Research suggests perfectionism and work motivation contribute to workaholism

Mason is a bit of a perfectionist

Research from psychologists at the University of Kent suggests that being a perfectionist and highly motivated at work contributes directly to being a workaholic.

Led by Dr Joachim Stoeber, Head of the University’s School of Psychology, the research team set out to explore the previously under-researched reasons why some people feel the need to work both excessively and compulsively.

Dr Stoeber and his team researched the links between workaholism and two forms of perfectionism: self-oriented perfectionism, whereby someone sets exceedingly high standards for themselves, and socially-prescribed perfectionism, whereby someone feels that others have high standards and that acceptance by others is conditional on fulfilling these standards.

read more

How does the human brain tackle problems it did not evolve to solve?

interracial couple matched up via online dating

Online dating, chatty smartphones, and social media played no role in the evolution of our ancestors, yet humans manage to deal with and even exploit these hallmarks of modern living. In the February 25 issue of the Cell Press journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Dartmouth College researchers review the latest social neuroscience literature and argue that our ability to respond to the challenges of a fast-changing culture comes from our brains’ ability to flexibly combine and repurpose the neural resources that evolution provided us.

read more

Story envy: When we borrow other people's personal anecdotes

Admit it, have you ever told a cracking story to your friends but failed to include the crucial (but perhaps boring) caveat that the amusing events actually happened to someone else? A new survey of hundreds of US undergrads finds that borrowing personal memories in this way is common place.

Giving to charity: Feeling love means doing more for distant strangers

Marketers often use positive emotions such as hope, pride, love, and compassion interchangeably to encourage people to donate to charitable causes. But these distinct emotions can lead to different results, and love alone has the power to inspire giving to those with whom the giver has no connection, according to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research.

“Love is unique among positive emotions in fostering a feeling of connectedness,” write authors Lisa A. Cavanaugh (University of Southern California), James R. Bettman (Duke University), and Mary Frances Luce (Duke University). “Love inspires giving in a way that even closely related emotions such as compassion do not.”

read more

Parent training reduces serious behavioral problems in children with autism

Young children with autism spectrum disorder, who also have serious behavioral problems, showed improved behavior when their parents were trained with specific, structured strategies to manage tantrums, aggression, self-injury, and non-compliance.

The findings from this parent training study by Yale and Emory University researchers were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a chronic condition beginning in early childhood and defined by impaired social communication and repetitive behavior. ASD affects 0.6 to 1% of children worldwide. In young children, ASD is often complicated by moderate or severe behavioral problems.

read more

The science behind spite

DB Krupp and Peter Taylor offer twist on evolutionary theory which could help explain racism and other forms of prejudice

Can cheap wine taste great? Brain imaging and marketing placebo effects

When consumers taste cheap wine and rate it highly because they believe it is expensive, is it because prejudice has blinded them to the actual taste, or has prejudice actually changed their brain function, causing them to experience the cheap wine in the same physical way as the expensive wine? Research in the Journal of Marketing Research has shown that preconceived beliefs may create a placebo effect so strong that the actual chemistry of the brain changes.

Transforming all donated blood into a universal type

Every day, thousands of people need donated blood. But only blood without A- or B-type antigens, such as type O, can be given to all of those in need, and it’s usually in short supply. Now scientists are making strides toward fixing the situation.

In ACS’ Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report an efficient way to transform A and B blood into a neutral type that can be given to any patient.

Stephen G. Withers and colleagues note that currently, blood transfusions require that the blood type of the donor match that of the recipient. If they aren’t the same, a patient can suffer serious side effects, and could even die. The exception is the universal-donor blood type O, which can be given to anyone because it doesn’t have the A or B antigens that could provoke an immune reaction. For years, scientists have been searching for a way to convert types A and B into type O. They found that some enzymes from bacteria can clip the sugars off red blood cells that give blood its “type.” But the enzymes are not very efficient. Withers’ team wanted to see if they could boost the enzymes’ activity.

read more