Showing posts from July, 2016

Guided By Your Gut Or Your Head? It Matters in the Work World

I'm one of those people who basically only operates on her gut.  It's been right a lot of times.  Meeting my husband and knowing he was the one (at least, at that time!).  Making new friends.  Knowing whether a potential boss is really right for me.  

Now a new study is saying that, when it comes to empathy, don't trust your gut.

According to,empathy is more the result of logic than emotion. 

"Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others -- that is, to be empathetically accurate.  Some are better at t his than others, a difference that may be explained by a mode of thought," says Jennifer Lerner, PhD, of Harvard University, a co-author of the study. "Until now, however, little was known about which mode of thought -- intuitive vs. systematic, offers better accuracy in perceiving another's feelings."

You'd think that would make men better at this than w…

"Me" Breaks Make You A Better Worker

We've been told that sitting is the new smoking and that we need to get up and walk around for five minutes every hour, whether at work or home.

Now researchers are finding that this doesn't just protect us from health risks, it also is even better if you can do it for 30 minutes at one time during the day.  Employers should advocate this, too.

That's because a 30-minute "me break" can make you a better worker, according to  

Even though the study was done with doctors, it can apply to anyone.  The research involved early-career doctors and those who went without it found a scenario in which the patient may have suffered. Activities like volunteering and exercise can help employees recover quickly and better respond to their jobs' demands. Of course, we're not talking about running to a bar for a quick shot, or going to the mall to look at shoes, but just a walk around the building, or outside, to simply "be."  We certainly don't do…

Can a Good Handshake Clinch the Deal for Your Dream Job?

We've all been there.  Looking and looking and interviewing for the dream job, and then, there it is, right in front of your eyes.

So you suit up and work on your handshake and your spiel about how you're the best candidate for the job.

But a new study says that's not all it takes.  The study examining the effects of technology-mediated interviews found in-person interviews yielded better impressions for the company and the candidate.
“We live in a world where we increasingly rely on technology, but this study reminds us that personal interactions should never be underestimated,” said author Nikki Blacksmith, a doctoral candidate at the George Washington University’s Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication. “Many times, the candidate does not have a choice in the format of the interview. However, the organization does have a choice and if they are not consistent with the type of interview they use across candidates, it could result in fairness issues and even…

What's It Like to be a Young Black Man?

I’m not black. But I am starting to identify with the fear and hopelessness and despair of being black, and male. It all came home to me when I realized that a friend, the mother of two young black sons, would have to have “the talk” with them. Imagine. Not the one telling your son to make sure he wears a condom, but the one that says, don’t move too quickly when you’re out in public. What is it like to have to tell your kids to, asDon Lemonput it on CNN, “Comply, comply, comply,” when a cop approaches you? And what is it like to have a cop shoot you anyway, when you are complying and reaching for your license as the cop told you to do? The prescience of that little 4-year-old in the back seat, soothing her mother, live-streaming the encounter between the cop and her boyfriend, comforting her that, somehow, some way, it would be OK. But how? I know I sound like a bleeding heart liberal but how can it be OK when a young black man can’t feel free to run at night, asNew York Timeswriter

Employers: Want Workers to Exercise? Have Them Compete With Peers to Earn $$$$$

Exercise.  We all pretty much hate it, though I force myself to do an hour a day of running, swimming or using the elliptical or, my newest torture machine, the arc trainer.

But a new study now says that if you compete with your friends, and even sweeter, get financial incentives, you'll be, well, at least a little more motivated.

According to, having your exercise performance compared to that of  peers motivates you to do more. And adding a financial incentive would rank it up there with nirvana.  Well, almost.

Comparing performance to average peers (the 50th percentile), and offering financial incentives was the most effective method for increasing physical activity among teams of employees, according to new research, the web site reports.

The study also found that different combinations of social comparison feedback and financial incentives can lead to a significant difference in outcomes within workplace competitions.

“Many employers are using workplace com…

Smart Phones Malke Us Smarter, But Not Wiser

Do smart phones make you smarter? Now there's a good question.

My sense is, no.  I wrote recently that they may help us do many things but in the end, they may just dumb us down.

Now a study says modern techie devices can be helpful and make life easier, but there are serious drawbacks, says a Texas A&M University professor who studies technology, according to

Jonathan Coopersmith, professor of history at Texas A&M, says modern technological devices used to demand learning specific skills and acquiring the necessary resources to do them. "For example, if you wanted to make a film, you got a movie camera and the supporting technologies (film, lights, editing equipment), and then learned how to use them and hire a crew to handle all of the equipment. Next, you would shoot the movie, then develop and edit the film, and the final step would be to make copies and distribute them," the web site reports.

“But many of those steps are eliminated tod…

Opposites Attract? Not in Relationships

Uh oh.  Didn't see this coming.

Did you know opposites attract -- except in a relationship?

According to a new study, turns out, when you're in a relationship, you're more likely to find someone who looks like you more attractive.

My husband and I are certainly opposites.  He stands 6'1" to my less than 5'2".  (I used to have to stand on a chair arm to kiss him when we first started dating.  Now we're old married parents.  Need I say more?)

If we are in a relationship we are more likely to be attracted to faces resembling our own, but for single people, opposites attract, reports.  Relationship status affects who and what we find attractive, found a study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Dr Jitka Lindová of Charles University in the Czech Republic and her team showed a series of photographs of faces to university students and asked them to rate their attractiveness. The photographs were digitally manipulated so that the resembla…

Is Social Media Detrimental to Your Child's Moral Development? Maybe Not So Much

It certainly comes as no surprise but social media sites interfere with children's moral development.

According to a new study, a "parent poll" carried out in the UK found that only 15% of parents thought that popular social media sites, such as Facebook, provided a positive influence on a young person’s character, while 40% of parents said they were "concerned" or "extremely concerned" about the negative and potentially harmful impact of social media.

Even though it was carried out in the UK, it holds true for this country, as well.  The UK-wide poll questioned over 1,700 parents of children aged 11 to 17. Of those parents questioned, 93% said they were regular social media users, reports.

Researchers carried out this poll to gauge parents’ perceptions around the influence of social media on children’s character.

The survey, which is the first of its type in the UK, provides a unique insight into the moral values that are portray…

Have a Gun? Would You Leave Your Preteen Home in the House Alone With It?

Now here's an interesting insight.

Parents are more confident their pre-teen child would know what to do if there were a house fire or tornado than whether the child would avoid playing with guns if home alone, a new national poll says, according to

When my son was little, I never thought to ask the parents on a playdate whether they had a gun in the house, as some friends smartly did.  But then, that was before 20 1st graders were massacred in Newtown.

Today, with growing gun use (even by women) after every tragedy caused by a gun, it's a no-brainer.  At the time my son was in elementary school, I probably would have felt embarrassed to ask.  But today, if he were small, it would be the first question I would need to have answered before allowing him to play at another child's house.

In the past I just assumed the people I and my child were friends with were smart enough not to have a gun.  But today you just can't be sure.  I'm amazed at the peopl…

Having Trouble at Work? Blame Your Parents

Well, I'll be.  Researchers have found a link between how you parent -- and how you behave in the workplace.

Now, I don't think that means, since you give your kids a time-out when they're misbehaving, that you make your employees sit in a corner and think about what they've done, when they don't do the job you want.

But a new study finds that the boss-employee relationship is similar to parent-child relationships, according to

And if you're an employee having trouble with our boss, there’s a chance that your parents might share some of the blame, claims Dr. Peter Harms, a University of Alabama researcher.

“It seems clichĂ©, but, once again, we end up blaming mom for everything in life,” says Harms while laughing. “It really is about both parents, but because mothers are typically the primary caregivers of the children, they usually have more influence on their children.”

In studying manager-employee relationships in the workplace, Harms, an a…

Think Good Communication Helps Your Marriage? Think Again.

We're screwed.

A new study says says good communication does not lead to marital satisfaction.

Say what?

It's not quite so grim.  What the study found was that it takes more than good communication (duh) to make a marriage successful. 

"Although communication and satisfaction were correlated, communication wasn’t a good guide for determining partners’ satisfaction with their relationships over time,” says the study’s lead author Justin Lavner, an assistant professor in UGA’s clinical psychology program in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Although communication practices could predict satisfaction to some extent for some couples, the lack of a definitive causal relationship calls for additional attention to other factors that influence marital satisfaction, such as environmental stressors, what activities and interactions a couple has, and the personality traits of the individual partners.

"It’s absolutely right to say more satisfied couples do co…

Watch Out for Your Smart Watch - It May Give Out More Than Your Run Distance

I've always worried about the people swiping their smart phones at check-out to pay for merchandise.  Aren't they worried someone could pick up their banking information?

Now a new study says your smart watch may give away your ATM info. Wearable devices can give away your passwords, according to new research, reports.

“Wearable devices can be exploited,” says study co-author Yan Wang, assistant professor of computer science within the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University. “Attackers can reproduce the trajectories of the user’s hand then recover secret key entries to ATM cash machines, electronic door locks and keypad-controlled enterprise servers.”

Researchers conducted 5,000 key-entry tests on three key-based security systems, including an ATM, with 20 adults wearing a variety of technologies over 11 months. The team was able to record millimeter-level information of fine-grained hand movements from acceler…

Hands-Free? No, Brain-Free

It seemed kind of obvious to me but when all the country did away with handheld cell phones in the car being legal and only allowing hands-free ones, that it really didn't make much of a difference.

Hands-free?  That's brain-free.

It's not the holding the phone that's the problem.  It's the thinking while you're on the phone. Who hasn't been distracted by a phone call (or, God forbid, a text) when driving?  I have all I can do just to keep my mind on my driving, as that's the time I free float and often get ideas for stories.  No way can I talk and drive at the same time.

My husband, on the other hand, does it all the time (and has been ticketed in NYC).  He doesn't believe in laws (or medicine, but that's another story), and so he continues to get tickets for not wearing a seat belt, talking on his handheld phone and other expensive habits he really should discontinue.

But getting back to the phone, a new study says the hands-free ones are anyt…

Revenge, Bitter or Sweet? Both, It Turns Out

Admit it.  We've all had those moments where we'd like the friend who didn't invite us to her party get the stomach flu, right?

Well, maybe it's just me.  But a new study says that revenge really is not so sweet.  I had a work friend who said don't get revenge, get even.  Yeah, she screwed me a couple of times, too.

But despite popular consensus that “revenge is sweet,” years of experimental research have suggested otherwise, finding that revenge is seldom as satisfying as we anticipate and often leaves the avenger less happy in the long run, according to

Now, new research from Washington University in St. Louis is adding a twist to the science of revenge, showing that our love-hate relationship with this dark desire is indeed a mixed bag, making us feel both good and bad, for reasons we might not expect.

“We show that people express both positive and negative feelings about revenge, such that revenge isn’t bitter, nor sweet, but both,” says t…

Think "I Think I Can, I Think I Can" And You Will, Experts Say

We've all been taught that thinking positively beats out, well, the opposite.

But now a new study says that thinking "I can do better," actually makes you do better.

To me, it's kind of a wussy way to try to succeed.  But this new report says thinking this way can really improve performance, according to

Over 44,000 people took part in an experiment to discover what motivational techniques really worked. In conjunction with BBC Lab UK, Professor Andrew Lane and his colleagues tested which physiological skills would help people improve their scores in an online game.

This complex study examined if one motivational method would be more effective for any specific aspect of a task. The methods tested were self-talk, imagery, and if-then planning. Each of these psychological skills was applied to one of four parts of a competitive task: process, outcome, arousal-control, and instruction.

People using self-talk, for example telling yourself "I c…

Like to Bully? Your Brain Rewards You

A new study on the brain has found exactly where inside it bullying begins.

According to, individual differences in the motivation to engage in or to avoid aggressive social interaction (bullying) are mediated by the basal forebrain, the lateral habenula circuit in the brain, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published June 30 in the journal Nature.

Now, you don't need to know the exact scientific facts about this.  All you need to know is that maladaptive aggressive behavior is associated with a number of psychiatric disorders and is thought to partly result from inappropriate activation of brain reward systems in response to aggressive or violent social stimuli. Researchers have now learned that the basal forebrain, or its projections to other brain regions, directly controls the rewarding aspects of aggression.

Yes, that means that bullying is seen as a rewarding activity to some people.

"Our study is th…