Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Depression in old age

By Siegfried Weyerer
Depression in old age occurs frequently, places a severe burden on patients and relatives, and increases the utilization of medical services and health care costs. Although the association between age and depression has received considerable attention, very little is known about the incidence of depression among those 75 years of age and older.

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Changing the conversation about the motives of our political opponents

By E. Tory Higgins
“Our country is divided.” “Congress is broken.” “Our politics are polarized.” Most Americans believe there is less political co-operation and compromise than there used to be. And we know who is to blame for this situation—it’s our political opponents. Democrats know that Republicans are to blame, and Republicans know that Democrats are to blame.

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HFR and The Hobbit: There and Back Again

By Arthur P. Shimamura
Is it the sense of experiencing reality that makes movies so compelling? Technological advances in film, such as sound, color, widescreen, 3-D, and now high frame rate (HFR), have offered ever increasing semblances of realism on the screen. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we are introduced to the world of 48 frames per second (fps), which presents much sharper moving images than what we’ve seen in movies produced at the standard 24 fps.

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So the world didn’t end? A new cycle

By Barbara Rogoff
The news was full of claims that the ancient Maya had predicted the end of the world with the winter solstice of 2012. The solstice went by a few days ago, and here we still are. Related to the mistaken claims of those in the news, the ancient Maya and the apocalypse-predictors conceive of time and life in very different ways. Unlike the end-is-coming view, life and time are cyclical in Maya cosmology. An end is a new beginning, as many current Maya spiritual guides have been trying to clarify to the world.

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From cigarettes to obesity, public health at risk

By Mark S. Gold, MD
Public health officials and academics identified cigarette smoking and related disease as the nation’s number one killer and foremost driver of health costs in the 1980s. At that time overeating and obesity were not major problems, yet they may soon cause more disease, deaths, and health care costs than cigarettes. Food addiction, which may explain part of the epidemic, is slowly and finally “catching on”. It’s been controversial, with some scientists dismissing it out of hand, so like any hypothesis, it needs additional tests.

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Neuroscience in education

By Sergio Della Sala & Mike Anderson
In the past ten years, there has been growing interest in applying our knowledge of the human brain to the field of education – including reading, learning, language, and mathematics.Teachers themselves have embraced the neuro revolution enthusiastically. 

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I resolve to take Benjamin Franklin seriously

It’s that time again: time to set resolutions and goals for ourselves as we enter the New Year. In this excerpt from Pursuing the Good Life, the late Christopher Peterson puts the spotlight on Benjamin Franklin, encouraging us to take the statesman a little more seriously… not for his political or scientific achievements, but for the way he set and cultivated his personal goals. Peterson shows that whether our resolutions are set in the beginning of January or halfway through the year, Franklin’s approach is one that we can all take some notes from.

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Music: a proxy language for autistic children

I spend around 12 hours a week – every week – sharing thoughts, feelings, new ideas, reminiscences and even jokes with some very special children who have extraordinary musical talents, and many of whom are severely autistic.

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New year’s resolution: don’t sabotage yourself

By Susan David
We humans are funny. Often we create beliefs or engage in behaviors that seem to help us in the short term, only to discover they get in the way of the lives we really want to live, or the people we want to become. Allow me to share the story of my friend, Erin.

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Resources to help traumatized children

By Robert Hull
As parents, children, and communities struggle to come to terms with the events in Newtown last week, it is important for educators and parents to be aware of just how deeply children can be affected by violence. Community violence is very different from other sources of trauma that children witness or experience. Most trauma impacts individual students or small groups, whereas the violence that was experienced in Newtown affected the local community and the entire nation.

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Identifying and preventing antisocial behavior

By Donald W. Black
For many years I have pondered the mental state and motivations of mass shooters. The tragic events in Newtown, CT this past week have brought this to the fore. Mass shootings have become everyday occurrences in the United States, and for that reason tend not to attract much attention unless the circumstances are especially heinous, such as this instance in which the victims were young children. We are all left wondering what can be done.

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The case for creating trauma-sensitive schools

By Eric Rossen
In the wake of another national tragedy, it is more apparent than ever that our schools must embrace a stronger role in supporting the mental health of our youth by developing trauma-sensitive schools. The mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that killed several staff and 20 elementary school students came less than two months after Hurricane Sandy, a storm that brought devastation and displacement to tens of thousands of people in the Northeast.

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Nurturing a spirit of caring and generosity in children

By Kenneth Barish
At this holiday season, I would like to offer a few thoughts on how we can help nurture in our children a spirit of generosity and concern for others. I cannot write this post, however, without first expressing my deepest condolences to the families of Newtown, Connecticut, for their unimaginable and unbearable loss.

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Reflections on the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School

By Kathleen M. Heide, Ph.D.
The mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut is a tragic event that is particularly painful as it comes at a time when people across the world are trying to focus on the upcoming holidays as the season of peace bringing good tidings of great joy. Three factors about the Newtown school shooting are noteworthy. First, it was a mass murder. Second, it appears to have been precipitated by the killing of a parent (parricide). Third, it was committed by a 20-year old man. All of these factors are relevant in making sense of what appears to be inexplicable violence.

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Some warning behaviors for targeted violence

By J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D.
As the debate concerning public and social policy surrounding gun control intensifies, I would like to offer some comments on the identification of individuals who concern us as potential perpetrators of planned killing(s). These thoughts are from the trenches of threat assessment, and do not address or offer opinions concerning the larger policy issues we face as a country regarding firearms and public mental health care — one of which is highly emotionally charged and the other sorely neglected.

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How to help your children cope with unexpected tragedy

By Brenda Bursch
Children look to their parents to help them understand the inexplicable. They look to their parents to assuage worries and fears. They depend on their parents to protect them. What can parents do to help their children cope with mass tragedy, such as occurred this week with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut?

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