A study has revealed that volunteer work has numerous positive psychological benefits and discovered that it may even improve the experience of work the following day. These results are published online today, 15th February 2010 in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology. Dr Eva J. Mojza and colleagues at the University of Konstanz, Germany, studied the psychological effects of volunteer work in a sample of 105 people who worked an average five days a week, and volunteered for 6.7 hours each week on average. The participants volunteered in a range of activities from the fire service, to church groups. "We predicted that volunteer work during the evenings would have positive psychological effects, such as increasing psychological detachment from paid work, and fulfilling important psychological needs such the need to connect with others, autonomy and competence, " said Dr Mojza.
Both genetics and parents who comfort their infants with food are the focus of a study funded for $1 million by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestion and Kidney Disease investigating risk factors for childhood obesity. The grant is part of the National Institutes of Health American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. "When the infant cries, parents typically have a set of soothing techniques they'll use to comfort their child -- if one doesn't work, they move to the next -- and somewhere on that list is feeding, " said Cynthia Stifter, professor of human development and family studies and principal investigator on the project.
Do you make the same mistakes in love over and over again? For example, do you always seem to pick the wrong partner or always experience the same negative romantic outcome? If so, you need to understand your developmental history of love and break the pattern, according to Dr. Mark Beitel, a licensed clinical psychologist and psychotherapist at Greenwich Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine in Cos Cob, CT. "Certain conditions for loving, and being loved, are created and then maintained across a person's lifespan, " explains Beitel. "Negative life experiences can damage the developing capacity for love. People get stuck because the conditions that they have set up for loving tend to operate just outside of awareness.
A sick or sad child might cling to mom's leg. But that same child - fed, rested and generally content - will happily toddle off to explore every nook and cranny of the known world. Or: You're chipper and you decide to check out the new restaurant across town. You're blue and you turn to comfort foods. If you've seen or experienced these scenarios, you may not be surprised about the latest finding from an international team of social and cognitive psychologists: A negative mood, it turns out, imparts a warm glow to the familiar. Happiness, on the other hand, makes novelty attractive (and can instead give the familiar a "blah" cast). But it is the first time the effect has been experimentally demonstrated in humans.
In a novel study that used historical tape of a thrilling overtime basketball game between Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, brain researchers at Duke have found that fans remember the good things their team did much better than the bad. It's serious science, aimed at understanding the links between emotion and memory that might affect Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and how well people recall their personal histories. Struggling to find a way to measure a person's brain while subjecting them to powerful emotions, Duke scientists hit on the idea of using basketball fans who live and die with each three-pointer. Using game film gives researchers a way to see the brain deal with powerful, rapid-fire positive and negative emotions, without creating any ethical concerns.
Women prefer generous men for long-term relationships - or even for just one date. This is the finding of a study published today, 11th February 2010 in the British Journal of Psychology. Dr Pat Barclay at McMaster University, Canada, investigated whether highlighting kind qualities affected people's mate choice, to further investigate evolutionary theories of the persistence of human altruism. One hundred and fifty women were asked to read short profiles accompanying photographs of men, then asked how willing they would be to have short-term or long-term relationships with them, and to rate their physical and sexual attractiveness. 155 men did the same for photos of women.