Showing posts from December, 2016

Always Late? You Must Just Be Getting Older

I've never been late in my life (if you don't count my birth, when I waited a week).

But a new study says that I'll be late soon.  It comes with age.

Supposedly that's because young and old use different strategies to estimate the passage of time, according to

I have a friend who was perennially late.  We'd make plans for lunch and I -- always early -- would be sitting there steaming as the minutes ticked by. I knew she was always trying to always get just one more thing done but I took it as a personal insult, that I wasn't important enough for her to be on time.

Ironically, we're still friends.  And now she's early.

Newswise reports that people rely heavily on time estimates of past experiences to plan for future tasks and that outside influences, such as background music, can skew our perception of time, causing even the best-laid plans to go awry.

“Our results suggest time estimates of tasks that we need to incorporate into our lat…

Immoral People's Characters May be Disgusting, But, Surprisingly, Their Actions Not

OK, I admit it.  I find Donald Trump's character to be pretty, well, disgusting.

A new study agrees with me.  It says that a person's character, more so than their actions, determines whether we find immoral acts to be ‘disgusting,’ according to new research in Psychological Science, as reported by

 “We wanted to know why moral transgressions can be disgusting even when they don’t involve the kinds of things that typically disgust us, like body products, insects, and rotting foods,” says psychological scientist and study co-author Hanah Chapman of Brooklyn College, the City University of New York. “We found that what drives moral disgust seems to be the character of the transgressor — who they are more so than what they do.”

The worse someone’s character is, says Chapman, the more disgusting people typically find them to be.

The research was prompted by differing findings regarding how our judgments of moral violations evoke specific emotional responses: …

Palter or Lie? Your Choice, But Be Careful

I have a new word for you.  It's "paltering."

And you'll never guess what it means.  But think, truth, and lies. reports that the ability to deceive someone by telling the truth is not only possible, it’s common in negotiations and those who palter can do serious harm to their reputations, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

Why does the name "Trump" come to mind?

Anywho, to date, research has primarily focused on two types of deception: Lying by commission -- the active use of false statements – and lying by omission -- the passive act of misleading by failing to disclose relevant information, notes lead author Todd Rogers, PhD, of Harvard University, at the web site.

"In this study, we make a novel contribution to the deception literature by identifying a third, and common, form of deception," he points out. "Rather than misstating facts or failing to provide information, palterin…

What Makes An Employee Stay? Would You Believe Energy?

Hiring good people.  Giving them incentives to work hard.  Rewarding them.

All important but did you know the most important key to retention is the energy in your workplace?

According to, research shows that people who energize their work colleagues are less likely to voluntarily leave an organization - unless they are high performers.

A research study has found that people's energy towards colleagues has a major influence on how likely they are to leave their josb voluntarily. IT workers over a four-year period were studied by academics at the Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) and the Surrey Business School at University of Surrey.

Retaining staff is a key focus for companies since staff turnover causes huge costs in terms of recruitment fees, training and loss of organizational performance. It is estimated that replacing a high level executive can cost up to 4.5 times' the employee's salary.

The study reveals that people who have "energe…

Do Thoughts of Death Spur You to Buy?

Now this is weird. Do thoughts of death change our shopping habits?

According to a new study, yes, they do. reports that it's not really what you think, but just that, in this time of holiday merriment, it's easy to become really depressed about reports of plane crashes, terrorist attacks, fatal car accidents and deadly fires, which may lead shoppers to think more about their own mortality than buying that new iPhone for your kid.

Now new research from the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) and HEC MontrĂ©al shows that, for people with certain world views, thoughts of death don't cause us to curl up in our homes and not venture out.  They can actually trigger the buying impulse.

While the habits of spendthrifts don't change after contemplating their own mortality, compulsive shoppers, on the other hand, go out and buy more.

"Previous research shows that thoughts of death lead individuals to strongly defend world views that maintain their self…

Let Your Kid Lose

I admit it.

I can't stand to see my child lose.  Whether it's a team sport or a grade, I can't stand to see him feel like he's a loser.

I suppose I'm not a very good parent. Because experts say that, while you may think letting your preschooler win at Go Fish builds self-confidence, you could actually be doing your child a disservice.

When young kids experience “illusory success” related to a particular task, their ability to formulate and act on judgments they make about their own performance suffers. As a result, the children may become conditioned to ignore valuable information they could use in future decision-making.

It turns out that we're not really helping them to try to help them succeed at everything.

My son, who, as I've mentioned before, is a bit of a nerd, never did well at sports.  I still remember him crying as he ran down the soccer field in preschool because he so didn't want to be there (go figure, he now plays soccer every weeke…

When We Give Gifts, Are We Really Giving Them For Ourselves?

So we already know why some people give us gifts they know we won't like.

But how about why some gifts are great to give, but not receive.

Here's a mistake many people will make this holiday season: thinking more about the moment they expect when giving a present than the many moments after,when their recipients keep and use the gift, according to

"The biggest mistake that people make is that they end up thinking about gift-giving as a gift-giver, instead of from the point of view of a recipient," says Elanor Williams, assistant professor of marketing at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and a co-author of the study. "They often end up neglecting important things for the recipient, including their preferences. The recipient obviously matters, but it's a lot harder (for givers) to think about them than it is to think about yourself, and I think that's where a lot of mistakes come from,"

She added that gift-givers …

Think About This the Next Time You Plan a Golf Outing. Or Maybe, Not.

Think about this the next time you plan a golf date.

Scheduling it makes it less fun. 

According to a new study, scheduling leisure time takes all the fun out of it.  Planning events makes them seem like work, reports.

In a series of studies, researchers found that scheduling a leisure activity like seeing a movie or taking a coffee break led people to anticipate less enjoyment and actually enjoy the event less than if the same activities were unplanned.

That doesn’t mean you can’t plan at all: The research showed that roughly planning an event (but not giving a specific time) led to similar levels of enjoyment as unplanned events.

“People associate schedules with work. We want our leisure time to be free-flowing,” says Selin Malkoc, co-author of the study and assistant professor of marketing at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. “Time is supposed to fly when you’re having fun. Anything that limits and constrains our leisure chips away at the enj…

Have a Likeable Face? People Will Judge You Better

What's that great expression? You never get a second chance to make a first impression?

Now a new study says, when judging other people, first impressions last.

Vivian Zayas, professor of psychology at Cornell University, and her colleagues found that people continue to be influenced by another person’s appearance even after interacting with them face-to-face. First impressions formed simply from looking at a photograph predicted how people felt and thought about the person after a live interaction that took place one month to six months later, reports.

“Facial appearance colors how we feel about someone, and even how we think about who they are,” says Zayas, an expert in the cognitive and affective processes that regulate close relationships. “These facial cues are very powerful in shaping interactions, even in the presence of other information.”

The researchers ran experiments in which 55 participants looked at photographs of four women who were smiling i…

Being Boastful is Nothing to Brag About

It all comes down to bragging. Pity poor Donald Trump. He won the presidency by clinching the Electoral College. But he just can’t stand that Hillary won the popular vote. In fact, some research points to the fact that, if you add the third-party candidates, Trump won less than 54 percent of our votes.

Who would quibble about that? Trump, of course. He needs to be able to brag about everything.

Even if you’re not a braggart like Trump, chances are you still probably brag. I guess it’s human nature. We all want to feel like we’re the best, when often, we just didn’t feel that great about ourselves. We brag to feel better about ourselves. But bragging can hide a hole in our heart.

Biographers say it all started with Trump’s father, who ran him down a lot. I suspect the bragging was Trump’s way of propping himself up. Experts provide a rationale for that. They say that once we have a negative sense of ourselves, we need to find something that makes us feel good, something …

When Gifts Are Not Given in Fun

Admit it.  You love your husband but that iron he gave you for your birthday. . .not so much.

What happens when good people get bad gifts?

According to, sometimes a little malice might be involved.   It reports that receiving is complicated when gifts are not meant to please.

A typical U.S. consumer is expected to buy 14 gifts this holiday season, and new marketing research describes how and why many of these gifts will cause dissatisfaction rather than joy. In new research findings, NYIT School of Management associate professor Deborah Y. Cohn asserts that people who give bad gifts often do so intentionally.

Prior gift-giving research has assumed that bad gifts result from mistakes, but Cohn’s study, using in-depth interviews as well as data available via online message boards, describes five categories of intentional bad gift-giving: gifts that threaten the recipient’s self-concept, such as:

-- giving a pregnancy test to your childless daughter-in-law
-- gifts …