Saturday November 18, 2017

Is Your Child Avoiding Eye Contact? He May Be Anxious, Says New Study

According to the study, children pay more attention to potentially threatening information and situations.

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Children avoid eye contact when anxious
There is very little known about eye-gazing patterns in children. Pixabay
  • New research explores relationship between anxiety and a child’s response to fear
  • According to the study, anxious children tend to avoid eye contact when faced with difficulty

Riverside, August 18, 2017 : During a conversation, we often look at the eyes of a person for social cues- this helps us make sound judgments. Drawing on similar lines, a new research at University of California assessed the ‘eye-gazing’ patterns in children aged 9 to 14 and revealed that they give more attention to potentially threatening information, and that eye-contact in such situations is directly influenced by their anxiety levels.

According to a new research by Kalina Michalska, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, it has been revealed that anxious children tend to avoid making eye contact, which affects their experience and perception of fear. According to the study titled ‘Anxiety symptoms and children’s eye gaze during fear learning’ which has been published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, children are more likely to be afraid of people when they look into their eyes less frequently and for shorter spans, even when there may not be any reason to do so.

According to a report by ANI, Michalska believes that very little is known about the eye patterns in children. Observing someone’s eyes during a conversation helps us understand emotions the person is going through- whether the person is feeling sad, angry, fearful, or surprised. This in turn assists adults to make decisions about how to respond next. According to Michalska, understanding eye patterns in children “can help us learn more about the development of social learning.”

The Research

For the research, 82 children between the age group of 9 to 13 were shown images of two different women on a computer screen, four times each.

The computer screens were fitted with eye tracking devices that measured the point where the child focused his attention on the screen and for how long.

Later, one of the images was supplemented with loud screams and the other was not. At the end of the exercise, the children were shown both the faces again, with the absence of any sound or screams.

According to Michalska, the study aimed to know whether the child would spend more time looking at the eyes of the face that was paired with a scream than the face that was not paired with a scream, during the second phase.

For this, they examined the participants’ eye contact with the different faces on the computer screen in an attempt to determine “if children make more eye contact with someone who is associated with something bad or threatening,” she added. The experts also observed the relation between the children’s anxiety scores and the duration for which they made eye contact.

What Did The Research Conclude?

The study suggested that children pay more attention to potentially threatening information. This can be said as they paid more attention to the face when it was previously paired with something frightening.

The research found,

  • The children spent an increasing amount of time looking at the eyes of the face that was paired with loud screams. This suggests that they paid attention to potential threats in the absence of outward cues.
  • Children who were more anxious avoided eye-contact throughout the experiment. This shows that these children were afraid of the faces.
  • The more children avoided making an eye contact, the more they were afraid of the faces.

The research gathered that children paid increased attention in an attempt to learn more about the situation and to plan what to do next.

However, the research drew upon the understanding that a child avoiding eye contact may be suffering with anxiety, which in turn leads to an experience of greater fear.

Even though avoiding eye contact may reduce anxiety, the children indulging in this behavior can miss out on important information which may have further repercussions.


 

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It’s Not What it Looks Like! Today’s Teenagers Growing up Slowly

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Teenagers are growing up slowly
Teenagers are growing up slowly. Pixabay

New York, Sep 19, 2017: Contrary to popular perception, today’s teenagers are actually growing up more slowly than their predecessors, with 18-year-olds now behaving like 15-year-olds of yesteryears, suggests new research.

The findings published in the journal Child Development suggest that today’s teenagers are taking longer to engage in adult activities such as drinking alcohol, working, driving, or having sex.

“The developmental trajectory of adolescence has slowed, with teenagers growing up more slowly than they used to,” explained Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University in the US and lead author of the study.
“In terms of adult activities, 18-year-olds now look like 15-year-olds once did,” Twenge said. 

The researchers examined how often teenagers engaged in activities that adults do and that children do not, including dating, working for pay, going out without parents, driving and having sex.

They analysed seven large surveys of 8.3 million 13- to 19-year-olds between 1976 and 2016.

The surveys were nationally representative, reflecting the population of US teenagers in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geographic region.

In the surveys, teenagers were asked how they used their time, including their engagement in one or more adult activities, allowing researchers to compare teens in the 2010s to teenagers in the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s and 1970s.

The study found that today’s adolescents are less likely than their predecessors to take part in activities typically undertaken by adults.

The researchers also examined how changes in family size, life expectancy, education and the economy may have influenced the speed at which teenagers take on adult activities.

Also Read: Introducing Adolescents to Alcohol in their Teen Years Can be Risky 

The trend toward engaging in fewer adult activities cannot be explained by time spent on homework or extracurricular activities because time doing those activities decreased among eighth and tenth graders and was steady among twelfth graders and college students, the researchers said.

The decline may be linked to the time teenagers spend online, which increased markedly, the authors noted.

“Our study suggests that teenagers today are taking longer to embrace both adult responsibilities (such as driving and working) and adult pleasures (such as sex and alcohol),” study co-author Heejung Park, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, said. (IANS)


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Are You Thriving In Life? Scientists Explain What Makes a Person Thrive

The study, published in the journal European Psychologist, outlines a 'shopping list' of requirements for thriving in life

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thriving
Persons thriving in life. Pixabay

London, Sep 10, 2017: Doing well in life, it seems, is not as difficult as we tend to assume when life throws a few tough challenges at us. A new study has found that what it takes to thrive, rather than merely survive, could be as simple as feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something.

Until now and despite plenty of theories, there has been no agreement on what makes a person thrive or on how people can try and ensure they do.

To come up with a definitive catch-all, the researchers pulled together research on what makes people thrive, from studies of babies and teenagers, to studies of artists, sportspeople, employees and the elderly.

“Thriving is a word most people would be glad to hear themselves described as, but which science hasn’t really managed to consistently classify and describe until now,” said Daniel Brown, a sport and exercise scientist at the University of Portsmouth in Britain.

“It appears to come down to an individual experiencing a sense of development, of getting better at something, and succeeding at mastering something,” he added.

“In the simplest terms, what underpins it is feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something,” Brown added.

The study, published in the journal European Psychologist, outlines a ‘shopping list’ of requirements for thriving in life.

Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Green Tea Should Be a Part of Your Everyday Life- What Makes It So Healthy? 

According to the list one has to be optimistic, spiritual or religious, motivated, proactive, someone who enjoys learning and is flexible, adaptable, socially competent, believes in self/has self-esteem.

Moreover, one should also have the opportunity and employer/family/other support. The other requirements in the list include challenges and difficulties are at manageable level, environment is calm, is given a high degree of autonomy and is trusted as competent.

To thrive does not need all the components, but a combination of some from each of the two lists may help, the researchers said.

Thriving has been examined at various stages of human life and has at times been described as vitality, learning, mental toughness, focus, or combinations of these and other qualities.

It has also been examined in various contexts, including in the military, in health and in child development.

“Since the end of the 20th century, there has been a quest in science to better understand human fulfilment and thriving, there’s been a shift towards wanting to understand how humans can function as highly as possible,” Brown said.

“Part of the reason for a lack of consensus is the research so far has been narrowly focused. Some have studied what makes babies thrive, others have examined what makes some employees thrive and others not, and so on. By setting out a clear definition, I hope this helps set a course for future research,” Brown added. (IANS)

 

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Why Worry? These Techniques will Teach How to be Happy!

Learn how to stop worrying with these simple strategies

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How to stop worrying
Cluster of anxious thoughts. Pixabay

New Delhi, August 14, 2017: Worry is a story that we create inside and we use it to create fear. You tend to create fear of something which has to happen in the near future and by worrying, you deplete your strength and energy so much that by the time the situation arises, you would have made yourself already a weak person. What’s expected in such situations is to keep yourself strong so that you can face the situation and respond to the situation with an open mind.

Our every thought, every word and every action are our own creation. Circumstances come to us externally, but our responses are completely our choice. One must admit that there are some things in life which cannot be changed and problems will continue to persist, however, one must learn how to stop worrying.

How to Stop Worrying?

Worry is a delusion

You worry about things that ought to occur in the future. Worries are primarily the monsters you build in your head and are just in your head. It is a sheer misuse of your imagination. A single liberated thought devoid of tensions can make your day.

Incorporate mindfulness

The most efficient technique to stop worrying is to inculcate mindfulness, which involves nonjudgmental awareness of present thoughts and emotions. Make yourself consciously aware of the fact that worries are going to persist for an indefinite period of time but that should not take away your sanity. Also, have a deeper understanding of the fact that worries can never change the outcomes/end result, so deal with the situation rather wasting time and energy on ruminating.

Acceptance

Accepting worries help the person to move on and pass out the situation with ease. Those who are naturally more welcoming of their intrusive feelings are less obsessional, have lower levels of distress, and are less worried.

Gulping Sweets

Sweets are believed to enlighten the mood of the person. Devour your favorite sweets and forget about worries. Whenever a nerve racking thought occurs,  Go ahead and grab a chocolate bar.

Also Read: Planning to Set a Goal? Here’s What You Need to Know! 

Forest Therapy indulgence

Forest therapy promotes relaxation and reduces the activity of sympathetic nerves associated with “fight or flight” reactions to stress.

Pen down your worries

Penning down your own thought might be counterintuitive, but it’s almost similar to emptying the fears out of your mind. You tend to reevaluate that situation so that you’re less likely to worry about those situations.

Cooking is therapeutic

Cooking helps in combating stress and ease the stress levels. When you prepare a recipe, you only focus on one thing and by doing that you spend less time on worrying about issues that concern you.

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Soul awakening through meditation

Anxiety disorders are due to the repetitive, anxious, often baseless thoughts and worries about the future. However, practicing meditation awakens the soul and brings the mind to zero thoughts, which is imperative for the mind wanderers.

Keep the hands busy

Keeping your hands busy can help keep your mind off of worries.  Keeping your hands and mind working conflicts with storing and encoding visual images, which explains why worry beads and knitting calm us down.

Rational thinking

People tend to worry about things they have no control over. It doesn’t change the situation anyways. It is better to stay practical in such situations and so that you are able to respond to the situation open mindedly.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.