Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Some weight loss myths


apple_measure_tape_1600_wht_131291   Giving up carbs

Processed carbs can contribute to weight gain but you shouldn’t give up on complex carbs or wholegrain such as brown rice which have a lot of fibre and make you feel fuller longer.

Complex carbs can also have a lower glycaemic index (GI) – which is a measure of the rate at which sugar is digested – so you won’t get highs and lows in blood sugar.

Dietician Dr Sarah Schenker says it’s more about portion control and suggests limiting the calorie-dense healthy carbs such as rice, oats , or pasta, and alternate with lighter ones like butternut squash or corn on the cob which are just as filling.

2   Extreme exercise 

We think that if we expend more energy than we consume we should lose weight. And exercise does increase our metabolism (the rate at which we burn calories) but when we…

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Don’t drive when you’re emotional


highway_no_passing_vehicle_left_lane_1600_wht_7398If you thought driving whilst talking on your hand-held phone was dangerous, driving when you’re upset is far more so.

Chatting on your phone only doubles the risk of your having an accident; crying or being angry increases the risk nine-fold.

Transport experts at Virginia State University studied 3,500 drivers aged 16 to 98 after fitting their vehicles with cameras, GPS, radar and other sensors. Over a three year period there were 900 accidents to study.

The most dangerous things were losing track of your right of way (I know that from personal experience as a front seat passenger), breaking too suddenly or at the wrong time, and driving in an unfamiliar area or in an unfamiliar vehicle.

One of the experts said that what stood out for them was “how much emotion really does impact on your level of risk”

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Blondes are cleverer but they lie more


IMGP9497.JPGA study has found that the “dumb blonde” stereotype is unfair. American women with blonde hair seem to be more intelligent than women with other hair colours.

An economist studied 11,000 Americans, male and female, who had completed IQ tests.

The average IQ of a blonde white woman was 103.2 compared to 100.5 for a black-haired woman. 4.3% of blonde women had IQs over 125 compared to just 0.2% of black-haired women.

So why are blondes cleverer?

The answer may be simple – they lied about their hair colour. It turned out there were significantly more blonde females than males and yet hair colour is not linked to gender.

Jay Zagorsky at Ohio University who carried out the study thinks 1 in 6 blonde women were lying about their natural hair colour.

Blondes do benefit from their hair colour: blonde female fundraisers collect more money, blonde waitresses get…

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English kids are not as clever as they’ve been told


Forget all the A* stuff. When it comes to global comparisons our kids are not doing very well at all.

They are the most illiterate in the developed world, according to a survey by the OECD.

It warned that many young people are graduating with only a basic grasp of English and Maths and are unlikely to be able to get a job in which they can afford to pay off their student loans.

English teenagers aged 16-19 were rated the worst of 23 developed nations in literacy and 22nd in numeracy. In contrast pensioners or those close to retirement age were among the highest ranked of their age group.

Most illiterate nations

  1. England
  2. Spain
  3. US
  4. Italy
  5. school_children_holding_learn_blocks_1600_wht_12276France
  6. Ireland
  7. Canada
  8. Austria
  9. Northern Ireland
  10. Germany
  11. Norway
  12. Sweden
  13. Denmark
  14. Slovak Republic
  15. Czech Republic
  16. Belgium
  17. Australia
  18. Poland
  19. Estonia
  20. Finland
  21. The Netherlands
  22. Japan
  23. Korea

The number of low-skilled people in England is three times…

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Boys behaving disgracefully at school & where are the teachers?


figure_dancing_fad_500_clr_11824I was sickened to read that an MPs report says sexual harassment is rife in schools. Girls as young as 11 are groped, taunted and called “slags” and “sluts” and unwanted touching is accepted as a daily part of life in the classroom.

Well it shouldn’t be!

Apparently many boys think nothing of pulling up skirts, slapping bottoms and feeling girls’ breasts. Nearly 3/4 of girls had been called offensive names, over half had been sexually harassed and a third of girls aged 16-18 had been sexually touched at school. It’s assault people. In the workplace people would be sacked and even charged with a criminal offence.

What are the boys thinking about? On-line pornography will no doubt get some blame but what about the fact that most schools let pupils use their smart phones at school where they can sext away to their hearts content rather than…

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Gloom for graduates – but especially if you are male

As if things aren’t bad enough for men in the marriage stakes, unless you are Mr Right, male graduates are suffering in the job market too.

Average reductions in graduate vacancies of 9% and 7% in consecutive years mask larger reductions of up to 45% in retail, IT, and telecommunications.

And the recession (or mancession) coupled with the cutbacks in graduate jobs over the last 2 years, mean that this year’s graduates are having to compete with those from 2008 and 2009 who have had the chance to get some work experience.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) says that for the first time the average graduate starting salary has been frozen at £25,000, there are an average of 70 applicants for every job and up to 200 for some jobs.

This year almost 4/5 of employers (up from 2/3 in 2009) – led by organisations such as Sainsbury’s, GSK, BAE Systems, and the Civil Service – are demanding 2.1 degrees as the minimum.

So male students who adopt a “just do enough” policy when it comes to studying may have to rethink their strategy.

Both the Sunday Times and The Observer (4 July 2010) reported on the fact that women are outstripping men in the job market. Men are also less likely to go to University in the first place and more likely to drop out early according to the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI).

The AGR says that many male UK graduates have; “a degree of complacency” and HEPI talks about; “the general hopelessness of young men”. Recruiters agree that women graduates seem more mature, focussed and better prepared for interviews and assessments. And my colleagues in careers guidance and coaching tell me the same.

While men are often more self-confident  – cocky even – they don’t necessarily have a lot of self-awareness and many don’t respond to feedback as positively as women do either. Not many men suffer from “imposter syndrome” like women yet male underachievement is an increasing phenomenon, and not just amongst undergraduates.

An affluent society and slacker lifestyles have been blamed but psychologists point out that typically men have a wider range of performance with extremes – either brilliant or lazy, whereas women’s performance tends to be more in the mid-range with the result that they are often more sensible and industrious.

The only good news amongst this for men is that those male graduates who can get jobs will be getting an an average of £2,000 more than female graduates.

So lads get a grip! Sort yourselves out or you’ll be left even further behind

Updated 14 July 2010: BBC News reported that Jaguar had 3,700 applications for 80 graduate jobs, and that JCB had doubled the number of graduate vacancies from 6 to 12!

Many students said that they were continuing with their education because they couldn’t get jobs. More debt?