April 2020

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    5% of the population feels nothing when listening to music, study shows

    Per the results of this study conducted at the University of Barcelona, 5 percent of participants did not feel any emotion whatsoever—didn’t feel any chills or want to tap their feet—when listening to music. Before you start calling these study subjects monsters, know that they’re totally normal in other ways: they received pleasure from other things, like food and sex, and had no other evident psychological issues. These were happy, healthy college students who just naturally did not care for any kind of music. More

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    Musicians’ lifespans are 25 years shorter

    The study, conducted by a University of Sydney professor, titled “Stairway to Hell: Life and Death in the Pop Music Industry,” examined the deaths of artists that took place between 1950 and June 2014. The study specifically looked at longevity and the proportion of suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths. Longevity was determined by calculating the average age of death for each musician by sex and decade of their death. These averages were then compared with averages by sex and decade for the general U.S. population. The results? Musicians’ lifespans are 25 years shorter. More

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    There are about 28% less neurons in the brain than there are stars in the Milky Way.

    For a long time, neuroscientists would say that there are about 100 billion neurons in the human brain. And therefore, more that there are more neurons in the brain than there are stars in the Milky Way. Interestingly, no one has ever published a peer-reviewed scientific paper supporting that count. Rather it’s been informally interpolated from other measurements. A study from 2009 published by Azevedo and colleagues took a crack at a more precise estimate. Their answer?

    Approximately 86 billion neurons in the human brain. The latest estimates for the number of stars in the Milky Way are somewhere between 200 and 400 billion. So close, but the human brain certainly doesn’t quite stack up! More

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    Men’s desirability peaks at age 50, while women’s desirability starts high at age 18 and falls throughout their lifespan

    Everybody knows it —and it’s been scientifically shown—that older women have a harder time in the dating market. However, it was not expected to see their desirability drop off from the time they’re 18 to the time they’re 65. It is also surprising to see how flat men’s desirability was over the age distribution. For men, it peaks around age 40 or 50. Especially in New York. More

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    Women’s dating prospects dim not only as they age, but as they achieve the highest level of education.

    A more educated man is almost always more desirable, on average: Men with postgraduate degrees outperform men with bachelor’s degrees; men with bachelor’s degrees beat high-school graduates.

    “But for women, an undergraduate degree is most desirable,” the study says. “Postgraduate education is associated with decreased desirability among women.” More

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    Most online-dating users tend to message people exactly 25 percent more desirable than they are

    Bruch and her colleagues analyzed thousands of messages exchanged on a “popular, free online-dating service” between more than 186,000 straight men and women. They looked only at four metro areas—New York, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle—and only at messages from January 2014. Imagine for a second that you are one of the users Bruch and her colleagues studied—in fact, imagine that you are a very desirable user. Your specific desirability rank would have been generated by two figures: whether other desirable people contacted you, and whether other desirable people responded when you contacted them. If you contacted a much less desirable person, their desirability score would rise; if they contacted you and you replied, then your score would fall. The team had to analyze both first messages and first replies, because, well, men usually make the first move. “A defining feature of heterosexual online dating is that, in the vast majority of cases, it is men who establish the first contact—more than 80 percent of first messages are from men in our data set,” the study says. But “women reply very selectively to the messages they receive from men—their average reply rate is less than 20 percent—so women’s replies … can give us a significant insight about who they are interested in.”

    Researchers linked all that information by using the PageRank algorithm, the same software that helps inform Google’s search results. It found that—insofar as dating “leagues” are not different tiers of hotness, but a single ascending hierarchy of desirability—then they do seem to exist in the data. But people do not seem universally locked into them—and they can occasionally find success escaping from theirs. More

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    Beauty can hurt women’s careers, study shows

    This study finds that attractive businesswomen are considered less trustworthy and less truthful — what researchers called the “femme fatale effect.” The study transcends the more usually believed notion that attractive women are underestimated at the workplace to focus on how bent against these women arises from more primal feelings of sexual self-doubt, jealousy, and suspicion.


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    Emotionally intelligent bosses make for happier, more creative employees

    Research scientist Zorana Ivcevic and colleagues at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence surveyed close to 15,000 people across the U.S., finding that emotionally intelligent supervisors — managers who read and acknowledged employees’ emotions, helped them channel feelings, inspired enthusiasm, and capably managed their own emotions — had employees who were happier, more creative, and who perceived more opportunities for growth.
    Survey participants were asked over 20 questions related to their feeling about work, their supervisor’s behavior, their opportunities for career growth, and work-related creativity and innovation. Questions included: How often did your supervisor notice if someone was feeling upset about a work decision? How often did your supervisor generate enthusiasm to motivate others? And, which specific emotions did you experience most frequently because of your specific tasks and responsibilities? Participants were also asked to describe how they felt at work, both in their own words and by drawing from a list of 23 emotions. They rated how often they experienced each feeling.
    Finally, researchers asked to what extent employees felt that they had opportunities to grow and make progress at work and how often they were creatively engaged. More

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    Educating Germans about the true cost of running a car could reduce car ownership by up to 37%, study shows

    Researchers predicted that being aware of the true cost of owning a car could result in almost 17.6 million (37%) fewer vehicles on the road in Germany. Such a drastic reduction would mean less congestion and cleaner air. It would also lead to a drop in CO2 emissions of about 37 million tonnes per year: 4.3% of Germany’s total, or 23% of emissions from its transportation sector.


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    Germans underestimate the cost of owning a car by 50%

    In a survey of more than 6,000 consumers in Germany, researchers found that people underestimate the total cost of vehicle ownership by €221 ($240) per month on average. Although they correctly estimated their spending on fuel on average, they “severely” underestimated all other major expenditures, including depreciation, repairs, taxes, and insurance. The misjudgment amounts to 52 percent of the actual costs. More

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    40% of schizophrenics are left-handed, study shows

    Dr. Jadon Webb, M.D., Ph.D., and a Fellow at Yale University, examined 107 psychiatric patients at a public clinic and found that 40% of the patients were suffering from schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Dr. Webb chose left-handedness as a convenient way to measure lateralization or how symmetrical the two sides of a person’s brain are. He asked patients about their preferred hand while writing and got a 97% left-hand response rate. More

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