The Relationship Between Childhood Abuse and Brain Development

This is an excellent review, recently published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, of the effects of childhood maltreatment brain development. The article outlines a number of developmental pathways and systems in the brain that subserve different psychological functions to include sensation, threat detection/response, reward, Intelligence, and psychopathology.

Source: The effects of childhood maltreatment on brain structure, function and connectivity : Nature Reviews Neuroscience : Nature Research

Think Less, Think Better – The New York Times

A very excellent article, written for the mass media, based on an elegant study just published in one of my favorite journals – Psychological Science.  The author advocates freeing your mind of the routine and mundane and engaging in a mental/physical activity which forces you to live in the moment – thus, enhancing originality and creativity.  Maybe there is something to that ‘ol saying – “smell the roses.”

A wandering mind has less innovative thoughts.

Source: Think Less, Think Better – The New York Times

An Interesting photo-essay about life in the (supposed) coldest inhabited community on earth.

With an average winter temperature of -58° F, I’d say this is a pretty cold place.  Apparently, one has to cover almost every bit of exposed skin at that temperature to avoid frostbite!  Additionally, the essay states that people must use outhouses as pipes cannot be buried in the permafrost.  It’s amazing how people adapt to a particular environment.  The way one would live growing up in, say, Florida (without air conditioning – back in the old days) versus a community in Siberia, like the one described in the essay, is quite fascinating.

Kids vs. Scantily Clad Women: Which Do New Dads Prefer and Why? – | – Science of Relationships

Hmmm… for some reason I’m not terribly surprised by this finding (I wonder why…).  Indeed, though, it is a fascinating find! The researchers measured blood testosterone levels and did fMRI scans of the brains of their participants (all men).  They also measured the substance – oxytocin.  Everyone knows about dopamine and (possibly to a lesser degree) serotonin.  Well, oxytocin is one of the lesser known neurotransmitters that also masquerades as a hormone in the body.  It is directly involved in the birthing process, lactation, and maternal bonding.  It has been labelled the “bonding hormone” (see e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin) as it is also implicated in pair-bonding, social recognition, trust, and empathy.  As there has recently been much focus on fatherhood research, oxytocin levels have been shown to rise in dads with babies and young children.  Thus, oxytocin seems to underlie paternal bonding.   It’s a nice read with a very interesting result.

Kids vs. Scantily Clad Women: Which Do New Dads Prefer and Why? – | – Science of Relationships.

Marital success/failure may be genetic… huh?

genesHow is this possible, you might say? How could relationship satisfaction be related to the genes one inherits from their father and mother? Well, there is certainly evidence from research studies dating back over the past 25 years suggesting there is such a relationship, according to a cover story article published in the February edition of the APS observer (Sleek, 2014). Much of this comes from studies of twins and from genetic analysis research where scientists attempt to relate behavioral dispositions such as monogamy and emotional sensitivity to genetic factors. Note that marital stability/satisfaction is certainly related to these and other dispositions/traits that people possess. The presumption here is that expressed genes affect, in conjunction with environmental factors, the personality traits and behavioral dispositions that greatly increase the likelihood of relationship satisfaction and marital stability.

Click below for the original article –

Genetically Ever After – Association for Psychological Science.