BPS Research Digest: Images of ultra-thin models need your attention to make you feel bad

Interesting article:

Source: BPS Research Digest: Images of ultra-thin models need your attention to make you feel bad

We all know that fashion models have unrealistic bodies. Even if they aren’t photoshopped, most of us could never be that thin, at least not without making ourselves ill. Previous research has suggested that viewing pictures of unrealistically thin female models makes young women feel bad – leaving them dissatisfied with their own bodies, more sad, angry and insecure.

A crucial question is whether the effect of these thin-ideal images is automatic. Does the comparison to the models, which is thought to be the key driver in their negative effects, happen without our intention, attention or both?  Knowing the answer will tell us just how much power these images have, and also how best we might protect ourselves from them.

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Dance/Movement Therapy & Autism: Dances of Relationship

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“Our common humanity is more important than all the things that divide us.” Mairead Corrigan


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How racial stereotypes impact communication

Racial stereotypes and expectations can impact the way we communicate and understand others, according to UBC research.

The new study, published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, highlights how non-verbal “social cues” – such as photographs of Chinese Canadians – can affect how we comprehend speech.

“This research brings to light our internal, biases, and the role of experience and stereotypes, in how we listen to and hear each other,” says Molly Babel, the paper’s lead author and an assistant professor with UBC’s Department of Linguistics.

One of the study’s tasks involved participants from the UBC community transcribing pre-recorded sentences amid background static. The sentences were recorded by 12 native speakers of Canadian English. Half of the speakers self-identified as White, and the other half self-identified as Chinese. All speakers were born and raised in Richmond, B.C., which is south of Vancouver. msclip-188

The pre-recorded sentences were accompanied by either black and white photos of the speakers, or by an image of three crosses. Overall, listeners found the Chinese Canadians more difficult to understand than the White Canadians – but only when they were made aware that the speaker was Chinese Canadian due to the photo prompt.

Participants were also asked to rate the strength of the accents of the speakers. They were asked to listen to two sentences from each speaker – one accompanied by the speaker’s photo, the other by an image of crosses. “Once participants were aware that they were listening to a White Canadian, suddenly the candidate was perceived as having less of a foreign accent and sounding more like a native speaker of Canadian English,” says Babel.

“It tells us as listeners that we need to be sensitive about the stereotypes that we carry,” notes Jamie Russell, the study’s co-author who was an undergraduate honours student in UBC’s Department of Linguistics during the project.


The study, “Expectations and Speech Intelligibility,” is published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The authors are Molly Babel and Jamie Russell, both of UBC’s Department of Linguistics.

The study involved five tasks: speech perception in noise, accentedness rating, an implicit measure of ethnic bias, an explicit measure of ethnic bias and a social network self-assessment.

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Psychiatry’s ID Problem

I have lost count of the times that clients have told me that they were prescribed anti-depressants and/or benzos and their prescriber never once mentioned therapy as an alternative or in conjunction with the use of meds. I came across this opinion piece and have personally heard more than a few psychiatrist’s echo the sentiments. :

First, psychotherapy has been shown in scores of well-controlled clinical trials to be as effective as psychotropic medication for very common psychiatric illnesses like major depression and anxiety disorders; second, a majority of Americans clearly prefer psychotherapy to taking medication. For example, in a meta-analysis of 34 studies, Dr. R. Kathryn McHugh at McLean Hospital found that patients were three times more likely to want psychotherapy than psychotropic drugs. 1pillst

Finally, many of our patients have histories of trauma, sexual abuse, the stress of poverty or deprivation. There is obviously no quick biological fix for these complex problems.

  The advances in medication has been minimal.

With few exceptions, every major class of current psychotropic drugs — antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications — basically targets the same receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain as did their precursors, which were developed in the 1950s and 1960s.

Sure, the newer drugs are generally safer and more tolerable than the older ones, but they are no more effective.

Even the new brain stimulatory treatments like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation don’t come close to the efficacy of electroconvulsive treatment, developed in the 1940s. (Deep brain stimulation is promising as a treatment for intractable depression, but it is an invasive treatment and little is known about its long-term safety or efficacy.)

Below is a link to the article.


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You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd. Flannery O’Connor

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