Scientific Studies

(as I work to catch up posts, this is yesterday’s post today)

In skimming the newspaper, a few scientific studies of interest:

  • Crashing a Plane. Discovery Channel is crashing a 727 into the ground, all in the name of science. Fascinating read, and I’m sure it will be fascinating to watch. The basic conclusion, at least for this type of crash, is that you do better over the wings, and worst in First Class. The 727 was chosen because it was Bob Dole’s campaign plane because it has an exit in the rear out of which the pilots can parachute.
  • LOL Cats are Good For You. Evidently, watching pictures of cute kittens can improve your productivity. Who knew? Tests showed that an image of fluffy little critters “not only improves fine motor skills but also increases perceptual carefulness.” Specifically, the report indicated that they could be used “to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.”
  • Teens and Risk. Evidently, teens don’t do risky things because they are stupid, or because they are risk averse; rather, they have a higher tolerance for uncertain outcomes. Basically, according to the study’s author, “Teenagers enter unsafe situations not because they are drawn to dangerous or risky situations, but rather because they aren’t informed enough about the odds of the consequences of their actions.”
  • Online Behaviors. There is an explanation for why we are so rude online. According to soon-to-be-published research from professors at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh, browsing Facebook lowers our self control. The effect is most pronounced with people whose Facebook networks were made up of close friends, the researchers say. Most of us present an enhanced image of ourselves on Facebook. This positive image—and the encouragement we get, in the form of “likes”—boosts our self-esteem. And when we have an inflated sense of self, we tend to exhibit poor self-control.

Expect these to be seen soon on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”.