Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 17, 2009


Guardian, UK - Brain scans on volunteers showed that putting feelings down on paper reduces activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for controlling the intensity of our emotions.

Psychologists who discovered the "Bridget Jones effect" said it worked whether people elaborated on their feelings in a diary, penned lines of poetry, or even jotted down song lyrics to express their negative emotions.

Matthew Lieberman, a psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles, said the effect differs from catharsis, which usually involves coming to terms with an emotional problem by seeing it in a different light.

When people wrote about their feelings, medical scans showed that their brain activity matched that seen in volunteers who were consciously trying to control their emotions.

"Writing seems to help the brain regulate emotion unintentionally. Whether it's writing things down in a diary, writing bad poetry, or making up song lyrics that should never be played on the radio, it seems to help people emotionally," Dr Lieberman said.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mind people keeping all the journals, diaries, etc about themselves they want--but do the rest of us a favor, and just don't publish them. The 'personal memoir' genre has got to have produced the biggest amount of crap committed to paper this side of self-help books or religious flapdoodle.

February 17, 2009 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There once was a man from Nantucket...

February 18, 2009 12:34 PM  

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