Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Child’s play: pioneers of child psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis, a therapeutic method for treating mental health issues, explores the interaction of the conscious and unconscious elements of the mind. Originating with Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century, the practice has evolved exponentially in terms of both treatment and research applications. Much of Freud’s theory acknowledged that childhood experiences often affect individuals later in life, which was expanded upon by analysts who believed that mental health issues can affect individuals at all stages of their life.

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Can electrical stimulation of the brain enhance mind?

It is almost philosophical to think that our mental representations, imagery, reasoning, and reflections are generated by electrical activity of interconnected brain cells. And even more so is to think that these abstract phenomena of the mind could be enhanced by passing electricity through specific cellular networks in the brain. Yet, it turns out these tenets can be subjected to empirical experimentation.

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Creativity, the brain, and society

Creativity research has come of age. Today, the nature of the creative process is investigated with every tool of modern cognitive neuroscience: neuroimaging, genetics, computational modeling, among them. Yet the brain mechanisms of creativity remain a mystery and the studies of the brains of “creative” individuals have so far failed to produce conclusive results.

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Social media use and disturbed sleep

Are you spending more and more time consuming social media through your computer, mobile phone, video games, and social media apps? If so, you’re not alone. Data from Pew Research Center has shown that use of social media among adults has grown from 5% in 2005 to 69% in 2018, with almost 90% of 18–29-years-olds indicating use. Using social media of various forms may have some benefits

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Supporting grieving students at school following crisis events

Tragic events such as recent natural disasters and shootings at school affect many children and families. Although these events typically receive immediate media coverage and short-term supports, the long-term implications are often overlooked. The grief among children and adolescents experiencing significant loss generally emerges during the weeks and months following such tragic events. Although there are variations in the expression of grief, bereaved children and adolescents often struggle to meet the cognitive demands of school. Professionals at school, including, school psychologists, school counselors, and other mental health professionals have a tremendous opportunity to help identify and support students in need.

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What can brain research offer people who stutter?

There’s something compelling about watching a person who stutters find a way to experience fluent speech. British TV viewers witnessed such a moment on Educating Yorkshire, back in 2013. When teenager Musharaf Asghar  listened to music through headphones during preparations for a speaking exam, he found that his words began to flow. Singers, like Mark Asari who is currently competing on The Voice UK, also demonstrate how using the voice in song, rather than speech, can result in striking fluency.

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What to do about tinnitus?

Tinnitus (i.e., ear or head noises not caused by external sounds) is common among the general population across the world. Tinnitus can be experienced as a “ringing in the ears.” It can also sound like a hissing, sizzling, or roaring noise. It can be rhythmic or pulsating. Tinnitus can be a non-stop, constant sound or an intermittent sound that disappears and returns without a pattern. It can occur in one or both ears.

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Modernization of mortuary practice and grief

Modern western mortuary practices are characterized by the professionalization of the management and presentation of the corpse. These practices serve as a stark contrast to those in traditional societies across the world and those throughout history. Changes to how we treat and dispose of the dead are such that industrialized societies have become outliers on the spectrum of the world’s cultures.

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Conflict-resolution mantras for the workplace and everyday life [infographic]

Great leaders show composure during stressful situations. But remaining cool and collected in times of crisis is easier said than done, partly due to our own behavioral patterns. Allowing ourselves to become tethered to a particular agenda or resolution puts us at risk for increased stress and diminished communication.

Being open to personal change is the first step to improving conflict-resolution habits. Self-management allows leaders to more effectively manage conflicts. Mantras (or internal chants) are a great way to self-manage: these small reminders can help us control our emotions and, in turn, any conflicts that arise.

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Acknowledging identity, privilege, and oppression in music therapy

As clinical music therapy professionals who are goal- and solution-oriented, how much time do we spend considering our client’s experience outside the therapy room? How might taking the time to learn about a client’s multifaceted identity affect the therapeutic relationship? Furthermore, how do our own personal identities, beliefs, and experiences affect our relationships with clients? In answering these questions, we begin to scratch the surface of making our practice more intersectional.

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In memoriam: Jimmie C. Holland, MD

Jimmie C. Holland, MD, internationally recognized as the founder of the field of Psycho-oncology, died suddenly on 24 December 2017 at the age of 89. Dr. Holland, who was affectionately known by her first name, “Jimmie,” had a profound global influence on the fields of Psycho-oncology, Psychosomatic Medicine, and Oncology.

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The neurology of the Winter Olympics

The human brain is a wonder and a marvel. At the same time, it is enigma and frustration. Given all it has accomplished, it continues to perplex. This is why I became a neurologist. For me, combining the apex of all organic structures with the vast unknown of cerebral neuroscience produces a daily wonder that is worth dedicating a life’s work to. To that end, I find myself somewhere over the North Pole hurling towards PyongChang, South Korea.

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A new approach to experimentally lengthening sleep in short-sleeping teens

Short sleep is common in teens, particularly on school nights, with a majority obtaining less than the eight to ten hours recommended. Many factors contribute to insufficient sleep during adolescence including increased social and academic demands, bedtime autonomy, the use of electronics, and early school start times coupled with a biological and behavioral tendency to stay up later.

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What does my cancer gene mutation mean for my family?

For 15 years I have counseled patients about what it means to carry a mutation in a gene that can lead to a higher risk of developing cancer. Hundreds of times I have said, “A mutation was found.” Our patients have different mutations in different genes. They come from different parts of the world. They speak a variety of languages, and bring their cultural heritage and expectations to our sessions.

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A five-day guide to resiliency in the New Year

In a world that values busyness, it is often easy to prioritize personal responsibilities over personal fulfillment. Phrases like I wish I had the time and once things settle down justify an all-too-common postponement of happiness and self-care. In the following excerpt from Night Call, acclaimed psychologist and author Robert Wicks details a five-day guide to self-care designed to fit even the busiest of schedules.

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Life after death: posttraumatic growth after the loss of a loved one [video]

Can trauma lead to positive change? Posttraumatic growth is a phenomenon experienced by those who have undergone trauma. After facing a traumatic event, those who experience posttraumatic growth endure a period of psychological struggle before eventually finding a sense of personal growth. The process can be long and difficult, and isn’t experienced by everyone who survives a traumatic event.

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