Can a Fidget Spinner Really Help You Focus?
Advertisers say they help with ADHD, anxiety, stress, and autism. But what do studies suggest?
Fidget spinners are everywhere, nowadays. My younger cousins adore theirs. They spent the better part of last Sunday night showing me tricks and the different kinds they have. Some even light up. Their streamlined motion, wide assortment of colors, and the clever tricks you can perform with them, have made them a noteworthy trend, if but a footnote in fashion history, along with the slap bracelet, sea monkeys, and Rubik's Cube. They’re also making some folks rich. As of this month, fidget spinners are one of Amazon’s top 10 selling toys.
Florida inventor Catherine Hettinger created the first prototype back in 1993 to interact with her daughter, who is disabled. She patented her version in 1997. Unfortunately, no one picked it up. She tried to sell it as a therapeutic device for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, or autism. After years of trying, she gave up. That might’ve been her tragic error.
Pretty soon, other models were on the market and last Christmas, the spinners really took off. Though first marketed to stressed-out adults, fidget spinners were soon adopted by the nation’s youth. Now, they’re all over elementary and middle schools, and giving teachers a headache. Ms. Hettinger isn’t down and out about it. In fact, now age 62, she is currently crowdfunding her “classic” spinner. One wonders if she’s missed the mark once again.
The original inventor may have missed out on a fortune. Getty Images.
Earlier this month, the fad began to sour, perhaps due to its pervasiveness. Or maybe science is now starting to catch up with the hyperbole. Dr. Mark Rappaport, at the University of Central Florida, in an interview with the Daily Mail, said that, rather than help a child with ADHD focus, “using a spinner-like gadget is more likely to serve as a distraction.”
Some schools are now banning them. In Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Florida, and England, schools have barred students from even having them on school property. In some places, the ban is school system-wide. So do fidget spinners actually help people to focus or are they merely a distraction?
Currently, there are no peer-reviewed studies that support or refute marketer’s claims. Preliminary research suggests that children with ADHD who are allowed to fidget or squeeze a stress ball, are better able to pay attention. Julie Schweitzer is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California-Davis. She says that a fidget spinner, in being so captivating, probably undermines any potential benefit gained by allowing a student to fidget with it.
They may be so much fun that instead of helping one focus, they add to distraction. Getty Images.
I have a lot of teacher friends who groan about these toys on their Facebook pages. Their top complaint is that they distract students from completing their assignments. Some alternatives have been offered to give kids a chance to fidget in a way that’s less distracting to themselves and others.
Velcro on the desktop or allowing certain students to chew gum may work. What’s wrong with the fidgeting staples of my youth: pencils, erasers, and paperclips? Though advertisers are as smooth as ever, note that, there’s no evidence that fidget spinners provide any therapeutic benefit, whether it be stress-busting, anxiety-squashing, or what-have-you.
Dr. David Anderson is a clinical psychologist and the senior director of the ADHD and Behavioral Disorders Center, at the Child Mind Institute, in New York. He told Money, “Mental illness is difficult to treat, and it’s not something for which there are simple solutions.” Most experts say a whole treatment plan should be fashioned to suit the particular needs of each child which may include: lifestyle changes, changes to the child’s environment, therapy, and even medication. Fidget spinners may not be included. Sad.
To learn more about ADHD and what’s proven to work, click here:
Researchers have just discovered the remains of a hybrid human.
90,000 years ago, a young girl lived in a cave in the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Her life was short; she died in her early teens, but she stands at a unique point in human evolution. She is the first known hybrid of two different kinds of ancient humans: the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.
These thought leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs are propelling the kind of future we want to be a part of.
- The tech industry may be dominated by men in terms of numbers, but there are lots of brilliant women in leadership positions that are changing the landscape.
- The women on this list are founders of companies dedicated to teaching girls to code, innovators in the fields of AI, VR, and machine learning, leading tech writers and podcasters, and CEOs of companies like YouTube and Project Include.
- This list is by no means all-encompassing. There are many more influential women in tech that you should seek out and follow.
Most said they want to act on their desire someday. But do open relationships actually work?
- The study involved 822 Americans who were in monogamous relationships at the time.
- Participants answered questions about their personalities, sexual fantasies, and intentions to act on those fantasies.
- Research suggests practicing consent, comfort, and communication makes open relationships more likely to succeed.
Consensual non-monogamy fantasies<p>For the new study, published in <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-020-01788-7" target="_blank">Archives of Sexual Behavior</a>, researchers asked 822 people in monogamous relationships to:</p><ul><li>Describe their favorite sexual fantasy, defined as "mental images you have while you are awake that you find to be sexually arousing or erotic."</li><li>Select which themes apply to that fantasy, such as having sex with multiple people at the same time, experimenting with taboos, or engaging in a sexually open relationship.</li><li>Answer whether they intended to carry out these fantasies, and discuss them with their partner.</li><li>Complete assessments on relationship satisfaction, erotophilia and personality, as measured by the Big Five Personality inventory.</li></ul><p>The results showed that 32.6 percent of participants said being part of a sexually open relationship was "part of their favorite sexual fantasy of all time." More surprising is that, of that one-third, 80 percent said they want to act on this fantasy in the future.</p>
Pretzelpaws via Wikipedia Commons<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The present research confirms the important distinction between sexual fantasy and sexual desire in that not everyone wanted to act on their favorite sexual fantasy of all time," study author Justin J. Lehmiller told <a href="https://www.psypost.org/2020/09/one-third-of-people-in-monogamous-relationships-fantasize-about-being-in-some-type-of-open-relationship-study-suggests-58102" target="_blank">PsyPost</a>. "This suggests that fantasies may serve different functions for different people."</p><p>Even though most participants said they want to act out their fantasy in the future, far fewer reported acting out sexual fantasies in the past. Other findings included:</p><ul><li>Men were more likely to fantasize about CNMRs.</li><li>So were people who scored high in <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotophilia#:~:text=Erotophilia%20is%20a%20personality%20trait,ranging%20from%20erotophobia%20to%20erotophilia." target="_blank">erotophilia</a> and sociosexual orientation.</li><li>The psychological predictors of fantasizing about CNMRs differed from predictors about infidelity fantasies.</li></ul>
Do open relationships work?<p>A <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2019.1669133" target="_blank">2019 study</a> from psychologists at the University of Rochester suggests it <em>is </em>possible<em>, </em>but especially when both partners practice a trio of behaviors: consent, communication, and comfort — or, the Triple-C Model.<br></p>But the study also suggests not all forms of open relationships are equally viable. For example, people in one-sided CNMRs — where one partner stays monogamous, the other seeks outside sexual relationships — were nearly three times more dissatisfied in their relationships than the monogamous group <em>and </em>the consensual non-monogamous group.
The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthood and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.