The inner struggle for self-control.

It takes just a few seconds for me to choose a cookie over an apple and wreck my diet for the day. Then neither Alicia nor my physician is pleased with me. Of course it’s only one cookie—until the next.

But what is happening during those few seconds while I make the decision?… [read more]

Even meaningless accelerating scores yield better performance

Seemingly any behavior can be “gamified” and awarded digital points these days, from tracking the steps you’ve walked to the online purchases you’ve made and even the chores you’ve completed. Tracking behavior in this way helps to spur further action and new research shows that even meaningless scores can serve as effective motivators, as long as those scores are accelerating.… [read more]

Greening the city—a measurement for a mindful environment.

Scientists have developed the world’s first Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool (TRAPT), a scientific process for measuring how relaxing urban environments and public spaces are.

What the researchers say: In a new paper published in the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening Journal, the lead researcher says that the tool could help planners, architects and environmentalists to understand what the impact of “greening” measures like introducing trees, hedges or additional vegetation could have on urban spaces.… [read more]

Climate change damages US economy, increases inequality.

Scientists are predicting severe costs ahead especially in the South and lower Midwest of the US, a pioneering analysis projects.

Unmitigated climate change will make the United States poorer and more unequal, according to a new study published in the journal Science.… [read more]

Social status of listener alters our voice

People tend to change the pitch of their voice depending on who they are talking to, and how dominant they feel, a study has found.

The psychology research, published in PLOS ONE, put participants through a simulated job interview task and discovered that individuals’ vocal characteristics—particularly pitch—are altered in response to people of different social status.… [read more]

Rejection changes the way we make decisions?

Have you ever hosted a party, but as the day approaches, your closest friends say they won’t be able to attend? Or maybe you sent a friend request to someone on Facebook who never responded, or you weren’t invited to an event that most of your friends are attending.… [read more]

What really heals the body? Is it someone else’s mind?

A health care provider’s beliefs about a particular treatment may have a strong influence on the patient’s outcome, according to a new study that evaluated people undergoing treatment for short-term low back pain. The findings will appear in the Journal of Pain Research.… [read more]

Flight, Flee or freeze?

When faced with a threat there are three possible responses: fight, flight or freeze. These are governed by what is called the “sympathetic nervous system.” A study published in eNeuro exploring the neural correlates of these responses (especially the flight/fight) finds that people who choose to flee perceive a greater threat, which leads them to mentally and behaviorally disengage from the situation.… [read more]

Physician—indeed any professional—heal thyself?

The proverb, “physician heal thyself,” is probably more relevant today than it was in biblical times with the fast pace of life, the impact of multitasking and the unending bombardment of information, which have made emotional exhaustion almost certain. And, according to recent studies, this is especially true for obstetricians and gynecologists who experience professional burnout rates between 40 to 75 percent.… [read more]