Showing posts from November, 2016

Church = Sex?

Do you feel good when you go to church?  I'm not talking about dropping the guilt for all the times you don't, but a true, down deep feeling of peace?

That's your brain rewarding you, according to

A new study has found that religious and spiritual experiences activate the brain reward circuits in much the same way as love, sex, gambling, drugs and music, report researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

“We’re just beginning to understand how the brain participates in experiences that believers interpret as spiritual, divine or transcendent,” says senior author and neuroradiologist Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D. “In the last few years, brain imaging technologies have matured in ways that are letting us approach questions that have been around for millennia.”

Specifically, the investigators set out to determine which brain networks are involved in representing spiritual feelings in one group, devout Mormons, by creating an environment that …

Are You a Sexist? Watch Out for Your Mental Health (President-Elect Trump, I'm Talking About You)

OK, so it worked for one guy (and now he's the president-elect), but sexism has been found to be harmful to men's mental health, according to

Men who see themselves as playboys or as having power over women are more likely to have psychological problems than men who conform less to traditionally masculine norms, reports research published by the American Psychological Association.

“In general, individuals who conformed strongly to masculine norms tended to have poorer mental health and less favorable attitudes toward seeking psychological help, although the results differed depending on specific types of masculine norms,” says lead author Y. Joel Wong, PhD, of Indiana University Bloomington.

I guess it makes sense but it doesn't stop some from still enjoying it (I hate to but I must reference the new president again).

Wong and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 78 research samples involving 19,453 participants that focused on the relationsh…

Feeling Grateful? It's More Likely After a Trip Than a Birkin

OK, so it's almost Thanksgiving and stories about gratitude abound.

But here's a new one, at least to me.

We all know that giving is better than receiving, right?  But what if you're giving an experience rather than an  XBox1 Virtual  Reality headset.

People are more grateful for what they’ve done than what they have, and that gratitude can lead to greater generosity toward others, according to new research, reports.

The new study found that feelings of gratitude develop more often when people reflect on experiential purchases, such as vacations or tickets to events, than when they reflect on gadgets, furniture or clothes they’ve purchased.

Reflecting on gratifying experiences also leads to more subsequent altruistic behavior than thinking about significant material possessions, the researchers found. In other words, when people are grateful for experiences, they treat the other people better as well.

“We know a sense of gratitude carries a number of b…

Is It From a Man or a Woman? Be Careful When You Tweet Back

Big boys don't cry.  Or talk about their emotions with their friends.  Or say "cute."

According to a new study, real men don't say "cute."

The study looked at data and Twitter to analyze the accuracy of stereotypes, reports.

From gender to education, the words used on social media carry impressions to others. Using publicly available tweets, social psychologists and computer scientists from the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, Germany, and Australia are helping us to parse out the stereotypes formed by word choices on Twitter. Using natural language processing (NLP), a form of artificial intelligence, the researchers show where stereotyping goes from "plausible" to wrong.

In a series of studies, participants were asked to categorize the authors of tweets based solely on the content of their social media posts. In these studies, people made judgements about a writer's gender, age, education level, or …

Stress Affects Whether You're a Saver or a Spender

I'm one of those people who likes to spend, spend, spend, married to someone who doesn't like to part with a dime.  Cause stress?  You'd better believe it.

And now a new study is saying that stress affects our spending and saving habits.

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure this out but a new study proclaims that if you're feeling overwhelmed? Stressed about work, a family illness or election season? It turns out that worry and anxiety can have an impact on your wallet.

“Stress leads consumers to favor saving money,” says Kristina Durante, an associate professor of marketing at Rutgers Business School who researches the effect of hormones and consumer behavior. Although stressed consumers want to save, when faced with a spending decision, stressed consumers will pay for necessities they think will help restore control rather than splurge on non-necessities, according to

The study found that stress leads consumers to save money in general bu…

Ugh. Touching Your Phone Can Provide the Details To Just About Everything There Is to Know About You

Think of this the next time you pick up your cell.

It call tell everything you do. 

A new study has found that the molecules you leave on your phone every time you touch it can tell what you eat, what kind of moisturizer you use, even how healthy you are and, most scary of all, where you've been.

Examining them for the trace chemicals, molecules and microbes on everything you touch can pretty much tell the story of your life, experts say.  These elements can construct lifestyle sketches for each phone’s owner, including diet, preferred hygiene products, health status and locations visited.

And if you're inclined to commit a crime, watch out, because the number of applications, including criminal profiling, airport screening, medication adherence monitoring, clinical trial participant stratification and environmental exposure studies, can all be told from these simple if icky particles, according to

“You can imagine a scenario where a crime scene investigator …

Aghast That Your Spouse Picked THAT Candidate? Calm Down, Repair the Rift

Well, I lost some friends.  They didn't abandon me, I abandoned them.  How could they possibly have voted for Trump?

Seems a lot of friendships have been riven, or at least changed, by this most divisive election.  But a new study says there are ways to repair the rift. 

If you want.

And where did I see it played out the most?  On Facebook.  During the presidential election of 2016, it was easy to avoid misinterpretation, escalation, damaged relationships and offending Facebook friends with differing opinions. Just never be on Facebook.

Only about half a dozen Americans heeded that advice. The rest of the country is left on the day after the contentious election wondering how awkward Thanksgiving will be knowing exactly how Grandma felt about Hillary Clinton, Aunt Jane’s thoughts on Donald Trump and 18-year-old Susie’s impression of the entire electoral process, according to

People who study abusive and controlling relationships have examined what effect Faceb…

Election Got You All Unraveled? Ravel Again By Living in the Moment

Whether your candidate won or not, this election season was one of the worst.  And if you're still feeling anxious and upset (count me in), there's one way to pull it all back.

According to, it's mindfulness.  Now, that's not a new concept.  But it's about being in the moment, something most of us just cannot do.  Count me in again.

When I was diagnosed with cancer twice, I swore I would never let go of this precious moment again.  But life interfered and before I knew it, I was projecting into the future,and mourning the past, and well, just about anywhere but in the present.

If your candidate was on the losing side, you may be feeling a sense of profound disappointment, anger, even a sense of hopelessness about the consequences of the election result, experts say. Again, count me in. Even if your candidate won, you may feel a need to wind down from weeks or months of stress and anger. The technique of mindfulness—living in the present moment with…

Horrible Bosses? They're Around

We've all had them.  Horrible bosses.  Some, more than once.

But a new study says that one thing researchers find again and again is that 50 to 70 percent of workers identify the worst part of their job as their immediate supervisor, according to

“There are so many ways to be bad,” says Dr. Peter Harms, who studies this. “I’m exploring why people are bad—do they think they’re doing the right thing because they don’t know the right thing or are they really trying to hurt people? I’m studying not only what they do, but why they do it.”

The problem, inevitably, starts by being the leader—at the helm or in a higher position to influence and intimidate those below. “Leaders have huge amounts of autonomy at a business,” says Harms, hitting on one problem area. “For instance, they can call you a name and you can’t retaliate. They can give you bad schedules, a bad sales district, take away privileges or even fire you. You rarely have the opportunity to do the same…

Psyching Out the Emotions in Those Tweets, New Software Tells All

We have software that can diagnose whether we broke a bone, where our kids are every minute, even perform surgery through a robot.

But be careful with your tweets.  Now there's software that can tell how you were feeling when you, well, tweeted.

 Computer scientists from the University of Utah’s College of Engineering have developed what they call “sentiment analysis” software that can automatically determine how someone feels based on what they write or say. To test out the accuracy of this software’s machine-learning model, the team used it to analyze the individual sentiments of more than 1.6 million (and counting) geo-tagged tweets about the U.S. presidential election over the last five months. A database of these tweets is then examined to determine whether states and their counties are leaning toward the Republicans or Democrats.

 “With sentiment analysis, it will try to predict the emotions behind every human being when he or she is talking or writing something,” …

Want a STEM Career? Don't Try to Be Like a Man

It's really a no-brainer.

But a new study has found that being more like men doesn't work for women. At least, not in STEM careers.

According to, even when women were more like men 20 to 40 years ago, it didn’t help them get a job in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, says study author Sharon Sassler, professor of policy analysis and management. 

 I can remember back to those days (though you wouldn't find me in a STEM career to save my life) when women wore blouses with bow ties and dark suits, tried to talk about sports, even scuttled their plans for marriage and kids, in an attempt to be taken seriously by the male executives in our lives. 

We learned the hard way it didn't work.  And now, it seems, we're learning again.

The study found that when women planned to delay marriage and limit the number of children they wanted – which would let them focus exclusively on work – they didn’t get the same employment opportun…

Think Powerful People Have It All Over You? Not When It Comes to Making a Decision on Something That's Ambiguous.

Who's the most powerful person in your world?  Your boss?  Your spouse?  Your mother?

If you picked any one of these, relax.  When powerful people are faced with ambiguous circumstances, they're often at a loss, according to  Faced with ambivalence, powerful people are less decisive.

Say what? 

The web site reports that, although powerful people often tend to decide and act quickly, they become more indecisive than others when the decisions are toughest to make, a new study suggests, suggests a new study   published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Researchers found that when people who feel powerful also feel ambivalent about a decision – torn between two equally good or bad choices – they actually have a harder time taking action than people who feel less powerful.

That’s different than when powerful people are confronted by a simpler decision in which most evidence favors a clear choice. In those cases, …