Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Feeling down? Take a hike.

Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

Study finds that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression.
Rob Jordan | June 30, 2015 | Stanford News

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February 17, 2017 Posted by | brain, emotions, psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angry Men Are More Influential Than Angry Women

In case you thought gender is no longer an issue — wrong!

Why Angry Men Are More Influential Than Angry Women

Belinda Luscombe |Oct. 27, 2015 | Time Magazine

Jurors change their minds when guys fume

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October 28, 2015 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, emotions | , , , , | Leave a comment

The strange case of the man with two hearts

Before you read the article, try counting your heartbeat based solely on the feelings within your chest — don’t take your pulse or put your hands on your heart, just use the feelings inside you.  If you think you can feel it (majority won’t), check it against your actual pulse — how close were you?

Now read this article.

The strange case of the man with two hearts

When a man was fitted with a new heart, his mind changed in unusual ways. Why? The answer reveals a surprising truth about all our bodies, says David Robson.
David Robson | 5 December 2014 | BBC Future

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December 5, 2014 Posted by | brain, decision making, emotions, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why do we smile?

An evolutionary explanation of why we laugh and smile and cry the way we do.  Seems very convincing and eye-opening. Make sure you get to the last paragraph.

From the excellent aeon magazine:

The first smile

Why do laughter, smiles and tears look so similar? Perhaps because they all evolved from a single root

by 13 August 2014 | aeon magazine

Michael Graziano is a neuroscientist, novelist and composer. He is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University. His latest book is Consciousness and the Social Brain.

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October 21, 2014 Posted by | anthropology, behaviour, emotions, evolution | , , , , | Leave a comment

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Our innate instincts to recognize the probabilities of dangers are not always accurate (or useful) in our modern world.  But if you understand this, you can use your rational mind to try to alter your behaviour accordingly.  From Discover magazine, July-August 2011 edition:

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Humans have a perplexing 
tendency to fear rare threats such as shark attacks while blithely 
ignoring far greater risks like 
unsafe sex and an unhealthy diet. Those illusions are not just 
silly—they make the world a more dangerous place.


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September 12, 2011 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, emotions, statistics | , , | 1 Comment

Rational financial decision making

We don’t make rational decisions, and that’s especially bad for us when it comes to our financial health.  The article below, from Benefits Canada, explores this:

Keeping feelings out of financial decision-making

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September 28, 2010 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, emotions, investing, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

How ads take advantage of you

Just one of the many ploys marketers use to sell their merchandise to you — taking advantage of your desire to avoid the “uncool” crowd.  Good to know.  From the Globe and Mail, Dec. 10, 2007:

Sorry, but that is so not me

How the uncool crowd is actually influencing the purchases you make

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April 27, 2010 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, emotions | , , , | Leave a comment

Emotion sensor to keep your cool

Want to avoid rash decisions you later regret? Bracelet warns you when you are too emotional/stressed.  Designed for traders, but I could think of some others that should be wearing it. 🙂

From The Economist Oct. 15th, 2009 edition:

Emotions and investing

Gutted instinct

A new device to prevent irrational online trades

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October 21, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, emotions | , , | Leave a comment

We all lie…

Great article about lying and its consequences.  Useful suggestion (aside from the obvious “don’t lie”): rather than assume people are telling the truth, maintain “an awareness that everything you are told could be a lie,” and then ferret out what you care about.

From The Globe & Mail, August 6, 2009:

Liar, liar

‘Oh yeah, you’re the best I’ve ever had’

It’s true: We lie every day, and at an alarming rate. Experts say even small fibs are more toxic than we realize

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August 27, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, emotions, psychology | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Smart People Do Stupid Things

…or why people are irrational.  A must read. From the University of Toronto magazine:

Why Smart People Do Stupid Things

By Kurt Kleiner | Feature, Summer 2009

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August 3, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, emotions, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment