Suicide has recently passed auto accidents as the leading cause of injury related death in the U.S.  The age-adjusted suicide rate is 12 per 100,000, or roughly 37,000 Americans, per year. This equates to a person committing suicide every 13.7 minutes. The rate is has risen 15% over the past decade. It is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. Continue reading “Suicide”

Why do we have Stereotypes?

The racial tension and profiling allegations behind the Zimmerman trial have thrown stereotyping into sharp relief.  While stereotypes are socially problematic, they also have an evolutionary function. While they are often false, they usually have their origin in some truth. While they form as part of our basic psychological processes, they can be cognitively altered. Continue reading “Why do we have Stereotypes?”

Optimistic Frame of Mind

People overcome adversity every day. This also means that bad things happen to people every day. Despite this inevitability, most people have an optimistic frame of mind. A study published in the Journal of Personality found that 89% of people believed their future was going to be good or better than their current situation. This trend of positivity was consistent across national borders. Surprisingly, per-capita G.D.P and life expectancy had virtually no effect on this widespread optimism. Continue reading “Optimistic Frame of Mind”

Memories We Never Forget

Everyone has those moments in life that they replay over and over again in their heads. Sometimes it is the presentation we bumbled, and sometimes it’s the awkward date we went on. Sometimes it is missing the game winning field goal. Other times it’s darker and more lasting, a traumatic event that we carry around like a scar. It isn’t the memory that haunts us, but the feelings connected to it. Continue reading “Memories We Never Forget”

Evil Lurks Within Us All

We see the faces of evil every day. Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted Monday of murdering three babies by snipping their spines as they wriggled helplessly. Ariel Castro is standing trial for kidnapping three young women who were age 14, 16 and 21 at the time of their capture. He is accused of raping and abusing them for 10 years, forcing miscarriages by blunt trauma to the stomach and starvation, and also imprisoning his daughter who was born in a plastic tub to one of the three women. James Holmes is accused of walking into a movie theatre and opening fire on the audience, killing 12 and injuring 58 people. On December 14, 2012 Adam Lanza shot his mother dead in her bed. He then walked to an elementary school and shot dead 26 more people, 20 of which were school children age 6 and 7. Continue reading “Evil Lurks Within Us All”

Eating Disorders

It seems like everyone wants to lose a few pounds these days, even people who are thin to begin with. Eating disorders are a dangerous problem in America, with the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. An estimated 20% of people suffering from anorexia nervosa will die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems. The problem is most prevalent in adolescents and young women, with 95% of those who have eating disorders being between the age of 12 and 25. The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old. Yet only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. Continue reading “Eating Disorders”

Digging Deeper and Finding Willpower

Self-restraint, resolve, drive, determination, discipline, and willpower all refer to the same thing: mastery over the self. This unique trait seems to raise humans to another level of existence. This is the ability to master instinct, rationalize long term gains over short term pleasures, and overcome our most formidable foe, ourselves. Unfortunately, this power is not limitless. Like a muscle, it can be exhausted, and every act of stubborn resolve depletes our reserves of will. Fortunately, like a muscle, it can be strengthened through exercise and mental toughness. Continue reading “Digging Deeper and Finding Willpower”