Are Technical and People Skills Acquired on the Job? And Other News

A woman speaks during work meetingIn a highly competitive job market, so-called “soft” skills can mean the difference between landing a job and standing in line at the unemployment office. For many workers, a college degree feels like a ticket to career success, but a new study suggests that neither college nor work experience provide workers with the people skills they need to excel on the job.

Researchers evaluated 2,500 workers. Some had college degrees, while others had several years of work experience. They found that neither was correlated with better people skills. Instead, some workers were just better with people than other workers, regardless of experience or training. The study’s authors explain that people skills may be innate traits. Workers with college degrees, though, had better professional and technical skills, while those with job experience displayed stronger leadership skills.

Women, Quitting Smoking for New Year’s? Time It With Your Period!

A small study of 34 men and women smokers suggests that women may have better luck quitting smoking when they track their menstrual cycles. Women who attempted to quit smoking had stronger urges during the follicular phase of the cycle—the two or so weeks immediately following menstruation—but quitting during the luteal phase was tied with better success. It may be that decreases in estrogen and progesterone during the second half of the menstrual cycle increase urges to smoke.

Gut Bacteria, Prebiotics, and the Link Between Helping Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Bacteria play a number of roles in the body, and large colonies of bacteria help you digest food. Research suggests that gut bacteria may also affect emotions. A new study has found that taking prebiotics—sugar molecules that encourage the growth of certain types of gut bacteria—could improve mental health and mood.

Smile to Remember a Smile: Facial Expressions Used to Help Recall Emotion

A research team at the International School for Advanced Studies has found that people may re-enact emotions when trying to remember them. The team found that people recreate the facial expressions associated with an emotion, which means that trying to recall a pleasant memory can make you smile.

Parent’s Suicide Attempt Makes Child’s Much More Likely: Study

A parent’s suicide attempt is undoubtedly an extremely traumatic experience for a child. A study evaluating 700 children of 334 parents with depression and other mood issues suggests that a parent’s suicide attempt might increase his or her child’s likelihood of attempting suicide. Among study participants, 191 parents had previously attempted suicide, and 44 of their children followed up with their own attempt.

Safety Concerns Over Lack of Support for Prison Officers’ Mental Health

A survey of UK prison officers has found the group is vulnerable to depression, fatigue, and chronic work-related stress. Researchers found that the demands placed on prison officers were higher than most other safety-oriented jobs, but support and direction from prison leadership was lower. This led to more stress and depression, but prison officers also reported high stigma associated with reporting work-related stress. 

6 Percent of People Worldwide Affected by Internet Addiction

According to data from 89,000 people residing in 31 different countries, Internet addiction has a worldwide rate of 6%. The rate was lowest—2.6%—in Northern and Western Europe, and highest—10.9%—in the Middle East. 

Despite Resolutions, Food Bills Go Up After New Year’s

Weight-loss, healthy eating, and eating more home-cooked foods are among the most common New Year’s resolutions. According to a study of 200 New York households, though, food bills often go up, not down, at the dawn of a new year. Food purchases increase 15% during the holiday season, but continue to rise another 9% at the beginning of a new year.

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  • Cecilia

    Cecilia

    January 9th, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    You are right in that there are sometimes those people who have skills that can’t be taught nor can they be learned- they just seem to have it. I think that having people skills is one of those specific traits. People are either going to be introverted or extroverted and I am not sure that there is any kind of real training that could help you fake that one. I think that for a while someone could pull it off but if it is not what is inherent for them then eventually they will get tired of all of the work that it takes to not be their true selves!

  • owen

    owen

    January 10th, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    If you witness your own parent struggling with depression and suicide attempts, then I would say that it is far more likely that the child will go through the same things in their own life. They are either setting themselves up to believe that this is something that is inevitable and is bound to happen to them anyway, or it really is genetic and they are going to be predisposed to living the same type of life that was held by that parent. No matter which it is I think that intervening early in those lives would be critical to effecting more help and healing than trying to wait until something tragic happens to then address the issue.

  • Jamie

    Jamie

    January 12th, 2015 at 3:58 AM

    I have heard that before about the bacteria in your gut and how that can correlate to your mental health!

  • Terrence

    Terrence

    January 12th, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    For those who are addicted to the internet, I don’t know, it just feels like there are so many other things out there in the world that you could get involved with that does not involve being attached to the computer screen all of the time.
    I want to ask these people are they lonely because to me it seems like this would be an addiction like many others that is searching for a ya to fill some sort of void in their lives, and that is really sad unless you can find some better way to fill that.

  • rowena

    rowena

    January 13th, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    It could be that my food bill is rising because healthy food is so much more expensive than the junk!

  • Janine

    Janine

    January 15th, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    I do think that there are some people skills for lack of a better term that can be taught, but I also believe that most of this is inherent, and that you are born with what you have.
    Most skills can be taught or improved upon, but I think that there are some things that you either have or you don’t, and being able to interact with others effectively is one of those things.

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