Some Ties Found Between Social Media Activity, Narcissism

Some Ties Found Between Social Media Activity, Narcissism

A new German study finds a weak to moderate link between a certain form of narcissism and social media activity.

The enormous popularity of social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has challenged researchers to explain their appeal, and one area of interest has been the link between social media and narcissism.

Narcissists think of themselves as being exceptionally talented, remarkable and successful. They love to themselves to other people and seek approval from them.

As such, various studies conducted over the past years have investigated to what extent the use of social media is associated with narcissistic tendencies, with contradictory results. Some studies supported a positive relationship between the use of social network channels whereas others confirmed only weak or even negative effects.

The new study was led by Professor Markus Appel, chair of Media Communication at the University of Würzburg, and Dr. Timo Gnambs, head of the Educational Measurement section at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories, Bamberg.

The researchers performed a meta-analysis in which they summarized the results of 57 studies comprising more than 25,000 participants in total. Their findings appear in the Journal of Personality.

Given the established definition of narcissism, social networks such as Facebook are believed to be an ideal platform for these people, Appel said. The network gives them easy access to a large audience and allows them to selectively post information for the purpose of self-promotion. Moreover, they can meticulously cultivate their image.

As such, researchers have suspected social networking sites to be an ideal breeding ground for narcissists from early on. However, the new meta-analysis shows that the situation does not seem to be as bad as feared.

In the study, scientists examined three hypotheses.

The first assumption suggests “grandiose narcissists” frequent social networking sites more often than representatives of another form of narcissism, the “vulnerable narcissists.” Vulnerable narcissism is associated with insecurity, fragile self-esteem, and social withdrawal.

Secondly, investigators reviewed the assumption that the link between narcissism and the number of friends and certain self-promoting activities is much more pronounced compared to other activities possible on social networking sites.

Thirdly, the researchers hypothesized that the link between narcissism and the social networking behavior is subject to cultural influences.

That is, in collectivistic cultures where the focus is on the community rather than the individual or where rigid roles prevail, social media give narcissists the opportunity to escape from prevalent constraints and present themselves in a way that would be impossible in public.

Results from the meta-analysis of the 57 studies did in fact confirm the scientists’ assumptions.

Grandiose narcissists are encountered more frequently in social networks than vulnerable narcissists. Moreover, a link has been found between the number of friends a person has and how many photos they upload and the prevalence of traits associated with narcissism.

The gender and age of users is not relevant in this respect. Typical narcissists spend more time in social networks than average users and they exhibit specific behavioral patterns.

A mixed result was found for the influence of the cultural background on the usage behavior. “In countries where distinct social hierarchies and unequal power division are generally more accepted such as India or Malaysia, there is a stronger correlation between narcissism and the behavior in social media than in countries like Austria or the USA,” said Appel.

However, the analysis of the data from 16 countries on four continents does not show a comparable influence of the “individualism” factor.

Researchers wondered if the frequently cited “Generation Me” is a reflection or product of social media such as Facebook and Instagram because they promote narcissistic tendencies? Or, do these sites simply provide the ideal environment for narcissists? The researchers were not able to finally answer these questions.

“We suggest that the link between narcissism and the behavior in social media follows the pattern of a self-reinforcing spiral,” said Appel. And, the appeal of social media activities is dependent on an individual’s disposition.

Therefore, researchers say that more research has to be conducted over longer periods to resolve the questions.

Source: University of Wurzburg

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Eye Expressions Provide Insight Into Emotions

Eye Expressions Provide Insight Into Emotions

New research suggests we interpret a person’s emotions by analyzing the expression in their eyes.

Dr. Adam Anderson, professor of human development at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology believes this process began as a universal reaction to environmental stimuli and evolved to communicate our deepest emotions.

In other words, the eyes may indeed be the window into the soul.

Anderson’s new study found that people consistently associated narrowed eyes — which enhance our visual discrimination by blocking light and sharpening focus — with emotions related to discrimination, such as disgust and suspicion.

In contrast, people linked open eyes — which expand our field of vision — with emotions related to sensitivity, like fear and awe.

“When looking at the face, the eyes dominate emotional communication,” Anderson said.

“The eyes are windows to the soul likely because they are first conduits for sight. Emotional expressive changes around the eye influence how we see, and in turn, this communicates to others how we think and feel.”

This findings, published in Psychological Science, builds on Anderson’s 2013 research which demonstrated that human facial expressions, such as raising one’s eyebrows, arose from universal, adaptive reactions to one’s environment and did not originally signal social communication.

Both studies support Charles Darwin’s 19th-century theories on the evolution of emotion, which hypothesized that our expressions originated for sensory function rather than social communication.

“What our work is beginning to unravel,” said Anderson, “are the details of what Darwin theorized: why certain expressions look the way they do, how that helps the person perceive the world, and how others use those expressions to read our innermost emotions and intentions.”

Anderson and his co-author, Dr. Daniel H. Lee, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Boulder, created models of six expressions — sadness, disgust, anger, joy, fear and surprise — using photos of faces in widely used databases.

Study participants were shown a pair of eyes demonstrating one of the six expressions and one of 50 words describing a specific mental state, such as discriminating, curious, bored, etc. Participants then rated the extent to which the word described the eye expression. Each participant completed 600 trials.

Participants consistently matched the eye expressions with the corresponding basic emotion, accurately discerning all six basic emotions from the eyes alone.

Anderson then analyzed how these perceptions of mental states related to specific eye features. Those features included the openness of the eye, the distance from the eyebrow to the eye, the slope and curve of the eyebrow, and wrinkles around the nose, the temple and below the eye.

The study found that the openness of the eye was most closely related to our ability to read others’ mental states based on their eye expressions.

Narrow-eyed expressions reflected mental states related to enhanced visual discrimination, such as suspicion and disapproval, while open-eyed expressions related to visual sensitivity, such as curiosity. Other features around the eye also communicated whether a mental state is positive or negative.

Further, he ran more studies comparing how well study participants could read emotions from the eye region to how well they could read emotions in other areas of the face, such as the nose or mouth. Those studies found the eyes offered more robust indications of emotions.

This study, said Anderson, was the next step in Darwin’s theory, asking how expressions for sensory function ended up being used for communication function of complex mental states.

“The eyes evolved over 500 million years ago for the purposes of sight but now are essential for interpersonal insight,” Anderson said.

Source: Cornell University

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Well-Kept Vacant Lots May Mean Less Crime in Urban Areas

Well-Kept Vacant Lots May Mean Less Crime in Urban Areas

Maintaining the yards of vacant properties, a movement known as “greening,” may help reduce crime rates in urban neighborhoods, according to a new study at Michigan State University. The findings show that higher levels of greening are tied to less crime in general, including victimless crimes, property crimes and even violent crimes.

Previous research has shown that greening and gardening programs are linked to less stress, depression and hopelessness for residents, as well as lower crime rates, including assaults, burglaries and robberies. But an in-depth space-and-time analysis of these correlations has not been explored until now, say the researchers.

For the study, the researchers analyzed nine years of crime statistics in Flint, Mich., using data from a greening program where thousands of abandoned lots in various neighborhoods were regularly mowed and maintained.

Today, more than 42 percent of the properties in Flint are either publicly owned or otherwise vacant.

Dr. Richard Sadler, an urban geographer and the study’s lead author, assigned each neighborhood a greening score based on how many vacant properties in the area were being kept up. Using a method called “emerging hot spot analysis,” which identifies patterns or trends of events over space and time, he applied crime data from 2005 through 2014.

“Generally speaking, I found that greening was more prevalent where violent crime, property crime and victimless crime were going down,” said Sadler, an assistant professor of public health in the College of Human Medicine.

The idea for the study was born when the Genesee County Land Bank Authority began its Clean and Green program 13 years ago to help maintain vacant properties throughout the city. They discovered that over the years, the program seemed to produce another benefit — crime appeared to be declining.

“We’ve always had a sense that maintaining these properties helps reduce crime and the perception of crime,” said Christina Kelly, the land bank’s planning and neighborhood revitalization director. “So we weren’t surprised to see the research back it up.”

Flint has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. The city’s population of slightly more than 100,000 is half what it was in the 1960s when it was the world headquarters for Buick. But once the auto industry pulled out of the city, Flint lost 41 percent of its jobs. This led to a concentration of poverty in the city as well as a decrease in the number of police officers.

Sadler said investments in eliminating blight and encouraging community buy-in can pay off in a number of ways for urban areas across the country and be less expensive to sustain.

He indicated that programs such as Clean and Green not only make the properties more attractive for development and stabilizes neighborhoods, but alert potential criminals that residents are keeping an eye on things.

“It’s people looking out for their own neighborhoods,” he said. “If you know somebody’s watching, you’re not going to go out and vandalize something. It’s the overall change in perception created by cleaning up blighted property.”

The study is published online in the journal Applied Geography.

Source: Michigan State University

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Study Finds No Evidence Brain Games Improve Cognition

Study Finds No Evidence Brain Games Improve Cognition

New research suggests that brain training may not protect older people from memory loss or help them think better.

Florida State researcher Dr. Neil Charness, professor of psychology and a leading authority on aging and cognition, teamed up with Dr. Wally Boot, associate professor of psychology, and graduate student Dustin Souders to investigate claims made by the booming brain-training industry.

“Our findings and previous studies confirm there’s very little evidence these types of games can improve your life in a meaningful way,” said Boot, an expert on age-related cognitive decline.

Their findings appear in the science journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

Charness, who’s also the director of FSU’s Institute for Successful Longevity, said an increasing number of people believe brain training helps protect them against memory loss or cognitive disorders.

“Brain challenges like crossword games are a popular approach, especially among baby boomers, as a way to try to protect cognition,” Charness said.

That popularity has turned the brain-training industry into a billion-dollar business. Brain games are available online and through mobile apps that typically sell for about $15 a month or $300 for lifetime memberships.

But advertising for this rapidly growing business sector has sometimes used inflated claims. The Federal Trade Commission fined one brain-training company $50 million for false advertising, which was later lowered to $2 million.

“More companies are beginning to be fined for these types of inflated claims and that’s a good thing,” Boot said. “These exaggerated claims are not consistent with the conclusions of our latest study.”

The FSU team’s study focused on whether brain games could boost the “working memory” needed for a variety of tasks. In their study, they set up one group of people to play a specially designed brain-training video game called “Mind Frontiers,” while another group of players performed crossword games or number puzzles.

All players were given lots of information they needed to juggle to solve problems. Researchers tested whether the games enhanced players’ working memory and consequently improved other mental abilities, such as reasoning, memory and processing speed.

That’s the theory behind many brain games: If you improve overall working memory, which is fundamental to so much of what we do every day, then you can enhance performance in many areas of your life.

The team examined whether improving working memory would translate to better performance on other tasks or as the researchers called it: “far transfer.”
In short, no.

“It’s possible to train people to become very good at tasks that you would normally consider general working memory tasks: memorizing 70, 80, even 100 digits,” Charness said. “But these skills tend to be very specific and not show a lot of transfer. The thing that seniors in particular should be concerned about is, if I can get very good at crossword puzzles, is that going to help me remember where my keys are? And the answer is probably no.”


Charness noted that other research finds aerobic exercise, rather than mental exercise, is great for your brain. Physical exercise can actually cause beneficial structural changes in the brain and boost its function. He predicts “exer-gaming,” which combines exercise with brain games, will increase in popularity in the 21st century.


Source: Florida State University/EurekAlert

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Vets Show that Post-Traumatic Growth May Follow PTSD

Vets Show that Post-Traumatic Growth May Follow PTSD

New research finds that military veterans who went through trauma and related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also more likely to experience “post-traumatic growth.”

Investigators discovered recovering veterans often experience an increased appreciation of life, awareness of new possibilities and enhanced inner strength.

“There’s been a lot of attention paid to PTSD in our military population, but very little research on post-traumatic growth,” says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and author of a paper on the new study.

“But these findings are important, because they show that the way veterans respond to trauma is not a zero-sum game.”

“Some Department of Defense (DoD) training implies that people are either resilient or they’re not, but we found that people can struggle with PTSD and experience emotional growth due to traumatic events,” says Jessica Morgan, Ph.D. candidate at NC State and principal investigator on the study.

“In addition, growth can occur very quickly, or it can be a process that unfolds over years. In other words, while recovering from trauma can be a painful and difficult ordeal, veterans and their families can have hope, and the DoD should pay attention to this field of study.”

In the study, researchers conducted a survey of 197 veterans from all branches of the military. Approximately half of the study participants served in the Army, 72 percent were active duty, and 69.4 percent were male.

Study participants reported on a traumatic event that had occurred within the previous three years and were asked a series of questions designed to measure post-traumatic growth. Growth was measured on a scale from zero to 105.

The researchers found that study participants fell into four groups with respect to their post-traumatic growth.

The short-term moderate group, including 33.7 percent of participants, had post-traumatic growth scores typically between 40 and 60 and experienced that growth within about 6 months of the traumatic event.

The long-term moderate group made up 18.7 percent of participants, and reported similar levels of post-traumatic growth, but more than a year after the traumatic event.

The high-growth group, 20.7 percent of participants, had scores typically between 70 and 105 – and this growth could take anywhere from a few months to several years. The last group, made up of 26.9 percent of participants, experienced limited post-traumatic growth.

The researchers found that members of each group shared common characteristics.

For example, the group that experienced the greatest post-traumatic growth was made up of participants who were the most likely to report that their trauma fundamentally challenged the way they viewed the world.
They also spent the most time thinking about their traumatic event and had the highest rate of PTSD.

Those who experienced moderate growth very quickly had similar characteristics, placing second in all three categories: the extent to which the trauma challenged their worldview, the amount of time spent thinking about the trauma, and the rate of PTSD.

At the other end of the spectrum, those who experienced limited post-traumatic growth ranked last in all three categories.

“One of the key points here is that there can be real benefit from having military veterans think about their traumatic experiences,” Desmarais says.

“While it may be painful in the short term, it can contribute to their well-being in the long term.

“These findings also demonstrate that we need to do more research into post-traumatic growth, working with the veteran community,” Desmarais adds.

“The fact that we still know so little about post-traumatic growth, and that much of the existing work was not done with members of the military, is a significant oversight.”

Source: North Carolina State University

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Tough Breaks in Life Can Fuel Extreme Political Views

Tough Breaks in Life Can Fuel Extreme Political Views

A new study finds that stress, be it the result of losing a job or dealing with an illness, can lead people to adopt more extreme political views.

University of Toronto researchers discovered negative life events can have a profound impact on how people think about how the world should work.

“If people experience unexpected adversity in their lives they tend to adopt more rigid styles of thinking,” said Dr. Daniel Randles, a post-doc researcher in psychology at U of T Scarborough.

The study, which is published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, drew on an existing survey of about 1,600 Americans who were repeatedly polled between 2006 and 2008.

Randles stresses that while he’s not a political scientist, the research could shed light on growing support for populist politics.

“Over the last few years there’s a general feeling that a more rigid form of politics is emerging. It’s possible that more extreme candidates are becoming popular because the people who support them have a growing number of challenges in their lives that they weren’t expecting.”

For the survey, participants were asked about their political attitudes as well as negative events they faced in their personal lives to see if their attitudes changed following adversity.

The unexpected negative life events ranged from divorce, illness, injury and assault to even loss of a job.

Randles found that regardless of where people stand on the political spectrum – left or right – adverse life events hardened their leanings either way.

“After facing adversity, these respondents weren’t saying about an issue, ‘Maybe this is OK.’ They were either saying, ‘This is definitely OK,’ or, ‘This is definitely not OK,’” said Randles.

Randles, whose past research has looked at the behavioral consequences of uncertainty, said those who have very black and white views are probably more vulnerable to moving towards the extreme.

“It’s not an on/off switch. It’s a slow movement towards either end of the spectrum based on negative experiences,” he says, adding there’s no exact number of events that can cause the effect.

Randles believes the shift in perception occurs because people tend to have expectations about how those around them will behave, and how the natural world should work as a possible explanation.

“If people believe that something about their world has suddenly changed, they will look for things in the world that are still intact,” he said.

Source: University of Toronto

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More in US Suffer Psychological Distress But Go Without Treatment

More in US Suffer Psychological Distress But Go Without Treatment

More Americans than ever are suffering from serious psychological distress, but many are going without proper treatment, according to new findings published online in the journal Psychiatric Services.

This may be due to a variety of reasons, including poor access to health care services, lack of health insurance, insufficient mental health coverage or an inability to pay for psychiatric medications.

For the study, researchers at New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center analyzed a federal health information database involving more than 200,000 Americans (aged 18 to 64) from more than 35,000 U.S. households. Participants lived in all states and came from all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

The researchers found that 3.4 percent of the U.S. adult population (more than 8.3 million) suffer from serious psychological distress (SPD).

SPD involves feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and restlessness severe enough to impair a person’s physical well-being, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Previous survey estimates had put the number of Americans suffering from SPD at 3 percent or less.

Comparing self-reported SPD symptoms across nine years, the NYU Langone research team estimates that nearly one in 10 distressed Americans (9.5 percent) in 2014 still did not have health insurance that would give them access to a psychiatrist or counselor, a slight rise from 2006, when 9 percent lacked any insurance.

In addition, about 10.5 percent in 2014 experienced delays in getting professional help due to insufficient mental health coverage, while 9.5 percent said they experienced such delays in 2006. And 9.9 percent could not afford to pay for their psychiatric medications in 2014, up from 8.7 percent in 2006.

“Based on our data, we estimate that millions of Americans have a level of emotional functioning that leads to lower quality of life and life expectancy,” said lead study investigator Judith Weissman, Ph.D., J.D., a research manager in the Department of Medicine at NYU Langone.

“Our study may also help explain why the U.S. suicide rate is up to 43,000 people each year.”

Furthermore, throughout the course of the surveys from 2006 to 2014, access to health care services deteriorated for people suffering from severe distress compared to those without SPD.

“Although our analysis does not give concrete reasons why mental health services are diminishing, it could be from shortages in professional help, increased costs of care not covered by insurance, the great recession, and other reasons worthy of further investigation,” Weissman said.

The situation appears to have worsened, she said, even though the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) included provisions designed to help reduce insurance coverage disparities for people with mental health issues. She said the new report can serve as a baseline for evaluating the impact of the ACA and in identifying disparities in treating the mentally ill.

Cheryl Pegus, M.D., M.P.H., senior study investigator and NYU Langone clinical professor, says physicians, especially those in primary care, can play a bigger role in screening people and detecting signs of SPD and potential suicide.

“Utilizing tools at the time of intake on all patients allows us to collect important data and devise strategies for care,” says Pegus.

“Our study supports health policies designed to incorporate mental health services and screenings into every physician’s practice through the use of electronic medical records, and by providing training for all health care professionals, as well as the right resources for patients.”

Source: NYU Langone Medical Center/ New York School of Medicine


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Sports Psychology: Mental Strategies To Find The Zone

Sports Psychology: Mental Strategies To Find The Zone

Sports Psychology Mental Strategies: Dr. Patrick Cohn, Sports and Golf Psychology Expert of Peak Performance Sports, LLC ( answers a Mental Game of Golf Question from a golfer, in his new video series titled, “Ask Doc.” This golfer wants to know the Mental Strategies for getting into the zone and performing his best. Find out how to set the conditions to get into the zone.

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Submit your Mental Game or Golf Psychology question to Dr. Patrick Cohn for possible inclusion into his Ask Doc Mental Game video blog:

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Posted by Patricia Adams in sports

The Unbelievable Benefits of Seeing A Chiropractor

Chiropractic care has helped countless individuals all over the world, and contrary to popular notion, the treatment isn’t restricted to neck and back pain. In this place, we’ll discuss the advantages of chiropractic care for teams and volleyball players.

Comprehending The Pressure

All the volleyball injuries are related to hands, elbows, wrists and shoulders. As an example, players usually have problems using the rotator-cuff as general motions of the sport impact it. Specialists consider these injuries could be avoided with physical training as well as other types of attention. Besides the shoulders, harms can extend to the rest of the entire body, too, including hip, neck and lower back. Some players often complain of pain in ankle and foot, too.

Horrible physical strain owing to the essence of the sport can be caused by beach volleyball. Those who play the sport on the shore are prone to regular injuries as they frequently play barefoot, which takes the vital cushioning for the feet away. The resting interval between games is frequently restricted, particularly throughout the training sessions.

Understanding The Advantages of Chiropractic Care

Professional teams frequently hire a volleyball chiropractor as a portion of the physical fitness section. The truth is, it’s possible to prevent plenty of the most popular injuries which might be noticed in the sport.

Volleyball chiropractors also work with sportsmen for certain harms. It’s not recommended to rely on painkillers and only medications for alleviation because one must seek entire treatment as an alternative to instant respite. Chiropractors frequently use other types of alternative treatment, for example spinal decompression cause entire healing and to remove the pain and cold laser therapy. For speeding up the entire healing process, players regularly seek the help of the chiropractor.

Seeing a chiropractor in Huntersville, NC may be wise in the event you are a newcomer to volleyball and having a difficult time coping together with the physical pain and tension. They are able to aid in performing aside from reducing pain. Do not miss on asking any questions during an appointment, if you have any, and make sure that you select an experienced practice.

Supplying an extensive variety of services for the alleviation of pain, anxiety and suffering, rehabfx gives those we serve an opportunity to get a better, more healthy lifestyle.

Also, check out our friend’s article on how to pick the right pillow for you if you’re looking for the perfect pillows.

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Things to Consider While Locating A Chiropractor

With the number of individuals affected by back pain every year growing, so also does the amount of chiropractors. A lot of people aren’t certain what to consider when selecting a chiropractor that is good and we’ll give you some helpful guidance in regards to making the choice that is correct for you. Step one to understand the best way to pick a chiropractor that is good will be to understand if you’ll need one.

It’s usually the wrong placement of ligament, some bone or muscle that’s causing your back pain issue and this can be where a great Owasso chiropractor will have the ability to help and alleviate your suffering. Many chiropractors will focus on a discussion to discover your precise needs and to learn more about how they can assist you to let us begin with a couple easy methods to discover if your chiropractor is not bad.

It is a classic adage but you ought to look for truthfulness in a chiropractor. A fair chiropractor will urge the most economical place to purchase them instead of offering their own nutritional supplements if they urge which you take nutritional supplements. Many not-so-fair chiropractors offer a bundle of a set quantity of sessions and treatment to the patient. This really is a bad signal, particularly when they’ve to see how you’re reacting to any treatment up to now. If a bundle is offered before they will have an opportunity to discover your troubles, that is a certain signal that is awful. If the chiropractor understands they cannot help you and instead make reference to another specialist, that is a clear good sign and a honest strategy.

That is an excellent indication, if you learn about a chiropractor being urged by a friend or relative. Many Owasso chiropractors that are great do not have to advertise as an outstanding reputation has been built up by them from their previous and present customers. This really is the greatest indication which you have located an excellent chiropractor.

So it’s crucial that you understand before picking to work with one what they specialize in because distinct chiropractors use different techniques. The appropriate treatment in the appropriate spot is needed. Then that’s the area that will be treated if you’ve got an issue with a particular region of your back. In this situation, it is better to seek another opinion. The reality is which they cannot treat all ailments while many chiropractors need to keep any customers they will have. You should subsequently be referred to cope with this, if your chiropractor identifies any inherent issue that’s causing your back problem.

Posted by Patricia Adams in Default