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January 2012



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Archive for January 18th, 2012

By Janice Wood Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 10, 2012

A new study has found that two-thirds of teenagers with a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) are currently driving or plan to drive.

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies note that the rate of children diagnosed with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder has increased over the past decade, which means that more of these kids are approaching the age to drive legally.

“Little is known about how HFASDs affect a person’s ability to drive safely,” said lead author Patty Huang, M.D., a developmental pediatrician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “Car crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers, so it is important that we understand how HFASDs impact driving and how to develop appropriate educational and evaluation tools.”

In a first step to better understand the issue, researchers surveyed almost 300 parents of teens with HFASDs and discovered a handful of predictive characteristics among teens who are likely to become drivers, including: Being at least 17 years old; enrolled full-time in high school; planning to attend college; holding a paid job outside the home; having a parent who has taught another teen to drive; and including driving-related goals in his or her individualized education plan (IEP).

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Janet Singer

One of the most common manifestations of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is the need for reassurance. “Are you sure it is okay if I do this or that?” “Are you sure nobody got (or will get) hurt?” “Are you sure something bad won’t happen?” “Are you sure, are you sure, are you sure?”

While the above questions are obvious appeals, they are not the only way that OCD sufferers seek reassurance. Indeed, the very nature of OCD centers around making certain that all is well. The disorder is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead the sufferer to engage in repetitive thoughts and/or behaviors (compulsions). Obsessions are always unwanted and cause varying degrees of stress and anxiety, and compulsions temporarily alleviate these feelings. Compulsions are always, in some way, shape, or form, a quest for reassurance; a way to make everything okay.

A good example is the case of someone with OCD who is obsessed with a fire starting because they left the stove on. The compulsion of continually checking the stove is a recurring attempt to reassure oneself that the stove is indeed off and nobody will get hurt. Another OCD sufferer may fear germs (obsession) and wash his or her hands until they are raw (compulsion). The compulsion of hand-washing is an effort to make sure that his or her hands are clean enough so that there will be no germs.

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We trawl the world’s journals so you don’t have to.

The Obama Presidency (Political Psychology).


Neuroscience focus on Addiction (Nature Reviews Neuroscience).


Sizes of Our Science (Perspectives on Psychological Science, special section).


Innovation in Theory and Research on Collective Action and Social Change (British Journal of Social Psychology).


Beliefs and Expectancies in Legal Decision Making (Psychology, Crime and Law).


Disease avoidance: from animals to culture (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B).


Advances in mixed methods in family psychology: Integrative and applied solutions for family science (Journal of Family Psychology, special section).


The Psychological Foundations of Strategic Management (Strategic Management Journal).


Self Modeling (Psychology in the Schools).


Neurocognitive Processing of the Chinese Language (Brain and Language).


Pre-term birth (Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews).


Post compiled by Christian Jarrett for the BPS Research Digest.

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

Many people would love to work from home. You can wake up whenever you want. You can spend the day in your PJs. You can work from the couch. And your schedule can be as wide open as you like.

While it’s true that working from home has its advantages — flexibility being a big one — it’s not the paradise you might think it is.

Distractions abound, especially when family members are home — or others call or come over, thinking that you’re simply not that busy. (Unfortunately, many people don’t take working from home very seriously.) There’s always a household chore that needs to be done. And you don’t get paid for resting, so you’re often working longer hours.

Here are seven tips that take these concerns into account and truly work.


1. Understand that productivity isn’t one-size-fits-all. “People need to develop systems and strategies that fit with how they work,” said Leslie Truex, author of The Work-At-Home Success Bible and owner of WorkAtHomeSuccess.com.

For example, Truex is a visual person, so filing and storing items isn’t helpful for her. “I have to have tools and strategies that keep things where I can see them without clutter,” she said. She also prefers web-based tools, like an e-calendar, which she can access from her phone when she’s out and about.

2. Give yourself structure.  Working from home means that you’re mixing personal items with professional ones. “If there are no homes for things, then it’s likely items will end up landing where they don’t belong,” according to Sara Caputo, MA, productivity coach, consultant and author of the e-book The Productivity Puzzle.  That’s why it’s important to have a separate, organized area for your work. Creating a sense of structure includes everything from your filing system to your calendar.

3. Set a clear schedule every day. “Making sure you have a well-functioning road map for your day is what I consider a key to success in business and life,” Caputo said. This is especially helpful when you get distracted, because you know exactly where to pick up or the next thing you need to work on.

4. Rank your priorities. When there’s a long list of to-dos, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. What do you tackle first? Second? Or third?

Truex employs an interesting strategy: “I rank importance by what will make money the quickest, so activities that most directly result in income [such as] direct services or marketing are listed first and activities that don’t result in income or at least not in immediate future income go later on the list [such as] busy work [or] filing.”

Other entrepreneurs start with tasks they find most fascinating. Or they undertake the toughest tasks first.

5. Eliminate interruptions. Identify your specific interruptions during the day, and figure out how to eliminate them. For instance, you might hire a babysitter for your kids for several hours a day, let your phone go to voicemail, create a separate work area and even post a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so neighbors know you’re working, Truex suggested.

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