Biological and Environmental Impacts on Emotion Regulation

A fundamental aspect of the human experience is undeniably emotion. Love, anger, happiness, fear: these are concepts that we are all intimately familiar with, but their subjective experience can vary widely person to person. Take, for instance, you are sitting at the bus stop. You happen to be running late, for a pretty important meeting, and all of a sudden the bus you have been waiting for for the last twenty minutes speeds past you…

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But what about GIRLS with ADHD?

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, impairing neurobehavioral disorder that generally onsets in early childhood. Though ADHD is 2-3 times more prevalent in boys than girls, approximately 6% of girls are diagnosed with ADHD in childhood, which makes it one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders in girls. A recent meta-analysis (method described below) in the journal Pediatrics looked to further understand how ADHD manifests in girls as opposed to boys, as well as…

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Outreach Event: Thought Suppression vs. Mindfulness!

Infinity, pizza, spiders, shoes, pizza, iPhones, sleep, pizza, code names, iPads, games, pizza… When we asked elementary students to think about anything these were the responses. However, when we asked elementary students to think about anything but a yellow jeep, the kids told us they thought of the yellow jeep about 100 times in a minute. One child even thought of yellow pizza. Why? Well, as we explained this past Friday at the PIA Outreach Event…

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Surrendering to Creativity: The Psychology of Remembering to Breathe (Part 3 of 3)

Up until graduate school, I often indulged the myth that good writing was a sacred thing to be done under the most precise conditions.  Akin to knowing without a timer when the soufflee has finished (sorry, I have holidays sweets on the mind), the creativity dedicated to a well-written piece had to be carefully cultured and perfected.  My patterns were always the same, although the specific details evolved with time.  In high school I had…

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East and West: Two Faces of Depression

“This post is co-written by Michael Sun and guest writer Rachel McCrystal, both authors contributed equally.” Sam Davis* is a 20 year old sophomore at UCLA. He attends class every day, and by and large, Sam lives a relatively normal college student life. But lately, he has been weighed down by something

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Rapid Reaction – The Suicide of Robin Williams

  “This post is co-written by Michael Sun and guest writer Jordan Coello, M.A., both authors contributed equally.”       “O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of…

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Light it up!

From Empire State Building to the Sydney Opera House, iconic landmarks around the world are shining blue at night in honor of the sixth annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day. “Light It Up Blue” is a global-initiative lead by Autism Speaks and spans throughout April as part of Autism Awareness Month. There is no doubt that the general public is aware of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The topic of autism has been covered in…

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What is Sleep Health?

We all know what poor sleep looks like (see: zombie apocalypse), but do we have a good understanding of what healthy sleep is? Most psychological and medical research on sleep has been focused on sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, but healthy sleep is not necessarily the absence of these disorders. Since 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely…

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Family Life for Working Parents: Is the home a haven or a source of stress?

Human beings are social by nature, and it is fascinating that the way we interact with each other has a profound impact on both psychological and physical health. Stephen Lepore & Tracey Revenson captured this sentiment well by stating that “social relationships are often a complicated brew of interactions that are at turns pleasant and supportive or aversive and hindering” (2011). In the context of a family, there are many positive and negative interactions that…

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Psychological Skills: Changing your Emotions – An Intro to Cognitive Reappraisal

A longtime friend of mine (names withheld for privacy), who now works as a writer for a very famous game company, recently told me about how he got his first job there. “So when I first applied, I submitted a bunch of material for them to evaluate. They knew that I had some outside  experience and minor writing cred with another game company, but these guys have the attitude that they can get fans to write…

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Acute vs. Chronic Stress: Can it ever be both?

In the field of health psychology, there is still much debate as to what constitutes an acute stressor versus a chronic stressor. The importance of this clarification is crucial for researchers in this field, because stress is a key factor in many areas of research including coping processes, health behavior, disease progression, and psychoneuroimmunology among others. Many researchers have defined acute vs. chronic stress in the context of their own work, but these definitions varied…

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Interview Tips for Students Applying to PhD Programs in Psychology

Preparing for interviews for a PhD program in psychology can be very stressful as well as very exciting. This is likely the first time that you will be interacting face to face with multiple professors and graduate students from the program you are applying for, and it is important to make a good impression. It can be difficult to find the ideal balance between self-praise and humility; you want to sell yourself as a dedicated…

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Dogs: Current trends in clinical psychology

Currently in the field of clinical psychology, there are a lot more dogs showing up in the clinic. Sometimes the dogs are there to help humans feel better, and sometimes the humans are trying to make the dogs feel better. Whether it is animal-assisted therapy or animals in therapy, there are some interesting findings and considerations emerging.  

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Protecting Children. Is DCFS Allowed to Strike?

The Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), the official name of child protective services/social services here in Los Angeles County, was on a week-long strike over horrendous caseloads, low pay, and terrible schedules. To put this in context, Los Angeles County received almost 17,000 reports of threats to children’s safety (abuse, neglect, etc.) in the month of October alone. Personally, I went to a high school with 2,000 kids, which leads me to estimate…

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