Couples who have sex weekly are happiest

Affectionate seniorsMore sex may not always make you happier, according to new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

“Although more frequent sex is associated with greater happiness, this link was no longer significant at a frequency of more than once a week,” lead researcher Amy Muise said. “Our findings suggest that it’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner, but you don’t need to have sex everyday as long as you’re maintaining that connection.”

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Positive emotions more contagious than negative ones on Twitter

Expression & Positive Emotions. Amiable Old Woman with Beaming Toothy Smile

An analysis of 3,800 randomly chosen Twitter users found that emotions spread virally through Twitter feeds – with positive emotions far more likely to spread than negative ones.

“What you tweet and share on social media outlets matters. Often, you’re not just expressing yourself – you’re influencing others,” said Emilio Ferrara, lead author of the study and a computer scientist at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Information Sciences Institute. Ferrara collaborated with Zeyao Yang of Indiana University. Their study was published by the journal PLOS One on Nov. 6.

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Frequently monitoring progress toward goals increases chance of success

photodune-6671270-goal-xsIf you are trying to achieve a goal, the more often that you monitor your progress, the greater the likelihood that you will succeed, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. Your chances of success are even more likely if you report your progress publicly or physically record it.

“Monitoring goal progress is a crucial process that comes into play between setting and attaining a goal, ensuring that the goals are translated into action,” said lead author Benjamin Harkin, PhD, of the University of Sheffield. The study appears in the journal Psychological Bulletin. “This review suggests that prompting progress monitoring improves behavioral performance and the likelihood of attaining one’s goals.”

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How we use our smartphones twice as much as we think

 Barcode of smartphone use over two weeks. Black areas indicate times where the phone was in use and Saturdays are indicated with a red dashed line. Weekday alarm clock times (and snoozing) are clearly evident.

Barcode of smartphone use over two weeks.
Black areas indicate times where the phone was in use and Saturdays are indicated with a red dashed line. Weekday alarm clock times (and snoozing) are clearly evident.

People use their smartphones for an average of five hours a day – about a third of the time they are awake – and check them about 85 times a day, research suggests. 

The study in the journal PLOS ONE compared the amount of time participants estimated they spent on their smartphones with their actual usage.

It found that people were accessing their phones twice as often as they thought.

Dr David Ellis, a psychologist at Lancaster University, said: “Psychologists typically rely on self-report data when quantifying mobile phone usage in studies, but our work suggests that estimated smartphone use should be interpreted with caution.”

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Another car recalled? Online press can be bad news for rivals

Car dealership concept as a group of generic three dimensional cars organized as a pattern in a parking lot as a symbol of auto sales imports and exports or manufacturing recalls.

Car dealership concept as a group of generic three dimensional cars organized as a pattern in a parking lot as a symbol of auto sales imports and exports or manufacturing recalls.

When Toyota or Chrysler recalls one of its models, the news spreads all over social media, with most consumers bad-mouthing the recalled model. But it turns out that the bad-mouthing is not limited to the offending vehicles. According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research, much of the negative chatter extends or “spills over” to rival models, impugning them in the process as well.

“We find that as much as three-quarters of the negative online chatter is shared with other brands,” write the authors of the study, Abhishek Borah (University of Washington) and Gerard J. Tellis (University of Southern California). “In other words, there is what we call a ‘perverse halo’ effect. Rather than rival brands looking good by comparison, bad press about the recalled brand quickly becomes bad press about rival brands.”

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Mental maps: Route-learning changes brain tissue

Carnegie Mellon University scientists have determined that learning detailed navigation information causes the hippocampal brain changes. This shows the areas of decreased water diffusion in the left hippocampus (blue) and the area of increased functional connectivity with this region in the right parietal lobe after learning (red). CREDIT: Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University scientists have determined that learning detailed navigation information causes the hippocampal brain changes. This shows the areas of decreased water diffusion in the left hippocampus (blue) and the area of increased functional connectivity with this region in the right parietal lobe after learning (red).
CREDIT: Carnegie Mellon University

Fifteen years ago, a study showed that the brains of London cab drivers had an enlargement in the hippocampus, a brain area associated with navigation. But questions remained: Did the experience of navigating London’s complex system of streets change their brains, or did only the people with larger hippocampi succeed in becoming cab drivers?

Now, Carnegie Mellon University scientists have determined that learning detailed navigation information causes the hippocampal brain changes. Published inNeuroImage, Tim Keller and Marcel Just show that brief navigation training changes a person’s brain tissue and improves how that changed tissue communicates with other brain areas involved with navigation. The findings establish a critical link between structural and functional brain alterations that happen during spatial learning. They also illustrate that the changes are related to how neural activity synchronizes – or communicates – between the hippocampus and other regions that are important for navigation understanding and learning.

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Active body, active mind: The secret to a younger brain may lie in exercising your body

CAPTION Stroop-interference-related cortical activation patterns are shown. CREDIT: University of Tsukuba

CAPTION
Stroop-interference-related cortical activation patterns are shown.
CREDIT: University of Tsukuba

It is widely recognised that our physical fitness is reflected in our mental fitness, especially as we get older. How does being physically fit affect our aging brains? Neuroimaging studies, in which the activity of different parts of the brain can be visualised, have provided some clues. Until now, however, no study has directly linked brain activation with both mental and physical performance.

As reported in the latest volume of the journal NeuroImage, an exciting new study led by Dr Hideaki Soya from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and his colleagues show, for the first time, the direct relationship between brain activity, brain function and physical fitness in a group of older Japanese men. They found that the fitter men performed better mentally than the less fit men, by using parts of their brains in the same way as in their youth.

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Inherent mindfulness linked to lower obesity risk, belly fat

A study of nearly 400 people finds that those who exhibited more 'dispositional mindfulness', or awareness of and attention to their current feelings and thoughts, were less likely to be obese and had less abdominal fat than people who did not exhibit as much of that awareness.

Do you buy local? Your consumer ethnocentrism may be showing

buying with credit card in us state of hawaiiAre you are one of the many consumers who prefer domestic to foreign products, even when the domestic products are lower in quality and cost more? Why is that? As a new study in the Journal of International Marketing explains, you are exhibiting what is known as consumer ethnocentrism–a thirty-year-old concept, says the study, whose conceptual boundaries and measurement need to be extended.

“Since its initial formulation in 1987, the concept of consumer ethnocentrism has remained by and large unchanged,” write the authors of the study, Nikoletta-Theofania Siamagka (King’s College London) and George Balbanis (City University London). “But empirical evidence from a number of studies shows that consumer ethnocentrism has a multidimensional structure, a structure too complicated for the current working definition, which basically considers only one dimension, the moral dimension, of purchasing foreign products.”

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