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January 2011



Recent Posts


Strategies to Communicate and Maintain Relationships

Christy Matta, M.A. Updated: Nov 22nd 2010

It’s the season of gatherings. For many this is a time to relax and connect with those who are closest to us. But for many of us, gatherings of family, friends, co-workers and neighbors include tension and frustration.

Although these are the people with whom we have close ties, they are often also the people with whom we’ve got built up anger, hurts and resentments. You may find yourself sitting at a family meal with someone who you feel doesn’t respect your opinion, has made offensive comments or has not responded when you’ve reached out or been in need of help.

It is easy to be thankful and warm when you’re calm and surrounded by people you like and care about. But it can be extremely difficult to express how you feel and stand up for yourself when you’re hurt and angry. It’s during times when we’re hurt and angry that we often behave in ways that we later regret. We might say or do things that cause long term damage to our relationships.

Honest and open communication are essential elements of intimate relationships, whether it’s with family or friends. But, knowing how to communicate and get your needs met while still maintaining relationships is crucial.

Read in Full:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=41202&cn=51

No Sex Tonight: the Neurology of Love and Marriage

How thinking styles affect love, marriage, and doing business.
Years ago I watched a marriage breaking up between two friends of mine. Both Ron and Anna (not their real names) were very intelligent and well educated: indeed both were members of Mensa – the high-IQ society – as was I. But somehow all that mental horsepower didn’t seem to help them get past some very basic differences in their ideas about life.

Ron was a physicist turned electronic engineer, very technically minded, and given to expressing himself in carefully reasoned, logical, systematic terms. His personal pursuits were scientific and technical: reading, tinkering with electronic gadgets, ham radio. A card-carrying scientist, we might say.

Anna could hardly have been more different in her interests, her focus of attention, and her manner of expressing herself. She was a card-carrying mystic. Astrology, palm reading, s̩ances, ESP, reincarnation, numerology, tarot card reading Рshe loved it all. Her conversational pattern was reminiscent of a butterfly Рmultiple topics all in one brief conversation Рeven in one sentence. Her language suggested intuition, emotion, spirituality, magical beliefs.

A conversation between them, on any topic more general than the grocery list, would typically degenerate to a glaring contest. He would become extremely agitated whenever she spoke of some new mystical book, a new favorite psychic or guru, or her latest astrological reading. “How can a person of your intelligence,” he would bellow, “possibly believe in such ridiculous nonsense? It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” He’d attack, she’d become silent and sullen, and the conversation would run aground. No sex tonight.

Both of them had passed the Mensa qualifying exam. If intelligence wasn’t the difference, then what was it? How could they be structuring their interior worlds so differently?

They had asked me to advise them, hoping they could somehow find a path to a solution. As I was already divorced, I wondered about the wisdom of choosing me as their lay counselor, but they were my friends, so I decided to try.

At the time, well before I took up the study of human mental processes in a serious way, I was at a loss to diagnose or explain the cause of their distress. I only knew they seemed to disagree on nearly everything important, and they were good at making each other unhappy.
We met together several times, but never got beyond the stage of accusing, blaming, and condemning – except for an occasional honest attempt at behavioral coding. Clearly, I didn’t have well-developed counseling skills – or models – at the time. They finally divorced.

Read in Full:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainsnacks/201011/no-sex-tonight-the-neurology-love-and-marriage

Innovation in the Bedroom

Borrowing from the boardroom.

Female Fish – And Humans? – Lose Interest When Their Male Loses A Slugfest

Article Date: 26 Nov 2010 – 3:00 PST

You may think of your love for your mate as the noble emotion of a pure heart, but some primitive parts of your brain are taking a decidedly more pragmatic approach to the subject, according to Stanford biologists.

In experiments with African cichlid fish, the scientists discovered that when a female shows a preference for a particular male, but then witnesses him losing a fight with another male, her feelings toward him change.

Areas of the female’s brain associated with anxiety showed increased activity after witnessing an altercation.

“It is the same as if a woman were dating a boxer and saw her potential mate get the crap beat out of him really badly,” said Julie Desjardins, a postdoctoral researcher in biology. “She may not consciously say to herself, ‘Oh, I’m not attracted to this guy anymore because he’s a loser,’ but her feelings might change anyhow.”

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/209347.php

Personal Goal-Setting Strategy Affects Relationships

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on November 23, 2010

New research suggests an individual’s goal-setting strategy can have an effect on personal relationships.

According to investigators, goal-setting behavior may influence whether people will be comfortable in sharing and communicating.

For example, people with “mastery goals” want to improve themselves. Maybe they want to get better grades, make more sales, or land that triple toe loop.

On the other hand, people with what psychologists call “performance goals” are trying to outperform others — to get a better grade than a friend or be Employee of the Year.

Both kinds of goals can be useful in different contexts.

P. Marijn Poortvliet, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and Céline Darnon of France’s Clermont University studied the social context of these goals — what they do to your relationships.

Their work is found in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Poortvliet’s work focuses on information exchange — whether people are open and honest when they are working together.

“People with performance goals are more deceitful” and less likely to share information with coworkers, both in the laboratory and in real-world offices he has studied, Poortvliet says.

“The reason is fairly obvious — when you want to outperform others, it doesn’t make sense to be honest about information.”

On the other hand, people who are trying to improve themselves are quite open, he says. “If the ultimate goal is to improve yourself, one way to do it is to be very cooperative with other people.”

This can help improve the work environment, even though the people with these goals aren’t necessarily thinking about social relations. “They’re not really altruists, per se. They see the social exchange as a means toward the ends of self improvement.”

Other research has found that people with these self-improvement goals are more open to hearing different perspectives, while people with a performance goal “would rather just say, ‘I’m just right and you are wrong.”

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/11/23/personal-goal-setting-strategy-affects-relationships/21170.html

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