Adults make eye contact between 30% and 60% of the time in an average conversation, says the communications-analytics company Quantified Impressions. But the Austin, Texas, company says people should be making eye contact 60% to 70% of the time to create a sense of emotional connection, according to its analysis of 3,000 people speaking to individuals and groups. [WSJ]
A study by Swami and Furnham (2007) showed that tattooed women were rated as less physically attractive but more sexually promiscuous. Given that men interpret women’s sexual intent according to their physical appearance, we predicted that women with tattoos would be more favorably approached by men. A temporary tattoo was placed on confederates’ lower back, or not, and all confederates were instructed to read a book while lying flat on their stomach on a well-known beach. Two experiments were conducted. The first experiment showed that more men (N = 220) approached the tattooed confederates and that the mean latency of their approach was quicker. A second experiment showed that men (N = 440) estimated to have more chances to have a date and to have sex on the first date with tattooed confederates. However, the level of physical attractiveness attributed to the confederate was not influenced by the tattoo condition. [PubMed]
In January 1986 11 men went to bed in Moscow – and didn’t get up for the next 370 days. […] Spanish neurologist Jose Delgado from Yale University used a remote control to telecommand a bull during a bull fight. […] What happens if you bring three men together who all think they are Jesus? […] In Summer 1978 a man approached women on the campus of Florida State University saying: “I have been noticing you around campus. I find you to be very attractive. Would you go to bed with me tonight?” Some days later a woman went around with the same question for men. […] On Good Friday 1962 researcher Walter Pahnke administered 10 theology mind altering drugs before the church service. Some test subjects became priests. [Weird Experiments]
Studies have shown that pleasant weather conditions (namely, sunshine) favor positive social relationships and improve moods. However, the effect of sunshine on one nonverbal expression that facilitates social relationships (namely, smiling) has never been studied. In a field experiment, men and women walking alone in the street were passed by a male or a female confederate who displayed a smile to the passersby. The contagion effect of smiling was measured. The study was carried out on days that were evaluated as being either sunny or cloudy, but precaution was taken to control the temperature and not to solicit participants when it rained. It was found that the display of a smile results in a smile more often on sunny days. The positive mood induced by the sun may explain such results. [Springer]
New research from McMaster University suggests women can remember faces better than men, in part because they spend more time studying features without even knowing it, and a technique researchers say can help improve anyone’s memories. The findings help to answer long-standing questions about why some people can remember faces easily while others quickly forget someone they’ve just met. [EurekAlert]
7. The Law of Hedonic Asymmetry There are certain awful circumstances to which we can never become accustomed. If things are bad enough, it is impossible to escape negative feelings like fear or anxiety. On the other hand positive emotions always fade over time. No matter how much we are in love, how big the lottery win, or how copious the quantities of drugs consumed, positive emotions like pleasure always slip away. 8. The Law of Conservation of Emotional Momentum Time doesn’t heal all wounds – or if it does, it only does so indirectly. Events can retain their emotional power over the years unless we re-experience and re-evaluate them. It’s this re-experiencing and consequent re-definition that reduces the emotional charge of an event. This is why events that haven’t been re-evaluated – say, failing an exam or being rejected by a potential lover – retain their emotional power across the decades. [PsyBlog]
Procedures in human heart extraction and ritual meaning among the ancient Maya [PDF]
Have you ever wondered why one person can speak in public without apparent nerves while another crumples under pressure? Or why one elite athlete can shake off their nerves to win Olympic gold while another chokes? Even with ample experience some people never seem to learn to cope with their emotions. A key insight comes from a controversial psychology study carried out on a rickety bridge by Dutton and Aron (1973). [PsyBlog]
These new robot-painting machines can wash, apply solvent to remove dirt, rinse and then spray two different paint types. […] Manually, it takes a team of painters 4.5 hours to do the first coat. The robots do it in 24 minutes with perfect quality. Boeing began using the machine in February. By midsummer, all 777 wings will be painted this way. […] Half the 777 wing-painting team has been redeployed to other roles, such as programming the machines, painting the airline liveries on the fuselage or working on the sophisticated paint job needed for the 787-9 tails, which have a special smooth aerodynamic finish, Clark said. [Seattle Times]
The airwaves are full of stories of economic recovery. One trumpeted recently has been the rapid recovery in housing, at least as measured in prices. The problem is, a good portion of the rebound in house prices in many markets has less to do with renewed optimism, new jobs, and rising wages, and more to do with big money investors fueled by the ultra-cheap money policies of the Fed. [ Chris Martenson/Zero Hedge]
Blackstone, which helped define a period of Wall Street hyperwealth, has bought some 26,000 homes in nine states. Colony Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, is spending $250 million each month and already owns 10,000 properties. With little fanfare, these and other financial companies have become significant landlords on Main Street. Most of the firms are renting out the homes, with the possibility of unloading them at a profit when prices rise far enough. [NY Times | via Zero Hedge]
Nearly all the plastics sold today come from petroleum and aren’t biodegradable. Researchers are genetically engineering switchgrass to produce a biodegradable polymer that can be extracted directly from the plant.
China, India and Pakistan have increased their nuclear weapons by about 10 warheads each in the past year, and other nuclear states appear set on maintaining their arsenals, a Swedish think tank said Monday. […] “It is not so much about an increase in numbers, but an increase in quality,” said researcher Pillip Schell. [News Tribune/AP]
Pedestrians were observed at 20 high-risk intersections. Nearly one-third (29.8%) of all pedestrians performed a distracting activity while crossing. Distractions included listening to music (11.2%), text messaging (7.3%) and using a handheld phone (6.2%).
My theory is that if you meet an unfriendly bureaucrat at the security check in the airport then it is also very likely it will be hard to start a business in that country. Therefore, I tend to think of airport security as an indicator of the level of government regulation of the country’s economy.
What is life like serving Kim Jong-il and his heir? A strange and dangerous gig where the food and drink never stop, the girls are all virgins, and you’re never really safe.
This is the true story of turn-of-the-century lesbian romance, erotic Deco illustrations rife with harlequins and crinolines, the world’s first male-to-female sex reassignment surgery, and the 1950s pulp novel that brought it all to light.
A new invention aims to foil paparazzi who try to photograph people who do not wish to be photographed. Celebs are equipped with a flashgun that fires automatically the instant another flashgun fires nearby. [Improbable]