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Thinking about your ancestors? We'll toast to that

December 30, 2010|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
  • Paddlers remember their Chumash ancestors by paddling a replica of a tomol, or ancient plank canoe, from Oxnard to Santa Cruz Island a decade ago.
Paddlers remember their Chumash ancestors by paddling a replica of a tomol,… (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles…)

Folks might be pondering many things at this time of year (like how to pour Champagne and keep the bubbles intact) but ancient ancestors likely aren't one of them. Too bad, because thinking about your long-ago relatives could make you sharper.

A Hartford Courant story reports on "the ancestor effect": "A study out of the University of Graz, Berlin, and the University of Munich found that people who take time to think about their ancestors received a boost in intellectual performance."

And those smartypants didn't have to think all that long either. "An initial study involved 80 undergrads spending five minutes thinking about either their fifteenth century ancestors, their great-grandparents or a recent shopping trip. Afterwards, those students in the two ancestor conditions were more confident about their likely performance in future exams, an effect that seemed to be mediated by their feeling more in control of their lives." That's what the British Psychological Society says about the study on this blog.

OK, so now what about the Champagne bubbles? Yup, there's a study about that too. This Hartford Courant story explains how to do it right.

And don't forget to toast your ancestors too.

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