ICYMI Health features what we’re reading this week.
This week, we read everything we could get our hands on about human behavior, including an essay on what the rise of trigger warnings and safe spaces say about us as a society, and a piece on the psychological advantages of strongly identifying with being biracial. We learned how a trick of the brain can make it difficult to end a bad relationship and what having thousands of unread emails in your inbox says about your personality.
Read on and tell us in the comments: What did you read and love this week?
1. The Scary Psychology Of ‘Dark’ Perfectionism — The Huffington Post
A new study shows that there is more than one kind of perfectionism. Self-oriented perfectionists set lofty goals for themselves. Others-oriented perfectionists set unreasonable goals for other people.
Quote: “Other-oriented perfectionism is a ‘dark’ form of perfectionism positively associated with narcissistic, antisocial and uncaring personality characteristics.”
2. The Last Day of Her Life –New York Times Magazine
When Sandy Bem was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she decided to end her life when she no longer continued to be herself. Deciding when that no-longer-herself moment was, however, turned out to be a more complex equation that anyone in Bem’s family anticipated.
Quote: “The old Sandy, who valued her rationality and her agency, had been clear that she would be unwilling to keep living when she could no longer articulate coherent thoughts. But this newer Sandy didn’t seem unhappy living her life in this compromised way. Ultimately, who should make the decision to die, the old Sandy or the new one?”
3. Inbox Zero vs. Inbox 5,000: A Unified Theory — The Atlantic
The world is divided into two camps: Out-of-control, emotional, “chaos muppets” and neurotic, highly regimented “order muppets.”
Quote: “For some, it’s a spider. For others, it’s an unexpected run-in with an ex. But for me, discomfort is a dot with a number in it: 1,328 unread-message notifications? I just can’t fathom how anyone lives like that.”
4. The Psychological Advantages of Strongly Identifying As Biracial — Science of Us
Multi-racial individuals tend to think more carefully about their identities — and if they are raised to identify with both of their parents, can operate equally well in majority and minority settings.
Quote: “In studies, for example, ‘priming’ a black person to remember he or she is black, or priming a girl to remember that she’s a girl, results in lower performance on tests, an internalization of negative stereotypes known as ‘stereotype threat.’ But multi-racial people ‘may not believe the stereotypes applied to monoracials apply to them,’ Gaither explained.”
5. Stunning Book Of Portraits Shows ‘Beauty After Breast Cancer’ — The Huffington Post
Joseph Linaschke’s photo series shows both “ideal” breast cancer surgery outcomes as well as women who experienced breast cancer surgery complications.
Quote: “We are still managing to be uplifting and unintimidating with the portraits and stories we are sharing. A woman who has just heard the words, ‘you have breast cancer’ does not need to be scared further. I feel the faceless portraits of scars remain too harsh for someone who has no experience with breast cancer.”
6. Stress Test — New Republic
Trigger warnings and safe spaces (and those who criticize them) are part of a larger narrative about the changing ways humans process trauma.
Quote: “In contrast to the stern self-abnegation of these older traditions, therapeutic culture is profoundly democratic, holding out the idea that everyone has a right to minimize personal suffering and make a grasp at happiness.”
7. How to Brag — The Atlantic
Cloaking a brag in feigned humility — known as humblebragging — will only make people distain you, science says.
Quote: “When in doubt, complain constantly, bask in sympathy, and wait patiently for praise.”
8. Science Explains Why Some People Are Attracted to Jerks — The Week
An unfamiliar experience — such as an act of kindness in an otherwise tumultuous relationship — could stimulate the brain’s reward circuit, possibly explaining why people stay in bad relationships.
Quote: “So the next time your friend complains about his girlfriend’s behavior, try to be sympathetic — it’s not that he likes to suffer. Most likely, it’s his brain playing tricks on him.”
9. Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers — New York Times
Colleges are struggling to keep up with the demand for mental health treatment from college students with severe mental illness and those with academic performance-related anxiety.
Quote: “A month into the semester, a student is having panic attacks about coming to class, but the wait list at the counseling center is two to five weeks out.”