Of course there is also a talk about social media and emotion:
Every couple will have some issues one day. Ok, maybe you’re the exception, but still, most of us do. New research published the National Communication Association’s journal, Communication Monographs, learns u tha people who are unhappy in their romantic relationship spend more time during a disagreement thinking about how angry and frustrated they are, but happy couples coordinate their thoughts so that when one partner has many emotional thoughts the other has few.
This means that people’s thoughts during a conflict situation reflect and shape their own relationship satisfaction and can even affect how happy their partner is. I do need to warn that this study has a very important limitation as it discusses computer-aided interactions that are clearly not the same as face-to-face conversations because they do not give participants access to each other’s expressions or tone of voice. Participants’ thoughts may therefore differ from those they might have during a face-to-face conflict.
From the press release:
Vangelisti and her colleagues studied 71 young unmarried heterosexual couples in Texas, who had been together an average of three years. Each person was encouraged to privately express his or her thoughts aloud to a researcher while in a separate room from the other partner and while communicating about a topic of conflict with the partner via a computer chat program. The chat program showed the person’s typed messages in one section and the partner’s replies and messages in another section, but did not display the person’s vocalized thoughts, which were tape recorded.
In most cases, the couples discussed a topic of disagreement that both participants had listed in a questionnaire about conflict issues. Before the study, they also completed a questionnaire about their relationship satisfaction. Topics of conflict included amount of time spent together, money, past dating relationships, alcohol use, and friends and relatives who disapproved of their relationship. The researchers told the couples they had 10 minutes to discuss the topic and come to a resolution. A researcher sat behind the participant in each room and reminded that study subject to voice his or her thoughts throughout the interaction.
The researchers found that during a discussion involving conflict with a romantic partner, when one person thinks about making excuses or denying his or her role in the conflict, the other partner was likelier to be unhappy in the relationship than those whose partner did not “stonewall.”
People in unhappy relationships were more likely to be inflexible in their thinking and more interested in changing the subject of discussion. They also thought more about how repetitive the discussion felt. When both people in the relationship were dissatisfied, they were more likely to think about the power they had or their partner had in the relationship. They also were more likely to focus their thoughts on disagreement or emotions, such as anger and frustration, at the same time as their partner.
“We don’t have data on what happens when partners change their thoughts, but our findings certainly do suggest that thinking about how angry and frustrated you are — or thinking about how much power is being wielded during a conflict — is not beneficial for the relationship,” Vangelisti said.
She speculated that people’s thoughts might affect their partner’s relationship satisfaction because they often voice their thoughts to their partner or, in a real-life setting, they send nonverbal messages.
Unlike other studies, which found differences between men’s and women’s thoughts during disagreement, the current study found only one statistically significant sex-based difference in thoughts: women were more likely than men to blame their partner.
“The results … raise questions about widely accepted differences between women’s and men’s cognitions,” the authors wrote.
Abstract of the research:
The current study was conducted to investigate the thoughts romantic partners had as they discussed a topic of conflict in their relationship. A modified version of protocol analysis was employed to access couples’ cognitions. Specifically, partners voiced their thoughts aloud as they engaged in a computer-mediated interaction. The findings yielded associations between individuals’ cognitions and their relational satisfaction as well as differences between the cognitions of men and women. Individuals’ vocalized thoughts also were associated with their partner’s satisfaction. The results provide an interesting portrayal of various associations between the way partners feel about their relationship and the unspoken thoughts they have during the course of interaction. Possible theoretical and methodological implications for the literature on couples’ cognitions and relational satisfaction are discussed.
A new study is the first to look at the interactive effects of smoking status and age on neurocognition in treatment-seeking alcohol dependent (AD) individuals. Findings show that AD individuals who currently smoke show more problems with memory, ability to think quickly and efficiently, and problem-solving skills than those who don’t smoke, effects which seem to become worse with age.
From the press release:
“The independent and interactive effects of smoking and other drug use on cognitive functioning among individuals with AD are largely unknown,” added Alecia Dager, associate research scientist in the department of psychiatry at Yale University. “This is problematic because many heavy drinkers also smoke. Furthermore, in treatment programs for alcoholism, the issue of smoking may be largely ignored. This study provides evidence of greater cognitive difficulties in alcoholics who also smoke, which could offer important insights for treatment programs. First, individuals with AD who also smoke may have more difficulty remembering, integrating, and implementing treatment strategies. Second, there are clear benefits for thinking skills as a result of quitting both substances.”
Durazzo and his colleagues compared the neurocognitive functioning of four groups of participants, all between the ages of 26 and 71 years of age: never-smoking healthy individuals or “controls” (n=39); and one-month abstinent, treatment-seeking AD individuals, who were never-smokers (n = 30), former-smokers (n = 21) and active-smokers (n = 68). Evaluated cognitive abilities included cognitive efficiency, executive functions, fine motor skills, general intelligence, learning and memory, processing speed, visuospatial functions, and working memory.
“We found that, at one month of abstinence, actively smoking AD [individuals] had greater-than-normal age effects on measures of learning, memory, processing speed, reasoning and problem-solving, and fine motor skills,” said Durazzo. “AD never-smokers and former-smokers showed equivalent changes on all measures with increasing age as the never-smoking controls. These results indicate the combination of alcohol dependence and active chronic smoking was related to an abnormal decline in multiple cognitive functions with increasing age.”
“These results indicate the combined effects of these drugs are especially harmful and become even more apparent in older age,” said Dager. “In general, people show cognitive decline in older age. However, it seems that years of combined alcohol and cigarette use exacerbate this process, contributing to an even greater decline in thinking skills in later years.”
Durazzo agreed. “Chronic cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and increasing age are all associated with increased oxidative damage to brain tissue,” he said. “Oxidative damage results from increased levels of free radicals and other compounds that directly injure neurons and other cells that make up the brain. Cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption expose the brain to a tremendous amount of free radicals. We hypothesize that chronic, long-term exposure to cigarette smoke and excessive alcohol consumption interacts with the normal aging process to produce greater neurocognitive decline in the active-smoking AD group.”
Abstract of the research:
Background: Increasing age and chronic cigarette smoking are independently associated with adverse effects on multiple aspects of neurocognition in those seeking treatment for alcohol use disorders. However, the potential interactive effects of age and cigarette smoking on neurocognition in early abstinent alcohol-dependent individuals (ALC) have not investigated.
Methods: Cross-sectional performances of never-smoking healthy comparison participants (nvsCOM; n = 39) and 1-month-abstinent, treatment-seeking, never-smoking (nvsALC; n = 30), former-smoking (fsALC; n = 21), and actively smoking (asALC; n = 68) ALC were compared on a comprehensive neurocognitive battery. Domains of functioning evaluated were cognitive efficiency, executive functions, fine motor skills, general intelligence, learning and memory, processing speed, visuospatial functions and working memory. Participants were between 26 and 71 years of age at the time of assessment.
Results: asALC showed steeper age-related effects than nvsCOM on the domains of visuospatial learning, auditory-verbal memory, cognitive efficiency, executive functions, processing speed, and fine motor skills. In pairwise comparisons, fsALC and asALC performed more poorly than both nvsCOM and nvsALC on multiple domains; nvsCOM and nvsALC showed no significant differences. Domain scores for the ALC groups generally fell in the low-to-high-average range of functioning. A clinically significant level of impairment was apparent in only 25% of ALC participants on visuospatial learning, visuospatial memory, and fine motor skills domains. Measures of alcohol use or consumption were not significantly related to neurocognition in the ALC cohorts.
Conclusions: The age-related findings suggest that the combination of active chronic smoking and alcohol dependence in this 1-month-abstinent ALC cohort was associated with greater than normal age-related effects in multiple domains. In general, a low level of clinically significant impairment was observed in the alcohol-dependent participants. The findings from this study, in conjunction with previous research, strongly support smoking cessation interventions for those seeking treatment for alcohol and substance use disorders.
From K’s Choice:
Common myths about digital piracy debunked: not as high as mentioned in reports from industry trade organizations
A new large-scale analysis of BitTorrent file-sharing of computer games helps debunking some common myths on digital piracy. From the press release:
The team found that it is not just hardcore “shooter” games that get pirated on BitTorrent. They also recorded piracy of games across the board, from children’s and family games all the way to the major commercial titles. Furthermore, their results indicate that the actual number of illicit digital copies of computer games accessed on BitTorrent is not as high as those mentioned in reports from industry trade organizations, for instance.
During the period of monitoring BitTorrent, the research team found that about 12.6 million unique peers from over 250 countries/areas were sharing illicit copies of games, which included Fallout: New Vegas, Darksiders, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, NBA 2k11, TRON Evolution, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Starcraft 2, Star Wars the Force Unleashed 2, Two Worlds II, The Sims 3: Late Night. This represents a wide range of games vendors and games types encompassing simulations, sports and strategy as well as action games. They report that of the 173 digital games in the sample, the ten most popular games titles during the period analyzed drove more than 4 out of every 10 unique peers on BitTorrent and a mere 20 of the countries monitored were contributing to more than three-quarters of the total file-sharing activity.
For the most popular games, they add, there was an average of 536,727 unique peers sharing via Bit Torrent, and the geographical distribution of the unique peers paint a very diverse picture of where people who access illegally copied games on BitTorrent are positioned. For example, a number of countries stand out as having very large numbers of unique peers represented in the dataset, including Romania, Croatia, Ukraine, Greece, Poland, Italy, Armenia and Serbia. Portugal, Israel and Qatar also have more than 1% peers per Internet user. The results also point out that games receiving high critical acclaim tend to have higher numbers of unique peers than those which receive negative critique in media reviews.
While the games investigated covered all major hardware platforms, console games are much tougher to pirate than desktop computer games for the simple reason that one needs to modify the hardware of the console to use them. In contrast, to use an illicit copy of a PC game, one must commonly only modify the computer code itself. A recent turn towards cloud-based gaming could reduce the chances of games being copied illicitly still further but adoption relies on access to reliable broadband internet for gamers. Of course, better broadband also potentially means more efficient sharing of illegal copies of digital games.
Abstract of the research:
The distribution of illegal copies of computer games via digital networks forms the centre in one of the most heated debates in the international games environment, but there is minimal objective information available. Here the results of a large-scale, open-method analysis of the distribution of computer games via BitTorrent peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol is presented. 173 games were included, tracked over a period of three months from 2010 to 2011. A total of 12.6 million unique peers were identified across over 200 countries. Analysis indicates that the distribution of illegal copies of games follows distinct pattern, e.g., that a few game titles drive the traffic – the 10 most accessed games encompassed 42.7% of the number of peers tracked. The traffic is geographically localised – 20 countries encompassed 76.7% of the total. Geographic patterns in the distribution of BitTorrent peers are presented, as well as time-frequency distributions of torrents, and additional results.
A new interview with Sugata Mitra makes me wonder if he feels the urge to make more bolder statements day by day.
Let’s examine this quote in a this interview with the Huftington Post:
“I can fix the examination system in one sentence. You should be allowed to bring in an iPad,” he said.
“People are adamant learning is not just looking at a Google page. But it is. Learningis looking at Google pages. What is wrong with that?”
“Teachers say to me, the internet is full of rubbish, wrong answers. But you would be surprised how just long it takes to find wrong information on Google, and where it’s not obvious that it’s wrong.”
A few words for the professor:
- Don Hirsch has a great piece on the idea that you can always just look stuff up.
- Ever heard about the filter bubble?
- Ever thought of bringing in some nuances about your projects in broad public that are present in the scientific discussion?
- Maybe it’s a good, or even better a great idea, to examine what Daniel Willingham wrote already in 2009 on what we know from cognitive science about the flawed assumptions of the 21st century skills movement.
And no, please don’t answer this post by saying that I’m against the good work you do in India, I’m much in favor, but I do like to have some important nuances to the story.
Also I’m much in favor of using technology in education, but I do think we won’t help the implementation this way.
This study is a bit odd for this blog, but I was actually fascinated by the topic. UNC Charlotte researcher Joseph Kuhns from the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology wanted to understand burglars better and ‘just’ asked burglars what motivates and deters them. 422 respondents filled in the survey giving us an insight look.
What are the main findings:
- When selecting a target, most burglars said they considered the close proximity of other people — including traffic, people in the house or business, and police officers; the lack of escape routes; and signs of increased security — including alarm signs, alarms, dogs inside, and outdoor cameras or other surveillance equipment.
- Approximately 83 percent said they would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60 percent said they would seek an alternative target if there was an alarm on-site. This was particularly true among the subset of burglars who were more likely to spend time deliberately and carefully planning a burglary.
(Do read the end of this blogpost!)
- Among those who discovered the presence of an alarm while attempting a burglary, half reported they would discontinue the attempt, while another 31 percent said they would sometimes retreat. Only 13 percent said they would always continue with the burglary attempt. (again, do read the end of this blogpost!)
- Respondents indicated their top reasons for committing burglaries was related to the need to acquire drugs (51 percent) or money (37 percent), which was often used to support drug habits. Only one burglar indicated interest in stealing firearms, which is a common misperception.
- About half reported burglarizing homes primarily, while 31 percent typically committed commercial burglaries.
- Most burglars reported entering open windows or doors or forcing windows or doors open. About one in eight burglars reported picking locks or using a key that they had previously acquired to gain entry.
- About 12 percent indicated that they typically planned the burglary in advance, 41 percent suggested it was most often a “spur of the moment” event, and the other 37 percent reported that it varied.
One bit of fair warning: the research was funded by the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF), under the auspices of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), the largest trade association for the electronic life safety and security industry. (source)