On Facebook, you are what you ‘like,’ study finds

On Facebook, you are what you ‘like,’ study finds: Researchers say they can tell a lot about people from their Facebook ‘likes’ – great for marketers but a worry for privacy advocates.

Attention Facebook users: Do you “like” Mozart, science, “The Colbert Report” and curly fries? Chances are you’ve got a high IQ. Have you clicked the thumbs-up icon for Tyler Perry, Harley-Davidson and Lady Antebellum? Perhaps you’re not quite as cerebral.

The Endowment Effect: Why It’s Easy to Overvalue Your Stuff

The Endowment Effect: Why It’s Easy to Overvalue Your Stuff:

A strange thing happens in the mind when you buy something.

No matter what it is—a pair of jeans, a car or even a house—in that moment when an object becomes your property, it undergoes a transformation.
Because you chose it and you associate it with yourself, its value is immediately increased (Morewedge et al., 2009). If someone offers to buy it from you, the chances are you want to charge much more than they are prepared to pay.
That is a cognitive bias called ‘the endowment effect’.
It’s the reason that some people have lofts, garages and storage spaces full of junk with which they cannot bear to be parted. Once you own something, you tend to set its financial value way higher than other people do.
When tested experimentally the endowment effect can be surprisingly strong. One study found that owners of tickets for a basketball match overvalued them by a factor of 14 (Carmon & Ariely, 2000). In other words people wanted 14 times more than others were prepared to pay. However, this is a particularly high one and the ratio will vary depending on what it is.
The endowment effect is particularly strong for things that are very personal and easy to associate with the self, like a piece of jewellery from your partner. Similarly we also overvalue things we’ve had for a long time.
Sometimes, of course, the sentimental value of things is justified; but more often than not people hold on to old possessions for no good reason. So if you’re surrounded by rubbish, ask yourself: do I really need all this, or is it the endowment effect?
After all, it’s just stuff.
Image credit: Kevin Utting


Who writes PsyBlog?

Did you know that every post on PsyBlog is written by a British psychologist called Jeremy Dean?

Did you know that he has a new book out called “Making Habits, Breaking Habits”, now available on Amazon?

You did? Well, carry on then…

→ Download amazing, 100% free e-books on meditation, self-improvement and wisdom by a Himalayan mystic. Go to http://www.omswami.com/p/free-ebooks.html or http://www.omswami.com.
→ Latest Novel by Psychologist David Liebert–A Psychological Gritty Tale of Socipathic Lust and Revenge.

7 Email Efficiency Tips To Get More Email Done, Faster

7 Email Efficiency Tips To Get More Email Done, Faster:

Life revolves around communication and literally nothing gets accomplished without it. Email is a communication tool meant to make your life easier. Instead of having to type up a letter or try to catch someone on the phone or in person, you can quickly type a few lines and be over it.
But email can also be a significant time sink. This typically happens when it is used in the wrong way. Many people send you emails you don’t need, with subject lines that don’t reflect the content, and in more words than necessary. But it can also be your own fault, for example if you don’t process emails right or abuse your inbox as a To Do or reading list. Fact is, you can get through your emails faster by improving your habits and rigorously adopting a few key email efficiency tips.

Schedule Email Time

If you dread tending to your emails or if you regularly spend way too much time clearing your inbox, try committing to a schedule. Some people recommend doing emails for a set time twice a day. Scheduling time is smart because it creates the time frame and space of mind to concentrate on getting the task done. Besides, you will figure out how much time you really spend with emails.
Checking emails only twice a day doesn’t work for everyone. If you need to stay on top of things and check your emails several times throughout the day, give yourself a few minutes every hour in addition to checking and processing emails in the morning and evening. Those short email sprints are an opportunity to respond to urgent emails or respond to an email that you first needed to fetch information for.

The idea is to…

  • create a time limit by scheduling email time,
  • have the ambition to stay within that limit,
  • become quicker, and
  • gradually free up time on your schedule.

[click the link above to read the full original article.

Washington Post Calls on Congress to Address Mental Health, Praises Excellence in Mental Health Act

Washington Post Calls on Congress to Address Mental Health, Praises Excellence in Mental Health Act:
The Washington Post editorial board this week released an editorial calling on Congress to improve the nation’s mental health system. The editorial addresses the stigma and high out-of-pockets costs facing Americans who seek care, along with issues in the financing of mental health services in this country. The paper specifically named the Excellence in Mental Health Act (S. 264) as a remedy for these woes, calling it “a fine plan.” Read the whole editorial here.

The editorial is the latest in a growing surge of support for the Excellence in Mental Health Act, introduced earlier this month by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). It comes in the wake of extensive media coverage of the bill and a remarkable display of bipartisan support (in addition to Stabenow and Blunt, there are 3 Republican and 8 Democratic cosponsors), two rarities in the world of behavioral health advocacy.

Moreover, the latest signs from Congress are that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (or HELP, for short) plans to move a package of behavioral health legislation forward in the coming months – the first time in over 5 years that a bill devoted solely to mental health and addiction treatment would move through the committee process in either chamber of Congress. In this process, the National Council is working hard to advance our two legislative priorities that fall within the HELP Committee’s jurisdiction: the Excellence Act and the Mental Health First Aid Act.

If you have not already done so, please help build congressional support for these two bills by contacting your legislators about the Excellence Act and Mental Health First Aid Act (Senators and Representatives) today! Despite the momentum behind behavioral health right now, it remains an uphill battle. Every message from a constituent helps push us forward! Thank you for your support and advocacy. Stay tuned to the Public Policy Update for additional details about these bills.

Paul Heroux: Understanding and Compassion: Essential Ingredients to Mental Health Reform

Paul Heroux: Understanding and Compassion: Essential Ingredients to Mental Health Reform

Chances are, you’ve heard some of the discussion in recent weeks about the role of mental health in social problems – like violence, crime, and poverty. What to do, and how to approach the topic, is unclear. Without a doubt, everyone might agree that having access to quality services – without having to wait too long – and being able to fund treatment [so a person can see the process through] are ideal.

So, every community needs a range of services, starting with access to primary care medical care and ending with inpatient and residential care for those who will need and benefit from it. Those facilities – and all the agencies and private practice offices in the mid-range of the service arc – will need to have the lights on, and be able to pay the staff.

How to accomplish that for all citizens is mind-boggling. Heroux’s essay – link above – gets the ball rolling with a call for compassion. Take a look.

How to Talk to Children About School Shooting

I walked into a gathering of fellow therapists, having just heard about the Connecticut school shooting. Most of those assembled were taking specific steps to care for themselves and their own children. Even the professional helpers must take steps to intentionally care for themselves and others. Perhaps we all should…

It’s fine to inform yourself about world events, but do your best to not watch the footage repeatedly on various newscasts and websites. And take care to limit the same exposure with the young people in your home. Teens, too, can be impacted by this – don’t assume that they won’t be anxious or wary or worried. Talk it over.

This link will take you to WebMD:

How to Talk to Children About School Shooting

This link takes you to the American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/aftermath.aspx

Doubt Therapy Changes Thinking Patterns in People with OCD

This well-crafted article appears on the Psychology Today website. It’s long, but the info is solid. You’ll find a link toward the end that will take you to the research/educational site mentioned in the article. There, you’ll find free access to the treatment manual, worksheets, and supporting materials. If you are having trouble getting help for OCD, here’s a good place to start.

Doubt Therapy Changes Thinking Patterns in People with OCD: German researchers develop doubt therapy as a new form of help for people with OCD. While many struggle with side-effects from medication or difficulty locating a qualified OCD therapist, a no cost doubt therapy manual helps people with washing compulsions.
read more

Stress fuels breast cancer metastasis to bone

Perhaps you’d agree that our health benefits from managing stress. Here’s a link to a story on Science Daily that reports fresh finding that takes that imperative up a notch.

Apparently, researchers at Vanderbilt University, have demonstrated that managing stress [in an animal research setting] inhibits the spread of of breast cancer. While one can always make the argument that lab situations and human lives may not always experience life challenges in a similar way, taking care of your self – or assisting your family member to do so – is a very good idea.

Whether it’s a support group, a yoga class, meditation, exercise, friendship or professional services – it’s worth finding and incorporating into your life.

Stress fuels breast cancer metastasis to bone