18 Coolest Things We Learned in 2014

Why We Choke

“ . . . a person’s propensity to choke under pressure is directly related to how much they’re willing to tolerate loss—but it’s a bit counterintuitive. Those with high loss aversion choked when they stood to gain a lot, but those with low loss aversion choked when they stood to lose a lot.”

The Case for Breakfast Steak

“Researchers found that eating breakfast reduces cravings for snacks high in sweetness, and eating protein for breakfast takes care of cravings for high-fat snacks too.”

How Personality Wins Poker Games

“ . . .poker players who find long-term success at the game are emotionally stable, which allows them to follow through on a strategy, even when the stakes are high and they’re under pressure.”

You Can Bounce Back from a Misspent Youth

“ . . . people who drop bad habits in their late thirties and forties can reduce their risk of developing coronary artery disease—although, people who enter those decades in good health but then pick up bad habits can be screwing themselves.”

Are You a Workaholic?

“A study published in PLOS One took a page out of common factors in other additions (like mood, relapse, withdrawal, tolerance, etc.) and developed the Bergen Work Addiction Scale, which I’ll quote from. There are seven criteria:

  • You think of how you can free up more time to work.
  • You spend much more time working than initially intended.
  • You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and/or depression.
  • You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
  • You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
  • You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and/or exercise because of your work.
  • You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

Did you say something like “yes”, “often”, or “always” to four or more of these statements? Congratulations, you’re a workaholic.”

Beer Bellies Make Better Lovers

“ . . . men with higher BMIs lasted about seven minutes longer in bed, and that the slimmest of the group (i.e., underweight) barely managed two minutes—and were more prone to premature ejaculation.”

Conference Calls Are Bullsh*t

“InterCall, a company that does conference calling services, conducted a survey of 500 full-time workers, asking them what they’re up to during calls. The results are illuminating:

  • 65% do other work
  • 63% send emails
  • 55% make or eat food
  • 47% use the bathroom
  • 44% text
  • 43% check social media
  • 25% play video games
  • 21% shop online”

Reality TV Makes You Act Like a Jerk

“ . . . watching reality TV wherein the cast members routinely attack or undermine their rivals can raise aggression in viewers. By how much? More than violent crime dramas.”

Men Are More Attractive When They Take Risks*

“ . . . women are attracted to men who engage in risky behaviour—but only if said risky behaviour would have been relevant to our hunter-gatherer ancestors.”

Most NHL Players Peak by 29

“ . . . performance peaks for forwards between twenty-seven and twenty-eight, defensemen peak between twenty-eight and twenty-nine, and goaltenders performance doesn’t vary much by age.”

Facebook Users Who Share Too Much Are Sad and Lonely

“Facebook uses who describe themselves as “lonely” are more likely to be over-sharers. The study surveyed six hundred women. Of the self-described “lonely”, seventy-nine per cent disclosed more personal information than other users—even relatively benign stuff, like favourite books, movies, and bands.”

Prisoners Think They’re Better Than You

“ . . . prisoners rated themselves just as law-abiding as the average person not in prison, despite the fact that being a prisoner means that one is, by definition, not law-abiding.”

The Four Types of Hitmen

“Researchers examined thirty-nine years of crime history, unearthing twenty-seven murders and thirty-five hitmen (and one hit women); keep in mind that not all contract killings were successful. They discovered that the average age of a hitman was thirty-six, though the youngest was fifteen, and most used firearms. Victims were almost always murdered in suburban neighbourhoods, most often doing something mundane. The main thing that varied was the price: it could be as little as $370 or as much as $200,000.”

The Three Types of Burnout

“As it happens, new research published in PLOS One suggests that there are three types of burnout. The first, overload burnout, occurs when an employee works to the point of exhaustion. People who suffer from this might try and deal with their stress by complaining about the hierarchies of their workplace, which, incidentally, doesn’t work.”

Men Are Great at Strategically Pissing Off Competitors

“ . . . the strategic use of anger is best employed in contests of self-control, not contests of strength. In one test, 260 participant were divided into groups of two and competed in a contest of grip strength. One player was given the opportunity to piss off the second player after the first round, and if they did, the second player ended up performing much better in the second round. Clearly, goading an opponent didn’t work out great, given that said opponent ended up performing better.”

The Difference Between a Happy Life and a Meaningful One

“People who said that their lives were easier, healthier, more short-term oriented, had enough money to buy stuff they wanted, had more interpersonal connections, and had low stress also rated themselves as happier. These same traits weren’t associated with meaningfulness—or were negatively correlated.”

Why Self-Control Makes You Happy

“ . . . people with self-discipline are happier than those without, mainly because they set themselves up to avoid temptation. Researchers had 230 people list three important goal conflicts they experienced regularly—for example, working towards a promotion versus spending more time with the kids. They then rated how strongly the goals conflicted, how often they experienced said conflict, and told how they balanced the goals.”

Moderate Whisky Drinking Boosts Immune System

“ . . . moderate drinking may help our immune system, more than heavy drinking or not drinking at all. For the study, researchers divided Rhesus monkeys (which have similar immune systems to people) into to groups. One group was give access to sugar water, while a second (the fun group) was give access to a four per cent ethanol solution. Both had regular access to pure water and food.”

Photo courtesy of flickr


This is a test