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4 Facts to Blow Your Mind: Abuse, Parenting, Stress, Marshmallows

Uploaded 7/25/2022, approx. 33 minute read

I haven't slept a wink tonight, so please forgive my frazzled look and atrobilious nature. Usually, I am much more cheerful and a lot more optimistic, as all of you can attest.

But today, we are going to do what I do best. I am going to be iconoclastic. I am going to be, yet again, psychology's whistleblower.

Now, what blows my mind is that when I blow the whistle on psychology, when I expose to you the dirty secrets and the taboos and the topics that are hidden under the rug in the closet, you're angry at me. You don't want to know the truth. You'd rather live in Disneyland, inhabit a terrain of fantasy.

And so, I'm not quite sure whether I should proceed doing this to do this or not. But let me give it a last try.


Today, we are going to discuss four facts that will blow your mind.

And these are the facts for those of you who don't wish to trowel through my long-winded presentations. These are the facts.

Parents are much less happy than the childless. People who have children are less happy than people who do not have children.

Fact number two, abusive behavior in a relationship is a strong indicator of love and caring.

I'm going to get a lot of flack for this one.

Number three, stress is good for you. Meditation and mindfulness intended to treat stress and reduce it and ameliorate it. Meditation and mindfulness are not always beneficial to use a British understatement.

Number four, the marshmallow test is wrong. And this was an earth-shattering statement. Only you have no idea what I'm talking about.

So stick around till the end of the video and you will find out.


We're going to start with the most explosive of these claims. And that is the claim that abuse within relationships actually means love and is a strong indicator of deep caring.

Now, abused women have been claiming this forever. When you talk to abused women, victims of domestic violence, for example, they tell you, he beat me up because he loves me and he's jealous. I made him do it. I provoked him.

And then when you ask them, why don't you get away? These women answer better to have bad attention than no attention at all. And these victims insist that when the abuse stops, it makes them very worried because they equate pain, maltreatment. They equate hurt and harm with love.

They believe if their intimate partner cares about them, he cares about them enough to abuse them. He cares about them enough to be possessive. He cares about them enough to penalize them for misbehavior, such as triangulation or flirting or just saying or thinking the wrong thing.

Indeed, when couples come to me, a standard practice in couple therapy is to ask, are you still fighting? Fighting is an indicator, is a determinant of emotional investment. Only people who are still emotionally invested in each other and in the togetherness, in the relationship, only such people keep fighting. The moment the fighting stops, you know that the partners have given up on each other, that it's hopeless, that it's a lost cause and they better break up, better split up. Fighting, therefore, is like a thermometer or like a barometer of the health, vitality, resilience and energy of the relationship, the life force left in the relationship. When the fighting stops, the relationship is dead, it's a corpse. But fighting easily and frequently deteriorates into abuse.

So where do we draw the line? Should we ask in couple therapy, are you still abusing her? Are you still abusing him? Or should we make a clear delineation and demarcation between fighting, legitimately arguing, debating things, trying to reach a consensus, or trying to express emotions, negative affectivity, such as anger and envy and jealousy?

This is a legitimate side of things. Should we demarcate this from abuse? And then what is abuse?

Where do we draw the line?

Each person, each person alive has his or her own or her own standards of what constitutes abuse and what doesn't. Boundaries are not rigid, they are not universal.

My boundaries are not your boundaries. What you may consider to be abusive, I want, and what I consider to be abusive, you will not consider.

The same, you will not agree with me.

There's a lot of disagreement on what constitutes abuse.

I want to read to you a text from a book titled Human Sexuality: Biological, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives.

The second edition has just been published in 2021 by Rutledge. And the book is authored by Anne Boleyn and others.

Here's the book. I hope the camera captures it. I'm going to move it around a bit because it's a big book so that it captures the whole cover.

Human Sexuality: Biological, Psychological, and Cultural Perspectives.

Actually, it's the anthropology of human sexuality.

Interesting book. Here's what it says on page 36.

The dark side of relationships, inflicting of aggressive behaviors on your partner.

This can be seen in a study conducted by Hammack, AH-M-A-C-K. The study was conducted in 2003.

The book continues to describe the study.

This study investigated the ability of a number of variables to predict the use of physical and psychological aggression in intimate relationships.

Physically aggressive behaviors were actions that either threatened or delivered physical harm.

For example, kicking, hitting, forcing sex and choking.

Psychologically aggressive tactics involved those that potentially harmed the self-concept of the recipient.

For example, calling the recipient names, giving angry stares, isolating the recipient from friends and family and humiliating or degrading the recipient.

Hammack in 2003. It's a woman.

She found a number of variables that reliably predicted the use of the participants' physical and psychologically harmful behaviors.

In other words, she isolated a series of variables that predicted well aggressive and abusive behavior.

These variables involved hold onto your chairs. It's going to get very bumpy. These variables involved love, trust and emotional commitment.

Not surprisingly, those individuals who felt they could not trust their partner were more likely to use both physical and psychological aggression with a partner.

On the other hand, those who reported high levels of love and high levels of commitment for their partners were more likely to use physical and psychological aggression.

No, I didn't get it wrong. I didn't misread this sentence. I'm going to read it to you again.

Those who reported high levels of love and commitment for their partners were more likely to use physical and psychological aggression against the partner.

Though the last finding, says the author, though the last finding might seem surprising, an interesting explanation is given.

We are not likely to bother using aggressive behaviors with our partners when their relationship is of little value to us.

In other words, ones in which we have little emotional commitment.

However, when we have high levels of emotional commitment, we might have a greater motive for controlling the partner or for retaliating against the partner for things the partner says or does.

Certainly concludes the author.

This study suggests that emotional responses have interesting impacts on relationships and what we are willing to do in relationships.

So this is one example of quite a few studies that link aggression in relationships, abusive behaviors in relationships, constant conflict in relationships to levels of love, commitment and emotional investment.

The higher the levels of love, commitment and emotional investment, the more frequent and intense the conflicts and the more they tend to escalate towards maltreatment, abuse and worse.

Yes, there is a direct positive linkage, positive correlation between love and commitment and abusive behavior. The more you love and the more you care, the more abusive you are.

Every woman who has ever been abused tends to rationalize the abuse, tends to resolve her cognitive dissonance by telling herself exactly this. He is abusing me because he loves me, because he cares about me, because he is jealous when I even look at other men. He beat me up because I made him do it. I provoked him.

In other words, I am in control.

So we used to poo-poo these narratives. We used to say these are nonsensical, self-soothing stories that women, abused women tell themselves, but it seems that they were right all along.


The next amazing fact, parenthood makes you unhappy.

I'm referring to a series of articles, all of them in the description.

You go to the description, you find, as usual, a bibliography. One of them is titledParenthood and Happiness, Effects of Work-Family Reconciliation Policies in 22 OECD countries, industrialized countries. The lead author is Jennifer Glass, and there are others.

The authors found, I'm quoting, the authors found that more generous family policies, particularly paid time off and child care subsidies, are associated with smaller disparities in happiness between parents and non-parents.

Moreover, the policies that augment parental happiness do not reduce the happiness of non-parents.

This is one of the most refined sleight of hand texts I've ever read, because it disguises the truth. And this is what the text actually says. The text actually says that people who are not parents are much happier than people who have children, that having children reduces happiness pretty dramatically, by the way.

And what they are saying is, Jennifer Glass and others, what they are saying is the state can help. The state can provide paid time off, child care, and this will narrow the happiness gap.

But even the authors admit that it will not resolve or eliminate the happiness gap. It will only narrow it somewhat.

It's a fact. Childless people are considerably happier than people with children across the lifespan. And in a minute, we'll come to this.

There is an article titled, Does Having Children Make People Happier in the Long Run? It was authored by Nicholas Wolfinger. I'm not making this up. And he says, I examine the relationship between children and happiness using over 40 years of data from the General Social Survey, a national omnibus survey conducted annually or bi-annually since 1972. This data provide a sample size of almost 14,000 adults in the 50 to 70 age range, and allow me to ascertain whether the benefits or liabilities of children for parental happiness have changed over time across the lifespan.

In particular, I examine both overall happiness and marital happiness.

One finding is consistent in all analysis, says Wolfinger. Older parents with minor children still at home are less happy than their emptiness contemporaries. In other words, if you still have children at home, you are still unhappy. You become much happier the minute all of them leave home.

The emptiness syndrome is a myth. And the difference is huge. It's five to six percentage points, statistically significant difference.

I'm going to read this paragraph again, because it defies all the myths about the happiness that children bring to you as a parent, and how heartbroken and devastated you are when they leave home. It's not true. You're unhappy when they're at home. And you're delighted, relieved and elated when they're gone. And you're free, finally.

So here's what Wolfinger says, one finding is consistent in all analysis. Older parents with minor children still at home are less happy than their emptiness contemporaries by about five to six percentage points. A difference that's statistically significant. Myth or nonsense number three, stress is bad for you. You should meditate. You should do mindfulness.

So there's a series of articles published in New Scientist. New Scientist is a popular science magazine, but relatively okay, when it comes to depth of research, and so on.

And the article is titled, how to hack your stress and turn it into a positive force in your life. And this is what these are some excerpts from the article it was authored by Catherine Delange. I love these French names, they reduce my stress.

So here's what the article says.

Too much stress hurts the mind and body.

But the stress response exists for good evolutionary reasons. Recognizing this fact is the first step to turning the negative effects of stress around.

And Delange continues.

Last year, the American Psychological Association found that two thirds of people in the US reported feeling more stressed in the pandemic and predicted a mental health crisis that would yield serious health and social consequences for years to come. Increased risk of diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease and more are all associated with high stress levels.

It's enough to make you feel stressed just thinking about it.

Perhaps, says Catherine Delange in New Scientist, perhaps we just need to think about stress differently though. That at least is the startling conclusion of researchers studying the mind-body connection.

There are natural benefits to being stressed, they say. And if we change our stress mindset, we might be able to turn things around and make stress a positive influence on our lives.

Fortunately, there are some simple hacks that will allow us to do this and they bring with them the promise of better physical health, clearer thinking, increased mental toughness and greater productivity.

There is no denying, continues Delange, there's no denying that too much stress can harm both body and mind. It has been linked to all six of the main causes of death in the West, cancer, heart disease, liver disease, accidents, lung disease and suicide.

She forgot to mention listening to Sam Vaknin.

Stress can weaken the immune system, leaving us more prone to infection.

What does one of the leading authorities in the world have to say about this?

Ellen Francis, medical doctor, is professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine and the author of Saving Normal, an insider's revolt against out of control psychiatric diagnosis, DSM-5, big pharma and the medicalization of ordinary life.

Sounds like a chap I could be friends with, write this very second, emeritus or not.

Ellen Francis gave an interview to StatNews in 2016, 8th of February, 2016. Again, the link is in the description.

Ellen Francis is a respected US psychiatrist. He had to write previous versions of the country's main psychiatry textbook and he says there is an increasing tendency for people to confuse depression and anxiety with normal short-lived feelings of sadness and stress.

I repeat what he says.

There is an increasing tendency for people and he should have added diagnosticians, clinicians, psychologists and psychiatrists and therapists.

They all committed the same mistake. Confusing depression and anxiety with normal short-lived feelings of sadness and stress.

In 2016, he went all out against depression screening.

In an article titled, depression screening for adults and adolescents has benefits but don't ignore the downsides. The author was Patrick Scarry and it was published in February 2016.

So, Ellen Francis says routine screening for depression is wrong on several levels.

It perpetuates a huge mistake made in 1980 as part of the update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, psychiatry's bible for defining mental illness.

It combined two distinct types of depression under a single label, major depressive disorder. One type known as melancholia or endogenous depression causes severe trouble, eating, sleeping, feeling, moving and talking along with unbearable sadness worse than losing a loved one. Severe agitation and sometimes delusions.

But the other type known as reactive depression is more common and much milder and is on a continuum with a normal sadness that comes with daily life.

Francis says in lumping together these two very different severities of depression, severe depressive disorder was often no longer really major or depressive or even a real disorder.

This helped to medicalize the inevitable disappointments, stresses and losses that are a part of everyday life.

The pharmaceutical industry exploited the loose definition with misleading marketing claims that all depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain that requires treatment with a pill.

Today, 11% of Americans take an antidepressant. Among women over 40, the rate is 25%. Screening tests continues, Dr Francis. Screening tests, especially the brief ones used by primary care clinicians, cannot judge clinical significance. They are not specific, meaning they identify as depressed a large number of people who really are not depressed and who would do just fine with a simple passage of time, natural resilience, family support or brief counseling.

Far too often, they won't be given a chance to get well on their own. Instead, harried clinicians prescribe pills as the easiest way to get the patient out of the office.

Insurance companies make things worse by not paying for careful diagnosis and further encourage a rush to medication. Routine screening of all adults and adolescents would ramp up this already excessive treatment of the mildly ill and worried well. It would also further burden primary care clinicians, giving them yet another box to take off and reducing precious quality time spent caring, actually caring for their patients, says Dr Francis.

I love this guy. Instead of screening all adults and adolescents for depression, our efforts, says Dr Francis, would be better spent identifying and helping those with true clinical depression.

It doesn't make sense to create an army of fake patients when hundreds of thousands of Americans with serious depression and other mental health issues sleep through wide cracks in our broken healthcare system and receive minimal or no treatment.

What about the interventions that we do have?

Start with screening tools.

Few of these interventions have been shown to do more good than harm in randomized clinical trials.

Actually, I could generalize and say that I'm not aware, although I'm not infallible and I'm not omniscient. Here, you heard it first on this video. I am not infallible and I'm not omniscient and I'm not godlike. I'm just perfect.

But to the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of any intervention that had gone through the rigorous process of randomized clinical trial and that had been proven to do more good than harm.

None, not one.

Depression and anxiety screening tools have been trialed several times, but there were no findings of any benefits to mental health.

Some of the trials don't even attempt to find out if they improve mental health, but just measure if they work at finding cases of depression.

Screening tools do find the outlier case of depression here and there, but do they find people who really have depression or is the rate of false positives so overwhelming that they should be avoided altogether?

Okay, you see, forget screening.

Once you have been diagnosed with depression by a proper diagnostician, administering all the tests over many hours, by the way, and then analyzing them for several days, because that's what needs to happen for you to be properly diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Once you have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, how about mindfulness and meditation? Aren't they supposed to help these new age tools?

Here's an article, New Scientist, 14th of August, 2020, by Claire Wilson. It's titled, Mindfulness and Meditation Can Worsen Depression and Anxiety, and I'll read to you from the article.

Mindfulness, says Claire Wilson and other types of meditation.

I usually see in a simple stress relievers, but they can sometimes leave people worse off. About one in 12 people who try meditation experience an unwanted negative effect.

I'm going to read this back to you, because one in 12 is seriously high. You wouldn't take antibiotics if they killed you one in 12 times, would you?

So about one in 12 people, says the article, who try meditation, experience an unwanted negative effect, usually a worsening in depression or anxiety or even the onset of these conditions for the first time, according to the first systematic review of the evidence.

Miguel Faria at Coventry University in the United Kingdom is one of the researchers behind this study, and he says, for most people, it works fine, but it has undoubtedly been overhyped, and it's not universally benevolent.

There are many types of meditation, of course. One of the most popular, though, is mindfulness.

Mindfulness, to my mind, is absolutely the reification of narcissism. It's the narcissist therapy, it's the narcissist meditation.

Had the narcissist been forced to invent, to come up with a meditation protocol, he would have come with mindfulness.

I deal with this in other videos.

But OK, forget my personal angle. Let's go back to mindfulness.

There are many types of meditation. Mindfulness is one.

In mindfulness, people pay attention to the present moment. They focus on their own thoughts and feelings or on external sensations on their body right here and now in the present.

Actually, several national health bodies around the world, in the United Kingdom as well, do recommend mindfulness as a way to reduce depression, and especially the relapse of depression in people who have experienced a condition several times.

And so there's a huge hype and a huge enthusiasm for meditation, and of course, numerous an army of self-styled experts on YouTube and promoting and hyping and praising and bragging about outcomes and pushing you and forcing you to buy products and retreats and so on and so forth. Enthusiasm, it's all over the place. It's a hot button topic.

And the article says, enthusiasm for meditation may partly stem from a growing awareness of the side effects of antidepressant medicines and the difficulty some people report in stopping taking them.

There have been some reports of people experiencing worse mental health after starting meditation, but it is unclear how often this happens. Faria's team combed through medical journals and found 55, that's a lot, relevant studies.

Once the researchers have excluded those studies who had deliberately set out to find negative effects, they worked out the prevalence of people who experience harm, harm, damage within each study, and then calculated the average adjusted for the study size, a common method in this kind of analysis known as meta-analysis.

So, they combed the literature. They excluded studies that they thought were biased, they focused only on neutral studies, and then they adjusted the outcomes to the sample size.

Having gone through this very rigorous and statistically efficient series of techniques, Faria's and others found that about 8% of people who try meditation experience an unwanted effect.

Faria says people have experienced anything from an increase in anxiety up to panic attacks. They also found instances of psychosis and thoughts of suicide following meditation and especially mindfulness. They found that about 8% of people who try meditation are subject to this.

8%, I can tell you, is a vast underestimate. How do I know?

Many studies of meditation record only very serious negative side effects. Many studies of medication don't record negative side effects and are biased in the opposite direction. They are more like marketing tools than real studies.

Generally, there's a reluctance, because it's politically incorrect, there's a reluctance to record the negative effects of meditation. I would venture a guess that in one of five cases, meditation and mindfulness are potentially life-threatening.

Katie Sparks is a chartered psychologist. She's a member of the British Psychological Society.

In this article, she says, the figure could have been pushed up by people trying out meditation because of undiagnosed anxiety or depression.

Meditation has been found to help people to relax and refocus and help them both mentally and physically, she says.

But sometimes, when people are trying to steal their thoughts, the mind can rebel, she says. It's like a backlash to the attempt to control the mind, and this results in an episode of anxiety or depression.

This doesn't mean people should stop trying the technique, says these psychologists, but instead they should opt for guided meditation sessions led by a teacher or for an app with a recorded narration, which she believes is safer.

I don't know why you should try techniques when you need to take safety measures. I mean, that sounds totally nuts to me, but that's what she says. And she concludes, the current study could stop people participating in something which can be of benefit in the right context, she says, and I add or kill them.

The journal reference is the article, Farias article, where he discovered that about one in twelve people are seriously adversely affected by meditation and mindfulness. The article is published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavia. It's a mouthful. And it's titled systematic review or meta analysis adverse events in meditation practices and meditation based therapies, a systematic review.

Farias analysis and others, 21st of August 2020.

Link in the description.


Let's continue a bit further to augment our case.

There's an article published in New Scientist, was Else in the third on 13th of May, 2015. And it's by the same Miguel Farias and Catherine Wico. It's titled panic, depression and stress.

The case against meditation, it couldn't be more explicit.

Farias is a leading scholar of this, of meditation, the effects of meditation, medical psychiatric effects.

So here is offering an article in 2015, since then, by the way, is a bit a lot more careful, probably the backlash or some threats or some censorship or whatever. I don't know, but the guy is a lot more gentle.

But in 2015, it was all hat, the whole. And the article is titled panic, depression and stress, the case against meditation, end of story.

It says meditation and mindfulness have become the new aspirin, a Buddha pill without side effects, but not all their effects are positive.

Wacom and Farias say, twitching, trembling, panic, disorientation, hallucinations, terror, depression, mania and psychotic breakdown. These are some of the reported effects of meditation.

Surprised, we were to say the two psychologists, techniques such as transcendental meditation and mindfulness are promoted as ways of quieting the mind, alleviating pain and anxiety, and even transforming you into a happier and more compassionate person, natural cure-alls without adverse effects.

But happiness and distressing were not what meditation techniques with their Buddhist and Hindu developers had in mind to start with.

Read this article, it's relatively frightening and shocking.

Okay, this was topic number three, stress is actually good for you. And if you do attempt to read and to reduce stress, because it's become too much, please reconsider whether you listen to YouTube hype, rather than to scholarly articles, meditation, and mindfulness, if not guided by a really, really good professional, can be life threatening, and definitely have in many cases, adverse mental health effects, including depression, anxiety, and even psychosis.

Our last topic is the marshmallow taste test, a tasty test for a change in psychology, generations, decades, a mountain range of textbooks have relied on this seminal study known as the marshmallow test.

Yet, it's beginning to unravel.

Science Daily, on the 21st of July 2022, published a review of an article. The article is titled Cultures Crossing: The Power of Habit in Delaying Gratification was published in Psychological Science in 2022, volume 33. It's called a co authored by Kai- Chi and our car, Laura Michaelson and others, the University of Colorado at Boulder.

And here is what the article has to say.

It's a new take on the marshmallow test.

When it comes to resisting temptation, a child's cultural upbringing matters.

The article is so well written, that I'm simply going to read it to you.

For decades, studies have shown that children able to resist temptation, children opting to wait for two marshmallows later, rather than consume one now, these children tend to do better on measures of health and success later in life.

But 50 years after the seminal marshmallow test had suggested this, a fresh multicultural approach to the test adds a missing piece of the story.

What kids are willing to wait for depends largely on their cultural upbringing, and I would simply say on their upbringing.

I don't know why they need the word cultural.

In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, the study, as I mentioned before, children in Kyoto, Japan, waited three times longer for food than for gifts, whereas children in Boulder, Colorado, waited nearly four times longer for gifts than for food.

One of the authors says, we found that the ability to delay gratification, which predicts many important life outcomes, is not just about variations in genes or brain development, but also about habits supported by culture.

The findings provide good news to parents showing that fostering simple culturally appropriate habits in young children may influence their development in ways that make it easier for them to delay gratification later.

But it also calls into question decades of social science research, suggesting that some children, deemed lacking in self-control, may have instead just had different cultural values around waiting.

Munakata, one of the authors, says it calls into question how much of our scientific conclusions are shaped by the cultural lens we, as researchers, bring to our work.

It's a major problem in psychology, anthropology, sociology, sexology. It's a major problem.

We bring into the studies, into the research, our cultural biases, our values, our beliefs, our education, social mores, expectations. This is wrong. This contaminates the work, the studies.

What is the marshmallow test?

First conducted in the early 1970s by psychologist Walter Mischel, M-I-S-C-H-E-L. The marshmallow test worked like this.

A preschooler was placed in a room with a marshmallow. They were told they could eat the marshmallow now or they could wait and get two marshmallows later.

Then the experimenter left the room and the children were left alone while the clock ticked and a video camera rolled.

Many studies found, because the marshmallow test has been replicated thousands of times, many studies found that preschoolers who waited longer, did better on academic test scores, were less likely to exhibit problem behavior and had a healthier body mass index and better relationships later in life.

Now I know why I am the way I am. I ate the marshmallow even before the experimenter left the room.

I am continuing from the article.

Some studies also found that these same study subjects were less likely to end up in jail and more likely to make more money.

So if you didn't eat the marshmallow, if you waited for two marshmallows later, you had it made.

Early on, researchers focused on inherent and cognitive explanations.

Munakata says there was this idea that some kids simply have more self-control and some kids have less self-control.

Munakata, who is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, is, as the name implies, of Japanese heritage. But he grew up in the U.S.

And actually he conceived of the idea while he was on a sabbatical in Kyoto.

On the first day of school, her two children tore into the lunch boxes. The Japanese peers in Kyoto told them that in Japan you don't eat until everyone sits down.

Munakata noticed that her children, the behavior of her children, and her children's ability to delay gratification was heavily influenced by peer pressure. And of course, peer pressure reflects socialization and enculturation.

In other words, peer pressure reflects society. Society's strictures and mores and edicts and expectations, beliefs and values.

So the peers communicated Japanese culture to these two American kids.

And Munakata noticed that her kids are changing. While her children were used to waiting to open their gifts on birthdays and Christmas, their Japanese peers opened the gifts the moment they got them, whether the gift giver was present or not.

So here she saw the opposite example. Japanese children were able to postpone, delay the gratification of food. They waited for everyone to sit down before they ate, which is a process that could take a few minutes, but they were used to that.

But Japanese were unable to delay gratification when it came to gifts.

American children were the opposite. They were able to delay gratification when it came to gifts, but not when it came to food.

Obesity, anyone?

So she asked herself, how much does culture influence all this?

So she teamed up with Professor Satoru Saito at the Graduate School of Education in Japan and Kaiichi Yanouka, a graduate student in University of Tokyo.

What they did, they recruited 144 children from Boulder, Colorado, and Kyoto. They randomly assigned these children to a test involving a marshmallow or a wrapped present, a wrapped gift. And then they looked through the video.

So how did the children cope?

They say one counted the dots on the ceiling, another drew his name of the desk, another paced around the room. It was fascinating to see the self-soothing techniques these children engaged in.

The children in Japan were overwhelmingly better at waiting for the marshmallow with a median wait time of 15 minutes. I'm not sure I could do this.

If we had just looked at their behavior with the sweets, it would have looked like Japanese kids have better self-control, but there was not the end of the story.

In Japan, kids waited less than five minutes to open the presents, open the gifts. The reverse was true in the United States, where kids waited almost 15 minutes to open the presents versus less than four minutes to gobble the poor marshmallow.

So notably, kids who had a habit of waiting for meals at home and elsewhere waited longer to eat a marshmallow. And across cultures, children who were more attuned to social conventions, as measured by surveys, waited longer generally.

This suggests, says Dostat, one of the authors, this suggests that the way you grow up, the social conventions you have raised around and how much you pay attention to these social conventions, these are all important.

Munakata said that the study does not debunk the marshmallow test's central finding that the ability to resist here and now rewards is linked to success in long-term goals.

She acknowledges that genetics, neurocognitive factors, and social factors play a role in how much willpower a child exhibits.

She herself actually, in 2018, in another study, she found that preschoolers in their in-group opt to wait for the second marshmallow because the in-group does.

So she herself kind of supported the main conclusions of the marshmallow test.

But this new study clearly indicated that the locus of self-control, the locus of delayed gratification, has nothing to do with genetics, your brain, your neurological system, nothing. It's nothing to do with the nucleus. Where you exercise control, self-control, where you delay gratification is determined by culture and society, not by you.

Cultivating, the authors conclude, cultivating habits of waiting for others could be doing much more than supporting politeness.

Monakata says such habits may change brain systems in ways that makes delaying gratification more automatic. It could make it easier for kids to succeed in future life situations without having to work so hard.

In fact, I wish someone told my mother this, but, you know, I was born way too early.

Okay, so today we delve deep into some of the taboos and the myths of psychology, things that psychologists know but rarely dare to speak of.

Number one, parents are less happy than childless people across the lifespan. They become very happy when the children leave home.

Number two, abusive behavior, aggressive behavior does indicate love, caring and investment in a committed relationship. It does. It's linked to it.

Number three, stress is good for you. Meditation and mindfulness can be seriously bad for you.

And number four, delayed gratification has at least as much to do with culture as with us. We are molded by the culture and society we grow in.

If the culture and society broadcasts to you, tells you that you have to wait, that you have to be polite, that you have to be considerate, then you will be and you will be able to delay gratification.

If the culture tells you that you come first, you are entitled, you should gratify yourself at the expense of everyone and immediately it's a jungle out there. It's dog eat dog. It's a zero-sum game. You're likely to be unable to delay gratification.

And these are the results of the recent, most recent studies. You have been warned and forewarned is forearmed.


What's with the British idioms today?.

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BEWARE! Toxic Self-help Myths, Predatory Coaches, Gurus, and “Healers” (Compilation)

Summary of the text: 1. Abusive behavior in relationships can be linked to high levels of love and commitment, as it may indicate a greater motive for controlling or retaliating against a partner. 2. Parents with children at home are generally less happy than childless individuals or those whose children have left home. 3. Stress can have natural benefits, and changing one's mindset about stress may turn it into a positive influence on one's life. However, mindfulness and meditation can sometimes worsen conditions like depression and anxiety. 4. The marshmallow test, which suggested that children who could delay gratification would be more successful later in life, may not account for cultural influences on behavior. Children's ability to delay gratification is heavily influenced by their cultural upbringing and societal conventions.


Are You Normal? Check This List!

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of normalcy and mental health, arguing that there is no clear definition of what is normal. He suggests that mental health consists of the ability to function and being happy with who you are, with self-love being the most important aspect. Vaknin also criticizes the medicalization and pathologization of human behavior, stating that mental health practitioners should focus on treating distress and helping patients regain functioning and contentment rather than conforming to an idealized concept of normalcy. He believes that mentally ill individuals should self-isolate and focus on other areas of their lives to avoid causing harm to others.


Are Fathers Needed? Mothers Are, For Sure!

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the controversial topic of whether fathers are necessary for raising healthy, functional, and pro-social children. He argues that fathers are largely not needed, and the importance of the mother in the upbringing, shaping, and formation of children is more significant. He also discusses the impact of parental divorce on children's mental health, family relationships, and education, and highlights that culture, context, and socioeconomic status matter. Additionally, he cites various studies that challenge the idea that father absence has a significant impact on children's well-being, and argues that the major factors that affect children's well-being have nothing to do with the father or with his absence.


20 Reasons to NOT Have Kids

In this video, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the reasons why people are choosing not to have children. He cites studies that show having children can negatively impact physical and mental health, relationships, social life, earning power, and the environment. He also highlights the high cost of raising children, including education expenses, and the fact that many young adults are living with their parents well into their 20s and 30s. Overall, Vaknin argues that there are few good reasons to have children and suggests that counseling or medication may be necessary for those who still want to have them.


Adopted, Foster Care Children Avoiding Mental Health Issues

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the impact of adoption and foster care on children's mental health and behavior. He emphasizes the importance of early maternal care and the trauma experienced by children in these systems. He highlights the enduring psychological effects and the need for full disclosure of the child's history to inform therapy and public policy.


No "Wrong" Partner, Other Moronic Relationship Advice

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of mate selection and attachment styles. He argues that individuals tend to select partners who resonate with their psychological makeup and attachment style, and that this is a result of an evolutionary process. Vaknin also emphasizes the importance of considering a partner's past behavior as the best predictor of future behavior, contrary to the advice given by some self-help gurus. He warns against blindly following online advice and encourages individuals to be thorough in understanding their potential intimate partners.


Relationships, Intimacy May Be WRONG for YOU (DMM: Dynamic-maturational model of attachment)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses how society pressures individuals to conform to the idea that everyone should be in a relationship and have intimacy skills. However, studies show that up to one-third of adults do not feel comfortable in relationships and are egodystonic. Vaknin introduces the dynamic maturational model of attachment and adaptation, which emphasizes that exposure to danger drives neural development and adaptation to promote survival, and that the greatest dangers are in relationships. People with insecure attachment styles perceive dangers in relationships even when there are none, and being in a relationship constitutes danger in their minds.


Narcissist Trust Your Gut Feeling 4 Rules To Avoid Bad Relationships ( Intuition Explained)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the importance of intuition in relationships and decision-making. He explores different types of intuition, including idetic, emergent, and ideal intuition, and how they are used in various philosophical and psychological theories. He emphasizes the significance of intuition in understanding and navigating complex human interactions, particularly in dealing with narcissists and psychopaths.


From Insecure to Flat Attachment: Narcissists, Psychopaths Never Bond (Compilation)

Sam Vaknin proposes a fifth attachment style called "flat attachment," where individuals are incapable of bonding or relating to others at all. They view others as interchangeable and dispensable, transitioning seamlessly from one person to the next without mourning or processing grief. This style is common among narcissists and psychopaths. Vaknin also discusses the confusion between intimacy, emotions, sex, and attachment, emphasizing that intimacy does not necessarily involve emotions, and emotions do not always lead to intimacy. He highlights that attachment styles are stable across the lifespan and are influenced by early caregiving experiences, shaping one's expectations and beliefs about relationships. Vaknin's work suggests that individuals with cluster B personality disorders, as well as those with complex trauma, exhibit insecure attachment styles, which can manifest in behaviors like stalking, and are often rooted in dysfunctional early relationships with caregivers.


Understanding Your Past and Future Relationships

Sam Vaknin discusses the importance of understanding the components of romantic relationships, including mate selection, relationship models, and termination triggers. He suggests that individuals should prioritize their expectations of relationships, including love, desire, stability, personal growth, and sexual compatibility. Additionally, he recommends identifying commitment triggers and predictors, building trust, and defining roles and responsibilities. By understanding these factors and establishing communication protocols with partners, individuals can increase the longevity of their relationships.

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