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February 12, 2007, 9:43 PM CT

Whose tastes do you trust more?

Whose tastes do you trust more?
Whose tastes do you trust more? The person who loves the same things you love? Or the person who hates the same things you hate? Turns out, when were looking for advice, positivity reigns. A new study reveals that we trust those who love the same things we love more than those who hate the same things we hate. As the scientists explain in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, "There are few ways that products are loved, but a number of ways that they are hated".

Through a series of experiments, Andrew D. Gershoff (University of Michigan), Ashesh Mukherjee (McGill University), and Anirban Mukhopadhyay (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) reveal that we are more willing to take the advice of someone with shared likes than someone with shared dislikes because of "attribute ambiguity." That is, consumers find it hard to isolate exactly what the recommender didnt like the offending characteristic of a movie, say, could be plot, acting, special effects, or any number of other factors.

"For a loved product, most people tend to love everything about it, and tend to hate nothing. But for a hated product, some people hate everything about it, some hate just one aspect while liking other aspects, and some like all the aspects individually, but hate how they go together," the authors explain.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 12, 2007, 9:11 PM CT

Be around friends to impair your memory

Be around friends to impair your memory
Youre watching a basketball game with some buddies and decide to order pizza during the commercial. Scientists from Indiana University observed that people in a group setting exposed to brand information such as an ad for Pizza Hut -- have a hard time recalling the brands competitors. In other words, being around friends when deciding where to order takeout might cause you to forget completely about that local pizza place youve been wanting to try.

"When groups of individuals are exposed to brands in the shopping environment, their memory for other brands within the same product category is impaired," write Charles D. Lindsey and H. Shanker Krishnan (Indiana University). "The current research examines retrieval in a collaborative group setting, which is a novel context for brand memory research".

Appearing in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, the study observed that this effect is magnified for very familiar brands. Lindsey and Krishnan argue that this happens because individuals in the group are exposed not only to the advertisement but also to mentions of the brand by other members of the group.

"The practical implications of this research imply that a group premium (over and above the standard market share premium) seems to exist for advertising brands during programming where a higher percentage of viewers are group-based," conclude the authors.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 11, 2007, 9:28 PM CT

Protecting Women's Mood Under Stress

Protecting Women's Mood Under Stress
German scientists have found additional evidence that the stress hormone cortisol can have positive effects in certain situations. Eventhough chronic stress, which brings long-term elevations of cortisol in the bloodstream, can weaken the immune system and induce depression, this new study adds to mounting evidence that cortisol given near in time to a physical or psychological stress may lessen the stressor's emotional impact. Psychology experts are particularly interested in what this means for preventing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder. The findings are reported in the recent issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Psychology experts Serkan Het, MSc, and Oliver Wolf, PhD, of the University of Bielefeld, enlisted 44 healthy women for a double-blind study, in which neither scientists or participants knew the condition to which the women were assigned. One hour before a psychosocial stress test, participants were given either a 30 mg. dose of oral cortisol or a placebo. That 30 mg. dose is considered high, translating to a severe stressor. Experimenters tracked participant mood through self report, and measured their cortisol levels with a simple swab check of their saliva, before and after the psychosocial stress test.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 7, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Children's perceptions and antisocial behavior

Children's perceptions and antisocial behavior
Children who grow up in antisocial families are more likely to be antisocial themselves. Much of the research into why this is so has focused on parents' behavior. A new study finds that the way children perceive their parents' behavior provides clues as to why children of antisocial parents may grow up to be antisocial.

The study, conducted by scientists at the University of California, Davis, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, appears in the January/February 2007 issue of the journal Child Development. The research was funded in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

In an effort to determine how antisocial behavior in one generation is transmitted to the next, scientists looked at 430 adolescents and their biological parents across the children's high school years. Specifically, the study examined the adolescents' level of antisocial behavior, the level of such behavior in parents, and the teens' general perceptions of their parents' behavior. Antisocial behavior was defined in terms of substance use, recklessness and breaking laws, arguments and conflicts with others, and lying. The study examined if the effect of parents' antisocial behavior on the teens' antisocial behavior could be explained by the teens' perceptions of their parents as antisocial, as well as by disrupted parenting practices, such as poor monitoring, hostility, and harsh and inconsistent discipline.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 7, 2007, 5:00 AM CT

Children who sleep less more likely to be overweight

Children who sleep less more likely to be overweight
Research indicates that getting inadequate sleep has negative effects on children's social and emotional well-being and school performance. Now a Northwestern University study finds it also increases their risk of being overweight.

The study -- conducted in two waves of data collection approximately five years apart -- is the first nationally representative, longitudinal investigation of the relationship between sleep, Body Mass Index (BMI) and overweight status in children aged 3 to 18.

"Our study suggests that earlier bedtimes, later wake times and later school start times could be an important and relatively low-cost strategy to help reduce childhood weight problems," says Emily Snell. Snell is co-author of "Sleep and the Body Mass Index and Overweight Status of Children and Adolescents" in the Jan./Feb. issue of Child Development.

"We found even an hour of sleep makes a big difference in weight status," said Snell, a Northwestern doctoral student in human development and social policy. "Sleeping an additional hour reduced young children's chance of being overweight from 36 percent to 30 percent, while it reduced older children's risk from 34 percent to 30 percent."

The Northwestern study not only differs from most other investigations of the effects of sleep on children's weight in its five-year approach. It also helps disentangle the issue of whether sleep actually affects weight or whether children who already are overweight are simply poor sleepers. In addition, it takes into account the possible effects of other variables including race, ethnicity and income.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 30, 2007, 7:17 PM CT

Media Coverage Of Autism Differs

Media Coverage Of Autism Differs
Sifting through the pages of newspapers, most people reading stories about autism would think researchers are primarily grappling with understanding how environmental factors, such as childhood vaccines, might contribute to the condition. But the truth is quite different. The efforts of the scientific community to explore autism lie predominantly in brain and behavior research.

This disconnect between the scientific community and the popular media is starkly laid out as per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The scientists observed that while 41 percent of research funding and published scientific papers on autism dealt with brain and behavior research, only 11 percent of newspaper stories in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada dealt with those issues. Instead, 48 percent of the media coverage dealt with environmental causes of autism, especially the childhood MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella that was once linked with autism in a widely refuted study. Only 13 percent of published research was about environmental triggers of autism.

"What was very interesting is that media frequently reported being very skeptical of the MMR evidence, as was scientific literature," said Judy Illes, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and senior author of the paper. The media stories accurately reflected scientific thinking, but didn't reflect the breadth of scientific research including the genetics, therapy and epidemiology of autism.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 30, 2007, 5:23 PM CT

Understanding Discipline Practices

Understanding Discipline Practices
Time-outs, removal of privileges, yelling and spanking -these are the four most common disciplinary actions, yet a third of parents report that they don't work. Research in the latest issue of Clinical Pediatrics indicates that parents want their child's pediatrician to work with them to develop effective and personally tailored discipline practices.

The research, published by SAGE Publications in the recent issue of Clinical Pediatrics, and written by lead author Dr. Shari Barken of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, indicates that, while national guidelines urge pediatricians to address discipline, a number of don't know what leads parents to use different discipline approaches.

To provide more clarity, Dr. Barkin and her colleagues surveyed parents at the pediatrician's office before their child's well-child exam. The survey asked about the use of common discipline practices, about the perception of discipline effectiveness, and the surrounding factors of each type of discipline. The scientists found several factors that went into the types of discipline used, such as: the child's age, the family's race and ethnicity, and how parents were disciplined during their own childhood. The research provides pediatricians with more information so they can address discipline more consistently and effectively with their patients' parents.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 24, 2007, 6:34 PM CT

Gene That May Predispose To Schizophrenia

Gene That May Predispose To Schizophrenia
In a new study from The American Journal of Human Genetics, a research team lead by Xinzhi Zhao and Ruqi Tang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) present evidence that genetic variation may indicate predisposition to schizophrenia. Specifically, their findings identify the chitinase 3-like 1 gene as a potential schizophrenia-susceptibility gene and suggest that the genes involved in biological response to adverse conditions are likely associated with schizophrenia.

Analyzing two separate cohorts of Chinese patients with schizophrenia, the scientists observed a positive association between schizophrenia and genetic variations in the promoter region of the chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) gene, an association that was significant in both population-based and family-based investigations.

The CHI3L1 gene acts as a survival factor in response to adverse environments, countering various types of physiological stress, such as inflammation, nutrient deprivation, and oxygen deficiency, all of which may induce high expression of CHI3L1. The gene is located on chromosome 1q32.1, a region that has been previously shown to have a weak related to schizophrenia.

Many environmental factors, including prenatal exposure to disease, have been reported as risk factors of schizophrenia. However, the scientists argue that sensitivity to environmental stressors varies widely among individuals, and "at least part of this variation may be genetic in origin and/or involve gene-environment factors," they write.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 24, 2007, 6:01 PM CT

Getting Sad Is More Than Having The Blues

Getting Sad Is More Than Having The Blues
While a number of people think that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) amounts to feeling gloomy in the winter, a University of Rochester research review emphasizes that SAD is actually a subtype of major depression and should be treated as such.

Lead author Stephen Lurie, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also noted that SAD is sometimes missed in the typical doctor's office setting.

"Like major depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder probably is under-diagnosed in primary care offices," Lurie said. "But with personalized and detailed attention to symptoms, most patients can be helped a great deal".

New, preliminary studies link SAD to alcoholism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, not all people with SAD will have ADHD, as per the review article for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"The important message here is that if you are a patient who has been diagnosed with a mental illness of any kind, don't just assume that any new mental or emotional problem is due to that illness," Lurie said. "Specifically, if you have ADHD and you feel worse in the winter, don't just assume it's your ADHD getting worse. It could actually be SAD - and you should see your doctor because ADHD and SAD are treated entirely differently".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 12, 2007, 4:57 AM CT

Bilingualism Has Protective Effect On Dementia

Bilingualism Has Protective Effect On Dementia
Canadian researchers have found astonishing evidence that the lifelong use of two languages can help delay the onset of dementia symptoms by four years in comparison to people who are monolingual.

There has been much interest and growing scientific literature examining how lifestyle factors such as physical activity, education and social engagement may help build "cognitive reserve" in later years of life. Cognitive reserve refers to enhanced neural plasticity, compensatory use of alternative brain regions, and enriched brain vasculature, all of which are thought to provide a general protective function against the onset of dementia symptoms.

Now researchers with the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Research Centre for Aging and the Brain have found the first evidence that another lifestyle factor, bilingualism, may help delay dementia symptoms. The study is reported in the February 2007 issue of Neuropsychologia (Vol.45, No.2).

"We are pretty dazzled by the results," says principal investigator Ellen Bialystok, Ph.D., whose research team at Baycrest included psychology expert Dr. Fergus Craik, a world authority on age-related changes in memory processes, and neurologist Dr. Morris Freedman, an eminent authority on understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment due to diseases such as Alzheimer's.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness.

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