Whether it’s the stress of a hard day at work or the exhilaration of a new baby or engagement, people regularly turn to Facebook to share emotional news. A new study of 689,003 randomly selected Facebook users suggests that emotions can spread from one Facebook user to another.
Previous research has shown that others’ emotions are contagious in person; you’re more likely to be in a bad mood after spending time with a person in a bad mood. But this study is the first to demonstrate the same effect online.
Without reading the actual content of the posts, researchers analyzed language in more than 3 million Facebook posts, then labeled the post as either positive or negative. They found that people’s emotional state on Facebook was a good way to predict their friends’ emotions on Facebook, even several days after an emotional post.
Executive functions enable you to plan your day, analyze complex information, and adjust your behavior to account for changing psychological states. According to a brain imaging study, people who receive early musical training may have better executive functioning than people who don’t.
Researchers compared the brains of 15 musically trained children to 12 children who had not experienced musical training. The musically trained children did better on tests of executive functioning. On functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, children with musical training showed more activation in areas of the prefrontal cortex thought to be associated with executive functioning.
The debate between so-called helicopter and free-range parents often grows contentious, and a new study suggests that parents who offer less structure may be doing their children a favor. Researchers looked at parents’ reports on the activities of 70 6-year-olds, and then evaluated the children on skills associated with self-directed executive functioning. The children who had fewer structured activities were better at setting their own goals and managing their time without adult supervision or nagging.
People with attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) who worry about the effects of taking ADHD medications may be able to breathe a sigh of relief. A review of 37,936 patients through a Swedish national patient registry found a reduction in suicidal behaviors among people taking ADHD medications.
In response to numerous mass shootings, many pundits have argued in favor of limiting gun rights for people who might become violent. Such a measure would require doctors or therapists to report potentially dangerous patients and clients. But new research suggests such a measure might not work.
A survey of 222 North Carolina physicians found that more than 20% had been asked to sign competency forms to help patients obtain guns in the past year. The doctors overwhelmingly reported that such measures make them uncomfortable and that there’s no objective way to measure whether a person is competent to carry a weapon.
A study that looked at 20,000 families with at least one child with autism has found that having a child with an autism spectrum issue may lead parents to forego future childbearing. The children were born between 1990 and 2003, and families were compared to 36,000 families who did not have a child with autism. The study found that parents who had a child with autism were about a third less likely to have another child than parents who did not have a child with autism.
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