Learning! Roundup: Insomnia-Induced Anxiety, No Magic Words for Grief, Student Evaluations, and More!

A roundup of interesting research from the past week, including the fact that lack of sleep causes anxiety, there are no magic words to help a friend who is grieving, and student evaluations are bad for everyone.
Photo by Kevin Grieve.

Sleep No More

Sleep deprivation triggers anxiety in the brain, and if the sleep loss is chronic, that anxiety effect gets pretty severe. So we're not kidding when we say that it's important to get your sleep!

There Are No Magic Words

When a friend is suffering, for whatever reason, we all want to make sure we say the "right thing" back to them. You know, the thing that will make them suddenly feel all better and have a wonderful new perspective on their pain. Well, science says that there is no "right thing" to say when someone is grieving. Simply being present and offering sympathy is your best bet.

Student Evaluations

Apparently, student evaluations of teachers are not only tedious, but bad for everyone--at least when evaluations are taken seriously and tied to things like pay increases or getting tenure-track positions. That's because students give better evaluations to teachers who give them better grades, and teachers who understand this will likely grade more generously. It also results in students assuming that their education is the sole responsibility of their instructor and not ultimately up to them.

When to Trust Intuition

Expert intuition can develop, where people "just know" what's up, but only in very particular circumstances is that intuition accurate: it has to be developed in a scenario that has some consistency and regularity, so that there is something to learn; it requires a lot of practice; and during that practice, you need immediate feedback as to whether you were right or wrong. Then you can develop the intuition of an expert.

Intense OCD Therapy

Two Norwegian psychologists, Gerd Kvale and Bjarne Hansen, have developed an intensive 4-day OCD treatment that is so effective participants can be free of their OCD symptoms for years afterwards. The protocol involves a combination of education, exposure therapy, and regular therapy, and it works! Amazing!

The Receptionist Delivers!
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