three times higher compared to girls. While a child with siblings was at double the risk, as were children with a family history of late talkers.

Mother's education, income, parenting style or mental health had no significant impact on a child's likelihood of being a late talker. The researchers say that their findings debunked common myths about why children are late talkers.

"Some people have wrongly believed that delayed language development could be due to a child not being spoken to enough or because of some other inadequacy in the family environment," Associate Professor Taylor said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

July 5, 2006, 8:10 AM CT

Medication Helps Smoking Cessation

Medication Helps Smoking Cessation
The drug varenicline shows effectiveness in helping smokers quit and abstain from smoking when compared to placebo and the smoking cessation medicine bupropion, as per three studies in the July 5 issue of JAMA.

Eventhough nearly 41 percent of smokers try to quit smoking each year, relapse is common, and only about 10 percent achieve and maintain abstinence. The negative effects of nicotine withdrawal account, in part, for low success rates, as per background information in the article. Approved pharmacotherapies to treat nicotine dependence (e.g., nicotine replacement treatment and bupropion) have had important, but moderate efficacy, with reported rates of quitting generally twice those of placebo. Additional and more effective therapies are needed.

David Gonzales, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, and his colleagues with the Varenicline Phase 3 Study Group evaluated the efficacy of varenicline compared with placebo and sustained-release (SR) bupropion in generally healthy adult smokers. Varenicline is a non-nicotine drug that is believed to be beneficial for smoking cessation by stimulating the release of the chemical dopamine in the brain to reduce craving and withdrawal while simultaneously blocking the reinforcing effects of smoked nicotine. Most other smoking cessation pharmacotherapies are nicotine replacement products.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

July 4, 2006, 10:10 AM CT

Early drinking linked to higher lifetime alcoholism risk

Early drinking linked to higher lifetime alcoholism risk
Data from a survey of 43,000 U.S. adults heighten concerns that early alcohol use, independent of other risk factors, may contribute to the risk of developing future alcohol problems. Those who began drinking in their early teens were not only at greater risk of developing alcohol dependence at some point in their lives, they were also at greater risk of developing dependence more quickly and at younger ages, and of developing chronic, relapsing dependence. Among all respondents who developed alcoholism at some point, almost half (47 percent) met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence (alcoholism) by age 21.

The associations between early drinking and later problems held even after researchers controlled for other risk factors for dependence, adding to concerns that drinking at a young age might raise the risk of future alcohol problems rather than being an identifying feature of young people predisposed to risky behavior. The study appears in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Volume 160, pages 739-746.

Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH, said, "This is a very good example of how insights gained from health research can inform public policy. Converging research suggests that youthful drinking is associated with an increased risk of long-term, not just acute, health consequences.ยจ........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness. Archives of psychology news blog

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