Psychologists

47 Louisiana long-term care sites seen as virus ‘clusters’

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As coronavirus cases spike ever higher in Louisiana, the state’s nursing homes, assisted living sites and adult residential care facilities are showing more and more “clusters” of the virus, but the full scale of the outbreak at those sites remains uncertain. Louisiana’s Department of Health has identified 47 long-term care facilities that it considers a cluster, with at least two apparently related cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. That number has…

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How to Stop Touching Your Face

In this era of COVID-19 you have a hard time avoiding advice about washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face. As a public health matter, it is clearly good advice. I’m all for both of these things. As a psychologist, however, I can tell you that “good advice” is one of the weakest forms of behavior change known to science. Any parent reading this blog realizes that, of course. Let me reconfirm the obvious: just…

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White House Calls for AI Experts to Help COVID-19 Research

On March 16, 2020, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the availability of an open research dataset on COVID-19, as well as stated a call to action for the nation’s artificial intelligence (AI) researchers to help scientists fight the disease. Established in 1976, the OSTP provides scientific and technological advice to the President and the Executive Office, among other duties. The CORD-19 (COVID-19 Open Research Dataset) is the result of a collaboration between the Allen Institute for…

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Surviving a Coronavirus, Only to Be Socially Shunned

To understand how rapidly coronaviruses like COVID-19 can spread – and how to best control them — epidemiologists use data from past diseases. To understand and plan for the long term negative social consequences of epidemics, we can use the same approach. Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), an extremely deadly coronavirus, was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Like COV-19 it leads to respiratory failures, and is especially deadly for older and immunocompromised people.…

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The Iowa Caucuses and the Psychology of Impatience

If there’s one thing a democracy needs to get right, it’s an election. And, in that respect, Iowa failed Monday night. Due to an apparent software problem, the nation did not get the results of the Iowa Democratic caucus Monday night, as planned. Nor did they get the results Tuesday morning. It wasn’t until Tuesday evening that any results were released — and even then only 60% of the votes had been tallied and a…

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ACA Celebrates School Counselors

The American Counseling Association celebrates professional school counselors and their work in schools across the nation, in recognition of National School Counseling Week, Feb. 3 – 7, 2020. School counselors have a profound effect on the future of the United States. In the current school year, they are mentoring 56.6 million learners enrolled in elementary, middle and high schools in the U.S. and 19.9 million students attending U.S. colleges and universities. Professional school counselors focus…

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Brain Connectivity Fluctuates Based on Exercise Intensity

A new study reports that low-intensity exercise (walking on a treadmill) stimulates brain networks associated with cognitive control and attention. In contrast, the researchers found that high-intensity exercise (running on a treadmill) activates brain networks involved with emotional processing. Both low- and high-intensity physical activity (walking or running) on a treadmill are associated with an uptick in positive mood, according to the researchers. These findings (Schmitt et al., 2019) were recently published in a special issue of Brain Plasticity dedicated to “exercise and cognition.”…

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Deconstructing anxiety

I have always found it tremendously frustrating that our rational minds can’t convince us that most of our fears and anxieties are nothing to be afraid of. Many of my clients express the same frustration. As philosopher Michel de Montaigne said, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.” Sadly, this is true for many of us, and no amount of positive thinking, affirmation or even cognitive transformation will touch…

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It May Be Time for You to Do a Body Image Checkup

As a component of people’s identity, body image forms a central focus. Body image is defined as your internal representation of your physical self, and includes such features as self-perception of your height, age, weight, attractiveness, and functionality or your body’s ability to perform actions of importance to you. Along with these cognitive components are the emotions attached to these internal representations. Do you feel too heavy, old, unattractive, and weak or are you happy with most aspects of…

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Ricky Gervais teaches Hollywood what speaking truth to power really means

If you had “host Ricky Gervais becomes a conservative darling” in your office Golden Globes pool, congratulations, because you must have won a bundle. The rest of us will continue our slow, astonished blink as we contemplate the fact that this year’s most talked-about speech slammed not oil companies or gender inequality, but Hollywood hypocrisy: “You say you’re woke,” said Gervais, “but the companies you work for — I mean, unbelievable: Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started…

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