October 3, 2009 |
Communing with nature not only lifts spirits, it helps people behave better, according to a study published this week. Psychologists at the University of Rochester conducted four experiments with 370 people who were shown computer images of either natural settings, such as landscapes and lakes, or man-made settings, such as buildings and roads. The subjects were encouraged to look at the surroundings carefully, noting colors and textures and imagining sounds and smells. They then completed questionnaires about the importance of various values, such as wealth, fame, connectedness to community, relationships and the betterment of society.
February 7, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO -- If he were on Facebook, Stuart Smalley would probably update his status: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!" Turns out that Smalley, played by Al Franken in the "Saturday Night Live" skit, knew a thing or two about human nature. One of the main reasons people turn to Facebook? Daily affirmations of their self-worth. That's according to a new study from University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Catalina Toma and Cornell University professor Jeffrey Hancock.
January 2, 2012 |
What does it really take to change a habit? It may have less to do with willpower and more to do with consistency and a person's environment, researchers have found. A 2009 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology had 96 people adopt a new healthful habit over 12 weeks - things like running for 15 minutes at the same time each day or eating a piece of fruit with lunch. The average number of days it took for participants to pick up the habit was 66, but the range was huge, from 18 to 254 days.
November 8, 2013 |
What do executions, joining the military and naming your son “Junior” have in common? They're all more common in the South and the West, researchers found, and they're all tied to a “culture of honor,” where reputation is at the core of how people see themselves. In a study published online this week in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , University of Oklahoma researchers tracked the most popular names for boys and girls in 1960, 1984 and 2008, checking whether the same names popped up from generation to generation. When it came to naming boys, some states were much more likely to recycle the same names than others, they found.
September 1, 2011 |
Being a creature of habit may mean mindlessly eating food, even when it's stale. An online study in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin looking at how certain cues and adjustments can affect our habits used two experiments involving mindless eating. In the first, 98 people were recruited to watch movie trailers and were given water and boxes of popcorn. The popcorn was either 1 week old and stale, or freshly popped. It was randomly doled out to the participants who had also been surveyed about how often they typically eat popcorn in movie theaters.
August 22, 2011 |
You're so vain. You probably think this column is about you. Carly Simon may be down on vanity, but I'm cool with it, so long as you don't go off the deep end. (I'm talking to you, Heidi Montag.) The desire to look good can be a powerful motivator for achieving health and fitness. "People are hard-wired to strive to look better because it brings benefits throughout life, be it in mate selection, employment opportunities, salary or life in general," I was told by Gordon Patzer, a professor of business administration at Roosevelt University in Chicago and the author of six books on the physical attractiveness phenom- enon.