Posted by & filed under Motivation and Emotion, Personality, Psychology Update, States of Consciousness.


Dreams: Here’s What Your Recurring Nightmares Actually Mean



Given these difficult times during the pandemic, it is no surprise that many people have reported having an increase in bad dreams and nightmares.  

We all dream as part of our sleep cycle and label it as REM (rapid eye movement) stage of the cycle.  Some remember their dreams and many do not as the dreams fade from memory.  Certainly fascination with dreams throughout all civilizations and cultures, and Sigmund Freud made an attempt to connect dreams to personality and emotions.   There has been much research since Freud’s time that have looked at dreaming in a different way as related to daily functioning of our cognitive processes rather than as a window into the hypothesized (Freudian) unconscious.  This interesting article focuses specifically on recurrent bad dreams and recent research. 

“Everyone has a bad dream once in a while. But having the same one over and over may signal that something specific is missing in your daily life, new research suggests. Men and women in the study who felt frustrated and incompetent during the day were more likely to have recurrent bad dreams at night than those who felt satisfied and in control.  Other research has suggested that positive or negative emotions carry over into dreams, and that bad dreams may represent the leftover parts (active link) of poorly processed experiences, the authors wrote in their study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion. (active link) Less is known about the role of social and environmental cues—how people relate to themselves and those around them—in shaping dreams.”  For the student of psychology, the article focuses on how the research is conducted and the conclusions of various studies.  Well worth reading!



Time, December 15, 2017, by Amanda MacMillan




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•According to your textbook, how does dreaming fit into the normal sleep cycle and REM activity?

•Using your textbook, what are the hypothesized functions of dreaming?

•The article discusses research studies on recurrent dreams.  What are recurrent dreams?  What are the hypothesized causes of recurrent dreams?  What are the conclusions of the research studies?


Posted by & filed under Introduction To Psychology, Nervous System, Psychology Update, Sensation and Perception, Stress and Health Psychology.


Up to 1.6 Million People in the U.S. Have Long-Term Smell Loss Due to Covid-19



An important part of the Psychology curriculum in the understanding of behavior are the important topics of Sensation & Perception.  The senses are the gateway from our internal body and the external world.  Perception is how the brain comprehends the world after  receiving the stimulus inputs of our senses.  Of course our perception develops through our particular experiences of the world.  What happens when we lose one of our senses:  loss of vision causes blindness; loss of hearing causes deafness; and loss of our olfactory sense causes anosmia.  For the latter, illness, injury, chronic drug use (snorting in particular) can be causal.  Additionally:  “A loss of smell—called anosmia—can be one of the first symptoms of a Covid-19 infection; one study reports that between 30 and 80 percent of diagnosed folks experience some variation of anosmia. Taking a big whiff of perfume, food or wine and not smelling anything at all can be an odd, confusing sensation, but around 90 percent of people recover their sense of smell as soon as two weeks, reports Ed Cara for Gizmodo. However, some people are taking much longer to recover their smell. For others, it may never come back.”…”Although other symptoms of long Covid can be more serious—such as brain fog, heart or lung damage and chronic fatigue—the long-term loss of smell isn’t something to be overlooked. Folks with anosmia are twice as likely to experience hazards like inability to detect gas leaks, smoke or spoiled food, reports CNN.”  Our sense of smell is related to our psychological and social well being.  The article details the problems related to anosmia and also provides a beautiful graphic.



Smithsonian, November 19, 2021, by Rasha Aridi



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•Why do Psychologists study Sensation & Perception?  How many senses do humans possess? And what are these? (Hint:  there are many more than five.)

•The article focuses on the loss of the olfactory (smell) due to covid.   Can you provide details regarding this loss?

•What are the consequences of ANOSMIA in terms of daily living?  


Posted by & filed under Psychology App of the Week.





(Click on your platform):  (free)       iOS    &    Android



From Google Play Store and iTunes Store

“The PAR Assessment Toolkit provides quick access to the tools you use on a daily basis! Features include a normal curve, a conversion chart, a compliancy calculator, an age calculator, a stopwatch, and a QR code reader. The app has been updated to provide more functionality, a more modern look and feel, and improved features—and it’s still free!”

NOTE:  Check the app for the useful tools that are listed above.  PAR is also the marketer of testing materials for Psychological Assessment.

Posted by & filed under Brain Structure and Function, Introduction To Psychology, Nervous System, Psychology Podcast of the Week, Psychology Update, Stress and Health Psychology.


Speaking of Psychology: Healing pain by treating the mind

(Article, Podcast, Audio, and Video available)



“For many chronic pain sufferers, effective treatment remains elusive, with doctor’s visits, medications and even surgeries giving little in the way of relief. But in recent years, research by psychologists and other scientists has begun to suggest that for at least some people, the answer to chronic pain may come not from healing the body, but from treating the mind….What does that mean? How does it work? What’s the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about pain and the actual pain that we feel? What does pain look like in the brain? Why do placebos work? And how can we use what scientists are learning about the brain basis of pain to develop effective new treatments for it?” 



American Psychological Association, January 2022,  by Tor Wager, Ph.D.




(Tiny URL)



•What is pain?  (Please frame your answer in terms of the “complexity” concept not just a simple definition.)

•The article/podcast describes a new type of treatment called PRT “pain reprocessing therapy.”  How does this treatment work?

•The article discusses research on the placebo effect.  What has been found in terms of the effectiveness?  Why are some people more susceptible than others to the placebo effect?

•The end of the article/podcast suggests further readings for coping with pain:  what are these books and how effective are they for suffers of chronic pain?


Posted by & filed under Addiction, Brain Structure and Function, Introduction To Psychology, Nervous System, Personality, Psychological Disorders and Therapy, Psychology Website of the Week, Stress and Health Psychology.



Psychology Today:  Addiction






This Psychology Today website can be used a both an in class teaching resource and a valid informational repository for students.  Topics covered include:

What Is Addiction?
Compulsive and Addictive Behaviors
Drug Trends
Recent posts on Addiction
Addiction Essential Reads

Posted by & filed under Brain Structure and Function, Introduction To Psychology, Nervous System, Psychology Update, Sleep Disorders, States of Consciousness, States of Consciousness & Sleep, Stress and Health Psychology.


Why Does Alcohol Mess With My Sleep?



Lots of folks have a “night cap” to help them fall asleep, however though they may drift off into sleep more easily, the alcohol has a deleterious effect on the sleep cycle.  “…there’s a good chance that too much alcohol will mean a fitful night of sleep. That’s because alcohol disrupts what’s known as your sleep architecture, [active link] the normal phases of deeper and lighter sleep we go through every night. A night of drinking can “fragment,” or interrupt, these patterns, experts say, and you may wake up several times as you ricochet through the usual stages of sleep.”  This fascinating article discusses a number of studies that highlight the neurophysiology of alcohol and various brain mechanisms and how sleep is disrupted.  There are many side effects of drinking too close to bedtime and even how alcohol the night before can affect the next waking day.   The article offers some excellent advice on making changes.



New York Times, January 25, 2022, by Anna Nierenberg




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•First begin with understanding the normal process:  What are the normal stages of sleep and dreaming?

•How does alcohol affect sleep? Dreams? Bodily function?

•What brain mechanisms and neurotransmitters are involved with alcohol as a sedative?

•Why should a person never mix or combine alcohol with other sedatives (both prescription and over the counter supplements)?


Posted by & filed under Psychology App of the Week, Psychology Resource of the Week.



Popplet Lite





iOS:  (free)




From the iTunes Store

Popplet is the simplest tool to capture and organize your ideas. With Popplet you can quick jot down your ideas and sort them visually. 

Apple has featured us in “Tools for Teachers”, “New and Noteworthy”, “What’s Hot” and “Get Stuff Done” 

Popplet is great for school and for learning in the classroom and at home. Students use Popplet to think and learn visually. By capturing facts, thoughts, and images, students learn to create relationships between them and generate new ideas. 

Popplet is also great for work and for generating ideas in the office or on the go. Professionals use Popplet to generate ideas and plan projects. By brainstorming visually or jotting down notes, Popplet helps professionals organize their thoughts and generate their next big idea.

This is the LITE version of Popplet. Popplet Lite will be free forever, but is limited to just one popplet. The full version of Popplet lets you create an unlimited number of local Popplet boards on your iPhone or iPad. 

People use Popplet to: 

+ Study: School Projects, Class Notes

+ Explore Ideas: Brainstorming, Mindmapping

+ Plan Projects: Diagrams, Process Charts 

+ Collect Inspiration: Mood Boards, Scrapbook, Travel Plans

Key Features of Lite:

+ One Popplet board

+ Capture notes in text

+ Capture notes with images

+ Capture notes with a drawing tool

+ Change the color of your notes and Popplet board

+ Link notes to each other visually

+ Export as PDF as JPEG

+ Pinch to zoom and expand

+ Multi Language Support

If you like Popplet after trying this LITE version, please download the ‘full’ version and you will also get:

+ Unlimited local boards 

+ See the Popplet boards of other users through the ‘Public’ tab to get inspired 


Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.


Try These Brain Foods to Improve Your Mood



Can food affect our mood in the sense of improving it when we feel stressed?  Can food affect our feelings of depression?  Are there such things as comfort foods?  “For years research on healthy eating has focused primarily on physical health and the link between diet, weight and chronic disease. But the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry studies how foods can make us feel….Nutritional psychiatrists say food shouldn’t replace other treatments for mental health, including therapy and prescription drugs, but it shouldn’t be ignored either. A number of studies have suggested that dietary changes can lead to meaningful improvements in mood and mental well-being.”  The article highlights a number of studies and includes links to the studies that demonstrate that some types of diets (not the weight loss type) that emphasize healthy eating, such as the Mediterranean diet can have a positive effect on mood. Interestingly, the article describes the studies that have examined the use of comfort foods and provides details of a nicely designed experiment.  Further the article discusses the biome, brain, and neurotransmitters.  Further the article highlights food categories that have been found to be helpful for “mental well being.”  



New York Times, January 24, 2022, by Tara Parker-Pope




(Tiny URL)



•What is nutritional psychiatry?  What is the current belief regarding food and mood (mental well being)?

•What is the myth of comfort food?

•If you were working with a depressed individual in a therapeutic situation, what advice would you give about food?  How would you explain the beneficial effects of certain nutrients on the brain?


Posted by & filed under Introduction To Psychology, Psychology Update, Sleep Disorders, States of Consciousness, States of Consciousness & Sleep.


I’m Often Wide Awake at 3 A.M. How Do I Get Back to Sleep?

Sleep experts offer advice on sleeping soundly through the night.



This is a terrific article that points to both the causes of insomnia as well as how to handle the issues and take control to have better sleep.  “It’s normal to wake up a few times during the night, as the brain cycles through various stages of deeper and lighter sleep. [link will take you to other related articles] Older people also often have to get out of bed to use the bathroom one or two times during the night. Waking up at night is usually harmless. Most people have no trouble falling back asleep and may not even remember their nighttime awakenings the next morning.  But if you frequently wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself struggling to fall back asleep, there could be an underlying problem. If this occurs at least three times a week over a period of at least three months, it could be chronic insomnia, said Dr. Kannan Ramar, a sleep medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.” The article focuses on normal sleep, the problems related to insomnia (stress/anxiety) and the mistakes that people make when they are awake in the middle of the night.  The article provides advice in the form of the sleep hygiene rules to get a better night’s sleep – and in most cases these rules are effective.



New York Times, July 13, 2021, by Anahad O’Connor




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•What are the normal sleep stages?

•What are the causes of insomnia?  What mistakes do people make when they wake up in the middle of the night?

•If you were a sleep specialist, what advice would you give insomnia suffers to help them achieve a good night’s sleep?


Posted by & filed under Nervous System, Psychological Disorders and Therapy, Psychology Podcast of the Week, States of Consciousness.



Insomnia Coach Podcast







From the Podcast site:

“Welcome to the Insomnia Coach® Podcast! My name is Martin Reed. I believe that nobody needs to live with chronic insomnia and that evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques can help you enjoy better sleep for the rest of your life. In this podcast, I share insomnia success stories and expert interviews that I hope will motivate and inspire you to implement changes that can improve your sleep and transform your life.”

Martin Reed is an “expert” on the topic of insomnia.  His website and podcasts are very popular for those experiencing this sleep problem.   He also states:  “Personal sleep coaching and online sleep education to improve your sleep so you can live a happier, healthier life.”   He offers valuable advice and includes free “lessons” on dealing with the problem via email.  Also he offers a personalized, and expensive, coaching course.

It is worth exploring the free resources and course if this area of Psychology is of interest.  See the Psychology Weekly Website Update for information about his website.

It is worth exploring the free resources and course if this area of Psychology is of interest.  The resources are very valuable and are based upon empirical data on the topic.