gmusic@nurturingnatures.co.uk

This blog is to critically introduce, and contextualise, new research findings from developmental research, neuroscience, attachment theory  and other areas of psychology that are topical or are likely to whet the appetite of  anyone interested. The aim is to discuss research which will feel relevant and which might even, if lucky, make a...

This blog is to critically introduce, and contextualise, new research findings from developmental research, neuroscience, attachment theory  and other areas of psychology that are topical or are likely to whet the appetite of  anyone interested. The aim is to discuss research which will feel relevant and which might even, if lucky, make a difference to how we approach our work or other areas of our lives.

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Are electronic media leading to jumpy brains?

This week two good friends and an academic colleague, all of whose intellectual prowess I admire, all admitted to me with varying degrees of shamefacedness that they are reading less, they just cannot read long books, they are more easily distracted and struggle to concentrate. They and others hint at being more jumpy and restless generally, with lower boredom thresholds and not able to assiduously follow through on either tasks or trains of thought as they once could. I too find it increasingly hard to get through the books that I have been continuing to purchase at previous levels. Two though that I have read in recent weeks have confirmed much of what I and other people have been thinking about the impact of the internet and electronic media on our lives, and indeed on our very brains. These books are The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains by Nicholas Carr [1] and the equally aptly named Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other by Sherry Turkle [2].

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Guest — Rachel
I completely agree. As a trainee teacher I am seeing a significant increase in children with communication problems and an inabili... Read More
Saturday, 19 October 2013 05:03
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Poverty, resilience and hidden stressors

This week  it was reported that over half a million people in the UK now rely on food banks, as hunger and poverty exact a really heavy price and the recession bites deeply (click for article). This is worrying, maybe especially  alongside growing inequality,. wage freezes and a tougher climate for working people generally. We have been seeing in all reports a consistent rise in mental health problems, suicidality and depression in countries affected by the economic crisis. 

Not everyone of course is similarly affected by poverty or poor environments, or by family conflict, violent communities or even abuse or neglect.  There has been a lot of government and other research which has been trying to focus on what they call resilience factors, and why some people seemingly come through such situations less affected than others. 

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Psychopaths, brains, childhoods and society

This Sunday’s observer had 4 pages devoted to the research and thinking of Adrian Raine, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the foremost researchers on the brain and psychopaths. The article asks many important questions about what gives rise to psychopaths, and is critical of the idea that nurture (such as childhood trauma or poverty) causes this. His new book, the Anatomy of Violence [1], also has in its title, the Biological Roots of Crime, and the guardian article was titled 'How to spot a murderers' brain (click for article) . It is the implications of this that worry me.

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Guest — Deborah Marks
Thank you for this excellent article, which I will be drawing to the attention of my CDR students on the Psychoanalytic Observatio... Read More
Thursday, 16 May 2013 08:14
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ADHD, and good and bad attention

This week’s New York Times had an interesting piece about wandering minds. It noted that there seems to be a huge diminishment in the capacity to pay attention, concentrate and focus. Mindfulness quite rightly was mentioned as something that helps and once again things were said about the increasing speed of modern society, the rushing and short attention spans and the inability to step out of the whirlwind to reflect and be thoughtful.

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Osborne, Philpot, cuts, fairness and Maggie T

These are baffling times, with many issues to the fore that were central to the controversy around Maggie Thatcher. In a week when we have seen huge tax cuts for the wealthy, we have also seen massive cuts  in income for the disabled and those on housing benefits,  and we also hear increasingly vociferous language being used to condemn those on benefits. The Guardian reported an analysis showing that the government has been using increasingly judgemental, loaded and pejorative  language to attack those on welfare, with many statements about ‘dependency cultures’, ‘addictions’ and describing the issues as ‘entrenched’ (click for article), George  Osborne’s use of the Philpot’s case to support his arguments, linking shocking and perverse acts with a ‘benefits culture’, while condemned by many, might well be an effective ploy. 

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Guest — Robert Glanz
Good piece Dr.Music. I think that not much has been written about the differences between the current government and that of Mrs T... Read More
Thursday, 18 April 2013 20:02
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Mental health downturns, the recession and services

Suicide rates in Britain in 2011 were the highest seen for 10 years, at 6047, according to the Office for National Statistics, an 8% raise in just one year. The increase is mainly seen in men, and in fact in men between their late 30’s and 40’s (23.5 deaths per 100,000 population in 2011), an age where one’s economic position is increasingly important. Although the data is not available  with these particular  statistics, other studies suggest very clearly that at times of economic stress suicide rates increase, and it would be surprising if the economic crisis was not implicated in some serious way. This is something seen in any number of public documents ( eg The World Health Organisation or a major European parliament Report (click for link) which argued that the evidence was unequivocal, in terms of the rise in mental health issues such as depression, even suggesting that for every 1% rise in unemployment one would expect an increase in suicides of .8%.

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