For a long time it was believed that males have better spatial and numerical abilities resulting in their greater aptitude for mathematics compared to females. But research in cognitive development of human infants and children has failed to support these claims. Instead, scientists now have enough evidence to conclude that the same set of biologically based cognitive capacities is responsible for mathematical and scientific reasoning in both the sexes. However, stereotypes that girls and women lack mathematical ability persist and are still widely held by the society. Gender differences in mathematical performance and ability remain a concern as scientists seek to address the under representation of women at the highest levels of mathematics, physical sciences and engineering fields.
Sexual abuse of children is morally revolting and a topic wrought with emotions. In the past few decades, awareness of the prevalence of child abuse and its psychological repercussions has increased. A “trauma model” has been built around sexual abuse that perceives it as being directly traumatic and frightening, and necessarily damaging. Many psychologists now argue that what hurts most victims is not just the actual experience of abuse itself, but the meaning of the experience.
Shyness is a unique trait and all of us experience it in various degrees when faced with performance situations or new social surroundings. However, many people go through life dreading such encounters and exposure to the feared social situation provokes anxiety, or possibly a panic attack. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) or social phobia is a common anxiety disorder in which individuals shun all forms of interpersonal contact or undergo extreme physical or mental discomfort in social settings. Until recently, this condition was dismissed as ascribing pathology to a normal variant of human personality in order to sell treatments. However, most psychiatrists now believe that social phobia is not a pathological label for shyness. Shyness neither is a prerequisite for nor can be considered as synonymous with social anxiety disorder.
Excessive fear is the cause of many psychopathologies. Although pharmacological interventions can help in preventing the retrieval of fear memories, they are toxic and involve a lot of side-effects. Till now, non-pharmacological interventions were only effective in suppressing the memory of fear for a short period. A new technique developed by scientists at the Center for Neural Science and New York University has generated a lot of interest in the in the field of psychological therapy. According to a hypothesis called the reconsolidation theory, fear memories are consolidated every time they are recalled. Following an episode of fear stimuli, it's memory becomes unstable for some time which allows it to be updated. This window period of reconsolidation has provided scientists with a tool to modify it.