Tidy Desk or Messy Desk? Each Has Its Benefits

Working at a clean and prim desk may promote healthy eating, generosity, and conventionality, according to new research. But, the research also shows that a messy desk may confer its own benefits, promoting creative thinking and stimulating new ideas.

The new studies, conducted by psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs and her fellow researchers at the University of Minnesota are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Prior work has found that a clean setting leads people to do good things: Not engage in crime, not litter, and show more generosity,” Vohs explains. “We found, however, that you can get really valuable outcomes from being in a messy setting.”

In the first of several experiments, participants were asked to fill out some questionnaires in an office. Some completed the task in a clean and orderly office, while others did so in an unkempt one — papers were strewn about, and office supplies were cluttered here and there.

Full story of benefits of a clean desk at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Brain Circuits Link Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior and Obesity

What started as an experiment to probe brain circuits involved in compulsive behavior has revealed a surprising connection with obesity.

The University of Iowa-led researchers bred mice missing a gene known to cause obesity, and suspected to also be involved in compulsive behavior, with a genetic mouse model of compulsive grooming. The unexpected result was offspring that were neither compulsive groomers nor obese.

The study, published the week of June 10 in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggests that the brain circuits that control obsessive-compulsive behavior are intertwined with circuits that control food intake and body weight. The findings have implications for treating compulsive behavior, which is associated with many forms of psychiatric disease, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, and eating disorders.

UI neuro-psychiatrists Michael Lutter, M.D., Ph.D. and Andrew Pieper, M.D., Ph.D., led the study. The team also included researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School.

Full story of brain circuits involving obesity and OCD at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

‘Girls’ Shows Us the Real OCD With Hannah’s Brutal Q-Tip Scene

The über-hip HBO drama Girls has taken a step away from irony and entered the bright lights of dim reality. Just when we all figured that Hannah (Lena Dunham) was going to live out one of those blessed lives as someone who seems nice and approachable, gives to the right charities, and says the right things about politicians and offshore oil drilling, we realize she suffers. According to reports, or at least her own tweets, she has obsessive-compulsive disorder—and the real thing, not OCD the cute, prissy condition where you line up your paper clips.

In last week’s and this week’s episodes, we’ve learned that Hannah needs everything to happen in series of eight (or 64) and probably needs a left-right balance as well. It is, we are told, the “stress” of success—her book is coming along nicely, sort of—that tips her back into the OCD she fought as a child. Her parents notice her “counting” while at a fancy dinner and arrange for her to see first her old pediatrician, then a real shrink who tells her she has a classic presentation—before mentioning his own bestselling book.

Full story of real OCD at The Daily Beast

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education