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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Six questions to ask before you hit record

Erin Jessee’s article “Managing Danger in Oral Historical Fieldwork” in the most recent issue of the OHR provides a litany of practical advice about mitigating risk and promoting security. The entire article is well worth a read, but for the blog we’ve asked Jessee to provide us a list of some of the most important questions for oral historians to think about in evaluating and limiting exposure to risk.

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The origins of performance anxiety

Noted psychologist and educator Erik Erikson has written about human development from a biological, psychological, and social perspective encompassing the entire life cycle. His famous chart “The Eight Stages of Man” is in his book Childhood and Society (1950). I have found his ideas particularly helpful to understanding the importance of development in musicians, particularly so since children begin to study musical instruments at very young ages.

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Workplace bullying and the law

Is the law able to offer any assistance to victims of workplace bullying? Let me recite an example, which is all too commonplace. Daniel* worked in an office in local government in the UK. When he was bullied by his manager he didn’t even realise it at first. The conduct was subtle. He would be given more than his fair share of the unpopular tasks. Everything he did was criticised, not aggressively, but constantly.

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Balancing compassion and self-care in a troubled world

Originating from the Latin “compatī,” (to suffer together), compassion can lead to a greater understanding of human suffering. However, the vulnerability that comes along with compassion can often lead to increased feelings of stress and anxiety. In the video below, psychologist Robert J. Wicks describes the consequences of inordinate compassion.

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The point of depression

There has been a great deal of speculation about the evolutionary significance and origins of depression. What selective advantage does it confer? Does it allow the patient to concentrate on complex and important problems? Is it a type of pain that, like physical pain, causes us to pull back from danger? Is it a type of behavioral quarantine, causing us to hole up in a safe place while dangers stalk around outside?

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Wielding wellness with music

The intersection between music and health occurs on a continuum of care ranging from the personal use of music to “feel better”, to professional music therapy work. While music therapists may work more often in the professional end of the continuum, our experiences and knowledge as clinicians and scholars provide us a unique perspective on […]

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A twenty-first century reinterpretation of dreams?

But, on this occasion, it is also thanks to a certain Donald Woods Winnicott—perhaps most of all—that this commemorative moment in history takes place. Winnicott, as President of the British Psychoanalytic Society, was instrumental in raising awareness and funds in the 1960s for getting this same statue by Nemon cast and put up in North London for the first time.

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Cognitive biases and the implications of Big Data

Big Data analytics have become pervasive in today’s economy. While they produce countless novelties for businesses and consumers, they have led to increasing concerns about privacy, behavioral manipulations, and even job losses. But the handling of vast quantities of data is anything but new.

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World Mental Health Day 2017: History of the treatment of mental illness

The tenth of October marks World Mental Health Day. Organized by the World Health Organization, the day works toward “raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.” Mental health has been a concern for thousands of years, but different cultures have treated mental illnesses very differently throughout time.

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A short walk per day: a look at the importance of self-care

“What have you been doing that has been especially important over the past several years?” In the following video and shortened excerpt from Night Call, Robert J. Wicks explains how this question helped him realize the importance of striking a balance between compassion for others and self-care.

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Avoiding World War III: lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis

An American president, recently made aware of a new potential nuclear threat to US cities, declared that any nuclear missile launched against any nation in the western hemisphere would require “a full retaliatory response.” The chair of the House Armed Services Committee argued that the United States should strike “with all the force and power and try to get it over with as quickly as possible.”

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Why do so many people believe in miracles?

Belief in miracles is widespread. According to recent surveys 72% of people in the USA and 59% of people in the UK believe that miracles take place. Why do so many people believe in miracles in the present age of advanced science and technology? Let us briefly consider three possible answers to this question. The first possible answer is simply that miracles actually do take place all the time.

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An American Kaiser?

Despite differences in historical era and social background, the Kaiser who ruled Germany from 1888 to 1918 and the American president who parlayed a real-estate empire into electoral (if not popular) victory displayed remarkably similar temperament. As Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen suggested, “Germany used to have a leader like Trump,” adding that “it’s not who you think.”

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Seven reasons to get your memory evaluated

A question that I am often asked by family members, friends, and even by other physicians and nurses that I work with, is “Should I get my memory evaluated?” Partly, the question is asked because they have noticed memory problems, and are struggling to sort out whether theses lapses are an inevitable part of normal aging versus the start of something more ominous, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

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How a failed suicide affects the brain

The numerous factors that induce someone to think about suicide, the “ideators,” are often different from those who actually attempt suicide, the “attempters.” For example, the traditional risk factors for suicide, such as depression, hopelessness, many psychiatric disorders, and impulsivity, strongly predict suicide ideation but weakly predict suicide attempts among ideators.

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Can narcolepsy research help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the 20th century?

In late 1916, while the world was entrenched in the Great War, two physicians on opposing sides of the conflict started to encounter patients who presented with bizarre neurological signs. Most notably, the patients experienced profound lethargy, and would sleep for abnormally long periods of time. One of the physicians, Constantin von Economo, was at the Psychiatric-Neurological Clinic at the University of Vienna.

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