Posts Tagged ‘psychology.’


Today in society, most people nearly always expect love to fail. They believe that if they get too close, do too much, or fall too hard, there will be heartbreak right around the corner. If love always fails, how can we explain those few couples that have been together for 20 years plus? Most of us declare that they simply got lucky and that it could never happen to us. Well I beg to differ…

The problem with being in love starts within the self. Of course we hear many people say this, but when you’re in a relationship, the problems within yourself will resurface no matter how much you try to hide it, if not dealt with. The magic question then arises…”does true love exist within yourself”? The next question being, “if not, why is it so hard to love yourself”?

With most of us growing up in the burst of social media age, we find ourselves comparing ourselves to others instead of looking at who we are and liking what we see. Instead of dealing with our flaws,  it’s easier to go on Instagram or Facebook, Vine or YouTube, and simply turn who we are looking at, into who we want to be. We can all be our own kind of great if we were to put just as much effort into ourselves and what we put into the lives of others. If you’re different, embrace your difference. Feed off of the gifts that we were uniquely bestowed with and then you can truly become who we were always meant to be. Love, laugh, and become liberated knowing that you were made this way on purpose.

Before you go judging that special person in your life thinking he or she is too good to be true, trust your instincts, your mind, and your heart. You deserve JOY, so don’t sabotage your chance at something real by thinking you’re not good enough to receive it. True love DOES exist, but you must first love yourself enough to even take that first step. Don’t compare him or her to your past lovers, don’t dwell on the future, but just enjoy the present and who you are as an individual. After all, we were never created to conform. You are beautiful or handsome just the way you are, but let the evolution of yourself be your guide.

 

zs

Advertisements

While it is normal to occasionally feel sad, when a person has major depressive disorder, they experience a severely depressed mood that can remain for years at a time. This is often referred to as depression, which can interfere with daily functioning and cause distress for both the person with the disorder and their family. With an estimated 16 percent of adults suffering from depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, cases of depression are by no means isolated.

With everyone from doctors to therapists to herbal specialists chiming on the subject, reading more about depression can help both patients and caregivers make better decisions. If you are high in desire to learn but low on the wallet, there are options. To help out, I have gathered the below top 25 free and useful eBooks about depression. They are authored by everyone from licensed therapists to those who have suffered some type of depression.

Top Free and Useful eBooks About General Depression

  1. How to Survive the Loss of a Love
    Because there is nothing more saddening than the death of a loved one, stop here. This book by three professionals has been read by over two million people. All 67 parts are available to read with just a click and the part on Understanding Loss is a good introduction.
  2. How to Heal Depression
    Harold H. Bloomfield and Peter McWilliams return in this book on depression. Four parts include understanding depression, healing the brain, healing the mind, and continuing healing are all shared. You can also learn more on how St. John’s Wort is used in the treatment of depression.
  3. You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought
    Because everyone is susceptible to negative thought, not just those with depression, click here. The book is intended for people with any life threatening illness. Chapters include the disease, the cure, and even the three steps to positive thought.
  4. A Collection of Poems About Depression
    If you or someone you know are suffering from depression, it can be easy to feel alone. In this collected work, the author shares poems made in the 90’s when suffering from depression. Peter Stone shares about ten years’ worth of experience battling the disease.
  5. Cure Chronic Anxiety and Depression
    Think you may have either? Then check out this free eBook from Sarah Shikitao-Brown. Natural happiness is also a topic of the book.
  6. Help for Anxiety, Phobias, OCD, and Depression
    Because depression can also come with other mental health problems, have a read of this book. Terry Dixon gives insight into anxiety-related problems and how to deal with them. It also provides information that can be helpful for leading the reader toward a better understanding of the causes and cures for anxiety-based problems.
  7. Meditation and Depression
    Get an academic view of depression with a visit here. Willoughby B. Britton of the department of psychology at the University of Arizona is your author. Chapters are on a prelude to medication, the reversal of depression, the physiological effects of mindfulness, and much more.
  8. Understanding Depression
    Visit here for more of an online guide than traditional eBook. The folks at Help Guide feature basic information such as the signs, symptoms, causes, and help for those with depression. There are also loads of useful links on the topic.

Top Free and Useful eBooks About Psychology

  1. Online Self Help Psychology Book
    Licensed psychotherapist Thayer White authors this book for people with mental health changes in their lives. He argues that individuals can do 90 percent of therapy themselves. Chapters include creativity, weight loss, emotion, men and women, along with many other topics.
  2. Dream Psychology
    You don’t have to be an expert in psychology to recognize the name Sigmund Freud. One of the founders of the science authors this very book on the topic. Visit here to get it as HTML, Kindle, plain text, and more.
  3. Studies in the Psychology of Sex
    Is sexual frustration the cause or downsides to your depression? Then check out this free, popular choice from Havelock Ellis. There are several parts, all of which are available for free.
  4. Psychology and Achievement
    The thought of unfulfilled goals can be depressing to anyone. This free eBook by Warren Hilton examines this very thing. Wasted effort, wasted money, usefulness, and other topics are explored.
  5. Hierarchy of Needs
    Because everyone has several needs, see which are most important to you with a read of this book. Abraham Maslow is considered to be the father of Humanistic Psychology and author of this eBook. There is even a diagram of needs included which is often referred to in psychology.
  6. Classics in Psychology
    Get historical essays on the topic from 1855 to 1914. Many psychology students and experts often read this text as part of their studies. Emerging topics such as methodology, analyses, individual experiences, and more are all featured.
  7. Elements of Psychology
    Similar to the above, this text is often read by students and doctors of psychology. It was written at about 1923 and has been reconstructed for the modern day. Over 250 pages are available to read.
  8. The Conundrums of Psychology
    Sam Vaknin writes on the many problems of psychology. They include normal personality, the myth of mental illness, history of personality disorders, and many more. You can read the entire thing online or download from Scrib’d.
  9. Just Stop Having Problems, Stupid
    Sick of all the “psycho-babble?” So was Dr. Matt, a self-professed fake doctor who takes on realistic problems in a realistic way. Five outrageous chapters include “How to Compare Russell Crowe and Stone Phillips.”

Other Top Free and Useful eBooks About Depression

    1. Hypericum and Depression
      What is hypericum and how can it be used to treat depression? These and other questions are answered in this free eBook. It also includes summaries of medical studies done on the treatment.
    2. The Dark Side of Sleeping Pills
      We all may have turned to sleeping pills at one time or other. However, Dr. Daniel Kripke discusses them in detail and the risks associated with them. Better alternatives are also looked at.
    3. Brighten Your Life
      Dr. Kripke returns again in this free eBook. It is about how sleep can be used as a treatment for depression. How light is used in modern days takes center stage.
    4. A Book of Infinite Possibilities
      Melody Bass shares just what the title promises. She discusses how to focus on changing your thoughts, loving your life, and learning the art of trusting. Readers even stopped into comment on their approval of the book.
    5. Dream Interpretation as a Science
      Is a cigar a cigar? Your dreams can give you more insight to your depression or mental state than you think. Christina Sponias take on the topic in this free 86 page excerpt of her book.
    6. An Amateur’s Guide to Spirituality
      Could spirituality be a treatment for your depression, but you don’t know how? Then check out this guide from Ella Roberts to get the opinion of someone of the same mind set. She knows what is like to be lost spiritually and to ask the questions that need answering.
    7. Mother Teresa: A Biography
      Learn more about one of the most adored figures of our times. The book follows the journey of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu from her humble Albanian birth to worldwide celebrity as Mother Teresa. All 174 pages are available as a PDF.
    8. 101 Motivational Quotes
      Finally, if you just need some inspiration, click here. Steven Grabek shares quotes from society’s greatest thinkers in this free eBook. It also tackles the loss of motivation and procrastination.

The above top 25 free and useful eBooks about depression are for educational and entertainment purposes only. Please consult a licensed physician or therapist if experiencing depression or before making changes to any medication plan.

zs


Classics

  1. On Behalf of the Insane Poor (1843) by Dorothea Dix: While individuals with mental health conditions (especially those in lower tax brackets) still grapple against marginalization today, the absolutely nauseating acts nurse Dorothea Dix witnessed at asylums were even more dehumanizing.
  2. Rules of the Sociological Method (1895) by Emile Durkheim: Almost anything by the heavily influential sociologist Emile Durkheim should be considered essential reading, but this one in particular is notable for outlining research strategies and models.
  3. The Communist Manifesto (1848) by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx: Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the core tenets and practices of communism, the most controversial economic treatise ever published still impacted humanity (and, of course, its social structure) in a major way.
  4. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) by Max Weber: In spite of the title, Max Weber did not intend for his book to be read as an in-depth inquiry into Protestantism. Rather, one of his most famous works explores the relationship between society and religion.
  5. Coming of Age in Samoa (1928) by Margaret Mead: Anthropologist Margaret Mead found some valuable sociological, historical and psychological lessons in her studies of indigenous peoples, precipitating a greater understanding of the adolescent and female experiences.
  6. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) by Joseph Campbell: For sociology buffs who love literature and anthropology, this undeniable classic dissects commonalities in religious and folk narratives and characters from various eras and geographic locales.
  7. The Lonely Crowd (1950) by Reuel Denney, Nathan Glazer and David Riesman: Although some of the research has changed over the decades along with shifts in American culture, this landmark read brought up some revolutionary, provocative ideas about self and social interaction.
  8. The Sociological Imagination (1959) by C. Wright Mills: C. Wright Mills delves deeply into sociology’s structure, function and ultimate goals, providing practitioners with some amazing insight into their field — offering up some intellectual challenges about the nature of reality along the way.
  9. Madness and Civilization (1961) by Michel Foucault: This incredibly illuminating book begins in the Middle Ages and traces the complex history of what society does and does not deem mentally imbalanced, its marginalization of various groups and how it justifies such intolerant behavior.
  10. Stigma (1963) by Erving Goffman: In almost every society, anyone who does not fit into a specifically dictated norm ends up sent to the margins, regardless of whether or not they truly deserve it. One of sociology’s seminal works makes sense of the whys and how behind this phenomenon.
  11. The Social Construction of Reality (1966) by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann:The concept of social construction remains a core component of sociological studies, and any students wanting to learn more about the influential relationship between individuals, groups and their perceptions of reality would do well to pick up Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s ruminations on the subjects.
  1. The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) by William James: Although more a work of psychology and philosophy than sociology, students concerned with researching interplay between religion, the individual and the congregations and denominations in question should still consider this book essential.
  2. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912) by Emile Durkheim: The religious beliefs and rituals all over the world receive skillful dissection and analysis regarding how they influence the societies surrounding them.
  3. The Sociology of Religion (c. 1921) by Max Weber: As one can easily glean from the title,The Sociology of Religion concerns itself with understanding the role of faith in shaping human society for better or for worse.
  4. The World’s Religions (1958) by Huston Smith: Originally titled The Religions of Man, Huston Smith’s classic work is oftentimes cited as one of the most adroit introductions to comparative religion around.
  5. Our Religions (1994) by Arvind Sharma: Significant scholars representing seven of the world’s most heavily populated religions describe the core tenets that attract followers to their respective faiths.
  6. The World’s Wisdom (1995) by Philip Novak: Sociology students with a keen interest in writing about interplay between religion and society should make an effort to read sacred texts from around the world.
  7. The Good Heart (1998) by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: In his lecture from 1994, the Dalai Lama offers up his own interpretations of Jesus’ teachings, resulting in a fascinating interfaith comparison between Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism.
  8. The Battle for God (2000) by Karen Armstrong: Explore the three Abrahamic faiths, and the patterns they share when fringe groups hold the rest of the faith hostage with fundamentalism and violence.
  9. When Religion Becomes Evil (2002) by Charles Kimball: Wake Forest professor and reverend Charles Kimball outlines the five major warning signs of a religion (or a segment of a religion) giving in to violent fundamentalist urges.
  10. God is Not One (2010) by Stephen Prothero: Using both academics and personal experience, this Boston University professor delves into the eight largest religions in the world and highlights the major differences that nurture heavy conflict.

Contemporary Classics

  1. Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) by Jared Diamond: Sociology aficionados, students and professionals who also enjoy reading about history, ethnography, geography and politics (among other topics) will probably find this critically lauded Pulitzer winner a thoroughly engaging read.
  2. Bowling Alone (2000) by Robert D. Putnam: Though time has witnessed a movement away from some of Robert D. Putnam’s studies and observations, his frank discussions of why so many Americans migrate away from civil and neighborly engagement still ring true in many aspects.
  3. Culture Jam (2000) by Kalle Lasn: Subcultures are just as important to sociologists as the prevailing hegemonies surrounding them. Adbusters co-founder Kalle Lasn introduces readers to the old art of culture jamming in response to conspicuous consumption and manipulative advertising.
  4. Sexing the Body (2000) by Anne Fausto-Sterling: Contemporary sexologists make some very compelling scientific cases for gender being based more on sociological paradigms rather than something inherently biological. Many, such as Anne Fausto-Sterling, hope to dispel many of the myths surrounding those who don’t fit into the confining cultural binary.
  5. The Blank Slate (2002) by Steven Pinker: All social science students are familiar with the concept of tabula rasa, but Steven Pinker believes that using it as a model will yield erroneous results and thinking.
  6. The Wisdom of Crowds (2004) by James Surowiecki: Though the “crowd mentality” has a tendency to devolve into madness, this journalist argues that there are some very valuable lessons in productivity to be learned from it.
  7. Freakonomics (2005) by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt: In spite of its merging of economics and pop culture, some sociologists looking for something a little bit lighter than Durkheim, Foucault and Weber find Freakonomics a neat read.
  8. The Lucifer Effect (2007) by Philip Zimbardo: Psychologist Philip Zimbardo explores the highly complex sociological and psychological factors that send previously stable, good-hearted people over the edge and compel them to commit violent crimes.
  9. Guyland (2008) by Michael Kimmel: Adolescent boys in America grow up with some potentially damaging social norms regarding acceptable, arbitrarily “masculine” behavior foisted upon them. This controversial read explores the sociology behind some of these hazardous mindsets and what needs to be done to curb them.

Ethnic Studies

  1. Tally’s Corner (1967) by Elliott Liebow: This groundbreaking study of African-American poverty, ethnography and urbanism should be placed on the syllabi and personal reading lists of sociology students and professionals alike.
  2. Coming to America (1990) by Roger Daniels: Now in its second edition, Coming to Americaexplores the unique experiences of immigrants fleeing to the United States in search of new opportunities — many of whom tragically never really find what they’re seeking.
  3. A Different Mirror (1993) by Ronald Tataki: History, sociology and anthropology lessons merge together through stories and perspectives shining light on the nation’s rich, multicultural heritage.
  4. Other People’s Children (1995) by Lisa Delpit: Learn about the myriad ways in which the public school system tends to marginalize minority and impoverished children based more on stereotypes rather than personal aptitude, and how these practices compromise their futures.
  5. Race Rules (1996) by Michael Eric Dyson: This essay collection explores the difficult but absolutely necessary questions behind racial divides in America, which persisted even into the succeeding millennium.
  6. The Earth Shall Weep (1998) by James Wilson: The grim reality of Native American history after the Europeans ravaged their culture and land provides ethnographers and ethnic studies students plenty to ponder.
  7. Asian American Dreams (2001) by Helen Zia: Part memoir, part journalistic inquiry, Asian American Dreams opens readers up to the marginalizing experiences of the eponymous demographic both in school and mainstream society.
  8. Harvest of Empire (2001) by Juan Gonzales: This history book delves deeply into the complex past, present and possible futures of the Latin American peoples, serving as an excellent introduction to this particular corner of ethnic studies.
  9. Unequal Childhoods (2003) by Annette Lareau: For examples of class and race divides still present in the United States, one need only look at the public school system. From there, these gulfs only widen and cause distress in the surrounding societies.
  10. “Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” (2003) by Beverly Daniel Tatum: One psychologist dissects how younger generations form and come to terms with their racial identity, paying especially close attention to African-Americans receiving an education in predominantly Caucasian schools.

Women’s Studies

  1. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) by Mary Wollstonecroft: One of the earliest feminist treatises ever written laid the groundwork for later movements — all it asked was that women enjoy perfectly equal social standing as men.
  2. The Second Sex (1949) by Simone de Beauvoir: Before the women’s movement gained considerable momentum in America, this French existentialist pointed out the marginalization and “otherness” oftentimes foisted upon females.
  3. The Feminine Mystique (1963) by Betty Friedan: In the book that almost single-handedly launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, Betty Friedan explored the plight of American housewives and pleaded for social justice.
  4. The Female Eunuch (1970) by Germaine Greer: Though not everyone will necessarily agree with the fiery, radical takes on feminism by writers such as Germaine Greer and Angela Y. Davis, sociologists with a love of studying sociopolitical movements and subcultures will find them absolutely fascinating.
  5. Women Race & Class (1983) by Angela Y. Davis: This incredibly controversial activist offers up her take on the eponymous subjects, based on experiences gained during one of the nation’s most volatile eras.
  6. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (1984) by bell hooks: bell hooks delivers an incredibly powerful message about how even movements meant to combat marginalization still end up kicking some members to the fringe.
  7. The Beauty Myth (1991) by Naomi Wolf: One of feminism’s core complaints revolves around the objectification and obsession with female beauty and body shape, which receives a thorough history and dissection here.
  8. ManifestA (2000) by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards: Young feminists looking to lead the next generation of empowered women — as well as sociologists studying them — will find plenty of useful information and inspiration between ManifestA‘s covers.
  9. Female Chauvinist Pigs (2005) by Ariel Levy: Explore one of the more nebulous corners of the women’s movement, where some ladies deliberately exploit their sexuality to impress men, yet still label such actions empowerment.
  10. The Purity Myth (2009) by Jessica Valenti: Savvy Jessica Valenti analyzes how social and media perceptions and stigmatizations of female sexuality actively hold back — if not outright endanger — young women.

DO YOU EVER want to change the way you see the world? Wouldn’t it be fun to hallucinate on your lunch break? Although we typically associate such phenomena with powerful drugs like LSD or mescaline, it’s easy to fling open the doors of perception without them: All it takes is a basic understanding of how the mind works.

The first thing to know is that the mind isn’t a mirror, or even a passive observer of reality. Much of what we think of as being out there actually comes from in here, and is a byproduct of how the brain processes sensation. In recent years scientists have come up with a number of simple tricks that expose the artifice of our senses, so that we end up perceiving what we know isn’t real – tweaking the cortex to produce something uncannily like hallucinations. Perhaps we hear the voice of someone who is no longer alive, or feel as if our nose is suddenly 3 feet long.

brainhackhallucinations

 

zscurl


Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

 

I love looking at creepy photographs of former mental institutions that have fallen into disrepair, but sometimes the true stories behind these hospitals is far more horrifying. Here are a few abandoned and partially abandoned institutions will tales more chilling than their photographs.

Top photo from an abandoned building at Trenton State Hospital, by David Scaglione.

It can be hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to asylum stories; so many fall into the realm of urban legend or lore for ghost hunter TV shows. These are hospitals in which the events (or at least the allegations) are well documented in articles, books, and well cited histories. Many of the abuses that occurred in these hospitals were a product of megalomaniacal physicians, poorly tested treatments, and an overburdened mental health system. It’s important to keep in mind the medical advances as well as the horrors, and to remember that there are plenty of people today who don’t get the mental health care that they need. We may have moved past the ice pick lobotomy as a cure-all, but we’re still working on eliminating the stigma on mental illness, improving mental health access, and ensuring that people in vulnerable positions enjoy autonomy and informed consent.

Metropolitan State Hospital

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by liza31337

There are plenty of disturbing tales surrounding Metropolitan State Hospital, which opened in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1930. On the grounds of the hospital sat the Gaebler Children’s Center, which many of its former residents have described as being akin to a prison, with the children strictly disciplined and frequently sedated. Dinah Williams’ bookAbandoned Insane Asylums references a tale of an accidental poisoning of pediatric psychiatric patients during the 1960s, but that’s not a story I’ve seen confirmed elsewhere.

The macabre tale for which Metropolitan is best known, however, earned it the nickname “The Hospital of Seven Teeth.” In 1978, a patient named Anna Marie Davee went for a walk around the grounds and never returned. It wasn’t until 1980 that her killer, a fellow patient named Melvin Wilson, brought police to the three separate graves where he had buried parts of her hacked-up body. As if dismembering her wasn’t enough, Wilson kept seven of Davee’s teeth as a souvenir.

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by liza31337

Metropolitan State was closed in 1992, as psychiatric care became increasingly privatized. By 2009, most of the buildings on the campus had been demolished, replaced with condo complexes. Only the hospital’s administration building remains.

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by liza31337

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by liza31337

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by liza31337

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by liza31337

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by liza31337

Danvers State Hospital

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by Maria Salvaggio

Another Massachusetts facility, the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers is actually quite famous in horror. It’s said to have been an inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft’s Arkham Sanatorium (Danvers is also mentioned in Lovecraft’s stories “Pickman’s Model” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”) and it served as the setting for the film Session 9. The exterior even appears in the asylum level of the game Painkiller.

So what has earned Danvers State such distinctions? Actually, when the hospital was constructed in 1887, it was designed (by Nathaniel J Bradlee) according to the theories of mental health advocate Thomas Story Kirkbride, who believed in the compassion care and treatment of the mentally ill. That meant ornate interiors, private rooms, and long, rambling wings that would let the sunshine in. But while Danvers was meant to be an appealing place whose interiors promoted the health and wellbeing of its patients, its gothic design has captured the imagination of many a lover of horror.

Unfortunately, as the decades wore on, Kirkbride’s influence touched nothing more than the main building’s floor plan. The structure was originally meant to contain 600 patients, but in 1939, it had a daily population of 2,360, and the staff, whose size had remained relatively stable, was at a loss for how to control the patients, who were sick and dirty from their lack of care. Sometimes the patients died out of the staff members’ sight, and weren’t discovered until days later, rotting away in some forgotten room. Eventually, all of the nightmarish trappings of asylums were introduced: solitary confinement, straightjackets, electroshock therapy (which gets a bad rap, but was likely overused as a means to control patients rather than as a mode of treatment), and the lobotomy.

After psychiatrist physician Walter Freeman performed the United States’ first transorbital lobotomy in 1936, many large psychiatric hospitals took to the procedure like an icepick to an eye socket, using it to treat everything from daydreaming and backaches to delusions and major depression. Danvers is often given the dubious title of the “birthplace of the prefrontal lobotomy” for its use and refinement of the procedure. While some patients certainly saw stunning benefits from this so-called miracle treatment, many others had adverse effects. Visitors to the hospital in the late 1940s described the patients as aimlessly wandering the halls, or vacantly staring at walls, perhaps a result of both their poor treatment by the staff and their various medical interventions.

Portions of the hospital were shuttered starting in 1969, with most of it closed by 1985, and the entire campus shut down in 1992. For years, the building sat empty, but eventually the property was bought up by Avalon Bay Development, which demolished most of the buildings, including the interior of the historic Kirkbride building. The Kirkbride building’s facade was used as part of the new Avalon Danvers apartments. Some of the campus’ tunnels, the cemetery, and facades of a couple of the other buildings remain, but the “modern ruins” version of Danvers State now exists only in photographs and videos.

Incidentally, the city of Danvers once went by a different name: Salem Village.

Trenton State Hospital

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by David Scaglione

The New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum (later Trenton State and now Trenton Psychiatric Hospital) was the very first founded on the Kirkbride plan, by activist Dorothea Dix. But like Danvers State, it was better remembered for its medical abuses than for its well intentioned beginnings. Dr. Henry Cotton became the director of the hospital in 1907 and eventually instituted treatments based on his own theories of mental illness. On the one hand, Cotton, who had trained at Johns Hopkins under the eminent Swiss-born psychiatrist Adolf Meyer, had a very progressive attitude toward care for his patients. He did away with the mechanical restraints that so many other hospitals used to control patients, introduced occupational therapy, increased the staff and ensured that the nurses would prevent violence against the patients, and instituted daily staff meetings about patient care.

But Cotton developed a dangerous theory about mental illness, one that turned his hospital into a house of horrors. After it was confirmed in 1913 that the spirochaete that causes syphilis can cause the disease’s psychiatric symptoms, Cotton began to suspect that all mental illness was caused by bodily infections, and that the only way to cure the patient was to remove the offending infection. In 1917, he began removing his patients’ teeth, even in cases where X-Rays showed no evidence of infection. He soon moved on to other body parts: gall bladder, stomachs, ovaries, testicles, tracts of colon, uteruses. Cotton claimed a cure rate of 85%, but in reality, his surgeries had an unconscionably high mortality rate. And he didn’t always obtain consent from patients or family members—and, in fact, sometimes performed these removals despite their protests.

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by David Scaglione

What’s perhaps more disturbing than Cotton’s actual practice of these excisions is that he didn’t perform them in secret. He published papers and gave presentations on his work. When Meyer sent another psychiatrist to report on the operations at Trenton State, he initially suppressed her report, allowing Cotton to continue his gruesome work. It wasn’t just a single arrogant doctor who was at fault, but also an institution that allowed him to continue his maiming. Cottom remained at Trenton until 1930, three years before his death. The tooth-pulling practice remained in place until 1960. Andrew Scull’s book Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine tells the tale of Cotton’s tenure at Trenton.

Trenton Psychiatric Hospital is still operational, and the center of the Kirkbride building is still in use. But parts of the campus have been abandoned and have fallen into disrepair.

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by David Scaglione

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by David Scaglione

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by David Scaglione

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by David Scaglione

Topeka State Hospital

There is one story from Topeka State Hospital that is sure to make your skin crawl: According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, a reporter visited the facility at some point during the early 20th century and saw a patient who had been strapped down for so long that his skin had begun to grow over his restraints. Other patients were chained up while naked for months at a time. For many residents at that time, however, life offered a different similar sort of hell, even if they were unrestrained: an unending boredom. Patients were given nothing to do, nothing to stimulate their minds, and so they sat in rocking chairs in the hallway all day, rocking and staring and doing little else.

Fortunately, in 1948, Kansas Governor Frank Carlson, responding to reports of overcrowding and deplorable conditions, convened a panel to study the problem. The state legislature ended up doubling the appropriations for mental hospitals and the rocking chairs were removed from the hallway. Psychiatrists and psychologists began volunteering at the hospital, seeing patients and organizing a department of psychology at the hospital. In 1949, the hospital hired its first social worker, who prepared patients for their eventual release. Although the hospital did stumble in later years due to funding cutbacks, by the late 1960s, Topeka State was viewed as a leading psychiatric facility.

However, the hospital lost its Medicare and Medicaid accreditation in 1988, and like so many hospitals, lost patients to community-based programs during the 1990s. In 1997, the hospital closed its doors for good.

Fernald State School

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Whereas most of the institutions on this list were built in the spirit of the Kirkbride plan, Fernald State School goes back a bit further, to 1848, when it opened in Waltham, Massachusetts, as the Massachusetts School for Idiotic Children. The school’s first superintendent, Walter E. Fernald, was an advocate of eugenics before the word even existed. The school was originally intended as an educational facility for boys with low intelligence (and any other boy unceremoniously dumped not the school’s doorstep) so they could lead productive, independent lives, but it effectively served as a prison for children whose only crime was being committed to the facility.

And the boys were treated like criminals; even their eventual release date was referred to as their “parole.” They were physically and sexually abused in especially cruel ways. In his book

The State Boys Rebellion, Michael D’Antonio describes events like “Red Cherry” day, in which one boy’s name was chosen at random and his pants were pulled down and he was beaten until his bum was red as a cherry. They received substandard education, taking classes from sometimes unlicensed teachers and getting less than half the class time of their peers. There was no privacy, and the boys slept 36 to a room. The boys were not, however, subject to sterilization, a legacy from Fernald himself, who believed that sterilization would lead to promiscuity.

Perhaps most bizarre is the infamous Quaker Oats radiation experiment. During the 1950s, MIT researchers studied the way the body absorbs calcium and iron by feeding some of the Fernald residents cereal laced with radioactive tracers. The boys who participated in the study were told they were joining the “science club,” but they, and in many cases their families, were unaware of the nature of the experiment. Although it wasn’t proven whether the doses of radiation the boys consumed were at all harmful, in 1998, MIT and the Quaker Oats Company agreed to pay $1.85 million to the members of the science club.

Currently, Fernald remains partially open, but as a residence for mentally disabled adults. As of December 2012, there were 13 residents on the campus. Many of the buildings are no longer in use. You can see photos of one of the abandoned buildings at Lindsay Blair Brown’s blog and the campus on Flickr.

Whittingham Hospital

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by underclassrising.net

London’s Whittingham Hospital was once the largest mental institution in Britain, and it was a pioneer in the use of electroencephalograms. But the hospital’s legacy was forever tainted in 1965, when a series of bizarre allegations against the staff of the St. Luke’s division began to emerge. Over the next few years, these allegations began to spill out into the mainstream press, and the papers jumped on claims that patients were fed mixed-together food as “slops,” that some were given only bread and jam to eat, that they were locked out in the courtyard during inclement weather, that they were put to bed wearing only vests, that some patients were locked out of the bathrooms. One patient alleged that staff members would sometimes apply a “wet towel treatment” to patients, twisting a wet towel around a patient’s neck until the patient lost consciousness. Others claimed that patients were punched and subsequently locked in a storeroom. One claimed that two nurses had poured alcohol onto the slippers of one patient and the dressing gown of another and then set both on fire.

The allegations were routinely denied by the staff, but both the head nurse and the matron retired as a result of the scandal. And the official inquiry into the matter came after a nurse was convicted for manslaughter after one of the elderly patients he had assaulted died. The hospital closed in 1995, and most of the buildings on the premises are still standing.

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by underclassrising.net

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

Photo by underclassrising.net

Six Abandoned Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Backstories

zscurl


1276_Being_Defensive

 

zscurl


The human body is an incredibly complex and intricate system, one that still baffles doctors and researchers on a regular basis despite thousands of years of medical knowledge. As a result, it shouldn’t be any surprise that even body parts and functions we deal with every day have bizarre or unexpected facts and explanations behind them. From sneezes to fingernail growth, here are 100 weird, wacky, and interesting facts about the human body.

 

The Brain

The human brain is the most complex and least understood part of the human anatomy. There may be a lot we don’t know, but here are a few interesting facts that we’ve got covered.

  1. Nerve impulses to and from the brain travel as fast as 170 miles per hour. Ever wonder how you can react so fast to things around you or why that stubbed toe hurts right away? It’s due to the super-speedy movement of nerve impulses from your brain to the rest of your body and vice versa, bringing reactions at the speed of a high powered luxury sports car.
  2. The brain operates on the same amount of power as 10-watt light bulb. The cartoon image of a light bulb over your head when a great thought occurs isn’t too far off the mark. Your brain generates as much energy as a small light bulb even when you’re sleeping.
  3. The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Or any other encyclopedia for that matter. Scientists have yet to settle on a definitive amount, but the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms is thought to be between 3 or even 1,000 terabytes. The National Archives of Britain, containing over 900 years of history, only takes up 70 terabytes, making your brain’s memory power pretty darn impressive.
  4. Your brain uses 20% of the oxygen that enters your bloodstream. The brain only makes up about 2% of our body mass, yet consumes more oxygen than any other organ in the body, making it extremely susceptible to damage related to oxygen deprivation. So breathe deep to keep your brain happy and swimming in oxygenated cells.
  5. The brain is much more active at night than during the day. Logically, you would think that all the moving around, complicated calculations and tasks and general interaction we do on a daily basis during our working hours would take a lot more brain power than, say, lying in bed. Turns out, the opposite is true. When you turn off your brain turns on. Scientists don’t yet know why this is but you can thank the hard work of your brain while you sleep for all those pleasant dreams.
  6. Scientists say the higher your I.Q. the more you dream. While this may be true, don’t take it as a sign you’re mentally lacking if you can’t recall your dreams. Most of us don’t remember many of our dreams and the average length of most dreams is only 2-3 seconds–barely long enough to register.
  7. Neurons continue to grow throughout human life. For years scientists and doctors thought that brain and neural tissue couldn’t grow or regenerate. While it doesn’t act in the same manner as tissues in many other parts of the body, neurons can and do grow throughout your life, adding a whole new dimension to the study of the brain and the illnesses that affect it.
  8. Information travels at different speeds within different types of neurons. Not all neurons are the same. There are a few different types within the body and transmission along these different kinds can be as slow as 0.5 meters/sec or as fast as 120 meters/sec.
  9. The brain itself cannot feel pain. While the brain might be the pain center when you cut your finger or burn yourself, the brain itself does not have pain receptors and cannot feel pain. That doesn’t mean your head can’t hurt. The brain is surrounded by loads of tissues, nerves and blood vessels that are plenty receptive to pain and can give you a pounding headache.
  10. 80% of the brain is water. Your brain isn’t the firm, gray mass you’ve seen on TV. Living brain tissue is a squishy, pink and jelly-like organ thanks to the loads of blood and high water content of the tissue. So the next time you’re feeling dehydrated get a drink to keep your brain hydrated.

 

Hair and Nails

While they’re not a living part of your body, most people spend a good amount of time caring for their hair and nails. The next time you’re heading in for a haircut or manicure, think of these facts.

  1. Facial hair grows faster than any other hair on the body. If you’ve ever had a covering of stubble on your face as you’re clocking out at 5 o’clock you’re probably pretty familiar with this. In fact, if the average man never shaved his beard it would grow to over 30 feet during his lifetime, longer than a killer whale.
  2. Every day the average person loses 60-100 strands of hair. Unless you’re already bald, chances are good that you’re shedding pretty heavily on a daily basis. Your hair loss will vary in accordance with the season, pregnancy, illness, diet and age.
  3. Women’s hair is about half the diameter of men’s hair. While it might sound strange, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that men’s hair should be coarser than that of women. Hair diameter also varies on average between races, making hair plugs on some men look especially obvious.
  4. One human hair can support 3.5 ounces. That’s about the weight of two full size candy bars, and with hundreds of thousands of hairs on the human head, makes the tale of Rapunzel much more plausible.
  5. The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger. And the nail on the middle finger of your dominant hand will grow the fastest of all. Why is not entirely known, but nail growth is related to the length of the finger, with the longest fingers growing nails the fastest and shortest the slowest.
  6. There are as many hairs per square inch on your body as a chimpanzee. Humans are not quite the naked apes that we’re made out to be. We have lots of hair, but on most of us it’s not obvious as a majority of the hairs are too fine or light to be seen.
  7. Blondes have more hair. They’re said to have more fun, and they definitely have more hair. Hair color determines how dense the hair on your head is. The average human has 100,000 hair follicles, each of which is capable of producing 20 individual hairs during a person’s lifetime. Blondes average 146,000 follicles while people with black hair tend to have about 110,000 follicles. Those with brown hair fit the average with 100,000 follicles and redheads have the least dense hair, with about 86,000 follicles.
  8. Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails. If you notice that you’re trimming your fingernails much more frequently than your toenails you’re not just imagining it. The nails that get the most exposure and are used most frequently grow the fastest. On average, nails on both the toes and fingers grow about one-tenth of an inch each month.
  9. The lifespan of a human hair is 3 to 7 years on average. While you quite a few hairs each day, your hairs actually have a pretty long life providing they aren’t subject to any trauma. Your hairs will likely get to see several different haircuts, styles, and even possibly decades before they fall out on their own.
  10. You must lose over 50% of your scalp hairs before it is apparent to anyone. You lose hundreds of hairs a day but you’ll have to lose a lot more before you or anyone else will notice. Half of the hairs on your pretty little head will have to disappear before your impending baldness will become obvious to all those around you.
  11. Human hair is virtually indestructible. Aside from it’s flammability, human hair decays at such a slow rate that it is practically non-disintegrative. If you’ve ever wondered how your how clogs up your pipes so quick consider this: hair cannot be destroyed by cold, change of climate, water, or other natural forces and it is resistant to many kinds of acids and corrosive chemicals.

 

Internal Organs

Though we may not give them much thought unless they’re bothering us, our internal organs are what allow us to go on eating, breathing and walking around. Here are some things to consider the next time you hear your stomach growl.

  1. The largest internal organ is the small intestine. Despite being called the smaller of the two intestines, your small intestine is actually four times as long as the average adult is tall. If it weren’t looped back and forth upon itself it wouldn’t fit inside the abdominal cavity.
  2. The human heart creates enough pressure to squirt blood 30 feet. No wonder you can feel your heartbeat so easily. Pumping blood through your body quickly and efficiently takes quite a bit of pressure resulting in the strong contractions of the heart and the thick walls of the ventricles which push blood to the body.
  3. The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razorblades. While you certainly shouldn’t test the fortitude of your stomach by eating a razorblade or any other metal object for that matter, the acids that digest the food you eat aren’t to be taken lightly. Hydrochloric acid, the type found in your stomach, is not only good at dissolving the pizza you had for dinner but can also eat through many types of metal.
  4. The human body is estimated to have 60,000 miles of blood vessels. To put that in perspective, the distance around the earth is about 25,000 miles, making the distance your blood vessels could travel if laid end to end more than two times around the earth.
  5. You get a new stomach lining every three to four days. The mucus-like cells lining the walls of the stomach would soon dissolve due to the strong digestive acids in your stomach if they weren’t constantly replaced. Those with ulcers know how painful it can be when stomach acid takes its toll on the lining of your stomach.
  6. The surface area of a human lung is equal to a tennis court. In order to more efficiently oxygenate the blood, the lungs are filled with thousands of branching bronchi and tiny, grape-like alveoli. These are filled with microscopic capillaries which oxygen and carbon dioxide. The large amount of surface area makes it easier for this exchange to take place, and makes sure you stay properly oxygenated at all times.
  7. Women’s hearts beat faster than men’s.The main reason for this is simply that on average women tend to be smaller than men and have less mass to pump blood to. But women’s and men’s hearts can actually act quite differently, especially when experiencing trauma like a heart attack, and many treatments that work for men must be adjusted or changed entirely to work for women.
  8. Scientists have counted over 500 different liver functions. You may not think much about your liver except after a long night of drinking, but the liver is one of the body’s hardest working, largest and busiest organs. Some of the functions your liver performs are: production of bile, decomposition of red blood cells, plasma protein synthesis, and detoxification.
  9. The aorta is nearly the diameter of a garden hose. The average adult heart is about the size of two fists, making the size of the aorta quite impressive. The artery needs to be so large as it is the main supplier of rich, oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
  10. Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart. For most people, if they were asked to draw a picture of what the lungs look like they would draw both looking roughly the same size. While the lungs are fairly similar in size, the human heart, though located fairly centrally, is tilted slightly to the left making it take up more room on that side of the body and crowding out that poor left lung.
  11. You could remove a large part of your internal organs and survive. The human body may appear fragile but it’s possible to survive even with the removal of the stomach, the spleen, 75 percent of the liver, 80 percent of the intestines, one kidney, one lung, and virtually every organ from the pelvic and groin area. You might not feel too great, but the missing organs wouldn’t kill you.
  12. The adrenal glands change size throughout life. The adrenal glands, lying right above the kidneys, are responsible for releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. In the seventh month of a fetus’ development, the glands are roughly the same size as the kidneys. At birth, the glands have shrunk slightly and will continue to do so throughout life. In fact, by the time a person reaches old age, the glands are so small they can hardly be seen.

 

Bodily Functions

We may not always like to talk about them, but everyone has to deal with bodily functions on a daily basis. These are a few facts about the involuntary and sometimes unpleasant actions of our bodies.

  1. Sneezes regularly exceed 100 mph. There’s a good reason why you can’t keep your eyes open when you sneeze–that sneeze is rocketing out of your body at close to 100 mph. This is, of course, a good reason to cover your mouth when you sneeze.
  2. Coughs clock in at about 60 mph. Viruses and colds get spread around the office and the classroom quickly during cold and flu season. With 60 mph coughs spraying germs far and wide, it’s no wonder.
  3. Women blink twice as many times as men do. That’s a lot of blinking every day. The average person, man or woman, blinks about 13 times a minute.
  4. A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball. No wonder you have to run to bathroom when you feel the call of the wild. The average bladder holds about 400-800 cc of fluid but most people will feel the urge to go long before that at 250 to 300 cc.
  5. Approximately 75% of human waste is made of water. While we might typically think that urine is the liquid part of human waste products, the truth is that what we consider solid waste is actually mostly water as well. You should be thankful that most waste is fairly water-filled, as drier harder stools are what cause constipation and are much harder and sometimes painful to pass.
  6. Feet have 500,000 sweat glands and can produce more than a pint of sweat a day. With that kind of sweat-producing power it’s no wonder that your gym shoes have a stench that can peel paint. Additionally, men usually have much more active sweat glands than women.
  7. During your lifetime, you will produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools. Saliva plays an important part in beginning the digestive process and keeping the mouth lubricated, and your mouth produces quite a bit of it on a daily basis.
  8. The average person expels flatulence 14 times each day. Even if you’d like to think you’re too dignified to pass gas, the reality is that almost everyone will at least a few times a day. Digestion causes the body to release gases which can be painful if trapped in the abdomen and not released.
  9. Earwax production is necessary for good ear health. While many people find earwax to be disgusting, it’s actually a very important part of your ear’s defense system. It protects the delicate inner ear from bacteria, fungus, dirt and even insects. It also cleans and lubricates the ear canal.

 

Sex and Reproduction

As taboo as it may be in some places, sex is an important part of human life as a facet of relationships and the means to reproduce. Here are a few things you might not have known.

  1. On any given day, sexual intercourse takes place 120 million times on earth. Humans are a quickly proliferating species, and with about 4% of the world’s population having sex on any given day, it’s no wonder that birth rates continue to increase in many places all over the world.
  2. The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and the smallest is the male sperm. While you can’t see skin cells or muscle cells, the ovum is typically large enough to be seen with the naked eye with a diameter of about a millimeter. The sperm cell, on the other hand, is tiny, consisting of little more than nucleus.
  3. The three things pregnant women dream most of during their first trimester are frogs, worms and potted plants. Pregnancy hormones can cause mood swings, cravings and many other unexpected changes. Oddly enough, hormones can often affect the types of dreams women have and their vividness. The most common are these three types, but many women also dream of water, giving birth or even have violent or sexually charged dreams.
  4. Your teeth start growing 6 months before you are born. While few babies are born with teeth in place, the teeth that will eventually push through the gums of young children are formed long before the child even leaves the womb. At 9 to 12 weeks the fetus starts to form the teeth buds that will turn into baby teeth.
  5. Babies are always born with blue eyes. The color of your eyes depends on the genes you get from your parents, but at birth most babies appear to have blue eyes. The reason behind this is the pigment melanin. The melanin in a newborn’s eyes often needs time after birth to be fully deposited or to be darkened by exposure to ultraviolet light, later revealing the baby’s true eye color.
  6. Babies are, pound for pound, stronger than an ox. While a baby certainly couldn’t pull a covered wagon at its present size, if the child were the size of an oxen it just might very well be able to. Babies have especially strong and powerful legs for such tiny creatures, so watch out for those kicks.
  7. One out of every 2,000 newborn infants has a tooth when they are born. Nursing mothers may cringe at this fact. Sometimes the tooth is a regular baby tooth that has already erupted and sometimes it is an extra tooth that will fall out before the other set of choppers comes in.
  8. A fetus acquires fingerprints at the age of three months. When only a small fraction of the way through its development, a fetus will have already developed one of the most unique human traits: fingerprints. At only 6-13 weeks of development, the whorls of what will be fingerprints have already developed. Oddly enough, those fingerprints will not change throughout the person’s life and will be one of the last things to disappear after death.
  9. Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell. All life has to begin somewhere, and even the largest humans spent a short part of their lives as a single celled organism when sperm and egg cells first combine. Shortly afterward, the cells begin rapidly dividing and begin forming the components of a tiny embryo.
  10. Most men have erections every hour to hour and a half during sleep. Most people’s bodies and minds are much more active when they’re sleeping than they think. The combination of blood circulation and testosterone production can cause erections during sleep and they’re often a normal and necessary part of REM sleep.

 

Senses

The primary means by which we interact with the world around us is through our senses. Here are some interesting facts about these five sensory abilities.

  1. After eating too much, your hearing is less sharp. If you’re heading to a concert or a musical after a big meal you may be doing yourself a disservice. Try eating a smaller meal if you need to keep your hearing pitch perfect.
  2. About one third of the human race has 20-20 vision. Glasses and contact wearers are hardly alone in a world where two thirds of the population have less than perfect vision. The amount of people with perfect vision decreases further as they age.
  3. If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it. In order for foods, or anything else, to have a taste, chemicals from the substance must be dissolved by saliva. If you don’t believe it, try drying off your tongue before tasting something.
  4. Women are born better smellers than men and remain better smellers over life. Studies have shown that women are more able to correctly pinpoint just what a smell is. Women were better able to identify citrus, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee smells. While women are overall better smellers, there is an unfortunate 2% of the population with no sense of smell at all.
  5. Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents. While a bloodhound’s nose may be a million times more sensitive than a human’s, that doesn’t mean that the human sense of smell is useless. Humans can identify a wide variety of scents and many are strongly tied to memories.
  6. Even small noises cause the pupils of the eyes to dilate. It is believed that this is why surgeons, watchmakers and others who perform delicate manual operations are so bothered by uninvited noise. The sound causes their pupils to change focus and blur their vision, making it harder to do their job well.
  7. Everyone has a unique smell, except for identical twins. Newborns are able to recognize the smell of their mothers and many of us can pinpoint the smell of our significant others and those we are close to. Part of that smell is determined by genetics, but it’s also largely do to environment, diet and personal hygiene products that create a unique chemistry for each person.

 

Aging and Death

From the very young to the very old, aging is a necessary and unavoidable part of life. Learn about the process with these interesting, if somewhat strange facts.

  1. The ashes of a cremated person average about 9 pounds. A big part of what gives the human body weight is the water trapped in our cells. Once cremated, that water and a majority of our tissues are destroyed, leaving little behind.
  2. Nails and hair do not continue to grow after we die. They do appear longer when we die, however, as the skin dehydrates and pulls back from the nail beds and scalp.
  3. By the age of 60, most people will have lost about half their taste buds. Perhaps you shouldn’t trust your grandma’s cooking as much as you do. Older individuals tend to lose their ability to taste, and many find that they need much more intense flavoring in order to be able to fully appreciate a dish.
  4. Your eyes are always the same size from birth but your nose and ears never stop growing. When babies look up at you with those big eyes, they’re the same size that they’ll be carrying around in their bodies for the rest of their lives. Their ears and nose, however, will grow throughout their lives and research has shown that growth peaks in seven year cycles.
  5. By 60 years of age, 60-percent of men and 40-percent of women will snore. If you’ve ever been kept awake by a snoring loved one you know the sound can be deafening. Normal snores average around 60 decibels, the noise level of normal speech, intense snores can reach more than 80 decibels, the approximate level caused by a jackhammer breaking up concrete.
  6. A baby’s head is one-quarter of it’s total length, but by age 25 will only be one-eighth of its total length. As it turns out, our adorably oversized baby heads won’t change size as drastically as the rest of our body. The legs and torso will lengthen, but the head won’t get much longer.

 

Disease and Injury

Most of us will get injured or sick at some point in our lives. Here are some facts on how the human body reacts to the stresses and dangers from the outside world.

  1. Monday is the day of the week when the risk of heart attack is greatest. Yet another reason to loathe Mondays! A ten year study in Scotland found that 20% more people die of heart attacks on Mondays than any other day of the week. Researchers theorize that it’s a combination of too much fun over the weekend with the stress of going back to work that causes the increase.
  2. Humans can make do longer without food than sleep. While you might feel better prepared to stay up all night partying than to give up eating, that feeling will be relatively short lived. Provided there is water, the average human could survive a month to two months without food depending on their body fat and other factors. Sleep deprived people, however, start experiencing radical personality and psychological changes after only a few sleepless days. The longest recorded time anyone has ever gone without sleep is 11 days, at the end of which the experimenter was awake, but stumbled over words, hallucinated and frequently forgot what he was doing.
  3. A simple, moderately severe sunburn damages the blood vessels extensively. How extensively? Studies have shown that it can take four to fifteen months for them to return to their normal condition. Consider that the next time you’re feeling too lazy to apply sunscreen before heading outside.
  4. Over 90% of diseases are caused or complicated by stress. That high stress job you have could be doing more than just wearing you down each day. It could also be increasing your chances of having a variety of serious medical conditions like depression, high blood pressure and heart disease.
  5. A human head remains conscious for about 15 to 20 seconds after it is been decapitated. While it might be gross to think about, the blood in the head may be enough to keep someone alive and conscious for a few seconds after the head has been separated from the body, though reports as to the accuracy of this are widely varying.

 

Muscles and Bones

Muscles and Bones provide the framework for our bodies and allow us to jump, run or just lie on the couch. Here are a few facts to ponder the next time you’re lying around.

  1. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. Unless you’re trying to give your face a bit of a workout, smiling is a much easier option for most of us. Anyone who’s ever scowled, squinted or frowned for a long period of time knows how it tires out the face which doesn’t do a thing to improve your mood.
  2. Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adulthood the number is reduced to 206. The reason for this is that many of the bones of children are composed of smaller component bones that are not yet fused like those in the skull. This makes it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal. The bones harden and fuse as the children grow.
  3. We are about 1 cm taller in the morning than in the evening. The cartilage between our bones gets compressed by standing, sitting and other daily activities as the day goes on, making us just a little shorter at the end of the day than at the beginning.
  4. The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue. While you may not be able to bench press much with your tongue, it is in fact the strongest muscle in your body in proportion to its size. If you think about it, every time you eat, swallow or talk you use your tongue, ensuring it gets quite a workout throughout the day.
  5. The hardest bone in the human body is the jawbone. The next time someone suggests you take it on the chin, you might be well advised to take their advice as the jawbone is one of the most durable and hard to break bones in the body.
  6. You use 200 muscles to take one step. Depending on how you divide up muscle groups, just to take a single step you use somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 muscles. That’s a lot of work for the muscles considering most of us take about 10,000 steps a day.
  7. The tooth is the only part of the human body that can’t repair itself. If you’ve ever chipped a tooth you know just how sadly true this one is. The outer layer of the tooth is enamel which is not a living tissue. Since it’s not alive, it can’t repair itself, leaving your dentist to do the work instead.
  8. It takes twice as long to lose new muscle if you stop working out than it did to gain it. Lazy people out there shouldn’t use this as motivation to not work out, however. It’s relatively easy to build new muscle tissue and get your muscles in shape, so if anything, this fact should be motivation to get off the couch and get moving.
  9. Bone is stronger than some steel. This doesn’t mean your bones can’t break of course, as they are much less dense than steel. Bone has been found to have a tensile strength of 20,000 psi while steel is much higher at 70,000 psi. Steel is much heavier than bone, however, and pound for pound bone is the stronger material.
  10. The feet account for one quarter of all the human body’s bones. You may not give your feet much thought but they are home to more bones than any other part of your body. How many? Of the two hundred or so bones in the body, the feet contain a whopping 52 of them.

 

Microscopic Level

Much of what takes place in our bodies happens at a level that we simply can’t see with the naked eye. These facts will show you that sometimes that might be for the best.

  1. About 32 million bacteria call every inch of your skin home. Germaphobes don’t need to worry however, as a majority of these are entirely harmless and some are even helpful in maintaining a healthy body.
  2. Humans shed and regrow outer skin cells about every 27 days. Skin protects your delicate internal organs from the elements and as such, dries and flakes off completely about once a month so that it can maintain its strength. Chances are that last month’s skin is still hanging around your house in the form of the dust on your bookshelf or under the couch.
  3. Three hundred million cells die in the human body every minute. While that sounds like a lot, it’s really just a small fraction of the cells that are in the human body. Estimates have placed the total number of cells in the body at 10-50 trillion so you can afford to lose a few hundred million without a hitch.
  4. Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour. You may not think much about losing skin if yours isn’t dry or flaky or peeling from a sunburn, but your skin is constantly renewing itself and shedding dead cells.
  5. Every day an adult body produces 300 billion new cells. Your body not only needs energy to keep your organs up and running but also to constantly repair and build new cells to form the building blocks of your body itself.
  6. Every tongue print is unique. If you’re planning on committing a crime, don’t think you’ll get away with leaving a tongue print behind. Each tongue is different and yours could be unique enough to finger you as the culprit.
  7. Your body has enough iron in it to make a nail 3 inches long. Anyone who has ever tasted blood knows that it has a slightly metallic taste. This is due to the high levels of iron in the blood. If you were to take all of this iron out of the body, you’d have enough to make a small nail and very severe anemia.
  8. The most common blood type in the world is Type O. Blood banks find it valuable as it can be given to those with both type A and B blood. The rarest blood type, A-H or Bombay blood due to the location of its discovery, has been found in less than hundred people since it was discovered.
  9. Human lips have a reddish color because of the great concentration of tiny capillaries just below the skin. The blood in these capillaries is normally highly oxygenated and therefore quite red. This explains why the lips appear pale when a person is anemic or has lost a great deal of blood. It also explains why the lips turn blue in very cold weather. Cold causes the capillaries to constrict, and the blood loses oxygen and changes to a darker color.

 

Miscellaneous

Here are a few things you might not have known about all different parts of your anatomy.

  1. The colder the room you sleep in, the better the chances are that you’ll have a bad dream. It isn’t entirely clear to scientists why this is the case, but if you are opposed to having nightmares you might want to keep yourself a little toastier at night.
  2. Tears and mucus contain an enzyme (lysozyme) that breaks down the cell wall of many bacteria. This is to your advantage, as the mucus that lines your nose and throat, as well as the tears that wet your eyes are helping to prevent bacteria from infecting those areas and making you sick.
  3. Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil. If you’ve seen the Matrix you are aware of the energy potentially generated by the human body. Our bodies expend a large amount of calories keeping us at a steady 98.6 degrees, enough to boil water or even cook pasta.
  4. Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you aren’t. The chemicals and hormones released when you are afraid could be having unseen effects on your body in the form of earwax. Studies have suggested that fear causes the ears to produce more of the sticky substance, though the reasons are not yet clear.
  5. It is not possible to tickle yourself. Even the most ticklish among us do not have the ability to tickle ourselves. The reason behind this  is that your brain predicts the tickle from information it already has, like how your fingers are moving. Because it knows and can feel where the tickle is coming from, your brain doesn’t respond in the same way as it would if someone else was doing the tickling.
  6. The width of your armspan stretched out is the length of your whole body. While not exact down to the last millimeter, your armspan is a pretty good estimator of your height.
  7. Humans are the only animals to produce emotional tears. In the animal world, humans are the biggest crybabies, being the only animals who cry because they’ve had a bad day, lost a loved one, or just don’t feel good.
  8. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. This doesn’t have a genetic basis, but is largely due to the fact that a majority of the machines and tools we use on a daily basis are designed for those who are right handed, making them somewhat dangerous for lefties to use and resulting in thousands of accidents and deaths each year.
  9. Women burn fat more slowly than men, by a rate of about 50 calories a day. Most men have a much easier time burning fat than women. Women, because of their reproductive role, generally require a higher basic body fat proportion than men, and as a result their bodies don’t get rid of excess fat at the same rate as men.
  10. Koalas and primates are the only animals with unique fingerprints. Humans, apes and koalas are unique in the animal kingdom due to the tiny prints on the fingers of their hands. Studies on primates have suggested that even cloned individuals have unique fingerprints.
  11. The indentation in the middle of the area between the nose and the upper lip has a name. It is called the philtrum. Scientists have yet to figure out what purpose this indentation serves, though the ancient Greeks thought it to be one of the most erogenous places on the body.

 

zscurl


Eyes are the window to the . . . brain? A breakthrough study in Psychological Science finds that the small vessels behind your eyes could reveal how healthy your noggin is.

The scientists found that people with wider veins scored worse on IQ tests in middle age. Other factors like smoking, diabetes, or socioeconomic status couldn’t be to blame for the scores, says Idan Shalev, Ph.D., the study’s lead author.

What gives? Your eyes’ vessels may reflect the condition of your brain’s vessels because they’re similar in size, structure, and function, says Shalev. “Eye vessels are developed from the same cells that brain vessels are developed from,” he adds.

Previous studies have linked the size of blood vessels in your eyes to risks for other diseases like dementia, cardiovascular disease, or stroke—but those studies were done in older people, says Shalev. This study found that the health of your eyes could indicate brain health at a much earlier age. The results were seen even in children.

So what does it mean for you? Pencil in the eye doctor. Even if you’re blessed with 20/20 vision, retinal imaging (a fancy term for the photo eye docs take of your eyes) does far more than test vision: It could be the easiest way yet to check in on your brain.  It’s also a good way to keep track of changes if you’re at high risk for a disease like cardiovascular disease, Shalev says. Being able to compare images over time could help ID changes in midlife that hint towards problems. Otherwise, these changes could go unnoticed as they may not show symptoms until much later, he says.

zscurl


Psychology has a reputation for being the science of common sense, or a field that simply confirms things we already know about ourselves.

One way of battling this misconception, explains Jeremy Dean — a PhD candidate in psychology and master of ceremonies at the always-awesome PsyBlog — is to “think about all the unexpected, surprising, and just plain weird findings that have popped out of psychology studies over the years.” Here are ten of his favorite examples.

10. Cognitive dissonance
This is perhaps one of the weirdest and most unsettling findings in psychology. Cognitive dissonance is the idea that we find it hard to hold two contradictory beliefs, so we unconsciously adjust one to make it fit with the other.

In the classic study, students found a boring task more interesting if they were paid less to take part. Our unconscious reasons like this: if I didn’t do it for money, then I must have done it because it was interesting. As if by magic, a boring task becomes more interesting because otherwise I can’t explain my behaviour.

The reason it’s unsettling is that our minds are probably performing these sorts of rationalisations all the time, without our conscious knowledge. So how do we know what we really think?

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

9. Hallucinations are common
Hallucinations are like waking dreams, and we tend to think of them as markers of serious mental illness. In reality, however, they are more common amongst ‘normal’ people than we might imagine. One-third of us report having experienced hallucinations, with 20% experiencing hallucinations once a month, and 2% once a week (Ohayon, 2000).

Similarly, ‘normal’ people often have paranoid thoughts, as in this study I reported previously in which 40% experienced paranoid thoughts on a virtual journey. The gap between people with mental illness and the ‘sane’ is a lot smaller than we’d like to think. [Illustration by S. Stalkfleet]

8. The placebo effect
Perhaps you’ve had the experience that a headache improves seconds after you take an aspirin? This can’t be the drug because it takes at least 15 minutes to kick in.

That’s the placebo effect: your mind knows you’ve taken a pill, so you feel better. In medicine it seems strongest in the case of pain: some studies suggest a placebo of saline (salty water)can be as powerful as morphine. Some studies even suggest that 80% of the power of Prozac is placebo.

The placebo effect is counter-intuitive because we easily forget that mind and body are not separate.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

7. Obedience to authority

Most of us like to think of ourselves as independently-minded people. We feel sure that we wouldn’t harm another human being unless under very serious duress. Certainly something as weak as being ordered to give someone an electric shock by an authority figure in a white coat wouldn’t be enough, would it?

Stanley Milgram’s famous study found it was. Sixty-three percent of participants kept giving electric shocks to another human being despite the victim screaming in agony and eventually falling silent. [The test setting is illustrated in the figure shown here, via]

Situations have huge power to control our behaviour, and it’s a power we don’t notice until it’s dramatically revealed in studies like this.

6. Fantasies reduce motivation
One way people commonly motivate themselves is by using fantasies about the future. The idea is that dreaming about a positive future helps motivate you towards that goal.

Beware, though, psychologists have found that fantasising about future success is actually bad for motivation. It seems that getting a taste of the future in the here and now reduces the drive to achieve it. Fantasies also fail to flag up the problems we’re likely to face on the way to our goals.

So what’s a better way to commit to goals? Instead of fantasising, use mental contrasting.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

5. Choice blindness
We all know the reasons for our decisions, right? For example, do you know why you’re attracted to someone? Don’t be so sure. In one study, people were easily tricked into justifying choices they didn’t actually makeabout who they found attractive. Under some circumstances, we exhibit what is known as choice blindness: we seem to have little or no awareness of choices we’ve made and why we’ve made them. We then use rationalisations to try and cover our tracks.

This is just one example of the general idea that we have relatively little access to the inner workings of our minds. [Photo by Pablo Perez]

4. Two (or three, or four…) heads are not always better than one
Want to think outside the box? Do some blue sky thinking? Want to… [insert your own least-favourite cliché here].

Well, according to psychological research, brainstorming doesn’t work. People in groups tend to be lazy, likely to forget their ideas while others talk, and worry about what others will think (despite the rule that ‘there are no bad ideas’).

It turns out it’s much better to send people off to think up new ideas on their own. Groups then do better at evaluating those ideas.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

3. Trying to suppress your thoughts is counterproductive
When you’re down or worried about something, people often say: “hey, try not to think about it; just put it out of your mind!”

This is very bad advice. Trying to suppress your thoughts is counter-productive. Like trying as hard as you can not to think about pink elephants or white bears. What people experience when they try to suppress their thoughts is an ironic rebound effect: the thought comes back stronger than before. Looking for distractions is a much better strategy.

2. Incredible multi-tasking skills
Despite all the mind’s limitations, we can train it to do incredible things. Take our multitasking abilities, for example — did you know that, with practice, people can actually read and write at the same time?

One study of multitasking trained two volunteers over 16 weeks until they could read a short story and categorise lists of words at the same time. Eventually they could perform as well on both tasks at the same time as they could on each task individually before the study began.

Read a full description of the study, along with potential criticisms, here.

10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological Studies

1. In life, it’s all about the little things
We tend to think that the big events in our lives are the most important: graduation, getting married, or the birth of a child.

But major life events are often not as directly important to our well-being as the little hassles and uplifts of everyday life; major events, on the other hand, mainly affect us through the daily hassles and uplifts theyproduce. The same is true at work, where job satisfaction is strongly hit by everyday hassles.

What most affects people’s happiness are things like quality of sleep, little ups and downs at work and relationships with our friends and family. In other words: it’s the little things that make us happy.


10 of the Most Surprising Findings from Psychological StudiesEXPAND

This post by Jeremy Dean originally appeared on PsyBlog — a website (run entirely by Dean) dedicated to exploring the science of psychology by examining new, interesting, and exciting peer-reviewed psychology research.

THANKS FOR THE READ~

zscurl


 

Psychology as we know it is a relatively young science, but since its inception it has helped us to gain a greater understanding of ourselves and our interactions with the world. Many psychological experiments have been valid and ethical, allowing researchers to make new treatments and therapies available, and giving other insights into our motivations and actions. Sadly, others have ended up backfiring horribly — ruining lives and shaming the profession. Here are ten psychological experiments that spiraled out of control.

 

10. Stanford Prison Experiment

 


Prisoners and guards

In 1971, social psychologist Philip Zimbardo set out to interrogate the ways in which people conform to social roles, using a group of male college students to take part in a two-week-long experiment in which they would live as prisoners and guards in a mock prison. However, having selected his test subjects, Zimbardo assigned them their roles without their knowledge, unexpectedly arresting the “prisoners” outside their own homes. The results were disturbing. Ordinary college students turned into viciously sadistic guards or spineless (and increasingly distraught) prisoners, becoming deeply enmeshed within the roles they were playing. After just six days, the distressing reality of this “prison” forced Zimbardo to prematurely end the experiment.

 

9. The Monster Study

 


Wendell Johnson, of the University of Iowa, who was behind the study

In this study, conducted in 1939, 22 orphaned children, 10 with stutters, were separated equally into two groups: one with a speech therapist who conducted “positive” therapy by praising the children’s progress and fluency of speech; the other with a speech therapist who openly chastised the children for the slightest mistake. The results showed that the children who had received negative responses were badly affected in terms of their psychological health. Yet more bad news was to come as it was later revealed that some of the children who had previously been unaffected developed speech problems following the experiment. In 2007, six of the orphan children were awarded $925,000 in compensation for emotional damage that the six-month-study had left them with.

 

8. MK-ULTRA

 


Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, also seen top

The CIA performed many unethical experiments into mind control and psychology under the banner of project MK-ULTRA during the 50s and 60s. Theodore Kaczynski, otherwise known as the Unabomber, is reported to have been a test subject in the CIA’s disturbing experiments, which may have contributed to his mental instability. In another case, the administration of LSD to US Army biological weapons expert Frank Olson is thought to have sparked a crisis of conscience, inspiring him to tell the world about his research. Instead, Olson is said to have committed suicide, jumping from a thirteenth-story hotel room window, although there is strong evidence that he was murdered. This doesn’t even touch on the long-term psychological damage other test subjects are likely to have suffered.

 

7. Elephant on LSD

 

In 1962, Warren Thomas, the director of Lincoln Park Zoo in Oklahoma City, injected an elephant named Tusko with 3,000 times the typical human dose of LSD. It was an attempt to make his mark on the scientific community by determining whether the drug could induce “musth” — the aggressiveness and high hormone levels that male elephants experience periodically. The only contribution Thomas made was to create a public relations disaster as Tusko died almost immediately after collapsing and going into convulsions.

 

6. Milgram Experiment

 


The Milgram Experiment underway

In 1963, in the wake of the atrocities of the Holocaust, Stanley Milgram set out to test the hypothesis that there was something special about the German people that had allowed them to participate in genocide. Under the pretense of an experiment into human learning, Milgram asked normal members of the public to ask questions to a man attached to an electric-shock generator and shock him in increasing measure when he answered incorrectly. The man was an actor, the shocks fake; but the participants didn’t know this. The terrifying part? People overwhelmingly obeyed the commands of the experimenter, even when the man screamed in apparent agony and begged for mercy. A little evil in all of us, perhaps?

 

5. Tony LaMadrid

 

Many medicated schizophrenics enrolled in a University of California study that required them to stop taking their medication in a program that started in 1983. The study was meant to give information that would allow doctors to better treat schizophrenia, but rather it messed up the lives of many of the test subjects, 90% of whom relapsed into episodes of mental illness. One participant, Tony LaMadrid, leaped to his death from a rooftop six years after first enrolling in the study.

 

4. Pit of Despair

 


A rhesus monkey infant in one of Harlow’s isolation chambers

Psychologist Harry Harlow was obsessed with the concept of love, but rather than writing poems or love songs, he performed sick, twisted experiments on monkeys during the 1970s. One of his experiments revolved around confining the monkeys in total isolation in an apparatus he called the “well of despair” (a featureless, empty chamber depriving the animal of any stimulus or socialization) — which resulted in his subjects going insane and even starving themselves to death in two cases. Harlow ignored the criticism of his colleagues, and is quoted as saying, “How could you love monkeys?” The last laugh was on him, however, as his horrific treatment of his subjects is acknowledged as being a driving force behind the development of the animal rights movement and the end of such cruel experiments.

 

3. The Third Wave

 

Running along a similar theme similar to the Milgram experiment, The Third Wave, carried out in 1967, was an experiment that set out to explore the ways in which even democratic societies can become infiltrated by the appeal of fascism. Using a class of high school students, the experimenter created a system whereby some students were considered members of a prestigious order. The students showed increased motivation to learn, yet, more worryingly, became eager to get on board with malevolent practices, such as excluding and ostracizing non-members from the class. Even more scarily, this behavior was gleefully continued outside of the classroom. After just four days, the experiment was considered to be slipping out of control and was ceased.

 

2. Homosexual Aversion Therapy

 

In the 1960s homosexuality was frequently depicted as a mental illness, with many individuals seeking (voluntarily or otherwise) a way to “cure” themselves of their sexual attraction to members of the same sex. Experimental therapies at the time included aversion therapy — where homosexual images were paired with such things as electric shocks and injections that caused vomiting. The thought was that the patient would associate pain with homosexuality. Rather than “curing” homosexuality, these experiments profoundly psychologically damaged the patients, with at least one man dying from the “treatment” he received, after he went into a coma.

 

1. David Reimer

 


David Reimer

In 1966, when David Reimer was 8 months old, his circumcision was botched and he lost his penis to burns. Psychologist John Money suggested that baby David be given a sex change. The parents agreed, but what they didn’t know was that Money secretly wanted to use David as part of an experiment to prove his views that gender identity was not inborn, but rather determined by nature and upbringing. David was renamed Brenda, surgically altered to have a vagina, and given hormonal supplements — but tragically the experiment backfired. “Brenda” acted like a stereotypical boy throughout childhood, and the Reimer family began to fall apart. At 14, Brenda was told the truth, and decided to go back to being David. He committed suicide at the age of 38.

zs