Cooperation based on mood and experience

Contrary to generally accepted belief, people do not cooperate with each other to gain a personal reward. A Spanish study published today concludes that the decision to cooperate is based on two, basically non-rational, factors: a person’s mood at the time and whether the person has cooperated with others recently.… [read more]

Child-centered parenting not good for mental health

In Alicia’s and my book Raising an Optimistic Child we argued that the most important thing in parenting was to concentrate on the relationship between the parents and that this was more important than a mother sacrificing for her child. There are many studies that back this up.… [read more]

An applicant’s interests a better predictor of job success than other tests

Job applicants are often given a battery of tests to judge their suitability for a particular job. Most of them have been shown to be useless and baseless in scientific research. However a study published today in Psychological Science and based on a meta study of 60 research findings finds that there is a simpler and better way of finding the right candidate for the job—find out what  the candidate is really interested in.… [read more]

Irrational economics in chimpanzees

Behavioural economics is not exactly news. The idea that we don’t base economic decisions (or, I would argue, any decisions) on a rational weighing of the options is now accepted as fact. However interestingly researchers in animal—specifically chimpanzee—behaviour have shown that we make economic decisions in the same way chimps do.… [read more]

Sex, color and the workplace

No, not racial color, dress color. Specifically: red. It turn out, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that like male baboons and other primates men equate females wearing red as a signal that they’re fertile and ready to mate.… [read more]

The stress/depression link

In our books, Raising an Optimistic Child and Creating Optimism we wrote about the probable link between stress and depression. The truth of this and the mechanism by which stress induces depression have now been proven. Research published earlier this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that stress blocks a gene called nuritin and this in turn leads to the harmful effects of stress on crucial areas the brain leading to depression and other mood disorders.… [read more]

Caffeine is good for muscles

Forget the gym, sack the personal trainer, drink a few more cups of coffee instead. A study published today by researchers at the University of Coventry has shown that caffeine helps strengthen muscles, even in the elderly. It seems not to have much effect on juvenile muscle building so highly-caffeinated soft drinks may not be such a good idea for kids.… [read more]

Where bullying is tolerated even the non-bullied think of quitting

In fact those not bullied are more likely to quit than the victims themselves. To a clinical psychologist such as myself, this latter finding is not really surprising since victims often come from homes where bullying by parents or siblings is prevalent and therefore ‘normal.’ As previous research has shown, ambient work conditions can have a powerful effect on staff turnover and thus an organization’s bottom line.… [read more]

Work stress may cause dementia

Workplace stress is slated to increase by over 200% over the next few years according to previous studies (it was up by 72% in Australia in the three years prior to 2008) and work-related stressors are the biggest stress factor in modern society.… [read more]