Psychology (category filter × )

The Desire for Information: Blissful Ignorance or Painful Truth?

cmu.edu
  • Researchers examined whether people prefer to ignore information at times, even if it makes it harder for us to make a good decision.
  • The team created 11 scenarios around three domains (health, finances, and other people’s perceptions) and asked 2,000 people to share their reactions.
  • For example, in a scenario involving a routine medical exam, ~33% of respondents preferred not to learn what exactly was wrong with their body.
  • Overall, the conclusion is that people don’t really want to know everything, and that we choose which information we don’t want, whether it’s health, finances, or sth else.
  • Some information is too painful for us to learn, but in the long-term, more information generally leads to better decisions.

Prolonged loneliness linked to inflammation

theconversation.com
  • Study provides the first step towards understanding how loneliness can affect our health.
  • Researchers found a link between loneliness and increased inflammation, but the causality is unclear.
  • Long-term lonely people have increased levels of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, which are inflammatory chemicals.
  • When these chemicals are increased for a long period of time, it can lead to increased risk of poorer health over time.
  • With only a link found and causes unknown, this study is just the first step - finding the answers will require multidisciplinary studies looking at all aspects of wellbeing.

Researchers define beneficial dose of nature therapy between 10 and 50 minutes

news.cornell.edu
  • Attempting to define correct dosage of ‘nature therapy’, scientists find that positive effects of being in nature kick in after 10 minutes.
  • To find this, researchers reviewed studies that examined the effects of nature on people between the ages of 15 and 30.
  • 10 to 50 minutes in nature was found to be most effective to improve mood, focus, blood pressure, and heart rate.
  • After 50 minutes the effects tended to plateau.
  • This ‘dose’ of nature time is essential to giving college students a tangible goal they can aim for, making them more likely to ‘consume’ their daily doses.

You’re more likely to make a decision when you breathe out

actu.epfl.ch
  • We make conscious decisions when we breathe out, says new study involving 52 people pressing a button, monitored with brain, heart and lung sensors.
  • The study links breathing to the Readiness Potential (RP, a brain signal that precedes intention), and shows that we make the most decisions when we breathe out.
  • No correlation was found between decisions and heartbeat, showing that the lungs, and the signals they send, are more important to voluntary action.
  • RP has been debated for decades, many saying that it means we have no free will and our bodies control us.
  • This study doesn’t tell us if free will is real, but it explains -when- we do things – the findings will help neuroscience, as well as many other research fields.

Neuroscientists one step closer to understanding exactly how emotions activate our brains

nature.com
  • Study provides proof that emotions are processed in one area of the brain—and not different areas for different emotions.
  • Similarly to retinotopy (process of mapping images from the eye along brain neurons), the authors propose a new mechanism called emotionotopy.
  • This is an important step towards understanding exactly how emotions activate different areas in the brain.
  • Additionally, the study shows that it’s possible to predict brain activity using moment-by-moment scores of six basic emotions.
  • The study was based on a high-quality dataset from a project called studyforrest.

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