The more you rate people, the more positive you become about them.

Tasks often feel easier to perform as we gain experience with them, which can have unintended consequences when the task involves rating a series of people or items, according to findings published in the journal Psychological Science. The authors show that people tend to attribute the increasing ease of making ratings to the people or items themselves rather than to the ratings process, resulting in rating inflation over time.… [read more]

Do we have free will or is it a case of belief driving results?

For several decades, many researchers have argued that neurosgenetic studies prove human actions are driven by external stimuli—that the brain is reactive and free will is an illusion. But a new analysis of these studies shows that many may have contained methodological inconsistencies and conflicting results.… [read more]

Why economic growth does not necessarily contribute to human happiness.

This may well be the most important study published this year so far since it explains much of what is going wrong in our society. Economic growth in developed countries has a dual effect. On one hand, people’s living standards and consumer spending have, until recently, been rising but this does not necessarily make people happy and may in fact erode subjective wellbeing and lead to economic crises according to a number of studies (reported earlier in TR).… [read more]

Watching others makes people overconfident in their own abilities.

Watching YouTube videos, Instagram demos, and Facebook tutorials may make us feel as though we’re acquiring all sorts of new skills but it probably won’t make us experts, according to research published in Psychological Science.

“The more that people watched others, the more they felt they could perform the same skill, too—even when their abilities hadn’t actually changed for the better,” says the study lead author.… [read more]

Is your stress changing my brain?

In a remarkable study researchers have discovered that stress isn’t just contagious; it alters the brain on a cellular level.

In the study, published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers have discovered that stress transmitted from others can change the brain in the same way as a real stress does.… [read more]

Does ketamine really work as an antidepressant?

Antidepressant response within hours, or a blind alley? Experts weigh evidence on ketamine as a fast-acting treatment for depression in Harvard Review of Psychiatry.

Recent studies suggest that ketamine, a widely used anesthetic agent, could offer a wholly new approach to treating severe depression—producing an antidepressant response in hours rather than weeks.… [read more]

New method helps identify causal mechanisms in depression.

A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging looks at the driving influence of brain regions in depression. What the researchers say:  The researchers note that people with major depressive disorder have alterations in the activity and connectivity of brain systems underlying reward and memory.… [read more]

A pathway to a better way to treat depression?

About 30-40% of depression is genetic in origin. A really interesting study just published outlines a new and rather dramatic look at this aspect of depression. Essentially it indicates that all current treatments are looking at the wrong areas of the brain and therefore that is the reason all existing treatments fail so many sufferers.… [read more]

Depression changes the brain over time.

Over years, depression quite literally changes the brain, new research shows. Importantly the researchers found that persistent depression may need a different therapeutic approach from all those that have been tried so far. They findings also raised the question: Is clinical depression always the same illness, or does it change over time?… [read more]