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My summer with Stanley Milgram
Stanley Milgram, right, talks with a study participant during his shock experiment in the 1960s.
December 9th, 2011
12:10 PM ET

My summer with Stanley Milgram

Editor's note: Alan Elms was the research assistant of social psychologist Stanley Milgram during Milgram's famous shock experiment in the 1960s, which tested participant's obedience to authority.

During my first several weeks as Stanley Milgram’s research assistant, I did the sorts of things that research assistants often do.

I transcribed Milgram’s dictations and drafts of research procedures into neatly typed pages. I began to keep files of research volunteers: Their age, educational background, occupation, address and phone number. I helped Milgram audition amateur actors for the important role of “experimenter” and the nearly-as-important role of “learner,” the research confederate whom we started to call the “victim.”

The real volunteers would be playing the role of “teacher” in what appeared to be an experiment where electric shocks were used to speed the learning of simple word pairs. As you probably know by now, 50 years later, the victim only pretended to be shocked and the experiment really measured obedience to authority.
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Similar friends may spread healthy behaviors
December 2nd, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Similar friends may spread healthy behaviors

Who you know influences how you behave, a growing body of research is showing.

Networks of people who know each other can spread the good (happiness) and the bad (obesity, STDs and loneliness).

But it's not just any social network that propagates behaviors and diseases. New research published in the journal Science suggests that having social network contacts of similar gender, weight and body-mass index could help people pick up on healthy behaviors.

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How meditating may help your brain
November 21st, 2011
06:05 PM ET

How meditating may help your brain

When you're under pressure from work and family and the emails don't stop coming, it's hard to stop your mind from jumping all over the place.

But scientists are finding that it may be worth it to train your brain to focus on something as simple as your breath, which is part of mindfulness meditation.

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the latest in a hot emerging field of research examining how meditation relates to the brain. It shows that people who are experienced meditators show less activity in the brain's default mode network, when the brain is not engaged in focused thought.

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Calming your child's ADHD symptoms
October 5th, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Calming your child's ADHD symptoms

Dr. Claudia M. Gold is a pediatrician and author of "Keeping Your Child in Mind: Overcoming Defiance, Tantrums and Other Everyday Behavior Problems by Seeing the World Through Your Child's Eyes."

Five-year-old Max came to see me in my pediatrics practice because his kindergarten teachers were convinced that he had ADHD. They knew little about his life, yet they were pressuring his mother, Alice, to come to me in the hopes that I would prescribe medication, because his behavior in class was increasingly disruptive. Alice came to the first visit armed with the standard forms, indicating that he had scored in the high range for ADHD.

My approach to the diagnosis of ADHD, up a startling 29% according to a recent CDC report, has grown out of over 20 years practicing general and behavioral pediatrics, while simultaneously studying contemporary developmental science at the interface of genetics, psychology and neuroscience. I have come to recognize the essential role of understanding the meaning of behavior, rather than responding simply to the behavior itself, in promoting healthy emotional development.

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Filed under: ADHD • Brain • Children's Health • Psychology

Study supporting gay conversion challenged
October 4th, 2011
07:35 AM ET

Study supporting gay conversion challenged

A study designed by professors from two religious universities says that some people can change their sexual orientation after undergoing years of a ministry program.

“Evidence from the study suggested that change of homosexual orientation appears possible for some and that psychological distress did not increase on average as a result of the involvement in the change process,” wrote the authors of a study published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.

The authors are both psychologists who work at religious universities. Stanton Jones is a psychology professor and provost at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Mark Yarhouse is a professor of mental health at Regent University, in Virginia Beach, which was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. FULL POST


Twitter shows how the world is feeling
September 29th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

Twitter shows how the world is feeling

Weekends are happier times than weekdays, right? That association holds up in new research published in the journal Science that used Twitter to gauge the moods of millions of people.

Researchers at Cornell University looked at tweets from all Twitter users who created accounts between February 2008 and April 2009, weeding out those who tweeted fewer than 25 messages. In total, they looked at 509 million messages written by 2.4 million people. Then they matched words from those tweets to an established word list that psychologists use to gauge positive and negative moods.

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ADHD diagnoses on the rise, CDC says
August 19th, 2011
12:06 PM ET

ADHD diagnoses on the rise, CDC says

More and more children are getting a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The percentage of children with the condition rose from 7% in 1998-2000 to 9% in 2007-2009, for both boys and girls. In some areas of the United States those figures are even higher. From 1998 to 2009, ADHD prevalence increased 10% in the Midwest and South.

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Kids and social networking: Pros and cons
August 6th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Kids and social networking: Pros and cons

Post this, comment on that. Social media are a part of the daily routines of many adults and children. And  the identifiable pros and cons of social networking among kids are beginning to emerge, according to a presentation at the American Psychological Association meeting.

"While nobody can deny that Facebook has altered the landscape of social interaction, particularly among young people, we are just now starting to see solid psychological research demonstrating both the positives and the negatives," said Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and technology researcher. FULL POST


Study: Tween TV today is all about fame
August 5th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

Study: Tween TV today is all about fame

What do tweens value most?  If you are thinking honesty or self-acceptance think again.

To find out, researchers say, watch their favorite TV shows. The  values the shows promote above everything else, according to a new study from the University of  California, Los Angeles, is fame. Other individualistic values, such as financial success and physical fitness are also high on the wish list.

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Is the Internet replacing our own memory?
A new study takes a look at how an external memory system like the Internet affects our ability to remember information.
July 14th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Is the Internet replacing our own memory?

Can’t remember the name of the movie you saw last year starring Emily Deschanel’s sister? Or that recipe you used for chicken salad last week?

With an Internet connection and a few keystrokes, you can probably figure out the answer in a matter of minutes, tops. But the flip side, suggests new research in the journal Science, is that when you rely on having information stored somewhere, you may be less likely to remember it yourself.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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