Category Archives: Psychology

Bring Up Biophilia—What makes us particularly attracted to nature

Léonard Cotte | Unsplash.com

No one can dismiss the amazing feeling we get after spending some time in nature. We instantly feel relaxed and reinvigorated. Some might attribute this effect to time spent far away from work, and even though they could be correct, it is not the whole picture. Biophilia is a relatively new concept that brought the public more awareness to the role nature plays. The term refers to our innate propensity to be in nature or to connect with it. Our love for nature is so strong that the mere presence of reminders can be sufficient to initiate a cascade of positive effects. All the reactions produced can lead to a lightened mood, better cognitive processes, including concentration and focus, and a sudden burst in motivation. Nature’s reminders, also called biophilic elements, can be either alive or inanimate, but living elements can instigate the most impressive outcomes. To embrace the spirit of biophilia, we can begin introducing plants at home or add nature soundtracks as background noise. The possibilities are endless.

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Bring Up Intelligence—How IQ tests do not measure how smart we really are

Annie Spratt | Unsplash.com

It is so common to compare ourselves with others, and it is even more common to assume that other people are smarter than us. In those cases, we forget to consider that many types of intelligence exist, not only one. However, it is easy to think of ourselves as stupid if we fail our mathematics courses or any courses for that matter. Then, there are those intelligence quotient (IQ) tests that can make us feel even dumber. However, these tests only pretend to be reliable tools to score our overall intelligence. They are all only reliable at determining our likelihood to succeed in an academic setting. Nowadays, another theory suggests that there may be up to ten distinct intelligence, which can only imply that we may all be intelligent but on different levels. Now, the only thing left to do is learning about the diverse types of intelligence and identifying which one fits best with our wits. The only question that remains now is: how intelligent are you, or more importantly what intelligence are you.

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Bring Up Ageing—What We Can Expect With Growing Older

John Moeses Bauan | Unsplash.com

It’s hard to accept, but every year we are getting older. There seems to be no way around this. Well, that was until very recently. More and more age-related researchers are coming up with new observations suggesting that it could actually be possible. Still, I wouldn’t get too excited as those studies are still in their infancy. Yet, it brings us hope. Until futuristic technologies get developed to revert signs of ageing, we will have to rely on current strategies which aim to slow down the process. If you desire to extend your youth, there are cheap and accessible ways to do it. The principles are quite straightforward, we must remember to take care of our physical health as well as our mental health. From doing more physical activities to learning a new language, we all have the capacity to extend our youth, even if it’s just by a little. I, for one, will attempt these techniques. Who’s with me?

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Bring Up Smell- How We Perceive Odours

The nose may be one of the most prominent features of our face, but its role goes way beyond providing extra distinguishing features for facial recognition. Our nose allows us to detect volatile compounds that can be interpreted as odours or malodours. Even though we might seriously wish to never distinguish any nasty odours, like farts, ever again, it’s part of our survival tool kit. So thinking that people affected by anosmia might be better off without it is probably inconsiderate at best and heartless at worst. Yes, it is true that they can’t smell farts, but what else can’t they smell… gas leaks, spoiled food and rotten flesh. This blind spot might not only potentially lead the person to go through unnecessary danger, but it could also be fatal. As for pleasant smells, they are also unnoticed. This implication can be disastrous considering that our smell is very tightly linked to emotions and rewards.

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Bring Up Hearing—Where is this sound coming from

From the moment I wake up, I am submerged with sounds…and noises; unfortunately, I am currently living in Montréal. Noise is an unavoidable consequence when living in a city. I would rather be awoken every morning by the unique sound of songbirds. This necessarily brings me to wonder what makes certain sounds more pleasant than others. We can try answering this question, but first, we must describe how a sound is created and how it is perceived. Then, we must introduce sound as acoustic waves and reveal its characteristics, such as pitch, amplitude and frequency. Lastly, we must not forget to talk about the auditory conditions that some people struggle with on a daily basis. Only after we have gone through all these elements can we seriously attempt to understand what makes a sound appealing…or appalling.

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Bring Up Touch—How do we perceive tactile stimuli

alex pasarelu | unsplash.com

We understand that we cannot live our lives without drinking or eating for extended periods. However, we often disregard the importance of touching and its impact on our well-being. For instance, the lack of social touch (e.g. hugs) has led in some cases to the death of several young children. We now understand that touching is necessary for proper brain development. Furthermore, in recent years, we also found that social touch allows for the release of many growth hormones and the stimulation of the immune system. In addition, there seem to be even more roles relating to touch and, more precisely, tickles. One theory proposes that tickles have evolutionary purposes. It claims that it encourages younglings to wrestle while protecting vital parts. What more will we learn about touch? Let’s find out.

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Bring Up Sleep – How can I increase my overall well-being

gregory pappas | Unsplash.com

My second most favourite moment of the day is whenever I’m sleeping (the first is, without any doubt, whenever I’m eating). After a good night’s sleep, I can always benefit from an energy recovery and a less obstructed mindset. Many pieces of evidence are starting to pile up supporting the necessity of sleep. However, despite these indications, heaps of people keep omitting it as a valid health component. Sleep is not only essential to recuperate from tiredness, but it also fundamentally impacts many aspects of your lives that you may not be fully comprehending. As a recent undergraduate and graduate student, I got the opportunity to notice first-hand a trend toward neglecting sleep as a necessary measure to succeed. Not only is this strategy not really helping in getting better grades, but it also may affect your memory and learning performances in the long run.

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Bring Up State of Panic – What makes us completely lose it

Desperate times call for desperate measures seems the best-suited motto to describe the general state of panic experienced last spring by some of us. The 2020 pandemic appeared from, what seemed at the time, thin air. We were unequipped and unprepared to face what has been a worldwide affliction that has managed to paralyze our lives and our economy. Faced with uncertainty and doubts about the near future, we’ve adopted behaviour that sometimes could have been misconstrued as selfish. Selfishness had virtually nothing to do with it, though. We are wired to, in alert mode, respond first to our needs and then to the needs of others. The only obvious exception to this rule is our close family members, like our children, that seems to have priority over us when an emergency arises. That is why when boarding a plane the flight attendants will inform you to first care for yourself before your own kid if/when an emergency situation occurs. If I picked your curiosity and you want to know more about what’s at play, then you should definitely read this article.

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Bring Up Alexithymia – What does it mean to be emotionally blind

Emotions play a fundamental role in the way we conduct social interactions. How finely tuned we are to them will be the best indicator of how easy it is for us to maintain relationships. That said, there exist some people with significant handicaps when comes time to interact with others. I am specifically talking about people that display signs of alexithymia (or emotional blindness). In intense emotional situations, people affected by alexithymia are very likely to react inappropriately, since they are not able to read the situation adequately. In sum, living with someone showing signs of alexithymia could prove itself difficult. We first have to realize that emotions are very complicated. It takes years of training and practice to succeed in differentiating them. In the incapacity to differentiate, we have to compensate with all means necessary. In dealing with my fiancé, I’ve discovered that two-way communication had always succeeded in filling the gap left by his emotional blindness. Read to learn about this emotional journey, navigating around alexithymia.

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