Trouble with instructions? You’re not alone. Researchers at the University of Michigan have confirmed that difficult-to-read instructions dissuade people from embarking on tasks, and impart a suspicion in their readers that the task at hand will be difficult. As far as I’m concerned, this is major vindication.
Give a four-year-old a marshmallow, and she’ll eat it, no hesitation. Unless she’s promised a second if she waits 15 minutes before eating the first. Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel tested the ability of kids to delay gratification in this way in the 1960’s. Behind the one-way mirror, Mischel noticed that some kids—I’ll call them the planners—might squirm and sniff and squeeze the prize but ultimately managed to resist temptation. Others could not. They gobbled right away.
Whether you call it a hunch or vibes, a reckoning or a feeling in your bones, humans know the power of a nagging suspicion. Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink stands as testament to the fact that snap decisions often turn out much smarter than those following a thorough think. Now, neuroscientists say they’ve not only proven what they call “subliminal learning” scientifically, but have found the brain area involved.
By Laura AllenPosted 07.18.2008 at 4:25 pm 2 Comments
A church sits across the street from one of my previous apartments in Manhattan. In the evenings, I’d see a passel of people emerge from it for a spell of sidewalk chitchat, smoking, and coffee-slurping. I didn’t need a formal investigation to realize that these were adjourned Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. But now such a study has actually been done to confirm the legendary caffeine-and-cigarette culture of AA as a whole. It’s true: Twelve-steppers aren’t saying “Easy Does It” with these lesser vices.
A study years in the making finds that a collegiate drinking culture does indeed lead to collegiate drinkers
By Jason DaleyPosted 07.16.2008 at 4:32 pm 2 Comments
A team from the Harvard School of Public Health has deduced what an annual Playboy survey has been telling us for years: Partying is more common at party schools. In a review of the 14-year-long College Alcohol Study, Director Henry Wechsler and Assistant Director Toben Nelson conclude that heavy drinking among students was more common at schools with an established drinking culture, lots of liquor stores, and awesome drink specials, a condition the researchers call a “wet environment” (which, I’m assuming, may also lead to a higher prevalence of wet t-shirt contests).
Bad singers either don’t know it—or do, but sing anyway
By Laura AllenPosted 07.02.2008 at 3:36 pm 3 Comments
Researchers have confirmed the unfortunate karaoke phenomenon whereupon terrible singers either do not know they sing poorly—or do, yet still hog the stage with little regard for the audience’s ears or glassware.
Broken toes, bloody noses and ceiling fan entanglement are the stuff of nightmares for all ages, report concludes
By Laura AllenPosted 06.04.2008 at 10:55 am 6 Comments
Clamber down a bunk bed ladder in the black of night at your own risk, says a large new study of the double-decker berths: falls, head entrapment, strangulation, and even ceiling fan entanglement may await.
But don't worry, the rat race becomes second nature within 7 years or so, researchers say
By Laura AllenPosted 05.19.2008 at 4:35 pm 7 Comments
Ah, college graduation! The first rites of adulthood in which campus living, the meal plan, and 1-800-COLLECT are readily traded for a rented studio apartment, long hours at the office, and rush-hour traffic. What's not to be depressed about?
Echoing the cold comfort your parents probably gave during this rude awakening as you sobbed to them using your non-subsidized cellphone, a recent analysis by Canadian researchers confirms that many recent grads feel this way . . . and things really do get better.