Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Ditch your smartphone, get out in the countryside, and feel better about yourself

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Nature lovers are significantly less anxious and have higher self-esteem than people obsessed with their smartphones according a recent study.

They are also more conscientious, emotionally stable and more open to new experiences than those addicted to technology.

The on-line research at the University of Derby examined people’s mobile phone use and their connection to nature. Participants were also assessed on their personality and self-esteem

It found that those most in touch with nature used their phone half as much each day as the rest of the population and were more emotionally balanced i.e. 2 hrs 15 mins each day (which seems a lot to me) compared to 4 hrs 8 mins for those less connected to nature.

They also took 87% fewer selfies but three times as many pictures of nature.  So we can probably assume that they are also less narcissistic.

Miles Richardson, head of psychology, said “Nature…

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How not to choose a mistress

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money_stairs_stick_figure_chinese_5753This story goes back a while but I want to share it with you.

Donglu Fan, aged 43 and a factory owner in China, held a competition to decide which of his 5 mistresses to keep.

It was intended to be simple knock-out competition.

First they had to complete a personality test (sounds like good HR practice so far).

Then there was a modelling and singing competition.

Finally there was a drinking contest where the winner would be the last mistress standing who had drunk the most.

Unfortunately for him the five went for a celebratory drive together after the drinking contest and drove off a cliff. Four were injured and one died.

The family of the one who died is suing him for £60,000 and his wife is divorcing him!

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The WoodWide Web

dscf1550rWhat do you think when you hear of (famous) people talking to trees – and I’m not talking about characters in Tolkien’s Middle Earth taking to Ents, a race of  beings who closely resemble trees?

According to Tony Kirkham, the head of the Arboretum at Kew Gardens trees are very much like us; they are intelligent social beings which talk to each other.

He supports the idea proposed by a German Forester Peter Wohlleben that trees communicate with each other underground through a “woodwide web“.

In a natural environment the adults protect and nurture the young ones. And when a tree is stressed the canopies are touching, there’s a lot of networking going on underground with root systems and fungal systems and they share resources.”

He believes there is intelligence among trees and care between communities. He saw a knot of albino redwoods which obviously didn’t process chlorophyll but managed to survive on their own. “They must have been receiving nutrients from other trees”.

He also thinks trees have different personalities. Willows and Poplars are unsociable and don’t like company so their method of spreading seeds ensures that they are scattered far away from the parent tree.

Oaks on the other hand drop their acorns close by and the parent tree likes to safeguard it and bring it up.

Kirkham admits that however appealing this theory is it’s hard to prove.

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Ents, whose name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for giants, are similar to talking trees found in folklore around the world.

p1010237In Lithuania, the last european country to convert from paganism, I saw carved trees in museums with human features (the wood carving at the top of the page is from Lithuania also).

People also decorate trees with human features.

They also keep them warm with urban knitting, but that’s another story.

 

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