Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic rewards

Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation

Understanding how intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation differ helps us plan our activities and stay engaged with tasks at hand. Intrinsic motivation is based on inner values, whilst extrinsic is based on contingent rewards. But how can we harness our internal motivation and how (and when) do extrinsic rewards help (or hinder)? Read on to find more…

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Low alcohol wine? You may just neck the whole bottle!

Why low alcohol messages may not be the answer…

Over the last few years a lot of the alcohol research I have been involved in has been looking at helping people make better decisions about their alcohol consumption. Drinking too much has massive implication for society – it contributes to a generally high prevalence of people being overweight (alcohol is highly calorific) and people consuming alcohol takes a toll on society – both in terms of long term health care costs (i.e. people being at increased risk of heart and liver disease) but also in terms of alcohol related violence. Public health campaigns encouraging us to drink responsibly have met with limited success, and it’s not a problem that will go away. One possible way we could be approach this is by making low alcohol wines and beers more widely available – giving people a choice of a less calorific, less intoxicating drink. But would this work? Me and some colleagues from LSBU’s Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research teamed up with Cambridge University’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit to start finding out out…

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Feeling blue? We’re testing a new psychological help app – ‘Tomo’

Help us test the efficacy of Tomo!

If you are currently feeling low / blue and live in London, you may be interested in some research I am involved in. We are currently recruiting people to take part in trial of a new app – ‘Tomo’ which may help improve mood and psychological wellbeing.

Find out more here

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Social connections and social prescribing

The power of social connections and the rise of social prescribing

One way of dealing with stress is to draw on the positive social identities in our lives. A growing body of research suggests that the social connections we have can buffer us from the effects of traumatic events, improve mental health and also let us bounce back from physical ailments more quickly. In the guise of ‘social prescribing’, this idea is also increasingly being used to find ways to replace or compliment medicine.

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The psychology of stress and exercise

Stressed? Just go for a run?

We all know that exercise is good for us physically, but it also has dramatic effects on our psychological motivation, focus and wellbeing. And you don’t have to run marathons to benefit from it. But what are the exact mechanisms of these effects, and how much exercise do we need to do to achieve them?

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Time perspectives and wellbeing

The psychology of time perspectives

Have you ever thought about the psychology of time? Some of us think a lot about future, constantly planning and wondering ‘what if’. Often, we worry about what will happen tomorrow or next week. Others are more focused on the past, replaying and ruminating on the same event over and over. We are always hearing it is good to be ‘in the present’. But what does the study of the psychology of time tell us about all this?

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Humour and stress reduction

Humour and stress reduction

We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but how does humour help with stress reduction? Is all humour equal? How do we use it? Read on to find out more…

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The transactional model of stress and coping

The transactional model of stress and coping

One way of improving our relationship with stress is to understand some of the processes which underpin it, and how they influence the ways we try and cope. One way of understanding this is through the transactional model of stress and coping1. The transactional model of stress and coping argues that our experience of stress is ultimately a system of appraisal, response and adaptation.

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University students and identity incompatibility

identity incompatablityAt this time of year students return to university. This is an exciting time as you get to catch up with last year’s student and see what they been up to over the summer. Of course, we also welcome a new cohort of students to the University and, for many of them, help them get used to a new way of life. For some of these new faces, the transition between their old lifestyle and becoming a student is easy. For others it is more difficult. What causes these differences and what does the study of psychology tell us about situations where our identities don’t really fit together, or are just plain incompatible? Read on to find out.

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Facebook Addiction?

Facebook and social networks – pastime or addiction?

mobile-phone-426559_640I am not really a heavy social network user. I have a twitter and Facebook account, and a (slightly outdated) Linkedin account. I mostly use mine to publicise my blog and keep in touch with distant friends. I maybe make about 6 posts a week max. For most, these networks are a great way to bring people together and share views. For others, though, social networks like Facebook can become problematic or even addictive. Can the science of psychology help predict who is at risk?

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