The Art of Conversation: Strategies for Meaningful Interaction

Conversations are an ancient technology that aligns our brains, fostering connection and understanding between individuals. Although conversations are essential to social interaction and well-being, they have long remained a mystery for psychologists to unravel. However, recent advances in psychological research techniques are providing a better understanding of the subtleties of conversations and their influence on various aspects of life. This essay aims to summarize the main findings of “The Science of Conversation” and discuss the practical implications of this knowledge.

Effective conversations play an important role in improving connection, happiness and overall conversational quality. Asking questions that demonstrate genuine listening and understanding can improve conversation dynamics. Acknowledging, by reaffirming the other person’s position, shows active engagement and promotes understanding.
Contrary to popular belief, deep conversations, even with strangers, tend to be less awkward than expected. Deep conversations help forge new bonds and broaden perspectives. Researchers stress the need to have meaningful conversations and avoid superficial interactions.
Inconsistent goals can undermine the effectiveness of conversations or lead to interpersonal conflict. It’s essential to understand the other person’s position, but also to introduce new elements to surprise and engage them. Resolving conflict in conversations requires successfully managing disagreements while building trust.
Effective communication requires careful selection of linguistic tools. Emphasizing agreement by finding common ground promotes understanding and prevents unnecessary conflict. Statements that introduce uncertainty can create space for open dialogue without triggering immediate reactions.
Conversations are inherently complex, influenced by a variety of factors such as personal biases, social norms and individual goals. Psychologists are using advanced techniques such as neuroimaging and natural language processing to better understand the mental states and processes that occur during conversations.

In conclusion, conversations have immense power to shape social interactions, influence attitudes and promote well-being. Psychological research has provided valuable insights into the nuances of effective conversations. Key insights include the importance of active listening, taking the other person’s point of view into account, and conflict resolution. Linguistic strategies, such as emphasizing agreement and introducing uncertainty, can contribute to more constructive and satisfying conversations. Understanding the complexity of conversations can have practical implications in areas such as public health campaigns, where tailored messaging strategies can be developed to effectively engage and influence target audiences.

To retain:

  1. Listen actively and ask questions that demonstrate genuine interest and understanding.
  2. Practice acknowledgement by reaffirming the other person’s position to foster connection.
  3. Emphasize agreement and find common ground to avoid unnecessary conflict.
  4. Introduce uncertainty with hedging statements to promote open dialogue.
  5. Understand the complex nature of conversations and the influence of individual goals and biases.
  6. Explore advanced research techniques, such as neuroimaging and natural language processing, to better understand the dynamics of conversations.
  7. Apply knowledge gained from psychological research to improve the effectiveness of public health campaigns and communication strategies.

The Gray Divorce Phenomenon: Challenges and Changes After 50

Divorce is a life-changing event that can have emotional, financial and social repercussions for individuals, particularly when it occurs at an advanced age. The divorce rate among adults aged 50 and over is rising steadily, while it is falling in younger age groups. This essay explores the challenges, complexities and implications associated with divorce after age 50, highlighting key findings and insights from relevant research studies.

The emotional and financial consequences of divorce in later life can be profound. People who have been in long-term marriages face unique challenges when dealing with the dissolution of their relationship. The experience of divorce in one’s fifties, after a long period together, presents distinct emotional dilemmas. Psychologists stress the need to consider the impact of divorce on the aging process, as various benefits, such as social security, are linked to marital status. In addition, therapists can play a crucial role in helping families resolve the deep-rooted conflicts that arise during this difficult phase of life.

In 3 decades, the divorce rate among adults aged 50 and over has doubled, and the upward trend continues. Societal factors, such as changing expectations of marriage as a partnership between equals, increased economic autonomy for women, and lessening of the stigma surrounding divorce, have contributed to this increase. In addition, those who have already divorced are more likely to experience subsequent divorces, indicating a cyclical pattern.

Divorce at an advanced age not only affects the couple directly involved, but also has consequences for adult children. The latter may experience grief and loss, as well as uncertainty about their own role and relationships within a newly reconfigured family. Support is needed for these adult children, helping them to validate their feelings and move from grief to acceptance. On the other hand, open and honest family conversations about aging and end-of-life issues can be encouraged to facilitate the adjustment process.

The challenges faced by people divorcing after the age of 50 often intersect with broader issues of identity. Psychologists help their clients understand the extent to which their frustrations with their partner may be linked to more general issues associated with aging. Therapy can help understand long-term interaction patterns that may influence end-of-life decisions. Reconnecting with family, friends and a sense of belonging is essential, especially if divorce has resulted in the loss of these ties. Therapists can guide individuals toward creating new ties to ensure a strong support network.

Divorce in later life can have significant financial consequences, especially for women. Studies have shown that women aged 50 and over experience a significant drop in their standard of living after a divorce. In contrast, men in the same age bracket suffer a relatively smaller drop. This disparity highlights the importance of addressing financial issues during the divorce process, and ensuring that the outcome is fair. The financial consequences of divorce extend beyond the couple directly involved, as even adult children can be affected by the redistribution of assets and financial resources.

In conclusion, divorce after age 50 presents unique challenges, complexities and implications that deserve the attention of mental health professionals. The emotional, financial and social repercussions of divorce have an impact on individuals, their adult children and the wider family network. By providing support, therapy and advice, psychologists can help individuals work through the emotional turmoil, address practical considerations, cope with identity-related challenges and rebuild bonds. The growing trend towards divorce among the elderly underlines the importance of understanding and responding to the specific needs of this population during this critical life transition.


Depressive symptoms following later-life marital dissolution and subsequent repartnering, Lin, I., et al., Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 2019

Not just how much, but how many: Overall and domain- specific activity variety and cognitive functioning in adulthood Jeon, S., et al. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 2022

Older adult’s marital status, conversation frequency, and well- being in everyday life Ng, Y. T., et al. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 2022

Navigating Neurodiversity: The Road to Adulthood with Autism

Research highlights the challenges faced by people with autism in adulthood. It reveals a high rate of comorbidity between autism and ADHD, with up to 70% of people with autism also being diagnosed with ADHD. In addition, it highlights the importance of social competence in adults with autism, as high levels of social competence are directly correlated with positive adult outcomes, such as employment, independent living and maintaining relationships.

Also of note is the risk of psychiatric comorbidity in people with autism, including depression and anxiety. It is estimated that adults with autism have a prevalence rate of 27% for anxiety and 42% for depression. These comorbidities can have a significant impact on the transition to adulthood for people with autism, exacerbating the difficulties they already face. The characteristics of autism, such as sensory problems, difficulties adapting to social norms and problems with executive functioning, further compound the difficulties faced by adults with autism in various aspects of their lives.

The lack of research and services for adults with autism is seen as a significant problem. While considerable research has been conducted on autism in children and adolescents, formal research on autism in adults is lacking. This lack of research, coupled with a lack of services, exacerbates the social and emotional difficulties faced by adults with autism. The need for more research focused on understanding and supporting adults with autism in their transition to adulthood is highlighted.

Masking is another key theme, indeed, masking refers to the process by which people with autism suppress their natural way of thinking and behaving to conform to neurotypical social norms. Masking is described as inherently stressful for neuroatypical adults, as every social interaction is perceived as a performance where any misstep can result in ridicule or rejection. The adverse effects of masking on the mental health and well-being of people with autism, emphasizing the need to accept and support their authentic selves.

In addition, the challenges faced by autistic adults in terms of employment and housing. Many autistic adults rely on unpaid help from family or friends due to the lack of available services. The decline in services after graduation has a significant impact on where adults with autism can live and the type of jobs they can hold. It seems necessary to increase services and support for adults with autism to help them through these difficult transitions.

People with autism often internalize the belief that their natural way of thinking and behaving is unacceptable, leading them to constantly monitor themselves in the hope of appearing “normal”. This masking process is not only exhausting, but also contributes to an implicit shame of their true autistic personality. The resilience and resourcefulness of many autistic adults who continue to learn and develop strategies to cope with life’s major challenges.

Overall, the need for more research, services and support for adults with autism in their transition to adulthood must be emphasized. The challenges faced by adults with autism, from co-morbidities to social and emotional difficulties, require targeted interventions and resources. Greater awareness, acceptance and understanding of autism in adulthood are needed to ensure positive outcomes and quality of life for people with autism.


What I mean when I say I’m autistic: Unpuzzling a life on the autism spectrum, Kotowicz, A., Neurobeautiful, 2022

Unmasking autism: Discovering the new faces of neurodiversity, Price, D. Harmony, 2022

Neurotribes: The legacy of autism and the future of neurodiversity, Silberman, S. Avery, 2016

Is this autism? A guide for clinicians and everyone else, Henderson, D., et al. Taylor & Francis, 2023

Understanding stigma in autism: A narrative review and theoretical model, Turnock, A., & al.

Applications of identity-based theories to understand the impact of stigma and camouflaging on mental health outcomes for autistic people, Rivera, R. A., & Bennetto, L. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2023

Réseaux sociaux et santé mentale des jeunes

Dans la société actuelle, il est difficile d’ignorer l’omniprésence des réseaux sociaux. Partout où l’on regarde, que ce soit dans les transports en commun, à la maison ou même dans les restaurants, on voit des visages illuminés par la lueur des smartphones, naviguant sur Facebook, Instagram, TikTok et bien d’autres. Mais quels sont les impacts réels de ces plateformes sur nos adolescents? Certains pays, ou États, ont déjà tiré la sonnette d’alarme et pris des mesures pour protéger les jeunes, notamment en interdisant l’utilisation des réseaux sociaux par les moins de 18 ans sans le consentement de leurs parents. Cette décision, bien que radicale, reflète une inquiétude croissante. Les écoles et les parents se demandent : ces plateformes nuisent-elles à la santé mentale de nos jeunes?

Il existe une corrélation entre l’utilisation intensive des réseaux sociaux et une baisse de la santé mentale chez les jeunes, la causalité n’est pas encore clairement établie. Autrement dit, nous ne pouvons pas encore affirmer avec certitude que les réseaux sociaux sont la cause directe des problèmes de santé mentale chez les adolescents. Le terme “addiction” aux réseaux sociaux est souvent évoqué, surtout par les parents. Soulignons qu’il est peut-être prématuré de parler d’addiction. Certes, beaucoup utilisent les réseaux sociaux plus qu’ils ne le voudraient, mais le terme “addiction” a une signification bien particulière dans le monde de la psychologie. L’âge auquel on devrait permettre aux jeunes d’utiliser ces plateformes est également un sujet brûlant. Nous pouvons suggérer que plutôt que de fixer un âge précis, il serait préférable d’accompagner les jeunes progressivement aux médias sociaux, en les guidant et en les éduquant sur les bonnes pratiques et les dangers potentiels. En parlant de dangers, l’un des aspects les plus préoccupants pour les parents est le cyberharcèlement. Alors que certains parents s’inquiètent des dangers en ligne, beaucoup d’adolescents sont plus préoccupés par la façon dont leur utilisation des médias sociaux pourrait affecter leur avenir. Les erreurs faites en ligne peuvent-elles compromettre leurs opportunités futures, comme l’admission à l’université ou l’obtention d’un emploi ?

En fin de compte, il est clair que les réseaux sociaux sont à la fois une bénédiction et une malédiction. Ils offrent aux adolescents une plateforme pour s’exprimer, se connecter avec leurs amis et même s’engager civiquement. Cependant, ils viennent avec leur lot de défis et de dangers. Il est indispensable d’éduquer les enfants et de les sensibiliser aux médias. Les adolescents doivent être équipés des outils nécessaires pour naviguer en toute sécurité sur ces plateformes, comprendre la distinction entre les réalités en ligne et hors ligne et se protéger des dangers potentiels. En conclusion, alors que le débat sur les réseaux sociaux et la santé mentale des adolescents se poursuit, une chose est claire : une approche équilibrée, axée sur l’éducation et la communication, est essentielle pour aider nos jeunes à naviguer dans le monde numérique d’aujourd’hui.

Les conseils du Dr Aboiron aux parents concernant l’utilisation des médias sociaux par leurs adolescents :
1. Dialogue ouvert : Établissez une communication ouverte avec votre adolescent. Plutôt que d’imposer des restrictions, discutez de leurs expériences sur les réseaux sociaux, des avantages qu’ils en retirent et des défis auxquels ils sont confrontés.
2. Éducation aux médias : Sensibilisez votre adolescent aux réalités des médias sociaux. Apprenez-leur à distinguer le vrai du faux, à reconnaître les pièges potentiels et à être critique face aux informations et images qu’ils voient.
3. Limites saines : Bien que la fixation de limites de temps strictes ne soit pas toujours la meilleure solution, encouragez des pauses régulières loin des écrans et assurez-vous que les médias sociaux ne perturbent pas le sommeil ou d’autres activités importantes.
4. Surveillance adaptée : Plutôt que de surveiller de manière intrusive, montrez de l’intérêt pour ce que votre adolescent fait en ligne. Posez des questions ouvertes et soyez disponible pour discuter de tout contenu ou interaction qui les préoccupe.
5. Soyez un modèle : Montrez à votre adolescent une utilisation saine des médias sociaux. Si vous passez moins de temps sur votre téléphone et montrez une utilisation réfléchie des médias sociaux, votre adolescent sera plus susceptible de suivre votre exemple.
6. Protégez la vie privée : Assurez-vous que votre adolescent connaît les paramètres de confidentialité de ses comptes et l’importance de ne pas partager d’informations personnelles en ligne.
7. Encouragez les interactions hors ligne : Stimulez les activités hors ligne, qu’il s’agisse de sports, d’arts, de loisirs ou de temps passé en famille. Les interactions en face à face sont essentielles pour le développement social des adolescents.

En gardant ces conseils à l’esprit et en travaillant conjointement avec votre adolescent, vous pouvez aider à garantir une expérience en ligne plus sûre et plus enrichissante pour eux.

Stress disorder, Distance working & Leadership

Health facilities and caregivers will also need to prepare for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms: anxiety, depression and grief. It will then be necessary to implement behavioral activation therapy for the treatment of patients traumatized by this episode of Covid19.

It will then be a question of focusing on the emotional and cognitive treatment of the patients. Behavioral activation as a treatment tool for depression has proven itself in the treatment of patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The following approach: patients must create a hierarchy of reinforcement activities which are then classified by level of difficulty; patients follow their own goals with clinicians who have used symbolic economy to enhance their success; patients are then measured to assess the success of therapy.

It is also possible to develop an understanding of the relationship between actions and emotions. Actions are considered here as the causes of emotions. It is important to set up hourly self-monitoring to monitor the activity and its impact on emotions. It is necessary to identify the cycles which creates a temporary adaptation while increasing the overall severity. Example: drugs, alcohol, escape, avoidance, rumination, etc. Once the cycles have been identified, it is then possible to propose alternatives for adaptation.

1. Evaluate behavior

2. Choose an alternative answer

3. Observe the result

4. Evaluate

Distance working / learning

The introduction of remote work, whether professional or educational, has been completely new for a large majority of countries. Those who are most in difficulty in this situation are the organizations whose manual work is predominant, the organizations whose culture of control is predominant, and all the subordinates withdrawn into themselves and the naturally passive.

How to successfully overcome this with your organization? The leader, the boss, the manager must communicate. A positive, daily and unifying global communication. It is important to keep in touch with all employees individually to help them and support them in changing the way they work. Provide the best tools available to facilitate the digitization of work. It is also important to keep in touch to break the feeling of loneliness and isolation. Respect working hours, continue to produce and take time to be together without working as we would in a restaurant or cafeteria.

Leading in crisis

  1. Acknowledge people’s fears, then encourage resolve.
  2. Give people a role and purpose.
  3. Emphasize experimentation and learning. 
  4. Tend to energy and emotion — yours and theirs.
  5. Decide with speed over precision.
  6. Adapt boldly.
  7. Reliably deliver.
  8. Engage for impact.

Some small investments in support and coaching can go a long way toward boosting effectiveness.

How can families cope with confinement?

Stay Calm & Positive

– Be a role model. Children will react to and follow your reactions. They learn from your example.

– Be aware of how you talk about COVID-19. Your discussion about COVID-19 can increase or decrease your child’s fear. If true, remind your child that your family is healthy, and you are going to do everything within your power to keep loved ones safe and well. Carefully listen or have them draw or write out their thoughts and feelings and respond with truth and reassurance.

– Explain social distancing. Children probably don’t fully understand why parents/guardians aren’t allowing them to be with friends.

– Demonstrate deep breathing. Deep breathing is a valuable tool for calming the nervous system. Do breathing exercises with your children.

– Focus on the positive. Celebrate having more time to spend as a family. Make it as fun as possible. Do family projects. Organize belongings, create masterpieces. Sing, laugh, and go outside, if possible, to connect with nature and get needed exercise. Allow older children to connect with their friends virtually.

– Establish and maintain a daily routine. Keeping a regular schedule provides a sense of control, predictability, calm, and well-being. It also helps children and other family members respect others’ need for quiet or uninterrupted time and when they can connect with friends virtually.

– Identify projects that might help others. This could include: writing letters to the neighbors or others who might be stuck at home alone or to healthcare workers; sending positive messages over social media; or reading a favorite children’s book on a social media platform for younger children to hear.

– Offer lots of love and affection.

Monitor screens

– Parents/guardians should monitor television, internet, and social media viewing.

– Dispel rumors and inaccurate information. Explain to your child that many stories about COVID-19 on the internet may include rumors and inaccurate information.

– Provide alternatives. Engage your child in games or other exciting activities instead.


– Let your children’s questions guide you. Answer their questions truthfully, but don’t offer unnecessary details or facts. Don’t avoid giving them the information that experts indicate as crucial to your children’s well-being. Often, children and youth do not talk about their concerns because they are confused or don’t want to worry loved ones. Younger children absorb scary information in waves. They ask questions, listen, play, and then repeat the cycle. Children always feel empowered if they can control some aspects of their life. A sense of control reduces fear.

Stay honest and accurate

– Correct misinformation. Children often imagine situations worse than reality; therefore, offering developmentally appropriate facts can reduce fears. 

– Explain simple safety steps. Tell your child this disease spreads between people who are in close contact with one another, when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or when one touches infected objects or surfaces.

– Stay up-to-date on the facts.

Stay connected to school

– Locate learning resources. Schools’ capacity to conduct virtual learning experiences will vary greatly, but most schools are providing lessons and learning activities for children to do. Take advantage of the many companies and online platforms currently offering free learning opportunities.

– Identify additional resources. Know if your school or district is providing additional resources, such meals, or technology, such as a laptop or tablet.

– Stay in touch. Find out how the school is communicating with families and students. Be sure to read any communications you receive. Check with you children, particularly older ones, as they may be receiving information directly that would be helpful for you to know.

– Connect with school staff. Reach out to your child’s teacher and other relevant school staff if you have concerns about their coping and keeping up with assignments or activities.

About hygiene

Practice daily good hygiene. Encourage your child to practice these simple steps to prevent spreading the virus. 

– Wash your hands multiple times a day for 20 seconds.

– Compliment your children when they use a Kleenex or sneeze or cough into the bend of their elbow. Teach them the importance of throwing away used tissues immediately after sneezing or coughing.

– Sadly, handshakes and hugs need to be limited to immediate family members, at least for now.  

– Foster a sense of control. Offering guidance on what your child/children can do.

Covid19: How to prevent anxiety and stress disorder?

1. Do not attach the disease to any particular ethnicity or nationality. Be empathetic to everyone affected, in and from any country. The people affected by COVID-19 deserve our support, our compassion and our kindness.

2. Reduce stigma.

3. Minimize watching, reading or listening to information about COVID-19 that makes you feel anxious or distressed; seek information only from reliable sources. Get the facts; not rumors and misinformation.

4. Protect yourself and support others.

5. Find opportunities to amplify positive, hopeful stories and positive images.

6. Honor caregivers, health workers and all workers who continue to work for the proper functioning of the subsistence minimum: supermarkets (cashiers and handlers), garbage collectors, delivery people, etc. Recognize the important role they play in ensuring a vital daily life for all of us.