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October 2016 Newsletter

October is Mental Health Month, and this month’s newsletter features news and articles on how technology can help promote and improve mental health. At the same time, technology is constantly evolving and it’s important not to be completely dependent on digital tools to solve our problems. As I discuss in a recent Digital Trends interview (featured below), many modern digital maladies should be treated at the source, rather than with more technology.

Our attention is a resource to be spent wisely, not just within the digital world, but also within the context of real-life. My research team at the Emotion Regulation Lab recently investigated and published a study on how attention bias modification training is able to lower the risk of developing alcohol use disorders in young adults. These results also provide a better understanding for drinking motivation in young adults and will help determine useful approaches to curb the onset of alcohol use disorders. You can read more on the research below.

I hope this month’s newsletter will serve as a prompt to think about mental health, not just during Mental Health Month, but also in your daily lives. Big or small, digital or non-digital, your contribution, just like your attention, makes a difference to us all and to the world we live in.

—Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary
Media Coverage & Events

Digital Trends: Tech wrecked our bodies, but next it will make us healthier than ever

I was recently interviewed by Digital Trends for the article "Tech wrecked our bodies, but next it will make us healthier than ever". I spoke about how technology can help promote physical and mental health, but it may not be enough. Read more here.
Personal Zen News

Coming Soon: Updated Personal Zen App - including Android version

We are currently reviewing all user feedback on Personal Zen and are planning a major update to the app. The update will feature new enhancements to the user experience and will also be available on Android early next year.

PsyberGuide review

Personal Zen is featured in PsyberGuide –  a free and unbiased resource on expert mental health app reviews for patients, clinicians, and family.Click here to learn more.

TransTech Transformative Technology 200

The TransTech200 list was recently published and Personal Zen was chosen for the list. Click here to read more about TransTech and the scientists and engineers who are advancing new technologies for mental and emotional wellbeing.
Psyche's Circuitry Blog
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The Isle is Full of Noises: Digital Exile in the Play “Privacy”

Last month, I saw Privacy, a play by James Graham about the consequences of living our lives mediated by the internet and mobile technology.  Called a “magic show” by the New York Times review, it used Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a window into the pathos of this brave new digital world of ours. Read more...
Project Highlight
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Personality and Cognitive Factors in Alcohol Craving and Risk for Alcohol Use Disorders

Challenge & Background:
Attention bias modification (ABM) has been shown to successfully change how drinkers pay attention to information about alcohol, which may directly reduce problem drinking. However, very little research has focused on how more implicit and unconscious factors influence decisions about alcohol consumption.

What we hope to find out:
To address this question, my research team at the Emotion Regulation Lab is currently examining the interplay among personality factors, patterns of attending to and processing alcohol-related information, alcohol craving, and risk of developing alcohol use disorders in young adults. For more details on this study, click here.
Recent Publications

Favorable associations with alcohol and impaired self-regulation: A behavioral economic analysis

Recently published study combining behavioral economic measures of drinking decisions with computerized measures of impulsivity and implicit beliefs about alcohol. The results suggest that healthy young adults who have favorable attitudes toward alcohol, together with elevated impulsivity, have an increased likelihood of deciding to drink. Read more here.

Full citation:

Luehring-Jones, P. †, Dennis-Tiwary, T., Murphy, J.G., Dennhardt, A. Lindgren, K.P., Yarmush, D.E., Erblich, J. (2016). Favorable associations with alcohol and impaired self-regulation: A behavioral economic analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 163, 172-178. 

About Tracy
Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary is a Professor of Psychology at Hunter College of the City University of New York, the Director of the Emotion Regulation Lab, and the Co-Director of the Hunter College Stress, Anxiety, and Resilience Research Center. She is also the Founder of the mobile app, Personal Zen, a scientifically-validated mobile app for reducing stress and anxiety.

Tracy’s mission is to understand the fundamental role of emotions in mental health, and to transform breakthrough science into engaging digital tools that elevate mental wellness and that bridge the gap between mental health needs and solutions. More about Tracy here.
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Copyright © 2016 Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, All rights reserved.

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