Tag Archives: myths

Mythbusting: 50 Inaccurate Psychological Terms

Open-access publisher Frontiers in Psychology has recently published a list of 50 inaccurate psychological terms.

This extensive list of “misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases.” is full of commonly used, but not commonly understood terms.

Aimed at students and teachers in order to curb “terminological misinformation and confusion,” the list also provides corrective terms and information.

Breaking down misconceptions into sections such as “Frequently Misused Terms”, Inaccurate or Misleading Terms”, and “Oxymorons”, the list tackles commonly used terms such as “Autism epidemic”, “Bystander Apathy”, and “Closure.”

It’s a comprehensive and highly technical list, but utterly fascinating.

Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid [via Frontiers in Psychology]

Busting the Myth of Blue Monday

January the 18th this year is supposedly the “most depressing day of the year, but the myth of Blue Monday seriously needs to be busted.

“Blue Monday” is the name given to a Monday in January, typically the third or fourth Monday of the month. The term has become popular through the years, but the truth is that the supposed science for calculating the most depressing day of the year is completely invalid.

Blue Monday Origin

The modern myth of Blue Monday was started and popularised as part of a marketing campaign for travel company Sky Travel in a 2005 press release.  The company claimed to have taken various factors into consideration to achieve their results. A formula using debt, time since Christmas, weather and other aspects deemed to be “depressing” were put through a pseudoscientific formula to result in the Blue Monday date. Physician and Bad Science expert Ben Goldacre has said that the formula rules: “fail even to make mathematical sense on their own terms.”

Since the first press release, the concept of Blue Monday has been an easy sell to journalists looking for space to fill in newspapers and blogs. Goldacre labels this: “churnalism”, and voices alarm in official organisations such as The Samaritans and the Mental Health Foundation using it to promote mental health issues.

Blue Monday Dangers

The real dangers of “Blue Monday” isn’t the day itself; it’s the idea that one day can be more depressing than others, and that it can affect the general population en masse. Goldacre’s mythbusting research of statistics across the world finds examples of higher suicide rates in summer and antidepressants being prescribed more in the spring.

Anybody who has experienced from depression can testify of its power to descend for a variety of reasons, on any day. Depression can be predictable or take people completely by surprise . Perpetuating the myth of Blue Monday does more harm to understanding mental health issues as it simplifies and distorts them. Understanding and tackling depression is not as easy as creating a completely false formula, created for a travel company’s marketing campaign. If only it was.

“Blue Monday” is churnalism, beware any journalist who puffs it [via Bad Science]

Myths about Meditation

Meditation is a very popular way to reduce stress and anxiety for mental health situations, however sometimes people don’t understand it’s not for everyone, there are some downsides to it.

It’s been proven that it can have positive effects on the mind and body, but it’s also thought to be a temporary effect so you need to keep it up to gain full the effect.

You don’t have to consign yourself to the spiritual aspect of the practice either, but it has shown that people who practice some form of meditation become more spiritual over time.

Here is a great article that goes deeper into the myths of meditation.

Photo credit: Balint Földesi