It seems like everyone wants to figure out how to eat less. Some studies indicate that chewing more might help. But if you don’t have extra time to spend on mastication, you might want to read this study. Apparently, at least when eating a multi-course banquet of meatballs (M), french fries (F), brownies (B), and vanilla cream (C), the order in which you eat your chosen delicacies may influence the total amount you consume. So if you want to eat less dessert, try meatballs, then french fries, then meatballs, then french fries, then meatballs, then french fries, then vanilla cream, then brownies, then vanilla cream, then brownies, then vanilla cream. BEST DIET EVVAAARRRR! (Caveat: this will make you eat more french fries).
Alternation between foods within a meal. Influence on satiation and consumption in humans.
“Food habituation/dishabituation has been observed in non-human primates in neurophysiological investigations of feeding, and in humans, through salivation or hedonic responses to food. The objective of the study was to evaluate in humans the effect of disruption of habituation by alternation between foods in a meal. Sixteen volunteers (8 males, 8 females; age: 21+/-1 yr; BMI: 21.5+/-0.5 kgm(-2)) ate a two-course meal [meatballs (M) and fries (F), then vanilla cream (C) and brownies (B)] during three randomized sessions. Sessions differed by the alternation of these foods: No-Repetition session with M-F-C-B; Single-Repetition session with F-M-F-B-C-B; Multiple-Repetition session with M-F-M-F-M-F-C-B-C-B-C-B. Read More
Alcohol does funny things to us, and science hasn’t ignored it. Beer goggles have already been scientifically proven, and beer even makes people more attractive to malaria-ridden mosquitos. But one big scientific question remains: are you really as awesome when you are drunk as you think you are? Well, depending on how your weekend went, you might not want to read any further.
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder’: People who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.
“This research examines the role of alcohol consumption on self-perceived attractiveness. Study 1, carried out in a barroom (N= 19), showed that the more alcoholic drinks customers consumed, the more attractive they thought they were. In Study 2, 94 non-student participants in a bogus taste-test study were given either an alcoholic beverage (target BAL [blood alcohol level]= 0.10 g/100 ml) or a non-alcoholic beverage, Read More
We all know most of the internet is pr0n. But are the people who come to cyberspace for sex getting what they’re after? Rule 34 suggests that they should be, but the researchers behind this paper decided to find out. Surprisingly, it turns out that 20% of people leave the interwebs sexually unfulfilled. We’re left wondering what it was they couldn’t find online…?
Outcomes of using the internet for sexual purposes: fulfilment of sexual desires.
“Background The purpose of the current study was to examine the characteristics of those who report fulfilment of sexual desires as a result of internet use for sexual purposes and which sexually related online activities contribute to the fulfilment of sexual desires. Read More
A self-employment gene could explain why some families seem to have “a nose for business.” But, like most biological problems, it’s just not that simple. This study found that there might be many genes that, in combination and along with a heavy environmental influence, have a small effect on someone’s propensity to become an entrepreneur (something true of many traits, like intelligence). We can’t wait until they do the follow-up study on the genetics of going to grad school!
(A few definitions: SNP = single-nucleotide polymorphism, i.e., a mutation in the DNA [not necessarily harmful]; heritability = how much of the variation in the phenotype [in this case, self-employment] can be explained by variation in the DNA)
The Molecular Genetic Architecture of Self-Employment
“Economic variables such as income, education, and occupation are known to affect mortality and morbidity, such as cardiovascular disease, and have also been shown to be partly heritable. However, very little is known about which genes influence economic variables, although these genes may have both a direct and an indirect effect on health. We report results from the first large-scale collaboration that studies the molecular genetic architecture of an economic variable–entrepreneurship–that was operationalized using self-employment, a widely-available proxy. Read More
If you’re ever engineering a nuclear power plant with a lefty, beware: apparently, the same features of their brain that make them left-handed might also make them avoid using exact numbers. Even more surprising, just having a left-handed relative makes people more prone to rounding. Maybe this is why the Romans didn’t trust them, and “sinister” comes from the Latin word for “on the left side.”
Familial Sinistrals Avoid Exact Numbers
“We report data from an internet questionnaire of sixty number trivia. Participants were asked for the number of cups in their house, the number of cities they know and 58 other quantities. We compare the answers of familial sinistrals – individuals who are left-handed themselves or have a left-handed close blood-relative – with those of pure familial dextrals – right-handed individuals who reported only having right-handed close blood-relatives. We show that familial sinistrals use rounder numbers than pure familial dextrals in the survey responses. Read More
I know you’ve thought about it: will that roadkill still be there for dinner on the way home from work? Well, the data’s in, and… it depends. If you’re looking at small animals, you’d better pick that up now. Bigger animals can wait until you’re done with the filing.
How long do the dead survive on the road? Carcass persistence probability and implications for road-kill monitoring surveys.
“BACKGROUND: Road mortality is probably the best-known and visible impact of roads upon wildlife. Although several factors influence road-kill counts, carcass persistence time is considered the most important determinant underlying underestimates of road mortality. The present study aims to describe and model carcass persistence variability on the road for different taxonomic groups under different environmental conditions throughout the year Read More
Speaking of animal emotions, these researchers set out to test whether lab rats can be optimistic (despite their seemingly depressing circumstances). To make the rats happy, they tickled them, causing them to emit “rat laughter.” They then tested whether these pre-trained rats would interpret an ambiguous noise as signaling a reward or punishment. The result? The tickled rats were more optimistic about the meaning of the noise, suggesting that rats–and therefore mammals in general–can make judgements that are affected by their emotional states.Maybe there’s a lesson in this for grad students?
“Emotions can bias human decisions- for example depressed or anxious people tend to make pessimistic judgements while those in positive affective states are often more optimistic. Several studies have reported that affect contingent judgement biases can also be produced in animals. The animals, however, cannot self-report; therefore, the valence of their emotions, to date, could only be assumed. Here we present the results of an experiment where the affect-contingent judgement bias has been produced by objectively measured positive emotions. Read More
In lieu of an explanatory blurb, we give you this Seinfeld clip.
Bystander reaction to women fighting: developing a theory of intervention.
“This article explores accounts of bystanders to female-on-female public violence. Group interviews with participants in the night-time economy are carried out. Whereas men tend to respond to the discussion topic of female-on-female violence with laughter, this laughter reveals ambivalence and discomfort as much as amusement. Men seem to negotiate the tension between the expectation that they should intervene in emergencies and a catalogue of costs that attend intervention. Read More
How do you know what your chimp is thinking about? Are they thinking about you, or the banana you’re holding? One way to get an idea of what’s going on in that fuzzy little head is by identifying the objects they are looking at. With specially-designed glasses. For science!
Head-Mounted Eye Tracking of a Chimpanzee under Naturalistic Conditions.
“This study offers a new method for examining the bodily, manual, and eye movements of a chimpanzee at the micro-level. A female chimpanzee wore a lightweight head-mounted eye tracker (60 Hz) on her head while engaging in daily interactions with the human experimenter. Read More
As a general rule on this blog, we do not feature studies involving people dying. However, we had to make an exception in this instance, if only for the first and last two sentences. Enjoy (but not too much)!
“Background: In the 5th century BCE, the Greek painter Zeuxis reportedly died while laughing at his painting of Aphrodite, which was commissioned by a woman who demanded that she be the model. In the 3rd century BCE, the Greek philosopher Chrysippus reportedly died laughing after giving his donkey wine and watching it try to eat figs (1). Although the expression “died laughing” is a common colloquialism, we are not aware of any contemporary reports of laughter-induced death, although there are reports of laughter-induced seizures (2) and laughter-induced syncope (3).
Objective: To describe a case of laughter-induced death.