To Stop Procrastinating, Start by Understanding the Emotions Involved – By Shirley S. Wang Updated Aug. 31, 2015 11:44 p.m. ET

Time management goes only so far; the emotional reasons for delay must also be addressed

Chronic procrastination is an emotional strategy for dealing with stress, researchers say, and it can lead to difficulties in relationships, jobs, finances and health.

Chronic procrastination is an emotional strategy for dealing with stress, researchers say, and it can lead to difficulties in relationships, jobs, finances and health. Illustration: Yao Xiao

Putting off a work or school assignment in order to play videogames or water the plants might seem like nothing more serious than poor time-management.

But researchers say chronic procrastination is an emotional strategy for dealing with stress, and it can lead to significant issues in relationships, jobs, finances and health.

In August, researchers from Stockholm University published one of the first randomized controlled trials on the treatment of procrastination. It found a therapy delivered online can significantly reduce procrastination.

Psychologists also are studying other ways people might be able to reduce procrastination, such as better emotion-regulation strategies and visions of the future self.

Scientists define procrastination as the voluntary delay of an action despite foreseeable negative future consequences. It is opting for short-term pleasure or mood at the cost of the long-term. Perhaps we didn’t finish preparing a presentation on the weekend because we had house guests. That is just intentional delay based on a rational decision, says Timothy Pychyl (pronounced pitch-el), a psychology professor at Carleton University, in Ottawa, who has published extensively on the topic.

The essence of procrastination is “we’re giving in to feel good,” Dr. Pychyl says. “Procrastination is, ‘I know I should be doing it, I want to, it gets under my skin [when I don’t].’ ”

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Ben Carson just made life very hard for the GOP: Why his fetal tissue research matters – SIMON MALOY – FRIDAY, AUG 14, 2015 02:59 AM PDT

Ben Carson’s involvement with fetal tissue research is a big problem for the GOP’s fight against Planned Parenthood

Ben Carson just made life very hard for the GOP: Why his fetal tissue research matters

Enlarge Ben Carson (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

Well, the simmering scandal over the Planned Parenthood undercover sting videos has finally succeeded in tripping up a 2016 candidate. Retired neurosurgeon and sayer of crazy things Ben Carson has, like most Republicans and conservatives, been harshly critical of Planned Parenthood for its controversial (and perfectly legal) practice of donating tissues from aborted fetuses to medical research groups. But, as Buzzfeed reported yesterday, Carson himself has done research on fetal brain tissue. That in itself is not a controversial development – doctors and scientists have been using fetal tissue for decades to develop treatments and cures for terrible diseases. But with the conservative movement up in arms over the Planned Parenthood videos, it poses something of a political dilemma for Carson, who is stridently in opposition to abortion rights.

The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel asked Carson about the fetal tissue research he’s conducted and Carson, to his credit, stood by the work he’s done. But his attempt at distancing himself from the broader issue of fetal tissue donation was technical and confusing:

There was no contradiction between this science and Carson’s pro-life views, he said. “My primary responsibility in that research was when I operated on people and obtained the tissue,” said Carson, who noted that he has not used fetal tissue samples since then. “This has everything to do with how it’s required. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it.”

I’ve read through Carson’s statement several times and I’m still not entirely sure what he is trying to say. Thankfully, I don’t seem to be the only person who is baffled by his attempt at explaining this. The Post’s Amber Phillips writes that Carson seems to be alleging that Planned Parenthood is performing abortions specifically so that fetal tissue will be available for medical research, but that’s an allegation that “Planned Parenthood has flatly rejected and isn’t proven by the videos.”

At the very least, Carson is trapped in an inconsistency and he’s having a great deal of difficulty explaining it. And while that doesn’t make Carson look particularly good, his involvement with fetal tissue research and his tortured defense of it   also cause problems for the other candidates and conservatives who are trying to demagogue the issue.

Carson’s fellow presidential hopefuls are all trying to outdo each other by taking increasingly hardline stances on Planned Parenthood. Ted Cruz just released an ad promising he’ll prosecute the organization and put an end to the “harvest” of “organs from unborn children,” which he says is contrary to American “values.” Mike Huckabee is also calling for Planned Parenthood to be prosecuted for “for violating federal law and selling body parts.” It’s tough to make the political case that the donation of fetal tissue for medical research is un-American and potentially criminal when celebrated physician and conservative hero Ben Carson is complicit in the act.

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America’s Ex-Drone Pilot – Vice News Published on Aug 6, 2015

Brandon Bryant, a former drone pilot and sensor operator for the of the US Air Force, quit his job after 5 years of being in the Drone Program left him emotionally traumatized.

In this episode of Transmissions, Motherboard speaks with Brandon about his feelings of responsibility for the remote killings of people with predator drones, its connection to Germany’s drone program, and why ultimately drone warfare makes us lose our humanity.

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Study: Watching Sesame Street can make kids smarter – Updated by Tez Clark on June 12, 2015, 3:10 p.m. ET

Watching Sesame Street may actually help children do better in school. That’s according to a new working paper released by two economists from Wellesley College and the University of Maryland, which seems to suggest that watching Sesame Street can improve school readiness and school performance for years to come.

Researchers Phillip B. Levine and Melissa Kearney looked specifically at the early years of the show’s run. By comparing TV reception quality (based on distance from broadcast towers) to factors such as the local children’s “grade per age,” the researchers argue that children with access to higher-quality Sesame Street broadcasts had a higher likelihood of being on track throughout school. The effect of the higher-quality broadcasts was most pronounced in the case of boys, African-American students, and the economically disadvantaged.

The children’s program has long attracted educational researchers. According to the show’s website, more than 1,000 studies have been performed since the show’s inception in 1969, showing the improvements Sesame Street makes to children’s development. A 1999 study found essentially the same results as Levine and Kearney just published: Sesame Street has profound impacts on students’ academic ability, and the effects of the show can be seen even 10 or 15 years down the line.

It’s no accident that Sesame Street has proven to be so educational. Series founder Joan Ganz Cooney specifically set out to design a program that would engage and educate underprivileged preschoolers. After receiving a grant from the Carnegie Corporation for her project, Cooney drew upon the expertise of professional educators and psychologists in designing the show. One of her team members was Gerald Lesser, a Harvard psychologist. Lesser himself had based his professional career on studying the mental and psychological effects of students’ ethnic and economic circumstances. In his landmark book Mental Abilities of Children From Different Social-Class and Cultural Groups, Lesser determined that socioeconomic class had profound effects on students’ academic performance.

Throughout its long history (the show turned 46 this year), Sesame Street has been proven to affect kids in the following ways:

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The psychology of greed: 3 attitudes that explain the worst behaviors of the 1 percent – PAUL BUCHHEIT, ALTERNET TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2015 01:00 AM PDT

Research reveals the upper class tend toward narcissism — and their sense of entitlement may actually be growing

Donald Trump speaks at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor MD on February 27, 2015. (Photo by Jeff Malet)

Donald Trump speaks at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor MD on February 27, 2015. (Photo by Jeff Malet)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetMany of us wonder what possible reason could exist for the failure to invest in American infrastructure, to create millions of jobs as a result, and to help everyone in the long run. Analysis reveals personality traits and beliefs and misconceptions that might account for such behavior. Here’s a look inside the billion-dollar brain:

1. It’s All About Me

Several studies by Paul Piff and his colleagues have revealed that upper-class individuals tend to be narcissistic, with a clear sense of entitlement. Worse yet, they believe their talents and attributes – genius, even – have earned them a rightful position of status over everyone else.

Scarier yet, according to one study, the American sense of entitlement has been growing over the past 30 years, despite the fact that most of us have lost ground to the super-rich. And most disturbing is that ‘upper-class’ individuals tend to behave more unethically than average citizens.

This “all about me” attitude means that the wealthy don’t have to depend on others, and that they have less need to understand the feelings of others. This directly impacts our daily lives. The greater the concentration of wealth, the less a society invests in infrastructure. Our investment in infrastructure as a percent of GDP dropped by 60 percent from 1968 to 2011.

As the super-rich take their helicopters to and from work, they’re having multi-million-dollar bunkers built under their houses to sustain them when the middle-class revolution comes.

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The Shrinks Who Only See CIA Officers – Shane Harris 04.04.15

Shutterstock; Alamy

Some U.S. intelligence analysts spend days scouring ISIS beheading videos and jihadists’ porn. When it gets to be too much, there’s a cadre of therapists on call.

Given the choice, most of us would probably turn away in revulsion from the beheading videos and other images of depravity that are the propaganda hallmarks of ISIS and its terrorist brethren.But for some, watching this graphic material is all in a day’s work. Imagery analysts and terrorism experts at U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the NSA, and the National Counterterrorism Center, sit in banal warrens of cubicles or in closed rooms in top-secret facilities scrutinizing the details of a nightmarish gallery of prisoner beheadings, attacks on U.S. military forces, and sexual abuse of children. It’s their job to find clues in the material that might indicate how an attack was carried out, when another might be coming, and where terrorists are holding their hostages.

The work can take an extraordinary toll on the analyst’s’ emotional state, Five current and former intelligence officers told The Daily Beast. And so the CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies employ a cadre of psychiatrists and therapists to help analysts cope with the onslaught of often horrific, sometimes pornographic images they’re seeing.

“They’re being exposed to material that, day in and day out, we’re not exposed to broadly in America,” a senior physician with the CIA’s Office of Medical Services said in an interview. “That has its own sort of impact and own sort of, for lack of a better term, shock value.”

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10 myths about psychology, debunked – Ben Ambridge TEDxYouth@Manchester · 14:55 · Filmed Jan 2014

How much of what you think about your brain is actually wrong? In this whistlestop tour of dis-proved science, Ben Ambridge walks through 10 popular ideas about psychology that have been proven wrong — and uncovers a few surprising truths about how our brains really work.

Five myths about military suicides – By Yochi Dreazen November 7 2014

Jeremy Sears, a Marine who had served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, walked onto a shooting range outside San Diego on Oct. 6, placed a handgun to his head and calmly pulled the trigger. It was a local news storybut didn’t attract attention outside San Diego for the most tragic of reasons. Military suicides have become so common — since 2001, more active-duty U.S. troops have killed themselves than have been killed in Afghanistan, and suicides among reservists and National Guard members are spiking — that they are now background noise to many Americans, unpleasant reminders of wars most of us have forgotten about. But we won’t be able to solve the problem until we understand it. Let’s get rid of some myths.

1. Suicides have increased because we have overstretched our troops.

Repeated tours through the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan are often cited as a primary reason so many troops take their own lives. But the statistics don’t support that explanation. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in the summer of 2013 found that longer deployments, multiple deployments and combat experience didn’t elevate suicide risk. In fact, more than half the troops who had taken their lives had never deployed. A separate, massive Army study found that, while suicide rates for soldiers who had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan more than doubled between 2004 and 2009, the rate for those who had never spent time in the war zones nearly tripled.

2. Suicides should decline with the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Since military suicides began increasing dramatically around the onset of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, there had been some hope that the numbers would come down once those wars were over. But the last American combat forces left Iraq at the end of 2011, and the drawdown in Afghanistan is well underway. (The White House has stressed that the 1,700 sent to Iraq to help coordinate the fight against the Islamic State won’t be anywhere near the front lines.)

And yet the suicide rate within the military is holding steady. The number of active-duty suicides in 2013 dropped by roughly 19 percent compared with 2012, but 2014 has seen them inch back up. This year, the military had lost 161 active-duty troops to suicide as of July, the most recent data available, compared with 154 during the same six-month time period in 2013. The numbers for the citizen-soldiers of the reserves and the National Guard have been even more dire, climbing 8 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 203 to 220. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told me in an interview, “I don’t think we’ve hit the top yet on suicides.”

That’s in part because post-traumatic stress disorder, which can fuel the alcohol abuse or depression that are most closely linked to military suicide, can manifest gradually, so veterans who seem okay could see their mental health deteriorate years after their service.

Veterans also face multiple stressors as they try to adjust to a civilian world that many barely recognize or understand. They may struggle financially, with relationships, and with drug or alcohol addiction. Meanwhile, the military medical system is so short-staffed that, too often, doctors give troops prescriptions for powerful medications and simply send them on their way. Under stress, without sufficient support — it can be a lethal combination.

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The 12 Common Archetypes – By Carl Golden

The term “archetype” has its origins in ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means “original or old”; and typos, which means “pattern, model or type”. The combined meaning is an “original pattern” of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated.

The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolved; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.

Although there are many different archetypes, Jung defined twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations. Each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits. Also, the twelve types are divided into three sets of four, namely Ego, Soul and Self. The types in each set share a common driving source, for example types within the Ego set are driven to fulfill ego-defined agendas.

Most, if not all, people have several archetypes at play in their personality construct; however, one archetype tends to dominate the personality in general. It can be helpful to know which archetypes are at play in oneself and others, especially loved ones, friends and co-workers, in order to gain personal insight into behaviors and motivations.


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Bizarre dreams? That’s because they get weirder the longer you sleep for, scientists reveal – By ANNA HODGEKISS FOR MAILONLINE PUBLISHED: 10:00 EST, 19 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:43 EST, 19 September 2014 `

  • Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at Sep 20, 2014 9.17
  • Dreams increase in bizarreness as the night wears on, psychologists found
  • Shortly before waking, they escalate to a level of the impossible
  • Previous study found women with PMS are more likely to have nightmares
  • Being ill with an infection can also trigger them, as can menopause   

By Anna Hodgekiss for MailOnline

Published: 10:00 EST, 19 September 2014 | Updated: 11:43 EST, 19 September 2014

If you’ve ever woken up bewildered by a dream you were having, there’s now an explanation as to why.

Scientists have discovered our dreams really do get weirder as the night goes on.

‘We found that dreams increase in bizarreness from the early to late night,’ said study author Dr Josie Malinowski, of the University of Bedfordshire.

Shortly before a person wakes up, their dreams escalate to a level of the impossible – and never likely to happen in real life – ‘like a wild animal tearing up your back garden,’ she told TIME.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at Sep 20, 2014 9.18

Shortly before a person wakes up, their dreams escalate to a level of the impossible – and never likely to happen in real life

Not only that, they become more emotional – in both a good and bad way – says Dr Malinowski, a lecturer in cognitive psychology.

During the study, researchers gave 16 people an eyelid and head sensor to monitor their sleep.

They then woke each person up four times in the night, journalist Mandy Oaklander reports.

Participants were asked to recall the subject of their dreams and discuss them – and how they might relate to their life – the following morning.

In the early stages of sleep, dreams tended to be more about the people had encountered that day, such as a TV programme or a book.

Dreams about life events were more likely to feature later in the night.

Dr Malinowski says exploring these dreams can help us get more in touch with our emotional side and behaviour.

She said: ‘People feel like they haven’t generated them because they’re often so bizarre. [But] they’re a safe way to explore the self.’

There are two stages of sleep – REM and non-REM sleep. During the latter, we experience slow wave sleep, when our immune system is repaired and strengthened.

However being under the weather can also trigger strange dreams and nightmares, experts say.

Any kind of infection, from severe flu to a kidney infection, can make nightmares more likely, explains Patrick McNamara, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

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