Blog Archive

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New York Times: Quotation Of The Day - "Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being shut out for relatively small mistakes." JONATHAN MINTZ, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, on databases that bar consumers from opening bank accounts because of past missteps like overdrafts


"Hundreds of thousands of Americans are being shut out for relatively small mistakes."

JONATHAN MINTZ, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, on databases that bar consumers from opening bank accounts because of past missteps like overdrafts

Thursday, July 25, 2013 The North Pole Looks Like A Lake Today

The North Pole Looks Like a Lake Today

By Mat McDermott

Photo: NPEO

What you're looking at above is an image taken today by the North Pole Environmental Observatory webcam. The water you see isn't sea water, rather it's a large meltwater lake sitting on top of the rapidly thinning ice that's increasingly typical in the Arctic.

Just let that image sink in. Not the image you probably think of when you visualize the North Pole, but there it is.

What's going on is something similar to what's been going on for a number of years now every summer, as the region continues to warm to a greater degree than the planetary average. Through the beginning of July temperatures in the Arctic are 1-3°C higher than the historical average.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center says that during the first two weeks of this month ice extent decline by 132,000 square kilometers each day, 61 percent faster than the average rate of decline over the past three decades. Compared to the average ice extent over the past 30 years for July 15, this year's ice cover is 1.06 million square kilometers below average overall, with some pretty significant regional variations whether you're looking at the Atlantic or Pacific side of the Arctic.

Image: NSIDC

This follows, as Rutgers University stats show, one of the greatest shifts in snow cover on record—the Northern Hemisphere had the ninth highest average snow cover in April, followed by massive melting in May, a month that ended with the third lowest snow cover on record. Those records may only go back to 1967, but it's hugely dramatic nevertheless.

The big question—the main speculation at every time this year—is whether this year's melting will set a new record. Arctic Sea Ice Blog explains that weather plays an important role in how the sea ice melt season plays out, even though the amount of easy-to-melt ice is at a record level this year (which makes it easier for dramatic meltwater ponds to form, LiveScience reminds us). Right now ice extent is still above that of last year, which set a record low for sea ice loss.

Why is the Arctic warming to a greater degree than elsewhere? The loss of sea ice is one reason. Since sea ice reflects about 85 percent of sunlight, as the ice melts revealing water, which reflects just about 7 percent of sunlight, it allows the oceans to absorb more heat.

By Mat McDermott 2 days agoTags: climate, arctic

Read more:
Follow us: @motherboard on Twitter | motherboardtv on Facebook

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Theory of Positive Disintegration: Overexcitabilities and PowerWood


Children with overexcitabilities tend to be over-sensitive, and can easily become over-whelmed and over-excited. They may be nervous or shy, or they may show strong emotional reactions. Their behaviour may be inappropriate or challenging and they are often misunderstood.

PowerWood, social enterprise in the making, is dedicated to helping families, their children and teenagers with overexcitabilities to improve their self-control, self-esteem and pleasure in life.

*Overexcitabilities Children with overexcitabilities tend to be over-sensitive, and can easily become over-whelmed and over-excited. They may be nervous or shy, or they may show strong emotional reactions. Their behaviour may be inappropriate or challenging and they are often misunderstood.

“Often when overexcitabilities are discussed examples and concerns are mostly negative. Remember that being overexcitable also brings with it great joy, the astonishment, beauty, compassion and creativity. Perhaps the most important thing is to acknowledge and relish the uniqueness of an overexcitable child or adult.” (Lind, 2001)

PowerWood works to help children and their families recognise and understand overexcitability. Young people are encouraged to embrace the positives that accompany it, such as creativity, energy and the ability to think outside the box. PowerWood also teaches coping mechanisms to help these sensitive and intense children find happiness and a sense of belonging.

Often intelligence doesn’t equal academic, emotional or social achievement but is characterised by intensity, sensitivity, 'overexcitability' and asynchronous development. Some children also experience extreme learning styles, vulnerability and may show worrying or challenging behaviour. Powerwood uses a holistic and sustainable approach to educate, support and instruct these children & young people and their associates.

Problems Encountered

Sometimes these children and teenagers show puzzling, withdrawn or challenging behaviour – they can be very intense, extremely sensitive and be ‘overexcitable’*. They can express intense loneliness, to the point of talking about wanting to die, even at a very early age. They may have unexplained medical conditions related to anxiety e.g. stomach disorders or headaches. Some can be very strong-willed, question authority, some can be extremely shy and sometimes lose their trust in people if their intrinsic motivation is not supported constructively.

Joy experienced

PowerWood is organising fun and informative events to enable families with intense, sensitive 'overexcitable'*, (more) able children and teenagers to enjoy life together with others. In the PowerWood environment you will find other families who deal with the same challenges and joys as you do!

PowerWood organises Coffee &; Simone where issues can be discussed with Simone de Hoogh, Parenting Consultant and Specialist in Gifted Education. She is also the founder of PowerWood, with PowerWood workshops, and the inspiring PowerWood Summer Camping Week with all kinds of fun activities and workshops for the whole family.

Events held within a safe, friendly sustainable environment can empower and energise the development of necessary skills. Where possible, these events are held in rural surroundings where contact with the natural world offers an extra sense of leisure and pleasure.

We enjoy supporting individuals and families to improve their effective and constructive communication, to pursue and fulfil their passions and dreams by helping them to improve the balance between intellectual, creative (emotional) and practical abilities, enabling 'Successful Intelligence' (Sternberg).

PowerWood enables children, teenagers, young adults, adults, parents and families from all cultures to meet others facing similar challenges.

PowerWood invites you to become part of the PowerWood community.

*Overexcitability is a characteristic of the nervous system involving higher than average sensitivity to stimuli (a lower threshold to stimuli) and a higher than average response to stimuli.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Death is Nothing at All Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner. All is well. - Henry Scott Holland

Apollo 13 - Getting Home

This song was made ​​thinking of a war, but the quotidian life is a war, where we are our worst enemy. The lyrics are perfect and does reflect. The Impossible Dream To dream the impossible dream To fight the unbeatable foe To bear with unbearable sorrow To run where the brave dare not go To right the unrightable wrong To be better far than you are To try when your arms are too weary To reach the unreachable star This is my quest, to follow that star No matter how hopeless, no matter how far To be willing to give when there's no more to give To be willing to die so that honor and justice may live And I know if I'll only be true to this glorious quest That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I'm laid to my rest And the world will be better for this That one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove with his last ounce of courage To reach the unreachable star. Category Music License Standard YouTube Licens

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Failure To Thrive

The story goes that among the cribs in a nursery of newborns that were unwanted and abandoned, only one baby on the very end seemed to thrive while the others failed. Doctors and nurses there were wondering why the baby on the end seemed to be thriving while the other motherless ones were not. Soon, it was observed the cleaning lady at night along with her duties had made it a habit of picking up the infant on the end, holding and rocking it in comfort, and generally caring for the baby as if her own.

We both knew the story well for many years and referred to it as a dramatic example of the power and effectiveness of simple love and affection expressed personally. We all respond positively and thrive when warm genuine nurturing and affection are expressed upon us as an individual. Even a touch can do so much. So, when she evoked this example as being representative of my consistent efforts to be affectionate by holding and touching her even when the advances were unwelcome and even rejected, I was deeply deeply moved as though a connection I had been pursuing for decades had finally been made. For the first time I felt the gulf between us finally had a bridge over deeply disturbed waters.

Time and experience in a relationship has a way of educating, maturing, and bringing to remembrance quite dispassionately to the conscious mind events of the past when this person and others have said or done deeply moving things which conflicting and contradictory evidence subsequently proves not genuine and insincere manipulation of my emotions. Half way across the bridge I am obliged to concede and acquiesce that my childlike readiness, willingness, and ability to believe and trust the face value of such deep sentiments was at best premature and that acting immediately upon it unwarranted. No one met me half way.

There was no follow through on her part. I told her she hurt me very very deeply. She knows, still, she does not really care and typically blamed me again for believing. She screams at me with greater and greater intensity. I feel betrayed, again. No one will know or care she tortures me this way in the hidden recesses of our private lives. They all love her. And I believed we loved each other, again too. I believed that I could constantly hold her and she would respond in time. Yes, it is a bitter and twisted dance: Come here. Go away. Don't leave me. Get out! Yes, I will indeed Go Away soon by any means because I can no longer endure the pain of my flesh being slowly repeatedly drawn and quartered and sawn asunder; bones ripped, broken, crushed. Still, the exquisite unrelenting breaking of the heart and crushing of the spirit ferments the water and blood into wine she will, in the end, be compelled to drain the cup of it. Somewhere the child weeps silently, alone, with silent screams.

Over the course of 23 years, I knew the nature of my serious oversight within six months and assumed the responsibility of making the best of a bad investment and to minimize losses. Over the course of 23 years one tends to jump at the chance to improve our lot in life, ignoring the pattern of futility and hoping for the best. Still, not even God can make people love Him or even acknowledge the nature of His existence. Who am I to deny the reality of this universal principle in my own life now? In faith, hope, and love I proceed with tragic ignorance into that place where angels will not go, God knows why, and even men tell me to stay out. Still, the abandoned baby weeps with greater and greater intensity until the eyes glaze over and that sad stoic resignation casts a shadow across the wet deserted face. Baby weeps silently alone, inside, knowing somehow the rest of his existence here will be a hidden grieving process of what might have been had she only loved him. Had there been more time, maybe. A thousand years in one day.

Monday, July 8, 2013

PsyBlog - What Can Self-Control Do For You? 10 New Studies Provide Surprising Answers

What Can Self-Control Do For You? 10 New Studies Provide Surprising Answers

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 06:40 AM PDT

Can self-control make you happy, willing to sacrifice for others, fairer, unethical or easy to hypnotise?

Nowadays it's hardly news that self-control is vital to success in many areas of life.

The studies bear this out with boring monotony in education, in health, in terms of how much money you earn, in personal relationships and even mental health.

Consciously or otherwise, people with low self-control know it's a disadvantage to be weak-willed. To make up for it they seek out others who do possess this magical property, both socially and as dating partners (Shea et al., 2013).

But, according to studies published in the last six months, a more subtle picture is emerging of the advantages and disadvantages of having, or lacking, self-control. These provide new answers to what self-control can do for you and what it can't.
1. Can it make you happier?

One stereotype of people with high self-control is that they are boring killjoys. After all, how much fun can you have if you're so in control all the time?

But, according to a new study by Hofmann et al., (2013), this stereotype is now being attacked. Their research showed that people with high self-control are happier because it helps them deal better with goal conflict.

Instead of agonising over whether to indulge in fattening foods, extra-marital affairs or cheap reality TV, people with high self-control find it easier to make the right choice. This is part of the reason they are happier. That and the fact they got better grades at school, earn more money, have better physical and mental health and so on.
2. Can it stop you lying?

Have you ever used a drug called 'clorovisen', also known as 'zens'? And how many times have you used the drug in the last month?

That's the question Meldrum et al. (2013) put to a group of 1,600 adolescents at a school in the US. Of these, 40 students admitted they had used the drug.

The weird thing is that the drug doesn't exist. The researchers had made it up to see if anyone would admit to using a totally fictitious drug.

Apparently some people just can't help lying and it's those who have low self-control that succumb to the temptation more easily, even if, as in this situation, there was absolutely nothing to gain from it. It was just lying for the sake of lying.
3. Can it make you willing to sacrifice for others?

The benefits of self-control have become so well-known that it's easy to overlook the disadvantages of iron self-control, because there are a few.

One comes out in neat research by Righetti et al., (2013) who found that in close personal relationships it was the people who had low self-control who were more willing to make sacrifices for their partner.

This is because sometimes that first instinctual reaction is to sacrifice your own interests to someone else. This happens before boring old self-interest kicks in.

But those lovely people with low self-control just can't help themselves. Before they know what they've done, they've done something nice.
4. Can it make you fairer?

Another advantage of people currently low in self-control emerged in a study by Halali et al. (2013): they are fairer. Or at least they acted more fairly in an economic game played in the lab called 'the ultimatum game'.

The findings took the authors by surprise. To explain them they think that those low in self-control acted more fairly because of fear of having less fair offers rejected.

Perhaps, but that's a rather weaselly explanation. Maybe it was like the last study: the first instinctual reaction is to act fairly and this is only tempered by later, more selfish thoughts.

Whatever the explanation, it seems in some circumstances people with low self-control act more fairly.
5. Can it help you quit smoking?

Sure, self-control is handy when you're trying to give up smoking, or any other long-standing bad habit. But how can you boost your self-control when it's been depleted by a long, stressful day?

One way of fighting back against low self-control is to use abstract thinking. When we are thinking abstractly we are more connected to our overall goals.

This was recently tested for people who were trying to quit smoking (Chiou et al., 2013). Participants who concentrated on why they were quitting smoking managed to smoke fewer cigarettes. This was because it boosted their depleted self-control.

(Find out more about self-control and abstract reasoning.)
6. Can it improve your mental focus?

One of the major benefits of self-control is it enhances mental focus and the ability to ignore anxious thoughts.

Just this process was seen in a study by Bertrams et al. (2013) who had participants trying to do maths in their heads while under pressure. Those with low self-control in the moment were more distracted by negative thoughts and performed worse in the task.

Much the same was true in another study on dart tossing (McEwan et al., 2013). Here participants whose self-control was depleted were less accurate and less consistent at throwing darts.
7. Can it stop you snooping on your partner?

Have you ever read your partner's email or text messages, or searched their pockets or been too inquisitive about where they were last night? It's pretty common, with one survey suggesting two-thirds of young adults have invaded their partner's privacy at some point.

Relationships without trust are hard. But perhaps it's about more than just trust, it's also about self-control. Maybe some people trust their partner, but can't restrain themselves from a little snooping.

Brand new research by Buyukcan-Tetik et al., (2013) found that, amongst married couples, snooping behaviours were only lower when a person both trusted their partner andwas high in self-control.

So it seems that snooping on your partner doesn't necessarily mean you don't trust them, it might be that you can't resist (even though you don't expect to find anything).
8. Can it be replenished with sugar?

Perhaps you've heard of the studies which show that people's self-control is replenished by eating something, especially something sugary? The idea being if you're feeling low on self-control, a glass of orange juice will do the trick.

But the idea that there is some physiological connection has now been questioned, with some believing that really it's all about what you believe.

There's evidence for this in a new study by Hagger & Chatzsiarantis (2013) who used a glucose mouth rinse to try and boost the self-control of those who were feeling mentally weak. It worked. By contrast they found that using an artificially sweetened placebo did not work to boost weakened self-control.

So maybe it's not really the sugar that replenishes self-control, it's the idea of sugar. In other words self-control is much less about what's in your stomach than was previously thought.
9. Can it make leaders unethical?

Leaders are often under a lot of pressure to perform. This tends to sap their willpower meaning that under some circumstances it's hard to make the right decisions.

For those low in moral convictions, perhaps this makes them more likely to make unethical decisions.

Joosten et al. (2013) found that when leaders who had high moral standards were under pressure, they still generally did the right thing. But, for those leader whose morals were questionable, low self-control made it much more likely they would slip over the line into unethical behaviours.

So, low self-control can make leaders unethical if they've got low moral standards.
10. Can it make you easier to hypnotise?

You might imagine—I certainly did—that being hypnotised is all about giving up your self-control to someone else. That suggests it would be easier to hypnotise someone who has low self-control.

That's the theory Ludwig et al. (2013) had when they hypnotised 154 participants and also measured their self-control.

Contrary to their expectations—and mine—they found that having higher self-control made people easier to hypnotise.

The explanation they put forward is that people high in self-control try harder to 'do well' when they are hypnotised. People lower in self-control, however, get distracted and don't pay so much attention to the hypnotic induction so are less hypnotisable.

Image credit: RelaxingMusic
→ If you value PsyBlog, please support it by spreading it to others through email, social networks or even old-fashioned talking! Thank you!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Copyright Disclaimer

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

What is Dissociation?

Dissociation is a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. During the period of time when a person is dissociating, certain information is not associated with other information as it normally would be. For example, during a traumatic experience, a person may dissociate the memory of the place and circumstances of the trauma from his ongoing memory, resulting in a temporary mental escape from the fear and pain of the trauma and, in some cases, a memory gap surrounding the experience. Because this process can produce changes in memory, people who frequently dissociate often find their senses of personal history and identity are affected.

Most clinicians believe that dissociation exists on a continuum of severity. This continuum reflects a wide range of experiences and/or symptoms. At one end are mild dissociative experiences common to most people, such as daydreaming, highway hypnosis, or "getting lost" in a book or movie, all of which involve "losing touch" with conscious awareness of one's immediate surroundings. At the other extreme is complex, chronic dissociation, such as in cases of Dissociative Disorders, which may result in serious impairment or inability to function. Some people with Dissociative Disorders can hold highly responsible jobs, contributing to society in a variety of professions, the arts, and public service -- appearing to function normally to coworkers, neighbors, and others with whom they interact daily.

There is a great deal of overlap of symptoms and experiences among the various Dissociative Disorders, including DID. For the sake of clarity, this brochure will refer to Dissociative Disorders as a collective term. Individuals should seek help from qualified mental health providers to answer questions about their own particular circumstances and diagnoses.
Do People Actually Have Multiple Personalities?

Yes, and no. One of the reasons for the decision by the psychiatric community to change the disorder's name from Multiple Personality Disorder to Dissociative Identity Disorder is that "multiple personalities" is somewhat of a misleading term. A person diagnosed with DID feels as if she has within her two or more entities, or personality states, each with its own independent way of relating, perceiving, thinking, and remembering about herself and her life. If two or more of these entities take control of the person's behavior at a given time, a diagnosis of DID can be made. These entities previously were often called "personalities," even though the term did not accurately reflect the common definition of the word as the total aspect of our psychological makeup. Other terms often used by therapists and survivors to describe these entities are: "alternate personalities," "alters," "parts," "states of consciousness," "ego states," and "identities." It is important to keep in mind that although these alternate states may appear to be very different, they are all manifestations of a single person.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Aug 2010 
Published on All rights reserved.