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Men May Tell Sexist, Anti-Gay Jokes To Reaffirm Masculinity
Why do some men tell sexist and anti-gay jokes or find them funny? According to new research, these disparaging jokes are a way for some men to reaffirm their shaky sense of self, especially when they feel their masculinity is being threatened. Disparaging humor is often about enhancing one's own social identity by positively distinguishing your “in-group” from the disparaged “out-group,” according to researcher Emma O'Connor of the Western Carolina University. For the study, which was published in Springer's journal Sex Roles, the researchers conducted two experiments involving 387 heterosexual men. Participants completed online questionnaires designed to test their social attitudes and personalities, and their prejudice levels and antagonism against gay men and women. The types of humor they preferred were tested, and whether the men believed their take on humor would help others form a more accurate impression about them. The findings suggest that sexist and anti-gay jokes provide self-affirmation to men who possess more precarious manhood beliefs. This is especially the case when they feel that their masculinity, as defined by the typical gender norms assigned to men, is being challenged or threatened, according to the researchers. “Men higher in precarious manhood beliefs expressed amusement with sexist and anti-gay humor in response to a masculinity threat because they believe it reaffirms an accurate, more masculine impression of them,” O'Connor said. “It appears that by showing amusement with sexist and anti-gay humor, such men can distance themselves from the traits they want to disconfirm.” The researchers hope the findings will help create a better understanding about the kinds of situations in which sexist and anti-gay jokes occur, and ultimately prevent this humor from being used, for instance, in the workplace. “Work settings where women occupy positions of authority might inherently trigger masculinity threats for men higher in precarious manhood beliefs and thus sexist joking,” said O'Connor, who noted that sexist jokes and teasing are the most common forms of sexual harassment that women experience in the workplace. “Given the social protection afforded to humor as a medium for communicating disparagement, it is possible that men use sexist humor in the workplace as a ‘safe' way to reaffirm their threatened masculinity.” She said anagers who understand how and why this happens are able to more effectively handle and even prevent incidences of sexist humor. “For instance, they might more closely monitor workplace settings that could trigger masculinity threats and subsequent sexist joking, or they might attempt to reduce the extent [...]
Sun, Apr 23, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
Alcoholic woman's silhouette with a wine bottle
A new study has found evidence suggesting that alcoholism may have different effects on the reward system in the brains of women than it does in men. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) report that reward system structures are larger in alcoholic women than in non-alcoholic women. The study also confirmed earlier studies that found the same structures were smaller in alcoholic men than in non-alcoholic men. The study, which enrolled currently abstinent individuals with a history of long-term alcohol use disorder, also found a negative association between the length of sobriety and the size of the fluid-filled ventricles in the center of the brain, suggesting possible recovery of the overall brain from the effects of alcoholism. “Until now, little has been known about the volume of the reward regions in alcoholic women, since all previous studies have been done in men,” said co-author Gordon Harris, Ph.D., of the 3D Imaging Service and the Center for Morphometric Analysis in the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH. “Our findings suggest that it might be helpful to consider gender-specific approaches to treatment for alcoholism.” The brain's reward system is a group of structures — including the amygdala and the hippocampus — that reinforce beneficial experiences, are involved in memory and complex decision-making, and have been implicated in the development of substance use disorders. Since there are known differences between the psychological and behavioral profiles of women and men with alcoholism — women tend toward having higher levels of anxiety, while men are more likely to exhibit antisocial characteristics — the current study was designed to investigate whether the alcoholism-associated reward system differences previously observed in men would also be seen in women. The study enrolled 60 participants with histories of long-term alcoholism — 30 women and 30 men — and an equivalent group of non-alcoholic volunteers. The alcoholic participants had been abstinent for time periods ranging from four weeks to 38 years. Participants completed detailed medical histories and neuropsychological assessments with the BUSM researchers before having MRI brain scans at the Martinos Center that were analyzed both in terms of the total brain and of the structures in the reward network. Replicating the results of earlier studies, the average sizes of reward region structures of alcoholic men were 4.1 percent smaller than those of non-alcoholic men, but the average sizes of the same structures were 4.4 percent larger in alcoholic women than in [...]
Sat, Apr 22, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
Study reveals that adults who walked up and down stairs for 10 minutes showed greater increases in energy and motivation than those who consumed caffeine. [...]
Sat, Apr 22, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Sleep / Sleep Disorders / Insomnia News
Researchers have found that women who drink alcohol - particularly white wine and liquor - may be at greater risk of developing rosacea. [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
Mindfulness Training Helps College Women Improve Mood, But Not Men
A robust new research study on the effectiveness of mindfulness training suggests the practice, on average, significantly helped women overcome “negative affect,” but did not help men. “Negative effect” pertains to a downcast mood. Researchers explain that the study is one of the first to compare gender outcomes after mindfulness training. More women than men engage in mindfulness meditation, the practice of intentionally and non-judgmentally directing one's attention to present sensations and feelings, said Willoughby Britton, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown. There hasn't been a prevailing notion in the research literature that the practice affects men and women differently. Yet the data Britton and her co-authors present in a new paper in Frontiers in Psychology shows a clear gender difference in outcomes for mood. “That was the surprising part,” Britton said. Since this study, though, she has found the same pattern in two other studies under review for future publication. “I wouldn't be surprised if this is a widespread phenomenon that researchers hadn't bothered to investigate.” On the other hand, Britton added, it was encouraging to see a clear benefit for women, who are generally more vulnerable to negative affect and depression, she noted. “Emotional disorders like depression in early adulthood are linked to a litany of negative trajectories that further disadvantage women, such as poor academic performance, school drop-out, early pregnancy and substance abuse,” she said. “The fact that a college course could teach women skills to better manage negative affect at this early age could have potentially far-reaching effects on women's lives.” Co-lead author Rahil Rojiani, a Brown graduate and now a medical student at Yale, said he hopes the study will narrow disparities in mental health care. “The gender gap in mental health has been inadequately targeted and often only within the standard medical arsenal of pharmacological treatment,” Rojiani said. “Our study is one of the first to explore the effects of mindfulness across gender.” In the study, researchers measured changes in affect, mindfulness and self-compassion among 41 male and 36 female students over the course of a full, 12-week academic class on mindfulness traditions. The class included papers, tests and presentations that were a component of the experiential three hour-long meditation labs a week. Co-author Harold Roth, professor of religious studies, taught the labs, which included about 30 minutes per session of specific contemplative practice from Buddhist or Daoist traditions. Mindfulness has become popular on college campuses, Britton said, [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
A new study of more than 2,000 perimenopausal and menopausal women showed that moderate-severe vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes or night sweats) were an independent and significant risk factor for... [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Depression
A closed-loop acoustic stimulation brainwave technology significantly reduced symptoms in people suffering from post-traumatic stress in a small pilot study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical... [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
There are many ways to manage anxiety, including medication, lifestyle changes, and complementary therapies. Learn about how weighted blankets may help. [...]
Fri, Apr 21, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Anxiety and Stress
Positive Emotion Skills for Men with HIV May Boost Health
A new Northwestern Medicine study found that when men newly diagnosed with HIV participated in an intervention focused on positive emotions, they had less HIV in their blood and were less likely to use antidepressant drugs. “Even in the midst of this stressful experience of testing positive for HIV, coaching people to feel happy, calm and satisfied — what we call positive affect — appears to influence important health outcomes,” said lead author Dr. Judith Moskowitz, professor of medical social sciences and director of research at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The study is believed to be the first to investigate the effects of a positive emotion intervention in people newly diagnosed with HIV. Based on the study results, the intervention is promising for people in the initial stages of adjustment to any serious chronic illness. The findings are published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The HIV study is part of a larger body of positive affect research being conducted by Moskowitz. She also is investigating the health effects of teaching the skills to individuals with type 2 diabetes, women with metastatic breast cancer and caregivers of dementia patients. For the study, 80 participants (mostly men) were taught a set of eight skills over five weekly sessions to help them experience more positive emotions. Another 79 participants were in the control group. The researchers designed the course based on evidence showing these particular skills increase positive emotions. Some of the skills included the following: recognizing a positive event each day; savoring that positive event and logging it in a journal or telling someone about it; starting a daily gratitude journal; listing a personal strength each day and noting how you used this strength recently; setting an attainable goal each day and noting your progress; reporting a relatively minor stressor each day, then listing ways in which the event can be positively reappraised. This can lead to increased positive affect in the face of stress; understanding small acts of kindness can have a big impact on positive emotion and practicing a small act of kindness each day 8; practicing mindfulness with a daily 10-minute breathing exercise, concentrating on the breath. Significantly, 15 months after the interventions, 91 percent of the intervention group had a suppressed viral load compared to 76 percent of the control group. In addition to the potential benefit of a lower viral load on the infected person, there may be public health [...]
Thu, Apr 20, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy Anxiety News
Two studies published by JAMA examine the risk of autism and other adverse birth outcomes among women who use antidepressants during pregnancy. [...]
Thu, Apr 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Depression
People with dental phobia are more likely to have active caries or missing teeth, a new study from King's College London has confirmed. [...]
Thu, Apr 20, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Anxiety and Stress
What are the medicinal properties of marijuana and does using it have benefits for diabetes? Are there also disadvantages to using it and is it legal? [...]
Wed, Apr 19, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
Cannabidiol - an active component of cannabis - more than halved the frequency of atonic seizures for patients with severe epilepsy, a new study reveals. [...]
Wed, Apr 19, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
The use of antipsychotic medication in nearly 100 Massachusetts nursing homes was significantly reduced when staff was trained to recognize challenging behaviors of cognitively impaired residents... [...]
Wed, Apr 19, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
More Americans than ever before suffer from serious psychological distress, and the country's ability to meet the growing demand for mental health services is rapidly eroding. [...]
Wed, Apr 19, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
From a review of existing studies, researchers say that the active chemicals in cannabis - called cannabinoids - may help to treat various skin diseases. [...]
Tue, Apr 18, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Alcohol/Addiction/Illegal Drugs
New research from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom discovers a group of retina cells involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. [...]
Tue, Apr 18, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Sleep / Sleep Disorders / Insomnia News
New mouse study examines the brain activity that motivates us to be physically active and finds a new type of brain cell that stops us from being immobile. [...]
Tue, Apr 18, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Psychology/Psychiatry
This Is Your Brain On Music
New research discovers that your favorite music, be it Willie Nelson, Bach, the Beatles or Bruno Mars, triggers a similar type of activity in your brain as other people's favorites do in theirs. Music is primal, said neuroradiologist Jonathan Burdette, M.D., of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina. It affects all of us, but in very personal, unique ways. “Your interaction with music is different than mine, but it's still powerful,” he said. “Your brain has a reaction when you like or don't like something, including music. We've been able to take some baby steps into seeing that, and ‘dislike' looks different than ‘like' and much different than ‘favorite.'” To study how music preferences might affect functional brain connectivity – the interactions among separate areas of the brain – Burdette and his fellow investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which depicts brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. Scans were made of 21 people while they listened to music they said they most liked and disliked from among five genres (classical, country, rap, rock and Chinese opera) and to a song or piece of music they had previously named as their personal favorite. Those fMRI scans showed a consistent pattern: The listeners' preferences, not the type of music they were listening to, had the greatest impact on brain connectivity, especially on a brain circuit known to be involved in internally focused thought, empathy and self-awareness. This circuit, called the default mode network, was poorly connected when the participants were listening to the music they disliked, better connected when listening to the music they liked and the most connected when listening to their favorites. The researchers also found that listening to favorite songs altered the connectivity between auditory brain areas and a region responsible for memory and social emotion consolidation. “Given that music preferences are uniquely individualized phenomena and that music can vary in acoustic complexity and the presence or absence of lyrics, the consistency of our results was unexpected.” The new study builds upon prior work reported in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. “These findings may explain why comparable emotional and mental states can be experienced by people listening to music that differs as widely as Beethoven and Eminem.” Not surprising to Burdette was the extent of the connectivity seen in the participants' brains when they were listening to their favorite tunes. “There are probably some features in music that make you feel a certain way, but it's [...]
Mon, Apr 17, 2017
Source Psych Central Psychotherapy News
A study of more than 1,000 Japanese adults finds that higher intake of low-fat milk and yogurt may reduce the likelihood of developing depressive symptoms. [...]
Sun, Apr 16, 2017
Source Medical News Today: Depression

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