Tag Archives | Depression

Does Depression = Lack of Fun?

“Real science points to one conclusion. “Modern cosmetic pharmacology focuses so heavily on eliminating depression that it entirely misses one essential point: depressed people are suffering from a lack of fun.”

Fun (and adventure) produce both adrenaline and dopamine, while “Having fun with other humans in a social setting stimulates serotonin and oxcytocin, two neurochemicals essential to feelings of security and being loved.” This oversight “will be viewed by future generations as one of the greatest failures of medicine,” argues this article (which appeared in the fall issue of the science magazine H+), concluding that science “has barely scratched the surface on fun.… Read the rest

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Machines Designed to Change Humans

I remember how my mom used to yell at my dad because he was always trying to explain how we’re being farmed.

The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab creates insight into how computing products — from websites to mobile phone software — can be designed to change what people believe and what they do.

Yes, this can be a scary topic: machines designed to influence human beliefs and behaviors. But there’s good news. We believe that much like human persuaders, persuasive technologies can bring about positive changes in many domains, including health, business, safety, and education. We also believe that new advances in technology can help promote world peace in 30 years. With such positive ends in mind, we are creating a body of expertise in the design, theory, and analysis of persuasive technologies, an area called “captology.”

By arriving at this page, you’ve reached the main website for our research lab, directed by Dr.Read the rest

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Depression’s Evolutionary Roots

Paul W. Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr. write in Scientific American (via Theoretick):

Depression seems to pose an evolutionary paradox. Research in the US and other countries estimates that between 30 to 50 percent of people have met current psychiatric diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder sometime in their lives. But the brain plays crucial roles in promoting survival and reproduction, so the pressures of evolution should have left our brains resistant to such high rates of malfunction. Mental disorders should generally be rare — why isn’t depression? [...]

In an article recently published in Psychological Review, we argue that depression is in fact an adaptation, a state of mind which brings real costs, but also brings real benefits. [...]

So what could be so useful about depression? Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else.

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