Thursday, December 24, 2009

Researchers at the University of Warwick and the University of Manchester found that psychological therapy is more cost effective at making you happy than simply obtaining more money. They looked at how an individual's well being changed after participating in therapy compared to getting sudden increases in income, such as through lottery wins or pay rises. They found that a four month course of psychological therapy had a large effect on well-being, specifically that it would take a pay raise of 32 times more than the cost of therapy alone to achieve equivalent results. This study has implications on the importance of mental health, and the availability for mental health services, such as psychological therapy, to achieve happiness.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

A new study to be published in the journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science, suggests individuals who play video games are fast and accurate information processors, not only during game play, but in real-life situations as well. In the study, researchers from the University of Rochester, looked at all of the existing literature on video gaming and found that video game players got faster not only on their favorite games, but on a variety of tasks measuring reaction time. These researchers suggest that this is the result of the video player's improved visual cognition. They add that playing video games enhances performance on tasks measuring mental rotation skills, visual and spatial memory, and divided attention.

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Playing Video Games May Enhance Visual Processing Skills

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Researchers have discovered a new screening tool that is able to screen infants and predict at-risk behavior at age four. The newborn exam, developed by a team led by Barry Lester, Ph.D., director of the Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, will be featured in the December 7 issue of Pediatrics. The exam, called the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS), was created to identify newborns who may have problems with school readiness and other at-risk behavior. This really opens up the possibility of psychologists providing early intervention to children as early as possible to help prevent these problems from occurring.

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Newborn Screening Measure Predicts Childhood Behavior

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New study suggests intensive reading interventions in young children cause the brain to physically rewire itself, thus leading to new white matter that improves communication within the brain. This study, to be published in the journal, Neuron, involved children between the ages of 8 and 10. Children received 100 hours of intensive remedial training. After the training, brain imaging indicated that the white matter in the brain was able to transmit signals more efficiently. In addition, reading testing showed the children's reading ability improved.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This study, just published on Monday in the journal, Pediatrics, found autistic children as young as 18 months can greatly improve their symptoms after two years of intensive therapy. These results are very encouraging for both psychologists providing therapy and parents of autistic children. This study also supports diagnosing children as early as possible so psychologists can begin therapy to minimize symptoms later.

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