Showing posts from July, 2017

Who's the Boss? Ask a Baby

You're in a meeting with a new agency.  You're not sure who's the boss.  What do you do?

Get a baby.

No joke.  A new study says even babies can tell who's boss.

The charismatic colleague, the natural leader, the life of the party – all are personal qualities that adults recognize instinctively, according to These socially dominant types, according to repeated studies, also tend to accomplish and earn more, from accolades and material wealth to friends and romantic partners, the web site reports.   "This social hierarchy may be so naturally ingrained, University of Washington researchers say, that toddlers as young as 17 months old not only can perceive who is dominant, but also anticipate that the dominant person will receive more rewards," adds the site. "This tells us that babies are sorting through things at a higher level than we thought. They're attending to and taking into consideration fairly sophisticated concepts," says U…

Talk to Yourself? Did You Know It Can Heal You?

Let's admit it.  Talking to yourself may not be such a great thing when you're sitting on a bus, or on a conference call.  But a new study says it can help you not throw your kid through the window when he cracks up the car, or make your husband sleep on the couch when he forgets your birthday.

The simple act of silently talking to yourself in the third person during stressful times may help you control emotions without any additional mental effort than what you would use for first-person self-talk – the way people normally talk to themselves, according to

A first-of-its-kind study led by psychology researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan indicates that such third-person self-talk may constitute a relatively effortless form of self-control.

(I suppose it's what kind of talking to yourself you do!  Swearing, like I do, when I can't find my cell phone, probably isn't what they had in mind.)

“Essentially, we think referring to…

Scores Are Important But It's How Fast They Rise That Counts

I got a number a little under 400 for my math score on my SAT.  And that's getting 200 points for spelling your name right!

Needless to say, I hate tests, and I hate scores even more.  But now a new study is saying that scores can count as motivation, even if they're inherently meaningless, reports.

Even if the score itself has no inherent meaning, it can serve as an effective motivator, as long as the score is accelerating, say researchers.

The study found that an accelerating number – even if the number itself is meaningless – can significantly affect performance.  Yes, I guess I would have felt better if the number was closer to 500.

We all know that people like high scores, but what is less known is how to give scores, Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Assistant Professor Luxi Shen. who began the research as a PhD scholar at Chicago Booth. “Our research shows that what matters is neither how high the score is nor how fast the score increases, but rather the way it …

Looking for a Friend? Check Out the Legs. A Romantic Partner? Take a Gander at the Head

How weird is this?  Depending on whether someone wants to have a romantic relationship with you, or just a friendship, it all has to do with one part of the body rather than another.

No, I'm not talking about those parts.

According to a new study, heterosexual men and women look at the head or chest of an opposite-sex person longer and more often when evaluating dating potential, compared with possible friendship. 

But both men and women look at legs or feet with greater frequency when they made platonic rather than sexual judgments, reports.

While -- here comes the boring part -- we've always thought that attraction hinges on a fixed set of characteristics that makes a person desirable, this new study shows that what people look for in a prospective relationship partner depends on their "relational" goals.

And here it comes, the big finale.  "The same person who makes a highly desirable friend may not make a good mate,” says Angela Bahns, the study…

Are You a Slacker? Do You Think You're One? You Might Die Sooner Than Your Friends

Do you take your time when there's a project due?  Are you the last to any meeting?  Do you wait until your friends choose a place for lunch, then go along if you like it?

Are you a slacker?

Watch out, says a new study, according to 

Feeling less active than your peers is associated with an earlier death, the study says.
People who think they’re less active than others their age have a greater chance of dying younger than people who perceive themselves as more active, even if their actual activity levels are the same, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.  People who believed they weren’t as active as their peers were 71 percent more likely to die during the study’s follow-up period than were people who believed they had a more active lifestyle, the study said. This result remained even after controlling for actual amounts of activity, chronic illnesses, age and other demographic and health factors.  “Most people know that not exercisin…

Did You Know Emojis Could Do THAT?

They can make you smile.  Or cringe.  Or annoy the hell out of you if you're someone like me, who gets one in an email and doesn't have a clue what it stands for.  

We're talking emojis.

How can something invented barely 20 years ago in Japan (has it really been that long?).  And who came up with the word???

In any event, a new report investigates what effect they have on pretty much the last place you'd expect them.  The workplace.  Or, at least, the places I worked.  In fact, sending and receiving emojis in the workplace could have an impact on productivity and innovation in the workplace, according to

University of Delaware management professor Kyle Emich has explored the effects of emotions on teams and performance and is now taking on what effect, if any, they have on innovation and productivity. "In our lab, we normally induce emotional states by showing people happy or sad video clips or pictures," he tells "For example, we…

High-Flying or Nose to the Ground: A Team Needs Both

Admit it.  Opposites attract.  In romance.  Interior design.  In the workplace?

Yes, says a new study.

"As an increasingly popular approach to business innovation, the crux of the approach embraces both creativity and analytical thinking to solve problems; two sides of the coin, both are essential to the design thinking process," reports.

Or, in other words, most of us empathize with those who see the world through what Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck calls a “fixed mindset” — many of whom may be corporate or bureaucratic managers — and vice versa. 

The fixed mindsetter (whom Dweck calls “George”) usually digs deeply into a specialty and masters the intricacies of it, while more creative types, who usually enjoy what Dweck calls a “growth mindset,” see life as a journey of discovery and, therefore, have developed a more diverse repertoire.

Her words.  But I get it.  There are those of us who see everything in black and white, and then others, who see only gray. …

Who's More Morally Righteous Than You? (No, We're Not Talking About Them)

We all know them.  You know, those blowhards who tell you their kids clean their rooms, or eat anything you put in front of them.  Or wash the car after they use it (I'm still waiting for that).  Or the politician (we won't name him) who won't have a meal with a female not his wife.

But now new research, according to, finds that this "holier than thou" or self-righteous behavior really isn't -- big duh! -- the mark of truly "good" people.

Studies in the past discovered that people "tend to believe that they are more likely than others to donate blood, give to charity, treat another person fairly, and give up one’s own seat in a crowded bus for a pregnant woman." And usually, if you followed them onto that bus, they won't.

Even more astonishing, a widely cited U.S. News and World Report survey asked 1,000 Americans to indicate the likelihood that they and a long list of celebrities would go to heaven. The vast majority of re…

How Feeling Over-Qualified May Undercut You

Have a master's when everyone else in your department has only a bachelor's?  Don't get too ahead of yourself.  Your possible over-qualification for the job could actually hurt you.

According to, it may cause you to feel "pyschological strain."

If you’re an employee who perceives you’re over-qualified for your position, chances are you’re unsatisfied with your job, uncommitted to your organization and experience psychological strain, according to a study co-authored by a faculty member from Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) College of Business. Perceived over-qualification – the belief that one has surplus skills compared to job requirements – can have negative implications for employees and employers alike, says Michael Harari, Ph.D., assistant professor in FAU’s Department of Management Programs. Harari, together with fellow researchers analyzed perceived over-qualification, synthesizing 25 years of research to clarify disparate and conflicting find…

Want Your Tweets to Go Viral? Use Moral and Emotional Words

It should come as no surprise.  But did you know that messages with moral 
or emotional content go viral quicker than just about anything?

According to, tweets about political topics that include moral and emotional language are more likely to spread within the ideological networks of the sender, a team of researchers has found. Its study, which examined Twitter messages related to gun control, climate change, and same-sex marriage, points to both the potential and limits of communicating on social media.
“The content that spreads the most may have the biggest impact on social media, so individuals, community leaders, and even political elites could see their influence enhanced by emphasizing morality and emotion in their online messaging,” explains William Brady, the lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in New York University’s Department of Psychology at the web site. “However, while using this type of language may help content proliferate within your own soci…

Is It Better to Wait?

I don't know about you.  I hate waiting.

But experts believe waiting is a good thing.

Well.  Let's clarify.

You may remember the famous marshmallow test, where kids were given the soft chewy treats and were told if they waited for 15 minutes before they ate them, they would get more.

Predictably, some of the kids ate the marshmallows right away. But some waited, and got their reward.

Can waiting help us, though, in adult life?

Certainly, it's better to wait to collect Social Security (you get more if you wait till after you qualify).  And waiting is certainly better than yelling "Surprise!" before the anticipated guest arrives.

Waiting is one of those softer skills often ignored and little value-placed. The concept of waiting can cover many aspects of our lives and is often supported by frustrations, boredom, impatience or a restlessness, according to , Leadership Associate at Health Educ
ation England Diversity & Inclusion, in the UK.

But …