Concept: Self-help books
Depression is an extremely common mental health disorder, with prevalence rates rising. Low-intensity interventions are frequently used to help meet the demand for treatment. Bibliotherapy, for example, is often prescribed via books on prescription schemes (for example ‘Reading Well’ in England) to those with mild to moderate symptomology. Bibliotherapy can effectively reduce symptoms of depression (Naylor et al., 2010). However, the majority of self-help books are based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which may not be suitable for all patients. Research supports the use of positive psychology interventions for the reduction of depression symptoms (Bolier et al., 2013) and as such self-help books from this perspective should be empirically tested.
Human institutional practices often involve competition within a cooperative structure of mutually accepted rules. In a competitive game, for instance, we not only expect adherence to the rules of the game but also expect an opponent who tries to win and, thus, follows a rational game-playing strategy. We had 3- and 5-year-olds (N=48) play for a prize against an opponent (a puppet) who played either rationally (trying to win) or irrationally (helping the children to win) while either following or breaking the rules of the game. Both age groups performed costly protest against an opponent who followed the rules but played irrationally by helping the children to win. When facing a rule-breaking opponent, 3-year-olds protested only the rule breaches of an irrational opponent but not irrational play. Five-year-olds also protested the rule breaches of a rational opponent, but in contrast to the 3-year-olds, they protested irrational behavior even in the context of rule breaches. Moreover, many children, in particular 3-year-olds, refrained from protesting. These findings suggest that 5-year-olds, but not 3-year-olds, fully understand the dual-level normative structure of cooperatively regulated competition.