Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Emotional toll that psychotherapy may impose on mental health professionals: A protective role of quality of life was not observed for clinical supervision or personal therapy

Laverdière, O., Kealy, D., Ogrodniczuk, J. S., Chamberland, S., & Descôteaux, J. (2018). Psychotherapists’ professional quality of life. Traumatology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/trm0000177

Abstract: Psychotherapists’ daily activities entail working closely with individuals presenting with psychological distress and suffering from various mental disorders. This work relies upon relational and emotional capacities that are drawn upon during therapy sessions. Increasingly, researchers and clinicians have directed their attention toward examining the emotional toll that psychotherapy may impose on mental health professionals and the impact of such work on their professional quality of life. However, to date, psychotherapists in general practice have not been the focus of inquiry, which is the objective of the current study. To this end, 240 psychotherapists were surveyed, completing questionnaires relating to their working conditions, professional quality of life, and dispositional empathy. Results indicated significant negative associations between dimensions of professional quality of life and various work characteristics, such as workload, conducting only long-term psychotherapies or only with individuals, working in institutional settings, and working with trauma victims. A protective role was not observed for clinical supervision or personal therapy, but dispositional empathy was positively associated to dimensions of professional quality of life. Findings are discussed in relation to professional activities and self-care practices.

We Slow as We Age, but May Not Need to Slow Too Much

We Slow as We Age, but May Not Need to Slow Too Much. Gretchen Reynolds. The New York Times, Oct. 3, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/03/well/move/running-age-declines-slower.html
Although declines in running and other activities are unavoidable, they may be less steep than many of us fear.

Most of us who are older competitive runners are not able to race at anywhere near the same speed as we did when we were 30.

But we can perhaps aim to slow down at the same pace as Bernard Lagat, Ed Whitlock and other greats of masters running, according to a timely new analysis by two professors from Yale University.

The new analysis, which refines famous past research by one of the scientists, finds that, although declines in running performance with age are ineluctable, they may be less steep than many of us fear.

And, perhaps most important, the new research updates a popular formula and calculator that runners past the age of 40 can use to determine how fast we can expect to slow down and provides us with reasonable, age-appropriate finishing-time targets for ourselves.

Scientists do not know precisely why, from a physiological standpoint, we are less able to maintain our old, swifter pace as we reach middle age.

There is evidence from past studies that even in lifelong athletes, hearts become a bit less efficient over time at pumping blood and delivering oxygen and muscles a bit less adept at creating sustained power.

Changes deep within our cells, particularly in the energy-producing mitochondria, are thought to contribute to these age-related performance declines, as are simpler explanations such as creeping weight gain and a drop-off in hard training.

But the upshot is that, after a certain point, we cannot keep up with the kids or with our own previous bests.

Professor Ray Fair, an economist at Yale who mainly analyzes and predicts election outcomes, is familiar with this tribulation, since, now in his mid-70s, he is also an experienced masters marathon runner whose times have been slowing year by year.

About a decade ago, he began to wonder whether his rate of performance decline was typical and, being a predictive statistical modeler, decided to find out.

He turned first to information about world records for runners by age group. These times represent what is possible by the best runners in the world as they age.

And cumulatively, he found, the records proved that champion runners slow like the rest of us.

But there was a pattern to the slowing, Dr. Fair realized. As he reported in a 2007 study, the masters world record times rose in a linear fashion, with some hiccups, until about age 70, when they begin to soar at a much higher rate.

Using statistical modeling based on this pattern, Dr. Fair developed a formula that could predict how fast other, less-exceptional runners might expect to run as they grew older. He incorporated this formula into an influential calculator that he made available free on his website. (The calculator also predicts age-related performance declines in swimming and chess, using the same statistical techniques.)

The calculator soon became popular with runners, for whom it provided age-adjusted viable goal times, allowing them to swap despondency about their current plodding for gratification if they had managed to remain at or near their “regression line,” as Dr. Fair termed the age-adjusted predicted finishes.

But recently, Dr. Fair began to question whether his statistical model provided the best estimates of people’s likely race times and, for the new analysis, which was published in print this month in The Review of Economics and Statistics, he approached a Yale colleague, Edward Kaplan.

Dr. Kaplan is an expert in a complex type of statistical analysis known as extreme value theory, which focuses on exceptional deviations from the norm.

By definition, world records are exceptional deviations from the norm.

Together, Dr. Fair and Dr. Kaplan reanalyzed data about world masters running records through 2016 for the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon events, up to age 95.

They used only men’s records, since the number of older female participants has been small, Dr. Fair says, making current women’s records statistically suspect.

They then ran the numbers, using several different models, and found that, over all, age-adjusted finishing times are slightly slower now than in the 2007 version, rising about 1 percent a year.

But runners seem to be maintaining that rate of decline longer, until they are about age 80, when slowness drastically intensifies.

But even for 90-year-olds, the decline is limited, Dr. Fair points out.

Nonagenarians can expect to be “about twice as slow as they were in their prime,” he says, “which I think is encouraging.”

Interestingly, the new study’s extreme-value analysis also suggests that older runners have not yet become as fast as they could be.

The complicated calculations indicate that current world records for older runners theoretically could drop by as much as 8 percent in the future, Dr. Kaplan says, providing all of us new benchmarks for our own aging performance.

Dr. Fair has now introduced an updated version of his calculator, incorporating the new models.

To use it, visit his endearingly austere website at fairmodel.econ.yale.edu/aging and click on the link entitled “All other running (2018 updated age factors).”

There, enter your best time for whichever event interests you and the age at which you set that time. If you were younger than 40, use age 40 anyway, since the calculator assumes you will not have slowed much before reaching that age, Dr. Fair says.

You then will see your predicted times for your chosen event at every age through 95.

These figures presume that you have continued to train and maintain high fitness over the years, which many of us have not.

They also assume that recreational runners age and slow at the same rate as world-class runners, which has not been proven experimentally.

But even with these limitations, Dr. Fair says, the predictions give us something to shoot for.

“Aim for your regression line,” he says.

A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 9, 2018, on Page D4 of the New York edition with the headline: Slowing as We Grow Older

Sexual Arousal Patterns of Identical Twins with Discordant Sexual Orientations

Sexual Arousal Patterns of Identical Twins with Discordant Sexual Orientations. Tuesday M. Watts, Luke Holmes, Jamie Raines, Sheina Orbell & Gerulf Rieger. Scientific Reports, volume 8, Article number: 14970 (2018). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-33188-2

Abstract: Genetically identical twins can differ in their self-reported sexual orientations. However, whether the twins’ subjective reports reflect valid differences in their sexual orientations is unknown. Measures of sexual orientation, which are free of the limitations of self-report, include genital arousal and pupil dilation while viewing sexual stimuli depicting men or women. We examined these responses in 6 male twin pairs and 9 female twin pairs who reported discordant sexual orientations. Across measures, heterosexual male twins responded more strongly to women than to men. Their homosexual co-twins showed an opposite pattern. Heterosexual female twins responded equally to both sexes, whereas their homosexual co-twins responded somewhat more to women than men. These differences within pairs were similar to differences between unrelated heterosexual and homosexual males and females. Our study provides physiological evidence confirming twins’ discordant sexual orientations, thereby supporting the importance of the non-shared environment for the development of sexual orientation and sexual arousal.

Research from diverse subdisciplines of psychology sheds light on Schadenfreude; novel tripartite taxonomy of Schadenfreude: Aggression, rivalry, and justice; the process of dehumanization may lie at the core of Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude deconstructed and reconstructed: A tripartite motivational model. Shensheng Wang, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Philippe Rochat. New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 52, January 2019, Pages 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2018.09.002

•    Research from diverse subdisciplines of psychology sheds light on Schadenfreude.
•    We propose a novel tripartite taxonomy of Schadenfreude: Aggression, rivalry, and justice.
•    The process of dehumanization may lie at the core of Schadenfreude.

Abstract: Schadenfreude is the distinctive pleasure people derive from others' misfortune. Research over the past three decades points to the multifaceted nature of Schadenfreude rooted in humans’ concerns for social justice, self-evaluation, and social identity. Less is known, however, regarding how the differing facets of Schadenfreude are interrelated and take shape in response to these concerns. To address these questions, we review extant theories in social psychology and draw upon evidence from developmental, personality, and clinical research literature to propose a novel, tripartite, taxonomy of Schadenfreude embedded in a motivational model. Our model posits that Schadenfreude comprises three separable but interrelated subforms (aggression, rivalry, and justice), which display different developmental trajectories and personality correlates. This model further posits that dehumanization plays a central role in both eliciting Schadenfreude and integrating its various facets. In closing, we point to fruitful directions for future research motivated by this novel account of Schadenfreude.

Preference for realistic art predicts support for Brexit

Preference for realistic art predicts support for Brexit. Noah Carl, Lindsay Richards, Anthony Heath. The British Journal of Sociology, https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12489

Abstract: Following the UK’s EU referendum in June 2016, there has been considerable interest from scholars in understanding the characteristics that differentiate Leave supporters from Remain supporters. Since Leave supporters score higher on conscientiousness but lower on neuroticism and openness, and given their general proclivity toward conservatism, we hypothesized that preference for realistic art would predict support for Brexit. Data on a large nationally representative sample of the British population were obtained, and preference for realistic art was measured using a four‐item binary choice test. Controlling for a range of personal characteristics, we found that respondents who preferred all four realistic paintings were 15–20 percentage points more likely to support Leave than those who preferred zero or one realistic paintings. This effect was comparable to the difference in support between those with a degree and those with no education, and was robust to controlling for the respondent’s party identity.

Face proportions: Facial attractiveness increases with the enlargement of the uncovered eye surface as well as the reduction in nose and lip size

Impact of face proportions on face attractiveness. Mateusz Przylipiak et al. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;1–6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jocd.12783

Background: Proportions of face components appear to play a role in facial attractiveness.

Aims: The aim of the study was to establish the best proportions of face components in relation to whole face shape for facial attractiveness.

Methods: Only one face component (eye, nose, or lips) of a model in a series of photographs was altered using a computer program. Alterations consisted of size reduction or augmentation by 5% or 10%. Each photograph depicted a particular face component altered to either 90%, 95%, 100%, 105%, or 110% of its original size. Collages of photographs were shown to 167 individuals (male and female) for a fixed period of 7 seconds. Their task was to indicate the most attractive photograph
of a model in a presented collage.

Results: In total, 48.1% of individuals preferred enhanced eyes both in males and females. We found that the preferred mean eye size in women was statistically significantly higher than that in men. In total, 64.8% of respondents preferred reduced nose proportions in women (27.5% found a reduction to 90% of the original size more attractive while 37.3% preferred a reduction to 95%). It was demonstrated that the preferred mean nose size was statistically significantly lower in females in comparison with males. Respondents expressed a greater preference for nose reduction in women in comparison with men. 38.4% of respondents (in regard to both male and female mouth) preferred reduced mouth. 40.7% of respondents preferred reduced mouth in the female model.

Conclusions: Our work delivers statistically significant evidence that facial attractiveness increases together with the enlargement of the uncovered eye surface as well as the reduction in nose and lip size. Data were obtained using modern collective intelligence methods of validation.

KEYWORDS: attractiveness, eyes, face, mouth, nose, proportions

Individuals who indicated poor mating performance experienced more negative emotions (sadness, loneliness), fewer positive emotions (happiness, excitement), & were less satisfied with their lives

The emotional cost of poor mating performance. Menelaos Apostolou, Marios Shialos, Polyxeni Georgiadou. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 138, 1 February 2019, Pages 188-192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.10.003

•    People who experienced poor mating performance experienced more negative emotions.
•    People who experienced good mating performance experienced more positive emotions.
•    Mating performance had a moderate to strong effect on emotions and wellbeing.
•    About one in two participants faced difficulties in intimate relationships.

Abstract: Recent studies indicated that a considerable proportion of adult individuals experience poor mating performance: They face considerable difficulties in attracting and retaining mates. Using an evolutionary theoretical framework, we hypothesized that poor mating performance would be associated with more negative and fewer positive emotions as well as low life satisfaction. Evidence from an online sample of 735 participants provided strong support for this hypothesis. In particular, we found that individuals who indicated poor mating performance, experienced more negative emotions such as sadness and loneliness, and fewer positive emotions such as happiness and excitement, and they were less satisfied with their lives. On the other hand, those who indicated a good performance in mating, experienced more positive emotions and fewer negative emotions, and they were more satisfied with their lives. As indicated by the effect sizes, mating performance had a moderate to strong effect on positive and negative emotions and wellbeing. Also, consistent with the results of previous research, we found that about one in two participants faced difficulties in either starting or keeping an intimate relationship.