Anything you can do, I can do too

Mike the Psych's Blog

Violent offences and sex attacks, increased alcohol consumption and partner abuse, have all increased dramatically for women.

Gone are the days of ladylike behaviour. Increasingly women are copying the worst behaviours of men. They are just as likely as men to troll partners online; they are swearing more than men (who have cut down); and drinking more than ever before.

Teenage girls in the UK are twice more likely than boys to get drunk than almost anywhere else in Europe where it is the other way round. They are also more likely to be drink-driving than men from the age of 30 with a doubling of the number of women convicted for it since 1998.

figure_behind_bars_anim_500_wht_3524There are currently almost a hundred women in prison for violent behaviour, up a third, and over a hundred serving time for serious sexual offences, three times the number, compared to ten years ago.


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Women & men have different body clocks

stick_figure_sleeping_1600_wht_5121If you are a woman and reading this in bed because you can’t sleep – well it’s not all your fault.

Women are going to bed later than they should and waking up later than they should because their circadian clocks are two hours ahead of mens’ but they feel they have to go to bed at the same time as their husbands or boyfriends (is that really true these days?)

So they are more tired at night but more alert in the morning and may be prone to insomnia (as women are 50% more likely to have sleep problems).

The circadian clock in our bodies regulates sleep-wake cycles and makes us feel alert or tired at appropriate times and is also responsible for jet-lag when we change time zones.

Humans can have different circadian rhythms and research on teenagers has led to some school starting lessons later to match them.

Girls more depressed & you can blame social media

stick_figure_liking_it_500_wht_9170On the face of it today’s young people have never had it so good. Teenage pregnancies are down, fewer of them smoke and they drink less than previous generations.

So what have they got to be depressed about?

Well they spend an awful lot of time on social media, posting selfies, seeking approval from others. “Like me, like me” they seem to beg.

It’s a recipe for disaster and means they are continually comparing themselves with others. And it’s all artificial.

They spend hours making themselves up for selfies. I’ve taken loads of photographs at parties and invariably the women want to check the photos to make sure they’re OK.

Whether its posting selfies or posting posed photos on Facebook using cats, cuddly toys and even their babies as accessories, it’s all about wanting approval. Over half of teenagers are said to spend more than three hours a day on social media. (I’ve posted before about my views on Facebook)

And this is the most risk-averse generation we’ve seen for ages and maybe that’s part of the problem. No-one dares misbehave any more in case it gets on social media (as it will) and is then held against them later in life e.g. at job interviews.

It’s been said that young people work harder at schools. I don’t believe that for one minute. Exams are easier, course work is often group work and there has been such grade inflation over the years (at all levels in the education system) that you can’t rely on the grading system.

Nonetheless there has been a 10% increase in girls being treated for depression and a 50% increase in self-harming. For boys there has been a decrease over the same 10 year period.

The psychological distress reported includes sleep loss, inability to concentrate, feeling unhappy and worthless. Girls report suffering these twice as much as boys (30% of girls).

Whether or not social media is totally to blame it clearly plays a part. The head of the charity Sane believes the internet has played a huge part. No longer can students get relief from school or peer pressure at home. It’s now always-on.

But lets not forget pushy parents. Kids from better off families report higher levels of stress and anxiety. Lower status children seem to suffer less – perhaps because they have lower expectations, or maybe because they are more resilient.

Schools which have banned smartphones report better results. Parents need to think about reducing screen time and switching off the wi-fi.

As I’ve posted before about smartphone users – Get a Life!

The government has promised to put £1.4 billion into providing mental health support for young people. Maybe we should start helping them closer to home.


Boys need a leg up at school but treating them like girls?

babies_with_blocks_spelling_learn_1600_wht_13401The latest research on children’s achievements suggest that there are a million lost boys out there.

These are the boys who have fallen behind girls in the communication skills they need to cope in class.

The research by the charity Save the Children and researchers from Bristol University says that this gap exists regardless of social class.

A professor of education at Bristol University said ” We found gender affects literacy attainment and language development irrespective of social class and includes boys from middle-class homes.

The worst affected area was Merseyside, where 5-year old boys were 17% behind girls in reaching expected standards in language and communication skills. But even in Rutland, which has low poverty levels, the gap was still 14%.

Girls are ahead of boys in all 152 local council areas in England.

This is worrying because children who fall behind before they reach school tend to stay behind. Boys who are behind at age 5 are four times more likely to fall below expected reading standards by the age of 11.

They struggle to pay attention in class and find it hard to follow lessons or develop friendships. They are also less likely to get good GCSE results and A levels, complete degrees (already there are fewer boys than girls going to universities), get a good job and are more at risk of poor mental health.

A spokesman for Save the Children  said “this research gets to the nub of why boys fall behind. It shows that even before they walk through the school gates they are at a disadvantage that trails them through life.

The researchers say that parents can help bridge the gap by bringing up boys more like girls.

The research shows that parents spend less time on activities that develop language skills with their sons rather than their daughters.

They sing more nursery rhymes and songs and do more drawings and paintings with girls than they do with boys. So parents can do more with their sons in this regard and also get them to talk more about their activities. They can also read story books as well as non-fiction books to get them interested in reading for pleasure (Dads take note especially).

The other problem boys have is their ability to concentrate and focus. So playing word games and completing drawing tasks can help them build up their concentration and attention span.

Save the Children is recommending having a graduate teacher in each nursery to boost boys’ levels of literacy before they get to school.

The report makes sense but the idea of bringing up boys more like girls is a misleading headline.

It’s been argued for years that there are too few male role models in nurseries and primary schools and the way young pupils are taught is more girl-friendly. Something I posted on several years ago.

The secret to giving the perfect gift

shopping_bag_solid_color_with_presents_1600_wht_7000Psychologists and consumer researchers have come up with some important points about selecting the perfect gift for your loved ones.

  • Choose a gift that reflects you – it will make the recipient feel closer to you
  • Don’t add a secondary i.e. cheaper gift to an expensive one. People average the value so the cheap gift ends up devaluing your main gift.
  • If you are in a romantic relationship choose a gift that reflects your similarity. Men are less tolerant than women in this respect.
  • Don’t spend too much too early in a relationship. If you spend less later you appear mean and then it’s downhill from then on.
  • Don’t give presents that hint or joke that you want to change people. So no deodorant.

And “there appears to be no relationship between the cost of a gift and the extent to which it is liked or preferred” according to psychologist Professor Adrian Furnham writing about the Psychology of Christmas Gift Giving.

Men remember that women are far more tolerant of poorly chosen gifts so don’t get too pessimistic about your relationship if you don’t get what you wanted. And young men often see gifts as “fiscal foreplay” that can make expensive gifts seem like a sexual bribes.

All I want for Christmas…….




Good news for little boys

stick_figure_hitting_beach_ball_1600_wht_8083If you are bright and have a professional career such as a doctor or lawyer you will outlive average women for the first time according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Boys born between 2007 and 2011 can expect to live to just over 82 years of age, just a little bit longer than average girls. However girls also in the professions can still expect to live three years longer to 85 years of age.

Men have been closing the life expectancy gap steadily over the last 30 years to an average age of 79 (compared to an average women’s life expectancy of 82 years) although the poorest men will only live until 74 (compared to the poorest women at 78).

Women, even if from the lowest socio-economic groups, have always lived longer than well-off men  but that has changed. Why?

The decline of the mining industry and the move from physical labour in manufacturing to service industries have reduced deaths from accidents and industrial disease and the reduction in smoking (more men smoke than women and were heavier smokers) has also contributed together with improvements in health care.

However, despite being an advanced economy – the fifth largest in the world – the poorest people in the UK still live shorter lives by several years than their wealthier counterparts.

The North-South divide still exists

figure_good_choice_1600_wht_12897Babies born in the affluent South can expect to live 8 years longer than those born in the North-West.

Girls born in the Chiltern, Buckinghamshire, which includes Amersham and Chesham, are likely to be the longest lived alongside boys from south Cambridgeshire.

They can expect to live until they are 86 compared to a girl born in Manchester who has a life expectancy of 80, and boys born in south Cambridgeshire can expect to live to 84 compared to 74 for a boy born in Blackpool.

Overall life expectancy has risen as older people receive better health care and overall it is now just over 79 years for people living in England and Wales.

Health differences are strongly linked to economic status and lifestyle including smoking, obesity and alcohol abuse.

Many people now survive heart attacks, strokes and even cancer but this also means that more people are living with multiple chronic conditions.

To make matters worse up North people are moving South in search of the good life – or jobs at least.

The North has lost a quarter of its population over the last 100 years and now only has just under 30% of the total population of England.ONS figures show that there are only about 800 businesses per 100,000 population compared to ver 1,00 in the rest of England. Household income after tax is below the national average everywhere but for affluent North Yorkshire.

The happiness rating in the North is 7.3, just less than the 7.4 average but students seem to like the universities. Unfortunately most of them move back South when they have graduated.

Of course we suffer in the North from having a poor infrastructure. Having led the way in the Industrial Revolution no-one seems to care any more.

See the other serious North-South divide and perhaps a less serious one

Put on your high heel sneakers…

mbDNrygjwyOx8CopACAoAHAand the world is your oyster. Marilyn Monroe once said that women owed to a lot to whoever invented them and she was right.

  • If women drop something in the street they are 50% more likely to have a man retrieve it if they are wearing high heels rather than flat shoes.
  • If they are charity muggers they are twice as likely to get women to stop.
  • If they are looking to get picked up in a bar they only have to wait half as long as women wearing other kinds of shoes.

But women know this already, it doesn’t take scientists to tell them this. But they have. Scientists at the Universite de Bretagne-Sud wanted to know whether or not French men were helpful towards 19-year old women in tight tops and high heels. Wow, that’s an original hypothesis to test! (how do I get a grant to research this kind of stuff?)

In one experiment the women were asked to stop people in the street to answer a short survey about gender equality. When they were wearing flat shoes 40% of men responded, when they were wearing medium heels 60% responded, and when they wore high heels 80% of men responded.

For the women who were stopped it made no difference what the women asking the questions wore.

In a second experiment a woman appeared to accidentally drop a glove while walking in front of a pedestrian. If the pedestrian was female the glove was returned about 50% of the time regardless of what kind of shoes the glove wearer had. For male pedestrians however they returned the glove 60% of the time when the woman was wearing flat shoes and 95% of the time when she was wearing high heels. (Note that men were more likely to return the glove whatever kind of shoes the woman was wearing).

In a third experiment a 19-year old woman wearing a skirt and an off-the-shoulder tight-fitting top sat in a bar on her own with her legs crossed. The time before a man approached her offering overtures like “Hello I’ve never seen you in here before. or who are you waiting for?” was measured.

She was instructed to say “Hello I’m waiting for someone who will probably arrive in one or two minutes”. If she was wearing heels it took only 7 minutes before she was approached; if wearing flat shoes it took twice as long.

So scientists have been able to quantify something we all probably suspected and it adds to the body of knowledge about the power of women and published it in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

FYI If you’re a waitress you should be aware that blonde waitresses get more tips, wearing red lipstick gets you more tips, and touching the person briefly as you give them the bill gets you more tips.

And women with tattoos are considered more promiscuous (take note Cheryl of the new double-barrelled name who claims to be a singer) and men ask women more intimate questions of women when they are wearing a red shirt. Oh, and this will come as a really big surprise – big-busted hitch-hikers get lifts more easily, but only from men.

And when it comes to women in uniforms, they’re not averse to wearing high heels, at least in Eastern Europe (and Italy)

Admit it, we men are so easily led stray by a pretty face, large breasts and high heels!




Cracking the Communication Code Between Men And Women


never-listen-to-meFrom The Truth About Communication Between Men And Women

While much has been said about women being from Venus and men being from Mars, the reality is that we all live on the same planet Earth and need to interact with each other in different ways on a daily basis.

How can we crack the communication code between men and women? Luckily technology can help us even with that difficult task. Check out the Manslator: the Official Woman Language Translator:

Or you can use a professional Human Gender Translator:

Off-the-mark-on-men-vs_-womenFrom Gender Translator

Its fun to look at communication differences between men and women but we also have to be careful in avoiding stereotypes. As Simma Lieberman points out, “we are all on a continuum and there are women that have some traits that might be attributed to the male style or there are times when it is necessary to use the male…

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Fewer previous lovers make happier wives

woman_standing_proud_1600_wht_5402-2American women who had fewer sexual partners before they got married turn out to have happier marriages.

That’s according to researchers from the National Marriage Project at Virginia University in the USA.

More than half  (53%) of the wives who had only slept with their future husband felt highly satisfied in their marriages compared to 42% of those who had had pre-marital sex with two partners and only 22% of this who had had 10 or more previous sexual partners.

The Marriage Charity Foundation said it raised questions about the myth of the sexual revolution but cautioned about drawing conclusions from a small sample adding that they found it astonishing that a quarter of the young wives had had 10 or more previous partners.

These women must have bought into the sexual revolution thinking that you can sleep with whomever you like and then settle down as if nothing had happened. It turns out you can’t.

The psychologist who co-authored the report, Professor Galena Rhoades from Denver University thought that those who had had multiple partners before marriage might find it harder to remain committed to their louse because they were more aware of the alternatives.

She also said that many in the YOLO (You Only Live Once) generation “believe what happens while we’re young won’t affect your future. Our research paints a different picture”. (The same could be said about entries on Facebook which come back to haunt people later in life).

The study tracked almost 1,300 unmarried men and women aged 18-34 for five years. During that time over 400 got married and of these only 23% had only had sex with the person they married. So that’s an interesting statistic which seem to follow a normal distribution i.e. at one end you have between a fifth and a quarter of women who have only had sex with their husband and at the other end of the scale about the same proportion who have had sex with 10 or more partners b before marriage. So the middle 50% of people had between 2 and 9 sexual partners.

In case you are wondering about the men. There was no evidence that the number of partners they slept with before getting married had any affect on their level of happiness in marriage.