Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Embodied

Mind This Space: The psychology of our embodied senses

We’re all quite familiar with having five senses: sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. These senses help us understand the world outside our body. The idea of five senses is so ingrained that having a ‘sixth sense’ is a clue that something isn’t right. But what about other physical sensations?

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9780190276560

Spiritual awakening in Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous has provided millions of people with a chance at recovery from addiction. There is one aspect of membership for some members that most people, even addiction specialists, are not aware of, namely, the remarkable transformation that many AA members call a spiritual awakening. It’s a remarkable phenomenon for anyone interested in social science on the addictions.

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9780199685851

Joey Alexander: call me a ‘musician’, not a ‘prodigy’

If you tuned in to this year’s Grammy awards, you would not have failed to witness the extraordinary performance of 12-year-old jazz pianist Joey Alexander. The short solo performance, which earned him a standing ovation, was without doubt the cherry on the cake of this young musician’s short but remarkable career thus far.

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9780199396603

Your brain on the scientific method

Broccoli prevents cancer. Broccoli causes cancer. We are all familiar with the sense that we are constantly being pulled in a million different directions by scientific studies that seem to contradict each other every single day. We are all familiar with the sense that we are constantly being pulled in a million different directions by scientific studies that seem to contradict each other every single day.

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The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Geropsychology

Mental health in older age [infographic]

All over the world, populations are changing. People are living longer, and older people are forming a larger percentage of the global population. Baby boomers are retiring and improved health care has extended life expectancy. At the same time, as globalisation and urbanisation break apart familiar social and family structures, more older adults are living alone or without social support.

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9780199380862

Mindful exercise and meditation for the aging

Global population is aging rapidly. Over the next four decades the number of individuals aged 60 years and older will nearly triple to more than 2 billion in 2050 (UN, 2013). Mindful physical exercise has become an increasingly utilized approach for improving psychological well-being and is defined as “physical exercise executed with a profound inwardly directed contemplative focus.”

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9780190297336

It takes a whole child to raise a village

“When we get our story wrong, we get our future wrong,” David Korten wrote in Change the Story, Change the Future. If children are indeed our future, then the stories we use to educate and help them come of age are the most important stories to get right.

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9780190201326

Defining resilience

Consider the following scenario: Two women both lost a son in a war. One returns to work immediately and starts volunteering at an organization helping families of fallen soldiers. The other is unable to leave home, spends most of her days crying and sitting in front of her son’s belongings that were left untouched. Who is more resilient? The answer largely depends on how one defines resilience.

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9780190243654

Why the future of social change belongs to community research

People don’t exist as isolated entities, and social programs, movements, or data analytic methods that assume they do are not aligned with reality—and may be doomed to fail. We all know that providing therapy or tutoring to a child may be less effective than hoped if the child’s parents, peers, school, and neighborhood are not also operating in a way that’s conducive to the child’s growth and well-being.

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9780190463908

Looking for information: How to focus on quality, not quantity

Solving complex problems requires, among other things, gathering information, interpreting it, and drawing conclusions. Doing so, it is easy to tend to operate on the assumption that the more information, the better. However, we would be better advised to favor quality over quantity, leaving out peripheral information to focus on the critical one.

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9780198728658

Unwholly bound: Mother Teresa’s battles with depression

A psychiatrist’s couch is no place to debate the existence of God. Yet spiritual health is an inseparable part of mental or psychological health. Something no psychiatrist should regard with clinical indifference. But what does spiritual or religious health involve? This can’t just include normalized versions of monistic theism – but the entire set of human dispositions that may be thought of in spiritual terms.

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9780195384048

From domestic violence to coercive control

When a major obstacle is removed to our progress, idealist intellectuals like myself rejoice. I was introduced to one such obstacle in the early l970s, when a woman hiding from her abusive husband in our home told us “violence wasn’t the worst part.” Like the millions of other victimized women we have served in the ensuing years, she understood that the prevailing equation of partner abuse with domestic violence has little relation to her lived experience of oppression.

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Brain front matter

Today’s Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of seizures

For people suffering from recurrent epileptic seizures, one of the most burdensome aspects of their condition is the unpredictability of their seizures. While medications, surgery, and novel neurostimulation methods can eliminate seizures seizures in some cases, many people with epilepsy face the possibility of a seizure at any time, even when they occur only rarely.

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9780199689231

Is it all in the brain? An inclusive approach to mental health

For many years, the prevailing view among both cognitive scientists and philosophers has been that the brain is sufficient for cognition, and that once we discover its secrets, we will be able to unravel the mysteries of the mind. Recently however, a growing number of thinkers have begun to challenge this prevailing view that mentality is a purely neural phenomenon.

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The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

Music and what it means to be human

Music is a human construct. What is acknowledged as ‘music’ varies between cultures, groups, and individuals. The Igbo of Nigeria have no specific term for music: the term nkwa denotes ‘singing, playing instruments and dancing’.

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9780198735458

“The economics of happiness” – an extract from Happiness Explained

What is happiness and how can we promote it? These questions are central to human existence and human flourishing now plays a central role in the assessment of national and global progress. Paul Anand shows why the traditional national income approach is limited as a measure of human wellbeing and demonstrates how the contributors to happiness, wellbeing, and quality of life can be measured and understood across the human life course. The following extract looks at the connection between income and wellbeing.

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