Posts

January 24, 2015

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1:21 PM | Young Americans Are Sicker Than Ever
A sobering article on the Atlantic web site suggests that this generation of young people are encountering more chronic illnesses, at younger ages, than at any time in recent history. This increase in morbidity and mortality among the young holds true even for young people who are college-educated and upper-class.
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1:21 PM | Assisted Suicide Comes to "Girls"
On the season finale of HBO’s “Girls” last month, an ailing photographer named Beadie, played by the inimitable Louise Lasser in a wheelchair, asks Jessa to help her die. It was daring of Lena Dunham, the show’s writer and creator, to introduce this particular plot twist, since assisted suicide is one of the subjects that American television shows steadily avoid.
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1:21 PM | Mourning Online
Trend stories in The New York Times Sunday Styles section have plenty of problems, but the one last weekend about how this generation of young people is changing how they view death and how they mourn, had one great benefit: it linked to the website Modern Loss. What a website.
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1:21 PM | How Happiness Changes Over the Lifespan
A new study finds that young people are more likely to focus on the exciting and the new in their recollections or plans for happiness. Older people are more likely to take their happiness in the more mundane.
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1:21 PM | Imagining the Best Way to Die
The evening after attending a panel discussion on "Confronting Mortality" at the New York Academy of Sciences, I took a tip from one of the speakers, Lani Leary, who had urged us to talk to our families about what they would want at the end of life. She suggested phrasing the question as: "What would be the ideal death FOR YOU?"
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1:21 PM | Mother's Day Thoughts
One of my worst mothering moments took place in about 1990, when my daughters were 10 and 6. They were very busy all day working on my Mother's Day present in my older daughter's bedroom, and when they finally came downstairs in the late afternoon they were giggly with excitement, eager to give it to me.
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1:21 PM | Who Wants to Travel Back in Time?
A new study from the Pew Research Center finds that 10 percent of Millennials think a time machine would be cool—compared to just 3 percent of people over 65. It brings to mind my own mother, who at 89 has managed a cell phone but has no interest in learning any other modern machinery. She's too busy hanging on for dear life to the here and now.
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1:21 PM | Is Suicide Ever "Rational"?
Last week, an 89-year-old woman went from her home in Sussex, England, to the clinic in Switzerland run by the group Dignitas, where she could receive a lethal dose of barbiturates. She was not terminally ill, just old and tired of living. Her death raises questions about end-of-life decision-making and the British group known as the Society for Old Age Rational Suicide.
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1:20 PM | "Nothing Holy About Agony"
Maybe it's because, at the age of 82, he is thinking more personally about what it means to have a good death. But for whatever reason, Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote an article this past weekend in favor of assisted dying, a reversal in his previous position that will no doubt have an impact far beyond his native South Africa.
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1:20 PM | Fertility Clinics and False Hope
IVF pioneer Lord Robert Winston calls the fertility industry an unregulated "jungle" that makes misleading promises for the sake of the bottom line. And he has some pretty harsh words for egg freezing, too.
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1:20 PM | Millennial Women and ADHD
I thought of my daughter the other day when I heard the NPR report stating that the biggest surge in new prescriptions for Ritalin and other ADHD drugs has been in those written for young women, aged 19 to 34.
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1:20 PM | It's Hard to Be a Narcissist in a Recession
The press and some psychologists love ragging on Millennials for their narcissistic tendencies. But the young people I come in contact with aren't especially self-centered, at least not more so than most twentysomethings of previous generations. New research suggests young people might not be so narcissistic after all—especially those who grew up in hard economic times.
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1:20 PM | What Matters to Women Looking for Egg Donors?
As the use of egg donors becomes more widespread, a recent study finds, women are no longer trying to hide the fact that their babies come from donor eggs by working hard to find donors who are physically or genetically similar to them. Instead, the researchers say, recipients tend to look for other qualities, such as intelligence and athletic ability,
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1:20 PM | The Science of Loneliness
Friends and relatives might be surprised that I think of myself as lonely. But I do, which is why I was so struck by the findings of John Cacioppo, one of the nation's leading experts on the science of loneliness, that suggest the lonely brain is its own worst enemy, seeing social rejection in every interaction -- which sparks a destructive, self-defeating loop.
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1:20 PM | Being Old in New York City
An article in this month's Politico magazine, "Seniors Take Manhattan," is all about the ways that it's easier to "age in place" in a big city than almost anywhere else in the U.S. The author, Debra Bruno, marshalls tons of evidence in defense of that position.
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1:20 PM | Are Old People Really Happier?
Just yesterday morning New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a column about the U-shaped curve of happiness called "Why Elders Smile." It is currently #1 on the most-emailed list at the Times. He says old people "are spared some of the burden of thinking about the future." Um, why is this a good thing, exactly?
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11:30 AM | Psychology Around the Net: January 24, 2014
Ever wonder what makes you — and keeps you — a loyal customer? How about ways to strength train your brain? Oh, and speaking of your brain — where does all that fear and anxiety come from, anyway? We have it all and more in this week’s Psychology Around the Net. Fear Pinpoinited: Scientists Discover […]
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10:40 AM | Crustacean Rights: The Case of the "Lucky" Crabs
Should we be concerned with pain and suffering in invertebrates? Here's why stone crabs are high on my list of immoral foods.
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10:40 AM | The Problem With Incest
There is a good reason why sex with close relatives is taboo in nearly every human society.
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10:40 AM | Are You an Animal Person? It Could Be In Your Genes
A new study of Vietnam Era veterans suggests why some people and not others love animals.
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10:40 AM | Why Are Rape Victims More—Not Less—Likely To Become Pregnant?
A woman's chances of getting pregnant are much lower than most people think. But they are considerably higher if she is raped.
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10:40 AM | Puppies, Kittens, and Human Health: Science Versus Wishful Thinking
According to Psych Today blogger Melanie Greenberg, scientists have proven that getting a pet will make you healthier. Here are a dozen studies suggesting she is wrong.
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10:40 AM | Do Pets Prevent Sudden Death In Children With Epilepsy?
A new study on the death rates of children with epilepsy found that living with a pet...
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10:40 AM | Do Pets Go To Heaven?
What happens to animals when they die? We recently asked people which species they thought went to Heaven. The results were surprising....
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10:40 AM | Puppies and Broken Hearts
Will getting a pet unclog your arteries and stave off the Grim Reaper?
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10:40 AM | In Defense of (Some) Meat
Beyond the yuck factor—why it is okay to kill animals because they happen to taste good...
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10:40 AM | A Blood Sport For The Rich and Famous?
In an earlier Psych Today post, I looked at the comparative cruelty of horse racing. A new report indicates the situation is even worse than I thought.
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10:40 AM | Horse Racing: Cruelties We Condone and Cruelties We Condemn
The deaths of three thoroughbred horses on the set of HBO's series "Luck" speaks volumes about our culture's conflicted attitudes toward animal cruelty.
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10:40 AM | Are Dogs People? Really?
Using the latest M.R.I. technology, a group of neuroscientists are exploring what goes on inside the heads of dogs. Their research is exciting, but the fact that a brain structure lights up when our canine friends are happy does not mean that "dogs are people, too."
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10:40 AM | Animal Cruelty and the Sadism of Everyday Life
Two recent studies help explain why some people find pleasure in torturing animals. The answer lies in sadism and a configuration of traits called The Dark Triad.
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