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Psychology & Neuroscience Archives | OUPblog

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50 shades of touch

Disgusting or delighting, exciting or boring, sensual or expected, no matter what you think about it, 50 Shades of Grey is certainly not a movie that passes by without leaving a mark on your skin. Based on E.L. James’ novel (honestly, somehow even more breathtaking than the movie), it tells the story of the complicated relationship between the dominant multi-millionaire Christian Grey, and the newly graduated, inexperienced, and shy, Ana Steele.

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Wenk Blog

What 4,000 years of hallucinations have taught us about our brain

Over the past forty years, many of my students have shared their personal experiences with hallucinogenic drugs. They are typically more fascinated, than frightened, by the experience. About sixty years ago the scientist C.H.W. Horne commented that “It is remarkable that one characteristic which seems to separate man from the allegedly lower animals is a recurring desire to escape from reality.”

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Happiness: it’s not always smiley faces and that’s okay

Imagine that today is Happiness Day. For the next 24 hours, you get to enjoy the day to the best of your ability. What would you do?’ I asked some of my friends and family this same question. If you’re like many of the people I polled, you would probably plan to spend the day with family, indulge in a pleasurable activity, or aim to carve out a significant chunk of time with one of your favorite hobbies. But not everyone approaches happiness the same way.

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Wenk Blog

How do gut bugs affect brain health?

Our brain lives in a symbiotic relationship with the bugs in our gut. Whatever we eat, they eat. In return, they help our brain function optimally in a variety of ways. During the past few years, it has become increasingly apparent that in the absence of bacteria humans would never have evolved to our current level of cognitive performance. Our brains are profoundly dependent upon a wide range of chemicals produced by these gut bugs.

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Can the Sequential Intercept Model help with behavioral health justice?

There is now pending legislation in the United States Senate and the U.S. House involving the diversion of justice-involved individuals with behavioral health disorders from standard prosecution. Both bills use the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM), developed by Mark Munetz and Patty Griffin in collaboration with Hank Steadman, as an organizing tool to help structure the proposed law. What is the SIM? How can it be used?

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College education for emerging adults [infographic]

College education trends have been changing a lot over the past few decades — from the cost of education to the enrollment rates to reasons for attending. While it may seem as though today’s emerging adults aren’t satisfied with today’s education trends, 9 out of 10 high schoolers expect to continue their education in some way after graduation, and 84% of college graduates believe their education was a good investment.

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Wenk Blog

Can your diet make you feel depressed?

I am often asked whether eating particular foods can enhance mood and treat the symptoms of depression. With very few exceptions, the answer is no. In contrast, our mood can be easily depressed by our diet. Why? For adults, the brain responds primarily to deficits, not surpluses, in the diet.

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Schizophrenia Bulletin

Parsing schizophrenia

The effective treatment of schizophrenia has long presented a challenge to clinicians and scientists. Common misunderstandings around symptoms and behaviors, and inadequate approaches to diagnosis and physiology, have hindered significant progress for patients and professionals.

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The missing emotion

Wrath, people say, is not an emotion but a sin; and a deadly sin at that. Yet anger is just as much an emotion as anxiety or misery. Like them, it is an inescapable part of life; like them, it can be necessary and useful; and like them, an excess can wreck lives. Mental health language, however, has not elevated the extreme into a syndrome comparable to depression or anxiety states.

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Traumatic brain injury in the military

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has often been called the “signature wound” of the recent conflicts in the Middle East. While some tend to discuss TBI as an overarching diagnostic category, there is a plethora of evidence indicating that severity of TBI makes a large difference in the anticipated outcome.

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What puts veterans at risk for homelessness?

There has been an ongoing battle to end homelessness in the United States, particularly among veterans. Over the past three decades, considerable research has been conducted to identify risk factors for veteran homelessness, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has funded much of that research. In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced its commitment to end veteran homelessness in five years. As we near the end of that five years, it’s important to reflect on what we have learned and what we now know about veteran homelessness.

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Wenk Blog

How does food affect your mood?

Considerable evidence has linked an unhealthy diet to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer. We now understand how chronic obesity ages us and then underlies the foundation of our death. Furthermore, obesity leads to body-wide chronic inflammation that predisposes us to depression and dementia. However, these are all the long-term consequences of our diet upon our body and brain.

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Sex, cars, and the power of testosterone

A red open car blasts past you, exhaust and radio blaring, going at least 10 miles faster than the speed limit. Want to take a bet on the driver? Well, you won’t get odds. Everyone knows the answer. All that exhibitionism shouts out the commonplace, if not always welcome, features of young males. Just rampant testosterone, you might say. And that’s right. It is testosterone. The young man may be driving the car but testosterone is what’s driving him.

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Afterwar – Episode 22 – The Oxford Comment

As 2.6 million men and women return home from war, the prevalence of veteran suicide and post-traumatic stress is something that is frequently discussed by civilians, politicians, and the media, but seldom understood. These changes extend beyond psychological readjustment, physical handicap, and even loss of life. The greatest wounds, in fact, may not even be visible to the naked eye. While the traditional dialogue concerning veteran assistance typically involves the availability of institutional services, military hospitals, and other resources, there is an increasing need to address what many call the “moral injuries” sustained by soldiers during combat.

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Wenk Blog

The role of marijuana in your coffee addiction

Does coffee enhance marijuana? A study published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience by neuroscientists from the Integrative Neurobiology Section of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, has finally provided a definitive answer: Yes, No, and it depends.

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