People don’t go around telling each other how awesome they are often enough, which makes me feel weird for doing it and sometimes makes the recipient uncomfortable. I’m just trying to spread the love!
When you are typing away at your computer, you don’t know what your fingers are really doing.
That is the conclusion of a study conducted by a team of cognitive psychologists at Vanderbilt and Kobe universities. It found that skilled typists can’t identify the positions of many of the keys on the QWERTY keyboard and that novice typists don’t appear to learn key locations in the first place.
“This demonstrates that we’re capable of doing extremely complicated things without knowing explicitly what we are doing,” said Vanderbilt University graduate student Kristy Snyder, the first author of the study, which was conducted under the supervision of Centennial Professor of Psychology Gordon Logan.
A description of the research will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, which recently posted it online.
The researchers recruited 100 university students and members from the surrounding community to participate in an experiment. The participants completed a short typing test. Then, they were shown a blank QWERTY keyboard and given 80 seconds to write the letters in the correct location. On average, they typed 72 words per minute, moving their fingers to the correct keys six times per second with 94 percent accuracy. By contrast, they could accurately place an average of only 15 letters on a blank keyboard.
The fact that the typists did so poorly at identifying the position of specific keys didn’t come as a surprise. For more than a century, scientists have recognized the existence of automatism: the ability to perform actions without conscious thought or intention. Automatic behaviors of this type are surprisingly common, ranging from tying shoelaces to making coffee to factory assembly-line work to riding a bicycle and driving a car. So scientists had assumed that typing also fell into this category, but had not tested it.
What did come as a surprise, however, was a finding that conflicts with the basic theory of automatic learning, which suggests that it starts out as a conscious process and gradually becomes unconscious with repetition. According to the widely held theory – primarily developed by studying how people learn to play chess – when you perform a new task for the first time, you are conscious of each action and store the details in working memory. Then, as you repeat the task, it becomes increasingly automatic and your awareness of the details gradually fades away. This allows you to think about other things while you are performing the task.
Given the prevalence of this “use it or lose it” explanation, the researchers were surprised when they found evidence that the typists never appear to memorize the key positions, not even when they are first learning to type.
“It appears that not only don’t we know much about what we are doing, but we can’t know it because we don’t consciously learn how to do it in the first place,” said Logan.
Evidence for this conclusion came from another experiment included in the study. The researchers recruited 24 typists who were skilled on the QWERTY keyboard and had them learn to type on a Dvorak keyboard, which places keys in different locations. After the participants developed a reasonable proficiency with the alternative keyboard, they were asked to identify the placement of the keys on a blank Dvorak keyboard. On average, they could locate only 17 letters correctly, comparable to participants’ performance with the QWERTY keyboard.
According to the researchers, the lack of explicit knowledge of the keyboard may be due to the fact that computers and keyboards have become so ubiquitous that students learn how to use them in an informal, trial-and-error fashion when they are very young.
“When I was a boy, you learned to type by taking a typing class and one of the first assignments was to memorize the keyboard,” Logan recalled.
Co-authors on the study are Vanderbilt research analyst Jana Ulrich and Yuki Ashitaka and Hiroyuki Shimada at Kobe University in Japan. The research was funded by National Science Foundation grants BCS 0957074 and BCS 1257272.
Not mental health-related, but thought this was cool.
The evaluation’s findings, published in The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, demonstrate significant and equivalent reductions in depressive symptoms among older and younger veterans
- un-disgruntle yourself
- comfort someone
- be comforted
- go to a quiet place
- press a magic button and fix everything
- get a hug
- see something cute
- hear rain noises
- play cute games
- cut something/someone (blood)
- break something
- open a window
- have a guided relaxation
- listen to nature sounds (or here)
- do nothing for 2 minutes
- play the piano
- make cute ecards
- make cool music (ex.)
- get an idea for what to do
- avoid boredom
- watch a dream
- have a stickman adventure
A few things…
1) GOOD LUCK ON FINALS!!!
2) I know how one could practice mindfulness in their day-to-day life but does anyone have any exercises in particular they engage that they find particularly helpful?
3) After a great deal of uncertainty over my career choice (specifically: med school? or graduate school?) I’ve decided that I’m going to apply to both. If I go to med school, I’d work toward becoming a child and adolescent psychiatrist, as has been planned for awhile now. If I go to grad school, I’d enter into clinical psychology; not sure what specialty but probably disorders among the anxiety/OCD spectrum, and probably with an emphasis on trich (if I figure it out myself). Both options have so many pros and cons in my mind that I really don’t know which I’d prefer. Applying for both and taking both the MCAT and GRE is going to be “fun” so does anyone have any advice for me here?
Scientists say that cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia can double the likelihood of recovery, and powerfully complement antidepressant drugs.
Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors
Memories may be passed down through generations in DNA in a process that may be the underlying cause of phobias
Memories can be passed down to later generations through genetic switches that allow offspring to inherit the experience of their ancestors, according to new research that may explain how phobias can develop. Scientists have long assumed that memories and learned experiences built up during a lifetime must be passed on by teaching later generations or through personal experience. However, new research has shown that it is possible for some information to be inherited biologically through chemical changes that occur in DNA. Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, found that mice can pass on learned information about traumatic or stressful experiences – in this case a fear of the smell of cherry blossom – to subsequent generations. The results may help to explain why people suffer from seemingly irrational phobias – it may be based on the inherited experiences of their ancestors. (via Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors - Telegraph)
Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over.
I know how wrong this is.
When I was a child, I didn’t understand. I would wake up in a new body and wouldn’t comprehend why things felt muted, dimmer. Or the opposite—I’d be supercharged, unfocused, like a radio at top volume flipping quickly from station to station…Eventually, though, I realized these inclinations, these compulsions, were as much a part of the body as its eye color or its voice. Yes, the feelings themselves were intangible, amorphous, but the cause of the feelings was a matter of chemistry, biology.
It is a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again."
A long ago submission by a beloved follower.
Every single word of this.
After Mental Illness, an Up and Down Life
By Lee Gutkind
TEMPE, Ariz. — IN 2005, a distraught mother rushed her 13-year-old son to the emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation. The boy was overwrought, consumed by anxiety. The physicians asked the standard questions: Did he want to kill or hurt himself or others? No, was his answer.
The boy’s name was Adam Lanza. In the years between that hospital visit and the day, last December, when he shot to death 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school, there is reason to believe he had guidance from well-meaning therapists, parents and teachers. These efforts were obviously ineffective. What went wrong?
Twenty years ago, I wrote a book about childhood mental illness that focused on the experiences of two struggling young people in Pittsburgh, Daniel and Meggan. At the time, this is what struck me most about the treatment of children and adolescents with mental health problems: Social workers and psychiatrists mostly tried their best but didn’t know what they were doing, really. The science was imprecise and the system was fractured.
Two decades later, we are now able to see inside the brain with startling precision, thanks to sophisticated imaging techniques. And we know a lot more about brain biology. But we have been unable to transform much of that knowledge into definitive treatments.
Caring for the mentally ill adult is challenging. Children are considerably more complicated, because they are constantly changing and developing. Adam Lanza may have been a totally different human being in 2005 from the one he was in 2012. Or he may have been the same person, displaying symptoms the experts did not then acknowledge or understand.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about Daniel and Meggan, and wondering what happened to them. Had they ended up hurting themselves or others? Had they been able to live productive and satisfying lives?
When I met Daniel, he was a scrawny 10-year-old with tight curly hair. He had a scar on his forehead, where a ceiling had collapsed on him during a fire in a rooming house where his family had stashed, ignored and frequently abused him. Daniel was suffering from post-traumatic shock syndrome and schizophrenia and, after being removed from his family, was staying at a residential treatment center — one of 13 places he lived before turning 18.
In contrast, Meggan came from an upper-middle-class background, but she, too, suffered through a series of placements. Her parents shuttled her from therapists to hospitals to special schools, seeking help for and insight into her unpredictable behavior. Exhausted and nearly bankrupt, they eventually gave up, voluntarily relinquishing custody of their daughter to the state. This was then a frequent choice for many desperate families.
A reversal of approach has taken place since Daniel’s and Meggan’s therapeutic gantlet, when nearly three-fourths of all mental health dollars for adolescents were devoted to institutional care. Today, mental health professionals are more focused on keeping families together. In some states, intervention teams are available to respond to children in crisis, at home or at school. Drop-in centers have been established to provide families a therapeutic timeout. But these and other Band-Aid approaches are employed sporadically, and often, according to the United States Government Accountability Office, they are administered by undertrained personnel. The system, to put it bluntly, is a mess.
Funding, obviously, is part of the problem. Fifteen million children in the United States now suffer from some mental health disorder, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that their numbers have been rising since at least the mid-1990s. But at the same time, spending on mental health treatment as a share of overall health spending declined from more than 9 percent in the mid-1980s to 7.4 percent in 2004, where it remained through recent years.
Resources aren’t the only problem. Psychologists and psychiatrists are still befuddled by basic challenges, beginning with diagnoses, which, for children, can change as they develop. In the 1990s, Meggan was told she was bipolar, then, 10 years later, that she was a high-functioning autistic and, more recently, according to her mother, a borderline personality. She has given up listening to doctors. “I am myself,” she insists, “my own unique flavor of mental health — ‘Meggan’s Syndrome’ — which is pretty awesome!”
After diagnoses, there’s the problem of medication. Certainly the advent of anti-psychotic medications has helped improve the treatment of the mentally ill, but dosages are still largely based on trial and error. Many of these drugs lack a Food and Drug Administration recommendation for children and adolescents — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t given to them. Meggan and Daniel were both prescribed a cocktail of drugs as children, one of the first being the mood stabilizer Lithium. According to a 2012 study in JAMA Psychiatry, the rate of antipsychotic drugs administered to children between 1993 and 2009 — Abilify, Geodon, Seroquel and others — has increased by a factor of nearly eight (for adults, the rate has only doubled). And, according to the G.A.O., foster children receive these medications up to four times more often than kids in the general population.
Studies have demonstrated that talk therapy or talk therapy combined with medication is more effective than meds alone. But there aren’t enough qualified psychiatrists and psychologists to provide that therapy. Today there are around 7,400 child psychiatrists practicing in the United States (roughly one for every 2,000 patients), compared with 4,600 in 1992. By 2020 there will be around a thousand more, though the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that we will need double the current number by then.
I hadn’t communicated with Meggan since the book was published, so this summer I set up an appointment to talk. Now 38, she is the same vivacious and manic Meggan, laughing, crying and contradicting herself. We talked in a conference room at the medical center where she now works — and where she was once an inpatient.
She’s had an “up and down” life, she told me. On the plus side, she’s a college graduate with a degree in biology and three children. But she feels lonely and isolated. She is going through a divorce, and about three years ago was cited for marijuana possession, the use of which prompted her parents to seek custody of her children. She stopped cold turkey, and the suit was settled privately. She often works seven days a week, but her parents continue to supplement her income.
Daniel and I had kept in touch sporadically. I knew he had been in jail a couple of times for petty crimes and that he had relocated to another state. He married and legally changed his first and last names, thinking that a new name would help him escape the trauma of his past. But painful memories plague him. Now 37, he weighs 267 pounds, at 5-foot-3, and is suffering from congestive heart failure.
Meggan and Daniel have demonstrated their ability to survive and their will to persevere. After much effort, Daniel taught himself to read on a basic level, by studying websites and sounding out and memorizing words. And he never relented in his efforts to find work. He is now employed as a part-time cashier at a Ponderosa Steakhouse, his first paying job. He and his wife continue to rely on disability payments, however.
Meggan has had setbacks and made harmful choices, but she is now a responsible mother and a breadwinner.
Just think what they could have achieved, had they not been held captive by a dysfunctional system. We must work harder to understand mental illness and to provide the resources that social-service professionals need, to ensure that lost children like Meggan and Daniel can achieve their full potential.
For more mental health news, Click Here to access the Serious Mental Illness Blog
So I’m working on a literature review under the grad student for the lab I work in on the differences in social media use between those with and without social anxiety, and how people with social anxiety form and maintain relationships as a result of social networking sites (particularly Facebook). It’s really interesting stuff. And for some reason a concept introduced in one of the studies really intrigued me. The authors likened social media use to “social snacking”: just like one snacks to tide themselves over until their next meal, one uses social media to tide themselves over until their next social interaction. This concept hasn’t (to my knowledge) been scientifically validated but for some reason I think it’s pretty cool!
On average, every hour, one person dies in a crash involving a drunk driver and 20 more people are injured, including three with debilitating injuries. That adds up quickly to yearly totals of nearly 10,000 deaths, 27,000 lives forever altered and another 146,000 injured.
The safety report and recommendations culminate a year-long effort by the NTSB to thoroughly examine this problem and develop a set of targeted interventions. The recommendations include:
- Reduce state BAC limits from 0.08 to 0.05 or lower
- Increase use of high-visibility enforcement
- Develop and deploy in-vehicle detection technology
- Require ignition interlocks for all offenders
- Improve use of administrative license actions
- Target and address repeat offenders
- Reinforce use and effectiveness of DWI courts
Eating disorders may persist for years, wreaking havoc on health, personal relationships and often on family finances because the care can be so expensive.
An illustrated quote about self-worth for the visual learners among us.