Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Surprising connections between our well-being and giving, getting, and gratitude

From the 19 January 2013 EurekAlert

January 19, 2013 – New Orleans – We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is good for our general health and well-being. But new research is highlighting a more surprising benefit of good sleep: more feelings of gratitude for relationships.

“A plethora of research highlights the importance of getting a good night’s sleep for physical and psychological well-being, yet in our society, people still seem to take pride in needing, and getting, little sleep,” says Amie Gordon of the University of California, Berkeley. “And in the past, research has shown that gratitude promotes good sleep, but our research looks at the link in the other direction and, to our knowledge, is the first to show that everyday experiences of poor sleep are negatively associated with gratitude toward others – an important emotion that helps form and maintain close social bonds.”

Social psychologists are increasingly finding that “prosocial” behavior – including expressing gratitude and giving to others – is key to our psychological well-being. Even how we choose to spend our money on purchases affects our health and happiness. And children develop specific ways to help others from a very young age. Gordon and other researchers will be presenting some of these latest findings at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual meeting today in New Orleans.

Sleeping to feel grateful…

[Article continues to summarize other findings as

  • giving away money to feel wealthy
  • buying experiences to feel wealthy
  • knowing what is best to help others]

 

Read the entire article here

 

 

January 22, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Why Do Good People Sometimes Do Bad Things?: 52 Reflections on Ethics at Wor

 

From the Full Text Reports abstract of August 25, 2012

M. Kaptein , Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) – Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Source: Social Science Research Network

Why do good people sometimes do bad things in their work? This important question for the management of the ethics and integrity of an organization is addressed in this book. Drawing on social-psychological experiments, a model of 7 cultural factors is presented.

 

August 27, 2012 Posted by | Psychology, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Cell Phones Make Us Less Socially Minded?

Closeup of a female speaking outside on a cell...

Image via Wikipedia

A week ago my husband and I were in the backseats of a van.  The driver carried on an extensive conversation via cell phone. It was a very jovial conversation, he was much less tense than in most conversations with us. So, did the cell phone provide a much needed escape from us? or create a less social atmosphere overall??
(Goes without saying how nervous we were about his driving while talking on the cell phone!)

From the 21 February 2012 Medical News Today article

A recent study from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business finds that even though cell phones are generally thought to connect people with each other, they may make users less socially minded. The findings of various experiments conducted by marketing professors Anastasiya Pocheptsova and Rosellina Ferraro with graduate student, Ajay T. Abraham have been published in their working paper The Effect of Mobile Phone Use on Pro-social Behavior. ..

…Their findings revealed that participants were less likely to volunteer for a community service when asked after a short period of using their cell phone, than those in the control-group and were also less persistent in solving word problems, despite knowing their answers would result in a monetary donation to charity.

The cell phone users’ lower interest in others also persisted when asked to simply draw a picture of their cell phones and think about how they used them.

The researchers referred to earlier studies in explaining the key cause of their findings, saying:

“The cell phone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong.”

This leads to a lower desire to connect with others or to be empathic towards others. It also decreases pro-social behavior, which means wanting to act in order to benefit another person or society as a whole. …

February 22, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Workstation – Building a Bridge to a Lonely Colleague – NYTimes.com and Related Article about Lonliness in General

Workstation – Building a Bridge to a Lonely Colleague – NYTimes.com

From the 28 January article

IT’S lonely at the top, or so it is said. But in fact it doesn’t matter where a person is in the office hierarchy — employees at all levels become lonely, even when other workers are all around them….

Because it is part of the human condition, loneliness is often regarded as a personal problem. But managers may need to view it as an organizational issue as well, according to research by Professor Barsade and Hakan Ozcelik, an associate business professor at California State University, Sacramento.

In a recent study of more than 650 workers, the two researchers found that loneliness — as reported both by the sufferer and his or her co-workers — reduces an employee’s productivity. This was true on both individual and team-oriented tasks.

Just look at what loneliness can do to a person, and you’ll see why. “Loneliness tends to distort social cognition and influences an individual’s interpersonal behavior, resulting in increased hostility, negativity, depressed mood, increased anxiety, lack of perceived control and decreased cooperativeness,” Dr. Wright says.

Professor Barsade is investigating whether loneliness may also be “contagious,” the way she has found emotions like anger and happiness to be in the workplace…

Read the entire NY Times article 

 

Feeling Left Out? Being Ignored Hurts, Even By A Stranger

From the Fri Jan 27, 2012 Medical News Today article

Feeling like you’re part of the gang is crucial to the human experience. All people get stressed out when we’re left out. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that a feeling of inclusion can come from something as simple as eye contact from a stranger. Psychologists already know that humans have to feel connected to each other to be happy. A knitting circle, a church choir, or a friendly neighbor can all feed that need for connection. Eric D…

February 1, 2012 Posted by | Workplace Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Networks Promote Cooperation, Discourage Selfishness, So Nice Guys Can Finish First

 

 

This image is an example of a blocking cluster...

Image via Wikipedia. This Image Is An Example Of A Blocking Cluster In A Social Network.

From the 16 November 2011 Medical News Today article

It turns out nice guys can finish first, and David Rand has the evidence to prove it.

Rand, a post-doctoral fellow in Harvard’s Department of Psychology and a Lecturer in Human Evolutionary Biology, is the lead author of a new paper, which found that dynamic, complex social networks encourage their members to be friendlier and more cooperative, with the possible payoff coming in an expanded social sphere, while selfish behavior can lead to an individual being shunned from the group and left – literally on their own.

As described this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research is among the first such studies to examine social interaction as a fluid, ever-changing process. Previous studies of complex social networks largely used static snapshots of the groups to examine how members were or were not connected. This new approach, Rand said, is the closest scientists have yet come to describing the way the planet’s 6 billion inhabitants interact on a daily basis.

“What we are showing is the importance of the dynamic, flexible nature of real-world social networks,” Rand said. “Social networks are always shifting, and they’re not shifting in random ways. …..

Read the article

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items, Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Male acts of bravery, risk display honor, increase accidental death

From the 16 August Eureka news alert

Effects of male aggression in response to insult most felt in South, West US states

Los Angeles, CA (August 15, 2011) Men sometimes prove themselves by taking risks that demonstrate their toughness and bravery. Putting yourself in peril might establish manliness, but it can also lead to high rates of accidental death, particularly among men who live in states with a “culture of honor,” according to a study in the current Social Psychological and Personality Science (published by SAGE).

A culture of honor puts a high value on the defense of reputation—sometimes with violence. It can develop in environments with historically few natural resources, danger of rustling, and low police presence. States with strong cultures of honor in the U.S. are in the South and West, such as South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming. People from honor states tend to respond to reputation threats with higher levels of hostility and violence compared to people from non-honor states, mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest, such as New York, Wisconsin and Ohio.

People who most believe in a culture of honor—who agree that “A real man doesn’t let other people push him around” or that aggression is a reasonable response to being insulted—told the researchers they were quite willing to engage in risky behaviors, such as bungee jumping or gambling away a week’s wages.

This willingness to take risks might well translate into an early death, according to Collin Barnes, Ryan Brown and Michael Tamborski of the University of Oklahoma. They compared the rates of accidental death—by drowning, car wrecks, over-exertion and so on—and found that people in honor states had significantly higher accidental death rates than did people in non-honor states, especially among White men.

Honor cultures are more powerful in rural areas, where the influence of personal reputation is higher than it is in cities. Although honor states had a 14% higher accidental death rate in the cities, they had a 19% higher rate of accidental death in more rural areas, compared to non-honor states. More than 7,000 deaths a year can be attributed to risk-taking associated with the culture of honor in the USA.

“Exposing yourself to potentially deadly situations is proof of strength and courage, and because this proof is such a concern for people living in cultures of honor, they suffer from a higher rate of accidental fatalities,” said the authors.

###

The article “Living Dangerously: Culture of Honor, Risk-Taking, and the Non-Randomness of ‘Accidental’ Deaths” in Social Psychological and Personality Science is available free for a limited time at: http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/06/03/1948550611410440.full.pdf+html .

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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