Addiction can be extremely detrimental to an individual in many different domains, including brain functioning. A new study published in Alcohol and Alcoholism provides hope by suggesting that alcohol detox can greatly improve cognitive impairments within weeks. Background This study investigated, through cluster analysis, the associations between behavioural characteristics, mental wellbeing, demographic characteristics, and health among university students in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) University Network – Health Promotion Network (AUN-HPN) member universities. Methods Data were retrieved from a cross-sectional self-administered online survey among undergraduate students in seven ASEAN countries. A two-step cluster analysis was employed, with cluster labels based on the predominant characteristics identified within the clusters. The ‘healthy’ cluster was assigned as the reference group for comparisons using multinomial logistic regression analysis. Results The analytic sample size comprised 15,366 university students. Five clusters of student-types were identified: (i) ‘Healthy’ (n = 1957; 12.7%); (ii) ‘High sugary beverage consumption’ (n = 8482; 55.2%); (iii) ‘Poor mental wellbeing’ (n = 2009; 13.1%); (iv) ‘Smoker’ (n = 1364; 8.9%); and (v) ‘Alcohol drinker’ (n = 1554; 10.1%). Being female (OR 1.28, 95%CI 1.14, 1.45) and being physically inactive (OR 1.20, 95%CI 1.04, 1.39) increased the odds of belonging to the ‘High sugary beverage consumption’ cluster. Being female (OR 1.21, 95%CI 1.04, 1.41), non-membership in a sports club (OR 1.83, 95%CI 1.43, 2.34) were associated with ‘Poor mental wellbeing’. Obesity (OR 2.03, 95%CI 1.47, 2.80), inactively commuting to campus (OR 1.34, 95%CI 1.09, 1.66), and living in high-rise accommodation (OR 2.94, 95%CI 1.07, 8.07) were associated with membership in the ‘Smoker’ cluster. Students living in The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam had a higher likelihood of being alcohol drinkers, compared with those who lived in Brunei. Conclusions ASEAN university students exhibited health-risk behaviours that typically clustered around a specific health behaviour and mental wellbeing. The results provided support for focusing interventions on one dominant health-risk behaviour, with associated health-risk behaviours within clusters being potential mediators for consideration.

Substance abuse has been an intractable societal concern in the US for more than half a century. The recent opioid epidemic has only accentuated this problem. Adolescents are significant long-term contributors to the crisis due to their susceptibilities to drug abuse and impressionable age. This review examines the particular vulnerabilities of the adolescent brain to drug abuse and the risk and protective factors thereof, especially in light of the Rat Park studies. In addition, the article provides an overview of the evidence-based prevention program registries and offers detailed summaries of two: Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (Blueprints) and the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP). By combining inputs from Blueprints and WSIPP, five programs with the highest benefit-cost ratios (BCR) were identified: Functional Family Therapy, Positive Family Support, Lifeskills Training, Positive Action, and Good Behavior Game. In light of their outstanding characteristics, these programs are poised to be widely implemented and to make a measurable difference in the fight against substance and opioid abuse. .

Group feedback during cognitive behavior therapy improves self-perceptions among people with social anxiety disorder

Video feedback has been shown to help people with social anxiety disorder correct distorted self-perceptions. A recent study suggests that offering additional group feedback leads to further improvements, decreasing perceptions of anxiety and social concerns and increasing perceptions of performance. There’s a common refrain of “nice guys finish last” from men who have trouble attracting women, but is being nice the real problem? A study published in Personality and Individual Differences suggests that involuntarily celibate men show higher levels of misogyny and hostility toward women. A study in a virtual reality environment found that action video game players have better implicit temporal skills than non-gamers. They are better at preparing to time their reactions in tasks that require quick reactions and they do it automatically, without consciously working on it. The paper was published in Communications Biology. A new social experiment conducted at the University of California, San Diego focused on cardiovascular responses of the body to a stressful task done by pairs of people in loose-tie relationships. It showed that a team member expressing gratitude improves the cardiovascular responses of teammates, making their bodies react to the task at hand as towards a challenge rather than a threat.

According to new psychology findings, the strategies we used to regulate our emotions can influence our dream experiences. The study, published in the journal Dreaming, found that cognitive reappraisal appeared to reduce dream intensity by lowering negative state and trait emotions. Smartphones have become an integral part of daily life. They are often thought of as a positive tool used to increase communication, but they can also be detrimental to relationships by drawing attention away from one’s partner. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior explores how “phubbing,” or phone snubbing, can negatively impact relationship satisfaction, and cause the partner who feels snubbed to retaliate. Researchers compared historical data to results of current opinion polls and found no evidence that the percentage of people who believe in conspiracy theories has increased in comparison to previous times. New findings, published in The Journal of Sex Research, suggest infidelity is not simply intercourse outside of a relationship. Infidelity is a complex topic, often determined through context and compounding behaviors.

New research provides additional evidence that political ideology can interfere with logical reasoning. The findings, published in the scientific journal Thinking & Reasoning, shed light on how politically motivated reasoning impacts the ability to correctly evaluate syllogisms. New research provides evidence that individuals who had lonely childhoods tend to be more reactive to stress, which in turn makes them more susceptible to alcohol-related problems. The findings have been published in Addictive Behaviors Reports. Recent findings suggest that acetaminophen use during pregnancy may contribute to neurobehavioral problems in offspring. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, found that children exposed to acetaminophen in utero exhibited higher sleep and attention problems at age 3. New research seeks to understand what interventions may improve some of the destructive symptoms of narcissism. Researchers from the University of Maastricht investigated the consequences of exercises to induce two different types of compassion, self-compassion and compassion for others. Their findings indicate targeted interventions inducing feelings of compassion may work for some with grandiose or vulnerable narcissistic traits.

A common parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis might alter a person’s political beliefs

Infection from the common parasite Toxoplasma tends to produce few apparent symptoms. But a new study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology suggests that the disease can spur changes in a person’s political beliefs and values, most likely through an inflammatory reaction. A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality illuminates the potential relationship between self-control and antagonistic narcissism, a trait with negative social consequences. Researchers found that narcissistic individuals with high levels of self-control were less likely to engage in antagonistic behaviors. These findings suggest that individuals with narcissistic personalities may be able to resist the impulse to engage in antagonistic behaviors if they practice and apply self-control. A recent study published in the Journal of Social Psychology sheds light on how sexual arousal can influence a person’s attitudes related to sexual consent. Different racial and ethnic groups fare better or worse following a trauma, but why? A study published in Psychological Medicine suggests that posttraumatic symptoms differ by race and ethnicity following a traumatic event due to discrepancies in other risk factors. 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. A study of children with autism spectrum disorders in Israel reported significant improvements in their social communication abilities after six months of treatment with cannabidiol-rich cannabis oil. Additionally, parents reported a reduction in restrictive and repetitive behaviors of children. Children’s cognitive scores were not changed.

Podcast listening may help people fulfill their social needs, according to recent findings published in PLOS One. The study found that people who listened to more podcasts per month reported a greater presence of meaning in life and those who formed parasocial relationships with hosts reported a greater sense of relatedness. New research published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement found that listening to three genres of relaxing music (jazz, piano, and lo-fi) may improve cognitive performance. Past psychology research has shown that people associate Black with male and Asian with female. New findings have revealed that this association is weaker among people who fit the counter-stereotype — Black women and Asian men. The findings were published in Social Psychological and Personality Science. New research provides evidence that higher testosterone levels reduce the risk of unemployment and increase the odds of landing a job. The findings, which appear in the journal Economics & Human Biology, suggest that testosterone levels in men are related to behaviors and cognitive processes that influence labor market transitions.

Workplace discrimination refers to differential treatment on the job based on characteristics of one’s background that are irrelevant to the job (i.e., gender, race, age, appearance). New research published in Social Science Research found that mothers, but not fathers, who subscribe to ideologies that disadvantage themselves are less likely to perceive and react to workplace parenthood discrimination. 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. What came first: harsh parenting techniques or conduct problems in children? This can seem like a chicken and egg problem. A new study published in Child Development finds that there is a reciprocal relationship between parenting style and child behaviors, suggesting that altering parenting behavior could greatly help children with socioemotional difficulties. A series of six studies identifies social sexual identity — or seeing oneself as a person who leverages sex appeal in pursuit of personally valued gains — as a key predictor of both sexual behavior in the workplace and sexual harassment behavior. The study was published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Regret, for example, which can make us suffer by reflecting on the past, is an indispensable mental mechanism for learning from one’s own mistakes to avoid repeating them. Worries about the future are likewise essential to motivate us to do something that is somewhat unpleasant today but can create gain or spare us a greater loss in the future. Empathy priming has been explored as a potential strategy to reduce rape myth acceptance. But a study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that this approach can sometimes backfire. The researchers found that college-aged men with high levels of narcissism actually condoned more problematic beliefs about rape after being encouraged to empathize with a fictional rape victim.