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Welcome to the PROSIT Blog


Your Eyes, Your Mind: The Power of Attention Bias

Have you ever been captivated by a striking image or deeply absorbed in a specific thought, seemingly oblivious to the world around you? In case, yes, this is a very common phenomenon and is called an attention bias. An attention bias is like your mind's compass guiding you toward certain things while gently nudging you away from others. In a world saturated with information that tends to grab our attention or trigger a response from our senses, attention bias becomes crucial. Attention bias is the silent navigator shaping our perception of the world, often operating beneath the surface of conscious awareness. Attention bias can be good but sometimes our response to information around us, such as negative words, scenes, or emotional expressions, could have an impact on our mental health.

Parental-Smartphone Use and its Long-Term Effects on Child Socio-Emotional Development

Young developing children are dependent on the level of responsiveness displayed by their parents. Children with responsive parents are more likely to experience sufficient socioemotional development – emotion regulation, impulse control, etc. However, recent work in the scientific field has shown that smartphone devices could be detrimental to parental responsiveness and child socioemotional development. The current project aims to investigate this possible detriment through several measures, such as mobile sensing, self-report questionnaires, and in-person observations.

Examining Attention Bias in Psychopathy with Emotionally Salient Face Stimuli

Simal Dolek, Research Assistant in the PROSIT Lab, presented this work at this year’s Psychiatry Research Day on October 27th. Visit to learn more!

The Complexities of Sexting: Motivations, Outcomes, and Relationships

Along with the boom in popularity of smartphones (see our recent blog post on Mobile Sensing), over the years teenagers and young adults have had greater access to technology that allows them to send each other pictures, GIFs, videos, memes, voice memos, and of course sexts. Sexting has become pretty common, with recent research estimating that around 40% of 18-29 year-olds have sent or received a sext [1]. This has led to researchers being interested in the possible negative consequences of sexting in this emerging adult age group. 

What is Mobile Sensing?

In the Predicting Risks and Outcomes of Social InTeractions (PROSIT) Research Lab, one kind of smart-device technology we are especially optimistic about is mobile sensing. We are using the PROSIT app to measure mental health and well-being in youth, including youth with or without mental health disorders (such as anxiety). Our hope is that mobile sensing tools like the PROSIT app will eventually empower youth to understand and manage their mental health.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected youth mental health?

Since the early days of the pandemic, there has been growing concern about the possible harms that the pandemic and related restrictions may have had on the mental health of youth. Some researchers theorized that the pandemic would cause anxiety and depression in youth, particularly in parts of the world where schools were closed for extended periods of time [1]. The pandemic may have also affected other mental health outcomes, such as the prevalence of eating disorders and suicide in youth. For this blog post, we will focus on anxiety and depression. The research is complicated, and it changes all the time, so we will do our best to summarize some of the key findings related to our question so far... 

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