Psychology

Improving the view: Positive psychology in preventing the repeat of psychotic episodes

Imagine you suddenly felt that everyone around you was conspiring against you. Or if voices in your head were compelling you to do bizarre or even dangerous things. Adolescence can be tumultuous enough, but for some young people, adolescence is made even more turbulent by the onset of psychosis — an experience that can distort … Continue reading

Psychology

Loneliness and social isolation

In 1973, psychologist Robert Weiss described loneliness as “a chronic distress without redeeming features.” For those who experience it, and its sister condition, social isolation, this sentiment may very well ring true. But not all of us experience loneliness so acutely, and there are some intriguing evolutionary theories for why such an unpleasant feeling has … Continue reading

Psychology

Moment’s notice: Enhancing wellbeing through the practice of mindfulness

We hear a lot about the notion of “mindfulness” these days. We’re told mindfulness is a learnable technique and that regular practice can help us alleviate depression and anxiety, or reduce chronic pain and stress. Mindfulness, it’s said, can be beneficial in pretty much most parts of our lives — from the workplace to our personal … Continue reading

Neuroscience / Psychology

Why does alcohol make some people violent?

Alcohol-fuelled violence has been getting a lot of media attention here in Australia. Just yesterday, the state government of New South Wales passed legislation to try to address the problem. The new laws will ensure mandatory 8-year prison terms for anyone convicted of fatally punching someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs (the so-called … Continue reading

Psychology

Music and mind: Can Mozart really sharpen your neural connections?

Music is a universal component of human culture. From the Jazz clubs of New Orleans, to the symphony orchestras of Carnegie Hall, to the traditional Indonesian gamelan ensembles — it is clear that as a species, we are compelled to express ourselves through music. Even as casual observers or listeners, there’s no denying that music can … Continue reading

Biology / Psychology

Hormones in a hurry: Uneasy passages through puberty and adolescence

Puberty and the period of adolescence that follows it mark what are probably the most awkward of our developmental transitions. It’s a time we remember most vividly, and sometimes cringe about years later. As well as the raging hormones, growth spurts and other physical changes, adolescents also need to navigate a bumpy social landscape where … Continue reading