New Scientific Research Findings
Do you want to know something new? Well, here are a few new scientific findings!
1. Mental activities may protect against mild cognitive impairment
Date: January 30, 2017
Source: Mayo Clinic
Researchers have found that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, even late in life, may protect against new-onset mild cognitive impairment, which is the intermediate stage between normal cognitive aging and dementia. The study found that cognitively normal people 70 or older who engaged in computer use, craft activities, social activities and playing games had a decreased risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.
You can read more about this study at Science Daily website.
2. Practice makes perfect, and ‘overlearning’ locks it in
Date: January 30, 2017
Source: Brown University
People who continued to train on a visual task for 20 minutes past the point of mastery locked in that learning, shielding it from interference by new learning, a new study shows.
According to Science Daily, “the new study shows that ‘overlearning’ prevents against such interference, cementing learning so well and quickly, in fact that the opposite kind of interference happens instead. For a time, ‘overlearning’ the first task prevents effective learning of the second task — as if learning becomes locked down for the sake of preserving master of the first task. The underlying mechanism, the researchers discovered, appears to be a temporary shift in the balance of two neurotransmitters that control neural flexibility, or ‘plasticity,’ in the part of the brain where the learning occurred.”
It goes on to say that “These results suggest that just a short period of ‘overlearning’ drastically changes a post-training plastic and unstable [learning state] to a hyperstabilized state that is resilient against, and even disrupts, new learning,” wrote the team led by corresponding author Takeo Watanabe, the Fred M. Seed Professor of Cognitive Linguistic and Psychological Sciences at Brown. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170130111017.htm
Mindfulness motivates people to make healthier choices
Date: January 30, 2017
Source: University of Pennsylvania
People who are more mindful — aware of the present moment — are less likely to feel shame when confronted with health advice and are thus more motivated to make positive behavior changes, according to new research.
As reported by Science Daily, 150 minutes of exercise a week reduces the risk of cancer.”
“2,000 calories a day is all most adults should eat.”
We hear so many well-meaning and well-researched messages about how to be healthier, and for many, they prompt real change, like quitting smoking, exercising more and eating better. But for some people, these messages prompt only a defensive and resentful reaction: “Stop nagging and leave me alone.”
Why do some people hear these messages so differently, and how can researchers help them be more effective? In looking at this problem, a new study by researchers at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found that people who are more mindful are more receptive to health messaging and more likely to be motivated to change.
The study, “Dispositional Mindfulness Predicts Adaptive Affective Responses to Health Messages and Increased Exercise Motivation,” which will be published in the journal Mindfulness, examines the role of mindfulness in health communication.
According to lead author Yoona Kang, a postdoctoral fellow at the Annenberg School, “mindfulness is usually defined as having awareness of the present moment” and has been shown in previous studies to reduce negative reactions to emotionally charged situations.
3. School bullying linked to lower academic achievement, research finds
Almost one-quarter of children in study experienced chronic bullying
Date: January 30, 2017
Source: American Psychological Association
A study that tracked hundreds of children from kindergarten through high school found that chronic or increasing levels of bullying were related to lower academic achievement, a dislike of school and low confidence by students in their own academic abilities, according to new research.
A study that tracked hundreds of children from kindergarten through high school found that chronic or increasing levels of bullying were related to lower academic achievement, a dislike of school and low confidence by students in their own academic abilities, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
While pop culture often depicts more frequent bullying in high school, the study found that bullying was more severe and frequent in elementary school and tended to taper off for most students as they got older. However, 24 percent of the children in the study suffered chronic bullying throughout their school years, which was consistently related to lower academic achievement and less engagement in school, said lead researcher Gary Ladd, PhD, a psychology professor at Arizona State University.
“It’s extremely disturbing how many children felt bullied at school,” Ladd said. “For teachers and parents, it’s important to know that victimization tends to decline as kids get older, but some children never stop suffering from bullying during their school years.”
Most studies on bullying have tracked children for relatively short periods of time and focused on psychological effects, such as anxiety or depression. This is the first long-term study to track children for more than a decade from kindergarten through high school and analyze connections between bullying and academic achievement, Ladd said. The research, which was published online in the Journal of Educational Psychology, was part of the Pathways Project, a larger longitudinal study of children’s social, psychological and academic adjustment in school that is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The study, which began with 383 kindergarteners (190 boys, 193 girls) from public schools in Illinois, found several different trajectories for children related to bullying. Children who suffered chronic levels of bullying during their school years (24 percent of sample) had lower academic achievement, a greater dislike of school and less confidence in their academic abilities. Children who had experienced moderate bullying that increased later in their school years (18 percent) had findings similar to kids who were chronically bullied. However, children who suffered decreasing bullying (26 percent) showed fewer academic effects that were similar to youngsters who had experienced little or no bullying (32 percent), which revealed that some children could recover from bullying if it decreased. Boys were significantly more likely to suffer chronic or increasing bullying than girls.
“Some kids are able to escape victimization, and it looks like their school engagement and achievement does tend to recover,” Ladd said. “That’s a very hopeful message.”
4. Don’t be so hard on yourself: Study on first-year student stress
Date: January 30, 2017
Source: University of British Columbia
Stressed out university students, take note: self-compassion may be the key to making it through your first year, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.
Researchers from the faculty of education’s school of kinesiology found students who reported higher levels of self-compassion felt more energetic, alive and optimistic during their first semester of university. When the students’ sense of self-compassion levels rose, so too did their engagement and motivation with life.
“Our study suggests the psychological stress students may experience during the transition between high school and university can be mitigated with self-compassion because it enhances the psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness, which in turn, enriches well-being,” said Katie Gunnell, the study’s lead author and a junior research scientist at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa. The study was part of Gunnell’s PhD work at UBC.
Self-compassion interventions can involve exercises to avoid negative self-judgment or feelings of inadequacy. One example involves writing self-compassionately about a negative experience. Self-compassion emphasizes self-kindness, which means to not be overly critical of oneself; common humanity, which means to recognize failure is universal; and mindfulness, which means being present and calm in the moment.
“Research shows first-year university is stressful,” said co-author and UBC kinesiology professor Peter Crocker. “Students who are used to getting high grades may be shocked to not do as well in university, feel challenged living away from home, and are often missing important social support they had in high school. Self-compassion appears to be an effective strategy or resource to cope with these types of issues.”
Crocker said his research group has previously shown that self-compassion interventions lower self-criticism and negative ruminations in high performance female athletes.
The researchers said their findings highlight the potential for colleges and universities to enhance self-compassion for first-year students through the development of workshops or campaigns.
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