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Impulsive behavior: What happens in the brain?

What makes us impulsive? Why do we find it so easy to say when we know that would be better for us in the long run? A recent study in rodents explores the neural mechanisms behind impulsivity. Controlling our impulses can often be difficult, but for some of us, the struggle can be all-consuming. Impulsivity is an integral part of a range of conditions, including drug addiction, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Parkinson's diseaseTrusted Source. The authors of a recent paper, published in Nature CommunicationsTrusted Source, define impulsivity as responding without apparent forethought for the consequences of on's actions. As they explain, being impulsive is not always a bad thing, but, It can often lead to consequences that are undesired or unintended. The new study sets out to understand more about the mechanisms that produce impulsivity. The scientists hope that this knowledge might, eventually, lead to interventions that could reduce impulsivity. The study also has certain limitations. First and foremost, the scientists investigated impulsivity using specific food based tests in a rodent model. How this would translate to humans as they navigate real-life choices is difficult to say. Because impulsivity appears in a range of conditions, researchers are sure to continue investigating the science that drives it.
(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Some narcissistic traits may be useful for mental health

Narcissism is a personality disorder that gets a bad rap due to some of its characteristic traits, such as an inflated sense of self-importance and poor regard for others. But researchers now suggest that some of these traits might help safeguard a person's mental health. Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by traits such as an inflated sense of self-importance and a need to receive constant admiration and emotional reinforcement from others. Studies suggest that up to 6.2%Trusted Source of individuals in given research cohorts have narcissistic personality disorder. Yet, while narcissism does have some fixed traits, researchers have shown that it is a spectrum disorder. Narcissism is part of the dark tetrad of personality that also includes Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism explains Kostas Papageorgiou, who is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at Queen's University Belfast in the United Kingdom. But, he adds, there are two main dimensions to narcissism grandiose and vulnerable. Vulnerable narcissists are likely to be more defensive and view the behavior of others as hostile, whereas grandiose narcissists usually have an overinflated sense of importance and a preoccupation with status and power. Papageorgiou wanted to explore whether this personality disorder also features some positive traits that could help maintain a person's psychological well-being. Papageorgiou and colleagues have recently published two study papers suggesting that people with grandiose narcissism appear to have greater resilience to stress and are less likely to experience depression. Individuals high on the spectrum of dark traits, such as narcissism, engage in risky behavior, hold an unrealistic superior view of themselves, are overconfident, show little empathy for others, and have little shame or guilt," notes the researcher. "However," he continues, "what this research has questioned is — if narcissism, as an example of the dark tetrad, is indeed so socially toxic, why does it persist, and why is it on the rise in modern societies?" The researcher also argues that a more balanced view of narcissistic traits could also help researchers and mental health professionals provide better help to the people they work with. This move forward may help to reduce the marginalization of individuals that score higher than average on the dark traits. It could also facilitate the development of research-informed suggestions on how best to cultivate some manifestations of these traits, while discouraging others, for the collective good,says Papageorgiou.
(Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)