1) Stress Does You Good
We are about to enter the time of year in AS when we start the stress topic. At the heart of much of the research in this topic is the idea that stress is a bad thing. Research is now starting to question this, as these references from TED show.
2) Problems Of Mindfulness
The idea that engaging in mindfulness meditation, which has its origins in eastern, particularly Buddhist, thought, can improve mental health has become widely accepted. Mindfulness based CBT has been developed, one of its champions being the comedian Ruby Wax.
There are however problems with its widespread implementation, as this article shows. The first is that sometimes people get worse before they get better. Becoming more mindful might involve bringing latent negative thoughts to the surface. The second is that the success of the mindfulness training depends substantially on the quality of the person delivering it. This inevitably varies. The third is that, as with many other things, who much you get out of it depends on how much you put in. It requires effort. This should serve to remind us of what the issues are with many other types of psychological intervention.
3) Baby Brains
In AS, we have been thinking about Bowlby’s theory of the importance of the primary attachment figure, contrasting Bowlby’s views with those of Rutter who places more importance on the idea of multiple attachments. This becomes important when we start thinking about how difficult it is for people to overcome difficult early experiences. We’ve also been looking at the English And Romanian Adoption study in some detail over the last term.
This article is therefore gold dust. It explains how neuroscience is starting to unlock what babies are born able to do and crucially who social experience shapes that growth. The implication of this is that Rutter was right. What matters is that people are nurtured and cared for. It seems to matter less who does it. The article also summarises a study of Romanian orphans left behind in Romania. Like their counterparts who were adopted and taken to England, those who were subsequently looked after in caring and supportive environments were able to recover substantially from early negative experience.
4) Oliver Sacks On Stigma
This is great stuff. Oliver Sacks describes how one town in Belgium, Geel, has been taking an enlightened and benevolent approach to mental illness for centuries. If you want to find out more, click on this link.
5) Video Games Are Good For You
Some of you may have spent a fair amount of the school holiday playing computer games. Here is an article from Mark Griffiths which suggests that you may not have been wasting your time.