Archive for June 13th, 2012
Flowers still best way to a woman’s heart
ANI Jun 12, 2012, 12.08PM IST
Women|Woman’ heart|Tom Buchanan|heart|Flowers|cake
(Flowers still best way to…)
A bouquet of flowers can indeed have a powerful impact on romance, scientists have found.
Psychologists have discovered that the presence of flowers make women significantly more receptive to men’s advances, even when the flowers are in the background rather than presented as a gift, the Telegraph reported.
The findings prove that flowers can play a major role on making love blossom, suggesting that the Bard was right all along.
A team of psychologists from the University of South Brittany in France found that young women shopping on their own are far more likely to give their phone number to a handsome young man who approaches them if they are stopped outside a flower shop, rather than a cake shop or woman’s shoe shop.
The university recruited five young men who had been previously judged as being attractive by a group of women.
These men were then told to approach young women between the age of 18 and 25 in the street to try to get their phone numbers. Each man was told to say their name, tell the woman that she was very pretty and ask for her phone number so that they could later go for a drink.
Of the 600 women approached, around a quarter – or 144 – agreed to give their number if they were asked for it outside a flower shop.
This compares to just one in seven – or 90 – outside a bakery, and one in ten outside a shoe shop.
The researchers said that the experiment shows that the site of flowers makes people more open to romance.
“Flowers reflect our emotions and moods. They often convey feelings of compassion, regret, merriment or even romance. The results confirm the effect of exposure to flowers on receptivity to romantic request,” the research found.
Dr Tom Buchanan, an expert in psychology at the University of Westminster, said that the sight of a certain object can lead people to behave in certain ways, even if they do not realise it.
He said that because flowers are associated with romance, people often start thinking, speaking or behaving in a romantic way when they see them.
“These findings are consistent with the phenomenon known as automatic or behavioural priming. That is where ‘cues’ – or triggers – in your environment can lead you to behave in ways that are consistent with that environment.
“So the presence of the flower shop, which is associated with romance, could have primed people to behave in a way that is more receptive to the researcher’s advances,” Dr Buchanan said.
The findings were published in The Journal of Social Psychology.
Joseph Burgo, one of our bloggers here at Psych Central, has recently inaugurated a new series of videos about psychodynamic psychotherapy, aimed at people who may be considering treatment and don’t know quite what to expect from this particular type of therapy.
His first video deals with the intake or initial consultation, focusing on the anxieties felt by both client and therapist as they embark upon a new relationship with a total stranger. His next video will focus on the types of issues that come up during the first few sessions; in future, he plans to cover other issues such as: the emergence of the transference, vacation breaks, the role of humor, therapist errors, etc.
These videos will appear on his YouTube channel and Dr. Burgo will announce each new one via his Therapy Case Notes blog. Even if you’re already familiar with psychodynamic psychotherapy, his thoughts about first sessions apply to all types of treatment and may be of interest:
- The Geezer’s Dirty Dozen on Interpersonal Psychotherapy (jajsamos.wordpress.com)
- Psychotherapy to Treat Erectile Dysfunction (everydayhealth.com)
- Finding a Good Psychotherapist (my.psychologytoday.com)
Learning Works Best When You Rest
By JANICE WOOD Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 25, 2012
A new study shows that sleeping soon after learning new material is best for recall.
Notre Dame psychologist Jessica Payne and colleagues studied 207 students who habitually slept for at least six hours each night. Participants were randomly assigned to study declarative, semantically related or unrelated word pairs at 9 a.m. or 9 p.m., and returned for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours or 24 hours later.
Declarative memory refers to the ability to consciously remember facts and events. It can be broken down into memory for events — known as episodic memory — and semantic memory, which is memory for facts about the world.
People routinely use both types of memory every day, such as recalling where we parked or learning how a colleague prefers to be addressed, Payne said.
At the 12-hour retest, memory was superior following a night of sleep compared to a day of wakefulness, she said.
However, this performance difference was a result of a pronounced deterioration in memory for unrelated word pairs, she said, noting there was no difference for related word pairs. At the 24-hour retest, with all subjects having received both a full night of sleep and a full day of wakefulness, memories were superior when sleep occurred shortly after learning, rather than following a full day of wakefulness.
“Our study confirms that sleeping directly after learning something new is beneficial for memory,” she said. “What’s novel about this study is that we tried to shine light on sleep’s influence on both types of declarative memory by studying semantically unrelated and related word pairs.”
“Since we found that sleeping soon after learning benefited both types of memory, this means that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed,” she continued. “In some sense, you may be ‘telling’ the sleeping brain what to consolidate.”
Titled “Memory for Semantically Related and Unrelated Declarative Information: The Benefit of Sleep, the Cost of Wake,” the study was published March 22 in PLOS One.
Source: University of Notre Dame
7 Easy Ways to be Mindful Every Day
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.
Mindfulness has a way of sounding complicated. It’s anything but.
“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” according to Marsha Lucas, Ph.D, psychologist and author of Rewire Your Brain for Love.
There are many simple ways you can be more mindful. Here are seven tips to incorporate into your daily life.
1. Practice mindfulness during routine activities. Try bringing awareness to the daily activities you usually do on autopilot, said Ed Halliwell, mindfulness teacher and co-author of the book The Mindful Manifesto.
For instance, pay more attention as you’re brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating breakfast or walking to work, he said. Zero in on the sight, sound, smell, taste and feel of these activities. “You might find the routine activity is more interesting than you thought,” he said.
2. Practice right when you wake up. According to Lucas, “Mindfulness practice first thing in the morning helps set the ‘tone’ of your nervous system for the rest of the day, increasing the likelihood of other mindful moments.” If you find yourself dozing off, as Lucas does, just practice after having your coffee or tea. But “…don’t read the paper, turn on the TV, check your phone or email, etc. until after you’ve had your ‘sit,’” she said.
3. Let your mind wander. “Your mind and brain are natural wanderers – much like a crawling toddler or a puppy, Lucas said. And that’s a good thing. Having a “busy brain,” Lucas said, is actually an asset. “The beneficial brain changes seen in the neuroscience research on mindfulness are thought to be promoted in large part by the act of noticing that your mind has wandered, and then non-judgmentally – lovingly [and] gently— bringing it back,” she said.
4. Keep it short. Our brains respond better to bursts of mindfulness, Lucas said. So being mindful several times a day is more helpful than a lengthy session or even a weekend retreat. While 20 minutes seems to be the gold standard, starting at a few minutes a day is OK, too.
For instance, you can tune into your body, such as focusing “on how your shoes feel on your feet in that moment, or giving attention to how your jaw is doing [such as, is it] tight, loose or hanging open at the audacity of the person in front of you in the coffee line?” Lucas said.
5. Practice mindfulness while you wait. In our fast-paced lives, waiting is a big source of frustration – whether you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic. But while it might seem like a nuisance, waiting is actually an opportunity for mindfulness, Halliwell said. When you’re waiting, he suggested bringing your attention to your breath. Focus on “the flow of the breath in and out of your body, from moment to moment and allow everything else to just be, even if what’s there is impatience or irritation.”
6. Pick a prompt to remind you to be mindful. Choose a cue that you encounter on a regular basis to shift your brain into mindful mode, Lucas said. For instance, you might pick a certain doorway or mirror or use drinking coffee or tea as a reminder, she said.
7. Learn to meditate. “The best way to cultivate mindfulness in everyday life is to formally train in meditation,” Halliwell said. He compared practicing mindfulness to learning a new language. “You can’t just decide to be fluent in Spanish – unless you already are – you have to learn the language first,” he said. “Practicing meditation is how to learn the language of mindfulness.” Meditation helps us tap into mindfulness with little effort, he said. He suggested finding a local teacher or trying out CDs.
Mindfulness isn’t a luxury, Lucas said, “it’s a practice that trains your brain to be more efficient and better integrated, with less distractibility and improved focus. It minimizes stress and even helps you become your best self.”
Lucas cited Richard Davidson’s research at the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, which shows that all of us have an emotional “set point.” “Some of us have more of a tendency toward withdrawal, avoidance, negative thinking and other depressive symptoms, [whereas] others have a greater tendency toward positive moods [such as, being] curious, tending to approach new things and positive thinking,” she said. Davidson has found that through mindfulness, we may be able to train our brains and shift our set points.
“Mindfulness practice now has an abundance of neuroscience research to support that it helps our brains be more integrated, so your everyday activities, thoughts, attitudes [and] perceptions…are more balanced [or] well-rounded,” Lucas said.