Showing posts from February, 2016

Ignoring, The Way to Success? Experts Say Yes

I know I hate it.  "What do you want for dinner?" Nothing.  "Did you do your homework?"  Nothing.  "Did you clean your room?" Grunt.

I'm talking, of course, about my teenager, who ignores just about every word out of my mouth.  But now researchers are saying that mastering the art of ignoring makes people more efficient.

I suppose it makes sense.  If you've ever been in one of those moments where you're working so hard on something, you don't notice the house is on fire, just get that paragraph written, you've been there.  I've left pots boiling on the stove, driven right past my road when thinking about a word, even been able to tune out my husband when he's raving about Bill O'Reilly again.

But don't listen to me.  Get it from the experts.

Johns Hopkins University researchers have found that when people are given time to learn what’s possible to ignore, they’re able to search faster and more efficiently.

Scientists …

Drawn to People Just Like You? It's Hard Wired in You

So you think you're drawn to liberal, social-cause-minded politicians because you love Hillary?  Nah.  It was in you all along.

According to a new study, our desire for like-minded others is actually hard-wired in us and it controls our choices in friends and partners.  (Though maybe not in my house.  My husband has become a Fox News-lover and somehow, we're still married.)

But, in what might be considered a paradigm shift, the study’s most surprising finding may be that people in relationships do not change each other over time. Instead, researchers' evidence places new emphasis on the earliest moments of a relationship—revealing that future friends or partners are already similar at the outset of their social connection, a major new finding, say the authors.

"Picture two strangers striking up a conversation on a plane, or a couple on a blind date,” says Assistant Professor of Psychology Angela Bahns (Wellesley College).  “From the very first moments of awkwar…

Big Surprise! Voters Place More Emphasis on Non-Verbal Cues Than Substance

Now who would have guessed it?  A new study finds that non-verbal behavior has counted for more this election season than substance.

Hmm.....Could they be talking about Trump?

 "When style obscures substance: Visual attention to display appropriateness in the 2012 presidential debates,” recently published in the journal Communication Monographs, and highlighted in the National Communication Association’s newly released research digest, Communication Currents, examines the consequences of appropriate versus inappropriate nonverbal behavior as displayed by candidates during presidential debates, reports.

Trump's insulting of the pope and flopping his comb-over around, twisting his lips in disgust at Cruz, and pumping his fist in celebration of himself matters more than the fact that, when asked how he'd increase the country's ability to fight terrorists, simply says, "It will be great"?

I'm moving to Canada.

Communication researchers Zijian …

Is Your Body Older Than Your Chronological Age? Cancer May Be In Your Future

Grim news.

If your biological age (the age your health suggests your body is) is older than your actual age, you could be at high risk of cancer.  The bigger the difference between the two, the greater your risk.

A person’s epigenetic age is calculated based on a DNA blood test that looks for methylation markers that could be modified by a person’s environment, including environmental chemicals, obesity, exercise and diet. This test is not commercially available but is currently being studied by academic researchers, including a team at Northwestern.

In DNA methylation, a cluster of molecules attaches to a gene and makes the gene more or less receptive to biochemical signals from the body. The gene itself -- your DNA code -- does not change.

“This could become a new early warning sign of cancer,” says senior author Dr. Lifang Hou, who led the study, at “The discrepancy between the two ages appears to be a promising tool that could be used to develop an early de…

Forget About Posting Something Embarrassing About a Friend -- Or the Friendship, Too, Say Experts

Face threats  Do you know what that is?  I'd never heard the term before and it confused me a little.  Until I realized it meant what people think about you on social media.

There's another phrase, too.  Impression management.  That's a little easier to understand.  Impression management refers to an individual's deliberate efforts to control or influence other people's perceptions. Sometimes impression management occurs in reaction to face threats: unfavorable incidents that undercut a person's ability to cultivate and maintain a desirable self-image on social networking sites (SNSs).

You know?  Like bragging about your new boyfriend who's a doctor and your friend posts that he's really a dentist.  That happened to me.  

SNSs such as Facebook, where content can be shared widely and is often persistent, studies have repeatedly shown that people are vulnerable to face threats resulting from things that others post, according to


Guess What One in Three Have Done With Their New Year's Resolutions? If You Said,Chuck It, You're Right

Big surprise.  One in three people have not kept their New Year's resolutions.  I bet it's more like three out of three.

But a new study says even people with the best of intentions to get heart-healthy in the new year become discouraged after just a handful of long runs or drop their gym memberships after a couple of sessions. Gretchen Wells, MD, PhD, director of women's heart health at the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute, emphasizes in a new video to help people not to give up.

"You reduce your risk of heart attack by 50% if you get 150 minutes of activity a week -- or 30 minutes for five out of seven days," Wells says at "That doesn't have to come with a gym membership or fancy, expensive equipment. A brisk walk can be just as effective in reducing heart attack risk."

In fact, said Wells, even completing household chores like vacuuming or mowing the lawn can take up a significant chunk of that goal.You ev…

How's Your Kid's Grip? It'll Tell You Whether He Has the Willpower to Do Homework

How's your kid's grip?  Did you know you can use it to figure out whether he's going to do his homework?

No joke.  A new study says the ability to hold a grip predicts the willpower to do homework.

According to, researchers at McMaster University have established a connection between a person’s ability to maintain a firm grip and having the self-control to finish their schoolwork.

There is not yet a clear cause-and-effect relationship between squeezing a handgrip and working up the willpower to tackle a school assignment, but it’s clear there is a connection, says Matthew Stork, a PhD candidate in Kinesiology and lead author of a study published in The Journal of Health Psychology.

Stork and his co-authors looked at a group of 30 first-year university students, asking them their plans to engage in two tough challenges for students adjusting to university life: completing their school work and keeping up their exercise schedules. Both require high level…

Ethical Bosses Can Lead to Abuse. Really.

I've had bosses who praised my work and bosses who tried to take the credit for it.  I've had bosses who follow the company line, even when they know it's not right (like lying about the downfalls of products), and I've had bosses who've called the media back to say they misspoke on something and now they want to come clean.

It takes all kinds but did you know ethical bosses may not be the bosses we should want?

A new study suggests that ethical conduct leads to mental exhaustion and the "moral licensing" to lash out at employees, according to 

Ethical behavior can turn abusive because of ego depletion and moral licensing. "Moral licensing" is a phenomenon in which people, after doing something good, feel they have earned the right to act in a negative manner.

"Ironically, when leaders felt mentally fatigued and morally licensed after displays of ethical behavior, they were more likely to be abusive toward their subordin…

Feeling Down? Go Help Someone Rather Than Looking for Someone to Help You

I've known this for some time.  When I'm depressed, like this past week, when a friend's son, and a young man I taught journalism to, took his own life last week, and then when there was a bomb scare at my son's high school (and a job contract ended suddenly), I went to help at my church's after-school program and soon I was feeling better, surrounded by all the high-on-sugar (this was the Valentine's Day party day) and sweet, anyway, kids.

Many of them come from low-income homes and they're hungry for loving contact.  Some parents work several works and aren't home too much, while others may be in jail (yes, sadly) or just not around. 

But it does more for me than the kids when they come up to me and ask me to read with them, or they follow me like a little shadow.  Or they look really happy to see me.

And now a new study confirms this.

According to, giving support—rather than receiving it—may have unique positive effects on key brain are…

Surviving a Bomb Scare -- Hormone Helped Kids Help Each Other

There was a bomb scare at my son's high school yesterday.  Fortunately it turned out to be false but the anxiety and panic and sheer terror are still with me (and I suspect, my son, too) today.

The kids, all 2,000 of them, were immediately told to evacuate to the large field behind the school.  The principal left parents a message last night saying they all filed out well and followed directions but I'm learning on Facebook that it was mass pandemonium instead.

A new study says, however, that we all have a social hormone that promotes cooperation in risky situations.

I couldn't reach my son because he was told to leave everything behind, including his phone (wonder if it's still there?  it's just stuff, I keep reminding myself).  Finally a friend loaned him his phone and he was able to text me that he was fine.  The friend's mother came and got them both.

I threw my arms around him and burst into tears when he came through the door.

Now we have a plan for if i…

Is Being a Morning Person in Your Genes?

Both my husband and I dated people who liked to party and stay out all night.  Needless to say, the relationships didn't work out.

He and I are both morning people.  And now a new study says it may just be in our DNA.

According to, the study found that there may be genes in our DNA that can be linked back to someone who is a morning person.  

“In this study we set out to discover more about an individual’s preference toward early rising and were able to identify the genetic associations with “morningness” as well as ties to lifestyle patterns and other traits,” says Youna Hu, PhD, who led 23andMe’s research on the paper. The study revolved around a database that yielded genetic insights into a variety of conditions and traits, and potentially how those genetic factors are affected by behavior and environment.

Morningness is governed by differences in circadian rhythm, which have previously been linked to medically relevant traits such as sleep, obesity and depression. The…

Compulsively Check Facebook? It May Be Because You're Sleep-Deprived

Now this is weird.

You know all those people who are constantly checking Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and all those other texting sites?

Well, they're not just annoying.  They may be sleep-deprived.

It's an odd correlation but a new study links compulsive Facebook checking to lack of sleep.

Say what?

Apparently, University of California, Irvine, researchers have found that, if you find yourself toggling over to look at Facebook several dozen times a day, it’s not necessarily because the experience of being on social media is so wonderful. It may be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep, according to

n a recently completed study, researchers at the University of California, Irvine demonstrated that lack of sleep – in addition to affecting busy college students’ moods and productivity – leads to more frequent online activities such as browsing Facebook.

“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction,” says lead researcher Gloria Mark…

Go On a Seafood Diet? Just Might Help Protect You From Alzheimer's

My husband is going to love this.  He'd live on seafood if he could.  Every week when we go out he orders a shrimp cocktail, then has a salad with salmon.

He does it because he loves it but now there's an even better reason. Eating seafood just might protect you from Alzheimer's.

A new study has found that older adults with a major risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease who ate at least one seafood serving per week showed fewer signs of Alzheimer’s-related brain changes. In contrast, this association was not found in the brains of volunteers who ate fish weekly but did not carry the risk gene. The researchers also examined the brains for levels of mercury, which can be found in seafood and is known to be harmful to the brain and nervous system. They found that seafood consumption was associated with increased mercury levels in the brains but not the amount of beta amyloid protein plaques and tau protein tangles, the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The study's purpose was to s…

Bungee-Jumping at 20? You'll Still Be Riding a Motorcycle at 70

I've always been a risk-taker.

Well, if you consider someone who jogs in the snow when she's broken her wrist and nose (3 times) doing it, that is.

Maybe just stupid!

Anyway, a new study has found that once a risk-taker, always a risk-taker. 

People who are risk-takers in their youth also tend to take relatively more risks than their peers as they age, according to an analysis of more than 44,000 German citizens, reports. “The data suggests risk-taking is similar to a personality trait in that it remains relatively stable throughout most of adulthood,” says Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin, assistant professor of psychology and a co-author of the paper appearing in theJournal of Personality and Social Psychology. The results show that individuals’ level of risk-taking remains stable over time, relative to their peers. The results suggest that a person who went bungee jumping in their 20s may be more likely than their more risk-averse peers to, say, ride motorcycles later…

You Won't Touch a Super Bowl Snack After This

Ready for SuperBowl 50?  I'm not.  I hate the game.  I live in a tennis and soccer house.  Sorry.

But how about those snacks?  If you want to keep enjoying them, stop reading.

A new study says if you're gonna eat two slices of Domino's Ultimate Pepperoni Hand-Tossed, Large, you'd have to run 109 football fields to burn it off.

A handful (ounce) of peanuts?   Coaching football for 35 minutes.

One potato chip with French Onion Dip (and this you might find even less tasty than that)?  Thirty minutes of singing along to ColdPlay and Beyonce during the halftime show.

And what about two KFC Original Recipe Chicken Drumsticks?  Try 1,561 waves.

On the liquid side, two bottles of Budweiser beer equal 267 touchdown dances in the end zone.

And five tortilla chips with 7-layer dip?  Sixty minutes performing in a marching band.

So what's a guy (or girl) to do?  Think about healthier snacks, of course.  That doesn't mean you have to go for the apples and bottled water.  But…