A study using functional magnetic resonant imaging (fMRI) compared brain activities of persons suffering from smartphone addiction (excessive smartphone use) and those who use their smartphones in a less intrusive way. It reported systematic differences in brain activity during rest between the two groups. A recent series of studies showed that sharing content online, even when the person did not read it, increases subjective knowledge (how much one thinks he/she knows about a topic), but not necessarily objective (how much he/she really knows about the topic). The effect was stronger when the study participants saw the sharing as voluntary, when the act of sharing could be associated with them personally and when it was shared with closer people. A systematic review published in the journal Psychopharmacology found elevated brain reactivity to cannabis cues among regular cannabis users, in specific brain regions. The study also uncovered preliminary evidence that this increased brain function may trigger cannabis cravings.

By monitoring and tracking brain changes as they happen, we can tackle emerging mental health problems in adolescence and target early treatment. The challenge is accurately predicting the likelihood of a person developing a mental disorder, well before it happens. When given ketamine as an antidepressant, patients with treatment-resistant depression reported feeling a strange sensation whereby their perspectives on the world seemed to have shifted, almost as though their very point of view had been altered. The negative beliefs that they had been carrying for several months appeared to have faded. Plenty of people claim they can’t function without their morning coffee, but is there a neurological basis to it? A study published in Scientific Reports suggests that coffee does have beneficial effects on cognitive function, and it may do this by reorganizing brain functional connectivity. New research suggests that socioeconomic hardship during childhood leaves children vulnerable to lower cognitive ability in adolescence and increased trait anxiety during adulthood. The findings, published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, further suggest that these effects are driven by the recruitment of the right lateral prefrontal cortex.

Study uncovers a surprising temporal relationship between cognitive function and physical activity

The decline in cognitive abilities after 50 years of age is associated with a subsequent decline in physical activity, which in turn is associated with greater depressive symptoms, according to new research published in Translational Psychiatry. The findings suggest, contrary to popular belief, that cognitive function is a stronger predictor of changes in physical activity than physical activity is a predictor of changes in cognitive function. A recent study published in NeuroImage: Clinical used state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques to determine what brain changes may cause childhood ADHD to go into remission. Christienne Damatac and colleagues looked at brain changes in those diagnosed with ADHD over 16 years. Their findings suggest that improved hyperactivity and inattentiveness symptoms result from increased white matter density. This research suggests that one contributing factor to déjà vu can be spatial resemblance of a new scene to one in memory that fails to be consciously called to mind at the moment. New research published in Experimental Neurology provides some initial evidence that the psychedelic substance known as LSD has nootropic properties. The study found that LSD increased markers of neuroplasticity in human brain organoids, increased novelty preference in rats, and improved memory performance in humans.

This showed that socially isolated people had poorer cognition, including in memory and reaction time, and lower volume of grey matter in many parts of the brain. These areas included the temporal region (which processes sounds and helps encode memory), the frontal lobe (which is involved in attention, planning and complex cognitive tasks) and the hippocampus – a key area involved in learning and memory, which is typically disrupted early in Alzheimer’s disease. Although only a limited amount of information can be processed at each fixation point, a sequence of eye movements binds visual details together (for example, faces and objects). This allows us to encode a memory of what we can see as a whole. Our visual sampling of the world – through our eye movements – determines the content of the memories that our brains store. A set of studies published in the Journal of Applied Psychology has failed to find evidence that cannabis has creativity-enhancing effects. But the researchers did find that cannabis elicited a sense of joviality, which in turn made cannabis users perceive their own ideas and the ideas of others as more creative. A Swiss study has shed light on how the use of specific emotion regulation strategies affected people’s coping during different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adaptive strategies like positive reappraisal mitigated anxiety and depression during the early phase of the pandemic, while maladaptive strategies like rumination worsened symptoms.

In a new article published in the journal Body Image, a team of psychology researchers outline a mountain of evidence linking social media use to body image issues. The researchers describe how algorithms may be intensifying this link and urge social media corporations to take action. A new study of monozygotic twins raised apart in South Korea and the United States provides unique insight into how genetic, cultural, and environmental factors influence human development. The new research has been published in the scientific journal Personality and Individual Differences. According to new research published in Nature Human Behaviour, slowing in response time can begin as early as age 20. However, this change can be explained by increased caution in decision making and slowing of non-decisional processes, as opposed to a slowing in mental speed. Slowing of mental speed was observed only after age 60. Men who experience erectile dysfunction are more likely to engage in sexually coercive behaviors, such as pressuring their partner to have sex, according to new research published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. In addition, the study provides evidence that the risk of sperm competition plays a role in the relationship between ED and sexual coercion.

A simple verbal hint can alter a person’s visual perception, especially if they are highly suggestible

New psychology research shows just how easy it is to sway a person’s perceptual judgments, leading them to think they see something that is not there. According to the findings, a short verbal statement can alter a person’s visual perception, especially if they are more susceptible to social influence. The findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Many coffee lovers would tell you that staying well caffeinated is a key component of their happiness, but is drinking coffee actually positively related to wellbeing? A study published in PLOS One suggests that heavy coffee drinking can actually be weakly related to decreased long-term happiness. People who have borderline personality disorder are often vigilant towards other people’s external signs about their emotional states but have difficulty in correctly identifying the emotions being displayed. A study published in BMC Psychology suggests that growing up in a disengaged or controlling environment can contribute to these missteps. New research published in BMC Psychology found that adolescents without depressive symptoms display a bias toward faces displaying a positive emotion. This effect was not observed in adults or adolescents with depressive symptoms. Young children tend to have poorer cognitive skills when they have a diet high in processed foods and live in a chaotic household environment, according to new research published in the journal Nutrients. The study examined executive functioning in children aged 18–24 months. People who consume high amounts of ultra-processed foods report significantly more adverse mental health symptoms, according to new research published in Public Health Nutrition.

New research suggests that improvements in personal development and self-insight act as a pathway between post-psychedelic integration practices and optimal well-being. The study, which appears in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, provides evidence that this is the case for both clinical and non-clinical populations. New psychology findings offer evidence that the food we eat has a direct influence on our mental health. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that eating more fruit predicted fewer depression symptoms and greater psychological well-being while eating more savory snacks predicted increased anxiety. Scientists have taken an important first step into studying the effects of the psychedelic drug psilocybin — the active substance in “magic” mushrooms — at a cellular and genetic level. Their findings, published in Scientific Reports, indicate that a single dose of psilocybin produces a long-lasting antidepressant-like effect in flies. A new large-scale study provides evidence that taking a daily multivitamin-mineral supplement has the potential to improve or protect cognitive function for older women and men. The findings were recently published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.