Archive for the ‘Cool Findings’ category The seemingly endless stream of sex scandals by powerful politicians in the United States raises a question: Does this say something about men, or does it say something about power? New research suggests that power, not being a guy, is the corrupting factor. Powerful people tend to see themselves as more attractive than they [...] We know that some people tend to define themselves by their possessions, but did you know the level of uncertainty a person feels can influence whether they behave in materialistic ways? That’s the conclusion of new research by Kimberly Rios Morrison and Camille S. Johnson. The researchers also found that uncertainty does not trigger [...] Corruption is more likely in countries where people have a “collective responsibility” ethic as opposed to an individualistic ethic, according to new research. Poverty matters too — poor countries are likely to see more corruption than rich countries — but this squares with common sense. I can more easily imagine a cop in a [...] Why do people spend decades tracing their lineages? Thinking about one’s ancestors provides comfort, improves one’s ability to deal with challenges and actually boosts cognitive performance, new research shows. In a simple experiment, researchers asked people to think about their ancestors (or something else) and then measured their beliefs about their own performance on [...] Anger can make people want things more, according to a counterintuitive new study which found that when people associate a product with anger, they desire it more. Henk Aarts of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and his colleagues showed people a number of objects such as pens and mugs. Before the picture of the [...] Sorry John, Ringo, George and Paul. Apparently, love isn’t all you need. To make a relationship work longterm, self-discipline apparently outscores love. Love and warm feelings prompt people to make promises of fidelity to one another. The stronger the emotion we feel, the bigger the promises we make. But new research by Johanna Peetz [...] Tragedy tends to bring out the best in people, according to new research into cooperative behavior. The more people are affected by tragedy, the more they cooperate and engage in “prosocial” behavior. In a study of 2,447 residents in five provinces at the epicenter of a 2008 earthquake in China, researchers found that residents [...]

Madeleine Brand had me on her KPCC public radio show today to talk about illusory correlations (as they apply to the Juan Williams controversy) and the action bias (as it applies to the upcoming 2010 midterm elections). Listen here or download the file here Lots of people come home from work feeling upset. But it turns out there are systematic gender differences in the way heterosexual men and women bring work-related unpleasant feelings home. Men, on average, tend to shield their families from unpleasant things that happened at work, and the more satisifed men are in their relationships, [...] The 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics has been awarded to Peter Diamond, a champion of the field of behavioral economics. As I am sure you know, behavioral economics is a discipline which shows how people regularly depart from the rational, self-interested behavior that conventional economics suggests is the universal norm. The reason people regularly [...]