Category Archives: Human nature

Tattoos make men more attractive … to men

Men with tattoos are likely to provide serious competition for a woman’s attention, at least in the eyes of other guys, but women themselves actually aren’t that impressed. … the female participants didn’t rate the tattooed gentlemen as more attractive; moreover, they considered them worse prospects as partners and parents.

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/12/21/men-think-women-will-be-impressed-by-a-tattoo-but-theyre-not/

 

Wear the red dress?

Are women really more attractive if they wear red? Research results used to say “yes”, but replicating those studies is proving to be difficult.

… nothing, it seems, is straightforward in psychology any more. A team of Dutch and British researchers has just published three attempts to replicate the red effect in the open-access journal Evolutionary Psychology, including testing whether the effect is more pronounced in a short-term mating context, which would be consistent with the idea that red signals sexual availability. However, not only did the research not uncover an effect of mating context, all three experiments also failed to demonstrate any effect of red on attractiveness whatsoever.

Source https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/12/12/wardrobe-malfunction-three-failed-attempts-to-replicate-the-finding-that-red-increases-attractiveness/

 

The science of gift shopping – Don’t try so hard

Research has been done on what gifts people like to receive. It turns out that simple and straight forward is often the best approach.

Social scientists bear glad tidings for the holiday season. After extensively observing how people respond to gifts, they have advice for shoppers: You don’t have to try so hard. You’re not obliged to spend hours finding just the right gift for each person on your list. Most would be just as happy with something quick and easy. This may sound too good to be true, but rest assured this is not a ploy by some lazy Scrooges in academia.

Source: The Perfect Gift? It’s the One They Asked For – The New York Times

Death by selfie

Here is interesting research on the growing phenomenon of getting yourself killed while trying to shoot a selfie. Apparently, the goal is to build a kind of this-is-a-dangerous-selfie warning app.

In 2014, 15 people died while taking a selfie; in 2015 this rose to 39, and in 2016 there were 73 deaths in the first eight months of the year. That’s more selfie deaths than deaths due to shark attacks. That raises an interesting question—how are these people dying, and is there a way to prevent these kinds of accidents?

Source: Data Scientists Chart the Tragic Rise of Selfie Deaths

and the research paper can be found at https://lnkd.in/fpdiVwx

 

Correlations and milk

Another example of the importance of understanding the relationship between correlation and causation.

In a study of more than 2,700 children aged one to six, Toronto researchers found that those who drank whole milk had a body mass index score almost a full unit lower than kids who drank one per cent or two per cent milk.That’s comparable to the difference between having a healthy weight and being overweight, said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital who led the study.

Did drinking whole milk make the kids thinner, or are heavier kids drinking low-fat milk because they are heavier?

Source: Kids who drink whole-fat milk are leaner, study finds – Macleans.ca

On Facebook and happiness

Here is another study that explores the relationship between Facebook and emotions.

People’s emotional life improves significantly when they quit Facebook for 1 week… Millions of hours are spent on Facebook each day. We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our well-being? According to the present study, the answer is no…

Source: If You Want to Be Happy, Quit Facebook? – Neuroskeptic

Who’s the playground boss?

The development of social behaviour has always been fascinating. How and when do children learn to interact with adults and each other? Here is some interesting research.

A new paper in Child Development has explored the … question of when and how young children are able to discern social power from more subtle social dynamics between two parties, finding that already by age three children can interpret various forms of social power – resource control, goal achievement, and permission giving – to identify who’s in charge.

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/11/16/by-age-three-children-are-already-adept-at-figuring-out-whos-boss/

 

Happiness and sunshine

Ever wonder whether your happiness is related to the weather? Feel gloomy when it is raining outside?

This research suggest that it is the number of daylight hours that really matters, not the rain or wind.

This might be quite relevant for those of us who live in places with short winter days.

The one weather variable that really matters to mental health is the amount of sunlight hours, new research finds. Rain, air pollution, wind and high or low temperature have relatively little effect. It is the amount of time between sunrise and sunset that is linked to people’s mental health.

Source: Mental Health Is Only Affected By This One Aspect Of Weather – PsyBlog

Psychological damage from torture

Here is an important, and somewhat hard to read, article on the lasting psychological damage from US torture programs.

Before the United States permitted a terrifying way of interrogating prisoners, government lawyers and intelligence officials assured themselves of one crucial outcome. They knew that the methods inflicted on terrorism suspects would be painful, shocking and far beyond what the country had ever accepted. But none of it, they concluded, would cause long lasting psychological harm.

Fifteen years later, it is clear they were wrong.

Source: How U.S. Torture Left a Legacy of Damaged Minds – The New York Times

Can memory be trained?

Here is another interesting article that asks whether memory training programs or products actually have any beneficial effects.

Today, in our health-conscious culture permeated by people eating kale, meditating, and working out, it seems tempting to regard the brain as just another muscle, one whose relevant parts can be “exercised” to keep them from getting flabby and plump. Memory exercises and meditation to the rescue! Puzzles, games, and challenges are today’s mental weights.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the results tend to show that the only benefits are very specific to what was actually practiced, and short lived. As the article points out, this is important because many people, including school systems, are paying money for these unproven products.

Source: Skeptic » Reading Room » Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better?