Analyzing Attention

Attention is sometimes described as a spotlight that focuses your awareness on a subset of what's going on in your head or in your environment. Some people naturally have more control over the spotlight than others. Control over the spotlight can also vary in certain situations (for instance, when one is free of distractions) and with the aid of certain drugs (like caffeine, Ritalin, and other stimulants). 

Recent Posts on Attention

Something Becomes Important Because We’re Paying Attention

By Gretchen Rubin on April 27, 2015 in The Happiness Project
It’s our listening that makes a conversation important; it’s our vision that makes a masterpiece; it’s our love that makes a face stand out from the crowd.

A Palestinian Gandhi

By Izzy Kalman on April 21, 2015 in Resilience to Bullying
Where are the "Palestinian Gandhis"? Ali Abu Awwad is a one of them, and there are more. However, we don't hear about them, and their effectiveness is limited, because the media are more attracted to violence than nonviolence. Thus, rather than helping promote peace, reporters unwittingly encourage violent activism.

Reducing Your Stress From A Challenging Child

Managing your emotional health is crucial for parenting a difficult child.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

Dogs, Humans, and the Oxytocin-Mediated Strong Social Bond

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study has shown that mutual gazing by dogs but not wolves increases oxytocin levels in humans. To demonstrate there was a causal relationship, when oxytocin was administered to a new group of dogs before they interacted with their owners, the researchers saw an increase in the extent of mutual gaze between owners and dogs and an increase in oxytocin in the humans.

Remembering the Holocaust: A Psychoanalytic Moment

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on April 16, 2015 in Child in Mind
Much has been written about the Holocaust and intergenerational transmission of trauma. This clinical vignette offers insight in to the workings of the unconscious and how the process of analysis can bring these issues to light.

The Blue Light Special

Time rules life. Light rules inner time.

5 Neuroscience Based Ways to Clear Your Mind

This blog post offers five easy ways to clear your mind of unwanted thoughts based on the latest neuroscience.

The Psychology of Why Cubicles Make Us Miserable

By Ron Friedman Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Glue
Depriving people of sunlight, restricting their views, and seating them with their backs exposed is not a recipe for success—it’s a recipe for chronic anxiety.

Can We Exercise Too Much?

By Pirkko Markula Ph.D. on April 12, 2015 in Fit Femininity
Physical activity has been proven to improve physical and psychological health. However, is any amount of exercise good? Too much exercise can prevent psychological well-being. When excessive exercise develops into exercise dependence, it becomes compulsive behaviour that controls the exerciser's life.

The Coming Climate Disruptions: Are You Hopeful?

Hope is such a muddled word: “We must have hope!” “There is light at the end of the tunnel!” Why do climate books and speeches have to end on a note of hope? Re-thinking hope in the face of overwhelming climate changes.

When You Can't Tell If They're Serious

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 05, 2015 in Ambigamy
It's fun to just browse the options, but sooner or later you have to prioritize.

Want To Be A Hero? Embrace Suffering and Sacrifice

The wisdom gleaned from theology and psychology reveals six ways that suffering and sacrifice are beneficial to human beings.

Is Being in the "Now" Overrated?

We often hear touted the importance of being in the "Now." But can this edict be misleading? The article discusses the importance of being aware of the full range of our human experience. Being in the moment does not mean being somewhere other than where we are right now. Expanding our sense of what it means to live in the moment frees us to embrace our humanity as it is.

Is the Earth a Sentient Being?

The planet senses threats and changes its behavior to reduce those threats. Is it alive?

How Deep Relaxation Affects Brain Chemistry

Deep relaxation and meditation have long been known to help with anxiety disorders and major depression. Because both anxiety disorders and major depression reflect an imbalance in brain chemistry, it would seem that relaxation techniques can influence brain chemistry. How do they do that?

Infantasy: The Dream of Unconditional Love Never Dies Young

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Ambigamy
Romantic love and confirmation of our social worth are complexly tangled.

Feel Like Time Is Flying or Dragging? That's Because It Is.

By Vyv Evans Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Language in the Mind
Almost everyone I've ever met is endlessly fascinated by the topic of time; while we all vividly experience time speeding up and slowing down--time flies when you're having fun, it drags when you're bored--is there hard evidence that these experiences are more than merely a trick of the imagination? And if so, what does this reveal about the nature of time?

Don’t Forget to Remember

Memory isn't just about dwelling in the past. Prospective memory is intimately involved in planning and goal-setting for the future. Remembering to remember is fraught with challenges. Lists, post it notes, strings around fingers, knotted handkerchiefs? How do you remember to remember?

How to Apply Spring Cleaning to Your Body, Mind and Soul

By Gregg McBride on March 28, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
What are you sitting on, keeping in your home or potentially hoarding on your shelves that might be holding you back mentally? Anything you need to get rid of? Any de-cluttering you need encouragement on? You might be surprised to learn that your mind is in need of spring cleaning even more than your living space is.

Affairs: The Healing Process

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on March 26, 2015 in Fixing Families
Affairs are devastating on so many levels, but at its core it is about trust and loss. A map for moving through the normal healing process.

The Digital Trance: Down the Electronic Rabbit Hole

By Karl Albrecht Ph.D. on March 25, 2015 in BrainSnacks
Could the "social escape-hatch" function of the smartphone be preventing young people from learning to deal with social anxiety, even at mild levels? Could it lead to a pattern of avoiding new or unfamiliar social experiences? Could heavy immersion in social media, via mobile devices, computers, or video games, retard their social development and emotional intelligence?

Say What? Why Do People Forget They Have a Live Mic?

What is it that makes this universal faux pas in attention and concentration so easy to occur?

How Does Body Posture Affect Early Learning and Memory?

A fascinating new study has combined state-of-the-art robotics with research on human infants to reveal that posture plays a critical role in the early stages of acquiring new knowledge.

Want to Feel Good, Live Better, and Probably Live Longer?

The other night I watched with great interest a PBS special on heart health. The focus of the show was on Dr. Steven Masley’s book titled "The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up," to be released in paperback next month.

Why?

In Curiosity, Manguel draws on scores of writers and texts, especially Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, to find fresh ways to ask fundamental questions: Who am I? Why do things happen? What comes next? Elegant and erudite, his book is a celebration of critical reading, a challenging, enjoyable and essential craft that is in danger these days of becoming a lost art.

21 Things Clinical Perfectionists Do

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on March 16, 2015 in In Practice
Perfectionism can be a healthy strategy for getting ahead. Clinical perfectionism, however, is a darker form that often impairs performance rather than improves it.

St. Patrick's Day Drinking: Facts, Hangovers, and Advice

Watch out for the lure of too much green beer.

24 Ways to Make Mindfulness Stickier

Learn how to "supercharge" your mindful breathing, mindful walking, or other meditation practice. Enhance your intrinsic motivation by bringing your best strengths to your practice. Here are 24 examples to help you get started!

Using Art to 'Touch' Someone in a Juvenile Detention Center

Guest blogger and artist Elise Lunsford describes a unique and creative approach to promote reconnection and healing with a difficult client in a juvenile detention facility. In forensic settings, clinicians are warned not to touch the inmates. She demonstrates that art can allow us to reach out and touch those who therapists would otherwise hesitate to touch.