Saturday, October 30, 2010

How To Fight The Fighting Against The Facts

"...when people are faced with scientific research that clashes with their personal view, they invoke a range of strategies to discount the findings."

Guess that explains the left-right debate on global warming, the insistence on neurology as the excuse for sexism and racism, and the intelligent design movement. Sigh.

This is an interesting article on how to get the facts through to the people who need to hear them.


Myth Busters Busts the 10% Myth (and Maybe Starts a New One)

This makes me sigh. Heavily. The folks from Mythbusters set out to bust the myth that we only use 10% of our brains and may have accidentally started a new myth in the process.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Once the Good Guy Finishes First, He's Not So Good: Research on Power

"Power is given to those individuals, groups, or nations who advance the interests of the greater good in socially-intelligent fashion. Yet unfortunately, having power renders many individuals as impulsive and poorly attuned to others as your garden-variety frontal lobe patient, making them prone to act abusively and lose the esteem of their peers. What people want from leaders—social intelligence—is what is damaged by the experience of power."

This article lays out the research on power (and blows apart Robert Greene's "48 Laws of Power" in the process).


Alphabetical Storage

This is both wonderful and a horrible use of space.

Finally, a Healthy Use For Sports Drinks

They're display objects, not beverages. Who knew?


Name That Logo

This is a really interesting piece of design work. Well-known logos are represented by colored circles. How many do you still recognize?

Words With No Translation

I love these!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You're Not So Bad

"People in most studied cultures view themselves less favorably than they are perceived by others."

Ignorance, in this case, really is bliss. If other people knew what I know about me... :)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Death Leads to Overconsumption

Very interesting. Kinda makes you wonder about Halloween... Talk about ghosts, then go get tons of junk food. Woohoo!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gummy Worm: the Banquet version

As if the small ones weren't gross enough...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We Believe It 'Cuz We Paid For It

"The results show that people use paid advice significantly more than free advice and suggest that this effect is due to the same forces that have been documented in the literature to explain the sunk costs fallacy."

Unfortunately, there are lots of scammy folk online who use this to their advantage. They sell iffy information products to trusting souls who end up believing the information simply because they paid for it.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Less Sure They Are, the Louder They Scream

"Gal and Zucker found that doubt turns people into stronger advocates. More subtly, their study shows that this effect is stronger if someone’s identity is threatened, if the belief is important to them, and if they think that others will listen. It all fits with a pattern of behaviour where people evangelise to strengthen their own faltering beliefs."

Hmmm... Kinda makes you wonder about all of those very aggressive proselytizers...


Monday, October 18, 2010

Reading Faces, Yet Another Reason to Get Enough Sleep

"Sleep deprivation selectively impairs the accurate judgment of human facial emotions, especially threat relevant (Anger) and reward relevant (Happy) categories, an effect observed most significantly in females."


An Evolutionary Biologist Blasts the Current Trend of Using EB to Justify Current Gender Norms

"There are dozens of reported gender differences, with piles of research demonstrating them. But when we look more closely, we often see that the either a) the methodology of the research sucks or b) the gender difference, while likely real, changes, goes away, or even reverses as times change, suggesting that the difference is (was) cultural."


Diet Pushers Will Have to Abandon Evolutionary Argument

Looks like we were grinding plants in to flour much earlier than anyone realized. The Paleo Diet is looking much less Paleo.

A Consciousness/Neuroscience Funny

This is funny if you're into neuroscience and consciousness studies to any degree.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Power Corrupts The Corrupt

No surprise here. Research finds that power makes hypocrites bolder and more derisive of others. The part I found interesting was the difference between those who thought they absolutely deserved their power and those who felt less deserving.

"When participants in high-power roles were separated into those with legitimate power versus those with ‘shaky' power (in other words, a level of power the individual did not believe he or she merited), researchers found that the legitimate power group consistently displayed more hypocrisy. People in the shaky power group, in contrast, were actually harder on themselves, in a way similar to those in the low-power group."

Read the whole article here.

Committed Relationships Lessen Stress

For all the work that goes into a relationship, it's still better for your stress levels than not having one.

"What we found is that marriage has a dampening effect on cortisol responses to psychological stress"


I Knew the Oven Was Good for Something...

Books! Another place to store books!

Yet Another Researcher Takes Issue With Louann Brizendine's "The Female Brain"

Soooo happy to see researchers from neurology to psychology to sociology slam on "The Female Brain." What a sad waste of pages that could have been devoted to something real. This post is about the teenage brain chapter.


Bering in Mind Blog Discusses Adaptive Behavior and Recent Gay Teen Suicides

The recent rash of teen suicides is heartbreaking. Every time another one was reported, I thought, "Wow. Different reasons, but that could have been me." Jesse Bering (pretty much always a good read) has put together a thoughtful article on some of the mechanisms that may contribute to the phenomenon of suicide in humans.

It's gonna take more chewing on the info to really process it, but already I can feel the Aha coming for me.


Sleep: Yet Another Reason to Exercise

"The people in the exercise group fared far better than the non-exercise group when it came to their sleep. Exercise not only improved their sleep quality—elevating them from being a “poor sleeper” to a “good sleeper” but they also reported feeling better. Their moods improved, and had more vitality and less daytime sleepiness."

This is the crank-up-your-heart-rate-and-keep-it-there-a-while kind. I know it works for me. I can only imagine how much worse my sleep would be if I didn't crank up the old heart rate on a regular basis.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Getting Out of the Wheelchair: It's Coming

This is SO COOL!!!! I love these things. How exciting. I totally agree with the enormous grin on the one woman's face as she walks for the first time since her injury.

Cool Design: Switch Salt and Pepper

I'm a big fan of fun design ideas. This thing is great.

Amazing Pictures: Paint, Sound Waves, High Speed Photos

These are gorgeous!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weight Loss Greatly Helped By Adequate Sleep

Seems like everything goes better when you get enough sleep, doesn't it? This study shows that getting enough sleep even helps lose fat.


Crosswalk Fish

It's nice artwork, though I'd much rather he did it in chalk.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Know Your Tools

I still have a soft spot for Dave Barry's "hammerthumbasaurus", but this list has some wonderful definitions of common tools you might have around the house.


Live Long With Black Bags and No Memory least, that's what happens to me on 6.5 hours of sleep - big bags under my eyes and a bad case of space cadetism.

"The surprise was that when sleep was measured objectively, the best survival was observed among women who slept 5 to 6.5 hours,"


Aggression Inspired by Violent Video Games Lasts

Violent video games are subject to all kinds of psych studies these days. This one tests aggression in men 24 hours after playing for 20 minutes. The men who ruminated on their game play showed heightened aggression even the next day. That's interesting enough. What caught my eye was that the effect didn't appear in women. Why not?


Monday, October 4, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture: Great Quote

"But biology, while being necessary, is never sufficient to explain human behavior. Our behavior is determined by a complex interaction between our biological heritage and cultural context." - Noam Shpancer, Ph.D.

Mind-Controlled Wheelchairs

What a great use for the technology!

San Francisco Paper Cut

Wow! Someone has a Very good relationship with her Xacto knife!

To Make Self-Control Easier, Make It Fun

How many times have you heard someone say, "Make it a game" in regards to learning a new habit or breaking an old one? Turns out they're onto something. People who make the act of self control fun are more successful than those who don't.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ben Heine Goes Magritte

Ben Heine's work is always wonderful, but I particularly like this one. The guy with his head in the pavement tickles my whimsy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

An Economist Studies... PIRATES!

I don't know if I'm amused, horrified, or totally jealous that someone got to an academic paper on pirates.