A Year in Review: Twelve wacky cool studies.

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In no particular order...




1) Being a south paw promotes survival from attacks (well at least in crabs). It seems that

The left-handed advantage is realized when snails interact with predators of opposite handedness. Some predatory crabs are "righties" -- and have a specialized tooth on their right claw that acts like a can opener to crack and peel the snail shells. "The 'sinistral advantage,' or advantage to being left-handed, is that it would be like using a can opener backwards for the crab to crack and peel the snail shell,"

Does something like this apply to humans? We're still waiting to see.


2) Women are into men who are already involved with another (even the dirty disease ridden bad boys!)...why is that? Ok... it's mice ;)

The study exposed female mice to odors of either a male mouse alone or a male with a female, and the single females consistently preferred the scent of the male with the girl.
In fact, the cue was so strong that the females were attracted to mated males infected with parasites. Infected single males, however, were of no interest.



3) "Ohh $%@!, What did I just do?!" Stephan Taylor from the University of Michigan, discovered the neural response to that moment when you realize that you royally screwed up.

The rostral anterior cingulate cortex, or rACC, has been found to go into overdrive when such an error is made. When the mistake does not carry a penalty, or when a correct action carries a reward, the same area of the brain is far less active.

4) You might think that people would be more willing to lie to a complete stranger than to a friend or co-worker, but it seems that the opposite is true. In

a new study in the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research found that we are more likely to muddle the truth with our coworkers than with perfect strangers. Interestingly, the researchers also found that people are most likely to lie and claim they got a bargain than to inflate the price they actually paid.



5) The Boston Pops and Daniel J. Levitin, a researcher from McGill, wired 50 audience members, the conductor, and members of the orchestra to examine the physiological responses that occur while listening to and watching music.
No results have been published (that I've seen) - but I look forward to seeing them.


6) Aha! Or what happens to the brain when we have a sudden insight into a problem.

People sometimes solve such problems with a sudden flash of insight - the solution suddenly pops into their heads and seems obviously correct - and other times solve such problems more methodically, perhaps "trying out" possible solutions until they hit on the correct one (in this case, top: tank top, hilltop, top secret).

This research team's previous study revealed that just prior to an "Aha!" solution, after a person has been working on solving a problem, the brain momentarily reduces visual inputs, with an effect similar to a person shutting his or her eyes or looking away to facilitate the emergence into consciousness of the solution. The new study extends these findings by suggesting that mental preparation involving inward focus of attention promotes insight even prior to the presentation of a problem.



7) Live hard - die early. In birds that is...

the team's study found that male birds with extra testosterone were more attractive to females and produced more--but smaller--offspring. Smaller offspring had lower survival rates than larger offspring. The extra testosterone also made the male birds sing more sweetly and fly farther. The testosterone-laden birds proved irresistible to older, more experienced female juncos, but that attractiveness carried some risks. Elevated testosterone levels increased activity--possibly attracting more predators--made the male, dark-eyed juncos more susceptible to disease and shortened their lifespan.



8) Be the egg...you are the egg... be the egg.... ovulate....think harder - be the egg!

Fertility can be restored in some women by the use of behavioural therapy, thus avoiding recourse to expensive medicines and complex procedures, a scientist told the 22nd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Prague, Czech Republic on Tuesday 20 June 2006.

OK... this isn't what they actually do in therapy - but it seems that relieving stress can do a lot of good.


9) It seems that living in a trailer park has negative developmental effects on children.

When parents purchase a mobile home near a prosperous small town, they believe they've secured the safety, neighborliness and good schools coveted by all rural residents, says a University of Illinois study published in the April issue of Family Relations.
"Unfortunately, children living in trailer parks have a hard time reaping the benefits of small-town living unless they work exceptionally hard to build bridges to the nearby community," said Katherine MacTavish, now of Oregon State University, and her mentor, U of I professor of community studies Sonya Salamon.



10) TMS gives people super human abilities - at least that's how a number of news outlets have phrased this finding.

A joint venture of the Australian National University and the University of Sydney investigated whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS, can improve a healthy person's ability to guess accurately the number of elements in a scene, the London Telegraph reported.



11) This is just silly ;)

A study of 61 male university students found those who were hungry were attracted to heavier women than those who were satiated.



12) I'm not aware of a Bovine Linguistics field - but this finding must have blown their roof off!

Experts have confirmed that cows moo with accents distinct to their herd, the BBC reports.
John Wells, professor of Phonetics at the University of London, examined West Country farmers' claims that their beasts were mooing with a local twang.





Which study do you like the most? Would you add any other ones to the list?!

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yeah - these stories are always suspect ;)
thanks for the link!