There’s no need to read between the lines when you are trying to decipher whether your significant other is right for you or not. According to new research from University of Texas at Austin social psychologist James W. Pennebaker, the truth may be somewhere in the pronouns.

In a recent experiment, Pennebaker and his team gathered 187 students and asked them to partake in a speed dating event at Northwestern University. During the four-minute dates, Pennebaker focused on the use of personal pronouns (e.g., I, you, and me), articles, preopositions, conjunctions, and other small words. According to Pennebaker, although these words are processed rapidly and subconsciously, our use of them can reveal whether a relationship will work or how well two individuals might work together. Couples whose language styles matched – those who used similar levels of personal pronouns, prepositions, and articles – were three times as likely to express an interest in dating each other than those couples who language styles did not match.

Language style matching (LSM) may be better at predicting love connections than even the individuals involved! LSM was able to determine relationships that weren’t a match even when one speed dater showed interest that was not reciprocated by the other.

Want to see how you and your partner stack up? You can try LSM yourself by entering e-mails, text messages, or even general writing samples to get an idea of how your score stacks up. Click here to see how you do.
APA style seemed fairly straightforward when you were just citing books and journal articles. But with the advancement of digital media, there’s a score of new sources that don’t necessarily fit into the procedures you’ve grown accustomed to using. Here’s a quick primer on how to cite two new media sources.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Have you noticed a long string of numbers and letters at the end of citations recently and wondered what that was? A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique link that identifies content and its location on the Internet. A DOI address will provide information over time as to where to find a digital object, making it easier and more convenient to locate digital information (while URLs may change, DOI addresses will not). When journal articles are published now, they are assigned a DOI address – a persistent link that will always lead investigators to the same piece of digital information. To locate an article using a DOI address, simply append the DOI string with http://dx.doi.org/ (and then enter the numeric string immediately following).

When making a reference list, simply add DOI, followed by a colon, the DOI number string, and put the date retrieved in parenthesis. Close this phrase with a period. Here’s an example:

Author name. (Year). Article name. Journal Title, page numbers. doi: XX.XXX/XXXXXXXXXX

Citing E-books

With the advent of e-readers, many people are getting their information in hi-tech ways. It isn’t as simple as citing a page number in a print product. When formulating your reference list, make sure you know the type of e-book version you use (Adobe Digital Editions and Kindle DX are two popular kinds). Instead of publisher information, include the book’s DOI address or the site where you downloaded the book originally. Here’s an example:

Author name. (Year). Title [Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi: XX.XXX/XXXXXXXXXX

In-text citations get a bit more difficult because e-books often lack page numbers, and those that have page numbers are usually only the same for people using the same device you are using. To cite in text, follow APA’s rules for using direct quotations in materials without pagination. Give the reader the major sections, such as chapter, section, and paragraph number in lieu of a true page number.

More questions on how to cite digital sources? Check out www.apastyle.org.
The physical benefits of yoga, such as increased strength, greater flexibility, and surges in feel-good chemicals like dopamine, have been proven through science. But is there a psychological component to this type of exercise, as well?

The Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living is attempting to scientifically evaluate the effects yoga has on those who practice. The institute supports a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School who are researching the impact yoga has on a wide range of mental health issues.

One such study funded by the institute is using brain-imaging studies to better understand how contemplative practices such as yoga and meditation can alter behavior, mood, and states of consciousness. Dr. Sara Lazar, principal investigator, is analyzing these images to assess if a yoga practice can change the actual structure of the brain. If so, how do these changes influence attention, fluid intelligence, and cognitive and emotional functioning? Previous work by Dr. Lazar has shown that the brains of individuals who regularly practiced Buddhist meditation are different from the brains of a control group who did not. This study will evaluate a group of highly experienced yogis to investigate whether they show similar changes to the meditation group.

Several other studies focusing on the link between yoga and mental health are ongoing. One study is attempting to reduce posttraumatic stress disorder severity and symptoms through yoga, and is currently recruiting military veterans for the next phase of research. Another study is using yoga as a preventive mental health measure in high school students — and initial results show that it improves mood states and resiliency when compared to traditional physical education. A third study involving yoga in mindful eating and weight gain prevention programs has documented changes in participants physical and mental health.

Do you recommend yoga to your clients? Do you think yoga helps psychologically as well as physically?

 
Christian Boer, a graphic designer from the Netherlands, has created a new font called Dyslexie that decreases the number of errors made by dyslexics while reading. As a student at the University of Twente, Boer developed the typeface as a way to address his own dyslexia; it later became his graduate school project.

The font works by changing the appearance of some letters of the alphabet that are commonly confused or reversed by dyslexics. For example, Boer has added weight to the bottom of the letters so that there is a sense of “gravity,” which helps readers avoid misconstruing similar letters such as “p” and “d.” Other changes include enlarging the opening of some letters such as “e” and “c,” and increasing the length of the descenders in letters like “g” and “y.” The space between letters and between words has been increased to allow readers more time to process information; punctuation is also more prominent.

Originally developed for the Dutch language, Boer has recently released the font in English, and U.S. users can purchase it online.

According to a recent article in Scientific American, a fellow student at the University of Twente has conducted an independent study and discovered “a significant reduction in reading errors by dyslexics when reading Dutch text typed in Dyslexie as opposed to the Arial font” (Scientific American online edition, October 26, 2011).

To see an example of Dyslexie and a short video about how it helps dyslexics to read more easily, visit Boer’s Web site, www.studiostudio.nl/project-dyslexie/, and click on the English language icon at the top of the page.

What do you think? Could a specially designed font help your dyslexic clients? Leave a comment—PAR wants to hear from you!

 
Some of the world’s best ideas happen by accident – as did the creation of animal-assisted therapy (AAT). In the 1950s, psychologist Boris Levinson discovered that his dog, Jingles, was able to engage a child with autism in a way that humans had not been able to. Since that time, the theory and practice of using animals in therapeutic ways has grown and a substantial body of research has documented the health benefits unique to the human-animal bond.

The Delta Society is an organization dedicated to improving people’s lives through positive interactions with animals. The society trains dogs, the most frequently used therapy animals, but also trains cats, birds, reptiles, and more. According to their research, when people hold or stroke an animal, their blood pressure lowers, their ability to be more extroverted and verbal increases, and the individual reports a decreased sense of loneliness and an increase in self-esteem. Another organization, the Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association (EAGALA), focuses specifically on how horses and humans work together to improve mental health.

The benefits of animal-assisted therapy have been documented through studies with many different groups, from children with pervasive developmental disorders to senior citizens in assisted living situations. Studies have even gone so far as to say that statistics show that individuals exposed to AAT in psychiatric rehabilitation settings exhibit better outcomes than those in a control group that did not have the benefit of AAT, with the AAT group scoring higher on interaction, sociability, and responsiveness to surroundings. EAGALA has found that equine-assisted therapy has been helpful with at-risk youth, military, veteran, and trauma populations.

Do you use animals in your practice? How have they helped your clients?

 
Are you attending the National Academy of Neuropsychology’s 31st Annual Conference? PAR will be exhibiting during this year’s conference, so please stop by the booth to say hello. Several PAR authors will be presenting during the conference, as well.

PAR author Randy K. Otto, PhD, ABPP will be presenting a CE course on Wednesday, November 16 at 1 p.m. entitled “Ethics in Forensic Psychological Practice.” Dr. Otto is coauthor of the Inventory of Legal Knowledge™ (ILK™).

On Friday, November 18 at 1 p.m., PAR authors Sarah Raskin, PhD and Carol Buckheit, along with PAR project director Christina Sherrod, PhD, will be giving a CE workshop called “The Memory for Intentions Test™: Administration, Psychometric Properties, and Clinical Evidence.” Stop by and learn more about this measure.

Bring any product questions to the PAR booth, where you can learn more about our products, speak to our Clinical Assessment Consultants about your testing needs, and place your orders. Remember, all orders made during NAN 2011 get a 15% discount plus free shipping and handling.

See you in Marco Island!

Those who practice meditation tout the benefits of this practice, but is there any truth to the idea that meditation can influence one’s psychological health?

In a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness, 16 healthy individuals were given MRIs two weeks before beginning a mindfulness-based stress reduction course. During this course, individuals took part in weekly classes, listened to guided meditation audio recordings, and logged the amount of time they meditation on their own each day, with the average being about 27 minutes. The same participants were given a second MRI two weeks after completing the course.

The brain scans showed some interesting findings. The hippocampus, important in learning and memory, showed an increase in brain cell mass. Other areas that showed an increase in brain cell mass were structures linked to self-awareness, introspection, and compassion. Some areas – such as the amygdala, which controls anxiety and stress –  showed a decrease in mass, an interesting finding since most participants rated themselves as less stressed after taking part in the program.

The study shows that the psychological benefits people are reporting are very real shifts in the biological structure of the brain. While the underlying mechanisms that cause the brain to change in response to meditation need further research, it is an important step to know that individuals practicing meditation can play an active role in their well-being.

To read more about this study, you can read more in the January 2011 issue of Psychiatric Research: Neuroimaging.

Do you use meditation with your clients? What kinds of outcomes have you witnessed?
Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics released in October suggest that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be diagnosed and treated in children as young as age 4, two years younger than the previous minimum age set by AAP a decade ago.

Mark Wolraich, the lead author of the ADHD clinical practice guidelines and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, told the Wall Street Journal recently that ADHD in a preschool-aged child is very different from the typically active behavior seen in most young children (www.online.wsj.com, October 17). A child with ADHD often doesn’t play well with other children, is prone to accidents, and is overactive much of the time. “It's not the environmental things like parties triggering it,” Dr. Wolraich says.

According to the new guidelines, behavior management should be the first approach for treating preschool-aged children. But when behavioral interventions aren’t enough, the guidelines suggest that doctors consider prescribing methylphenidate (commonly known by the brand name Ritalin) for preschool-aged children with moderate to severe symptoms.

Other key recommendations include assessing children for other conditions that might coexist with ADHD, such as oppositional defiant and conduct disorders, anxiety, and depression.

“Treating children at a young age is important,” asserts Dr. Wolraich, “because when we can identify them earlier and provide appropriate treatment, we can increase their chances of succeeding in school.”

For more information, or to request a complete copy of the guidelines, visit www.aap.org.

What do you think about the new ADHD guidelines? Will they affect your practice? Join the conversation—leave a comment now!
PAR author Dr. Lisa Firestone will be presenting two CE workshops through the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.

“Suicide: What Professionals Need to Know” will be held on December 2, 2011. This workshop provides an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of suicide and of the legal, ethical, and case management issues that arise when dealing with suicidal individuals.

For more information or to register for this session, click here.

“A Developmental Understanding for Assessing and Treating Violent Individuals” will be held on December 3, 2011. This workshop provides an in-depth understanding of developmental issues contributing to violence, the triggers of violence, assessment, case management, and treatment of violent or potentially violent adults and adolescents.

For more information or to register for this session, click here.

Dr. Firestone is the author of the Firestone Assessment of Self-Destructive Thoughts and Firestone Assessment of Suicide Intent (FAST-FASI), the Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts™ (FAVT™) , and the Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts-Adolescent (FAVT-A).
If you’re looking for a good laugh (and sometimes, at the expense of the profession), Showtime’s new comedy, Web Therapy , may be just what you are looking for to blow off some steam after a tough day. Starring Lisa Kudrow as Fiona Wallice, a therapist who invented “web therapy,” the main character, who is sorely lacking in professional skills, makes her living by seeing clients via webcam.

While this is a fictional account of one therapist providing services online (as Fiona’s unique brand of therapy would never pass any kind of ethics codes), the area of telepsychology is a growing one. Although supporters of telepsychology tout a provider’s ability to serve clients all over the world, those who question the practice bring up issues related to licensure issues, privacy concerns, and the general effectiveness of outcomes.

Because the body of research on this practice is still evolving and best practices have not yet emerged, this year’s APA president, Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD, has made a point to work on creating and adopting guidelines for telepsychology services.

Do you provide services via the web, e-mail, or telephone? How do you feel about the telepsychology movement? What do you think should be included in the guidelines?