The Truth Revealed: Why Cannabis is Outlawed

Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been an essential part of humanity's medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded. Despite its ancient history, this non-toxic plant still remains illegal in many states and countries. Enforcing these laws in the U.S. also costs taxpayers an estimated $10 billion annually and results in the arrest of more than 693,000 individuals per year -- far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Read more ...

Documentary Captures the Colorblind Viewing Color for the First Time

As a condition which affects over 300 million around the world, colorblindness can dramatically change how a person experiences life. To help bring hope to those unable to see in their natural state, Valspar Paint has partnered with EnChroma to help show individuals what everything really looks like to average eyes. Through their campaign #ColorForAll, Valspar provides these people with colorblindness correcting eyeglasses which enable their eyes to filter out different hues of light and view the the world in its full spectrum.

Read more ...

Compassion fatigue: The cost some workers pay for caring

By Amanda Lambros, Curtin University

Health and social workers often choose their profession because they want to help people. But seeing trauma and suffering on a regular basis can have a deep impact on these workers. “Compassion fatigue” is a response to the stress of caring for people at times of crisis and is often referred to as the cost of caring.

Researchers first identified compassion fatigue in the 1970s when they recognised certain psychological symptoms among health care and social service workers. The term “compassion fatigue” was coined in the early 1990s to describe nurses who worked in emergency care and were experiencing symptoms similar to burnout.

Read more ...

Explainer: How much sleep do we need?

By Gemma Paech, Washington State University

The amount of sleep adults need has once again come under the spotlight, with a recent Wall Street Journal article suggesting seven hours sleep is better than eight hours and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine drawing up guidelines surrounding sleep need.

So, what should the guidelines say? Unfortunately, when it comes to the amount of sleep adults require there is not really a “one size fits all”. Sleep need can vary substantially between individuals.

Read more ...

The Wealthy suffer from an Empathy Gap; with the Poor that is Feeding a Rise in Inequality

By Lawrence Mitchell, Case Western Reserve University

Wealth and income inequality have many causes, and it’s pretty much beyond dispute that any well-functioning capitalist society will have some degree of disparity between the richest and the poorest.

It’s also beyond dispute that we are approaching a social consensus that wealth and income inequality in the United States today now threatens to seriously damage our social fabric. That fabric is grounded in two fundamental ideas: liberty, or the freedom to determine our own destinies, and equality. The problem is that over the past thirty years – in tandem with rising inequality – we have favored liberty over equality.

Read more ...

Strange or just plain Weird? Cultural variation in mental illness

By Dominic Murphy, University of Sydney

MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition.

There’s an old saying that psychology has two model organisms: the rat and the American college student. As research subjects rats are fine, the problem is that that Americans are, as evolutionary psychologist Joe Henrich and his colleagues recently pointed out, WEIRD. That is, they’re Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic. In fact, most westerners are WEIRD, but Americans are the WEIRDest of all.

Read more ...

In Pursuit of Happiness: Why some pain helps us feel pleasure

By Brock Bastian

The idea that we can achieve happiness by maximising pleasure and minimising pain is both intuitive and popular. The truth is, however, very different. Pleasure alone cannot not make us happy.

Take Christina Onassis, the daughter of shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. She inherited wealth beyond imagination and spent it on extravagant pleasures in an attempt to alleviate her unhappiness. She died at 37 and her biography, tellingly subtitled All the Pain Money Can Buy, recounts a life full of mind-boggling extravagance that contributed to her suffering.

Read more ...