Regrets, had a few, etc. Okay, now that we’ve gotten past that: A new study of regret says lots of interesting things! Mostly, the study found that people regret things in their love lives more than anything else. Revelations include that people who are not in relationships right now are more likely to have relationship-related regrets and that women are twice as likely to regret romance-related things.
The most interesting note, in my opinion: People are more likely to hold onto regret in situations where they didn’t act than situations where they did. So if you take a risk and it backfires, you will regret it less than if you never took the risk at all. Somehow, this fits with the moral of any post on this blog: stay on the couch.
Science says that people are more likely to get heart attacks when they are exercising and okay, fine, here it is, here’s the only thing anybody is reporting about this damn study: Sudden physical activity, like sex, increases your risk of a heart attack.
Here’s a complete and unedited quote from Jessica Paulus, a Tufts researcher who worked on the study: “[E]xercise is bad.” There you have it! If you exercise, you and everyone you know will die.
(Well, her full quote is actually: “What we really don’t want to do is for the public to walk away from this and think exercise is bad.” Again, I just reread her quote, and the only thing I saw was “[E]xercise is bad.” That’s it. That’s all I got. But Paulus really wants you to know that the study actually means that people who don’t exercise need to start out slowly and gradually increase your workouts. But why take that chance?)
Two Indiana University scholars report that, for male viewers, “emphasis on the sexual attractiveness of female news anchors distracts from memory formation for news content.” They found that “men’s cognitive mechanisms favored visual over verbal processing,” which is a delicate way of saying their focus — and subsequent memory — are more on the broadcaster’s appearance than on the material she was delivering.
— In a shocking bit of news surprising nobody, new research suggests that men remember the news less when it is delivered by sexually attractive female news anchors. This isn’t just limited to the news. Men remember everything less when there is an attractive lady involved. I have guy friends who cannot remember their birthdays or middle names, but they can tell you when and where they saw the gal who they are 99 percent sure was Sofia Vergara, they swear.
Shocking news from a study looking into drunkenness at professioanl sporting events. Eight percent of adult fans were drunk after going to professional football and baseball games, says the study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Eight percent! I am astonished the number isn’t closer to 80 or 85 percent.
Also, this gem:
Tailgating before the games was the biggest factor linked to drunkenness.
I am literally flabbergasted. The people who go to games early to sit in the parking lot and drink are most likely to be drunk? Oh, and people who went to “Monday Night Football” games. I don’t know if I will ever feel surprise again.
Okay, prepare to get so shocked you are literally never going to be surprised by anything ever again: People who watch Fox News are the news consumers most likely to be misinformed about things. Science says so, or at least a study looking at news surrounding the 2010 midterm elections. This study, done by an affiliate of the University of Maryland, also says that viewers become more misinformed the longer they watch Fox News. (You can read the whole thing here.)
This would be funny, the whole “Hey, what everybody thinks is also true!” thing, if not for the fact that Fox News is overwhelmingly the most popular cable news network in our country, and a lot of people get a lot of their news from it, and these seem like some of the most politically vocal people. So that’s, you know, something that will be summarily dismissed by the very viewers I just mentioned. [TPM]
Drinking plays an important role for young couples, says this study. The moral, basically, is you should drink together. Says the lead author of the report:
“We really can’t make the blanket statements about drinking and romantic relationships that people have come to expect… For instance, it turns out that drinking together rather than apart is clearly good for relationships. Individuals who drink with their partner report feeling increased intimacy and decreased relationship problems the next day, compared to individuals who drink apart from their partner or do not drink at all.”
Of course, the authors also say the positive outcomes are for lower levels of drinking (one to three drinks), with negative outcomes for heavier drinking (four or more drinks). This makes sense. I am reminded of this couple I know who decided to match each other drink-for-drink, as a scientific expedition to see who had the greater tolerance. (High school sweethearts, to boot.) I found that charming. The moral: make sure you buy a few drinks next time you’re on your second or third date. [via]
Would you like to know just how dangerous your city is? If so, check out this completely reassuring list. D.C. comes in at No. 22. The most dangerous city in the country is St. Louis, while New York City is just No. 269. The only major metropolis not included is Chicago, which is one of several Prairie State cities where information is not available (also Springfield, Peoria and Aurora).
Well, this is comical. Remember how there was this election a couple of weeks back and there was a lot of chatter about “the will of the American people” and such, insofar as the votes of 75 million peopleF (almost a quarter of the U.S. population!) represent the rest of the American people? Funny thing. Just 46 percent of people know the Republicans will have a majority in the House of Representatives in January. Oy. The American people might have spoken, but most of them don’t know for whom or what or where or wait what’s going on?
In completely unsurprising news, the number of alcohol-related arrests rises in a college football town on game day. But this study examined Gainesville, home of the Florida Gators, so let us quote!
According to a study in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal this year, there are about six times as many alcohol-related arrests in Gainesville on game days when Florida’s football team is at home as there are on Saturdays when there’s not a game.
I hope a future study examines the differential between successful game days (i.e. big wins) and dispiriting losses (i.e. last Saturday’s choke job against South Carolina).
Jonah Lehrer discusses why it’s a good idea to cook food for yourself:
But maybe we’re not just consuming more calories because they’re available at such a low cost. Maybe we’re also consuming more calories because each calorie gives us less pleasure. The lesson of those lever-pressing mice, after all, is that when we don’t work for our food — when it only requires a single press, or a few whirls of the microwave — it tastes much less delicious.
He quotes studies and papers and whatnot, but the basic idea is this: When you don’t expend any energy for your food, your enjoyment is decreased. When you work for it, you enjoy it more and perhaps take in fewer calories.
This makes a lot of sense, obviously. When I slave for hours over a meal, I feel like a million bucks when I finally bite into it. Sometimes I even take pictures, to preserve the plate in my memory forever. Sometimes I save some of it for later, just a bit, so I can taste it again down the line.
But this also extends to things we don’t cook or even put together ourselves. There’s this place the wife and I go for chili cheese fries, and it’s not as close to where we live as it used to be. It’s an effort to get the food now. So when we make the effort and make the trip, it’s a whole production, but it tastes infinitely better than if we just walked down the street or something. At least that’s how I envision it. It’s the same thing as being particularly proud of a piece of furniture you put together rather than something you bought pre-assembled. Effort makes things worth a little bit more. And apparently this extends to how our brains react to our consumption.