Thursday, January 31, 2013

Giving Away Money to Feel Wealthy

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Just as expressing gratitude confers benefits, so too does giving to others. New research shows that people all around the world – from Canada to Uganda, from South Africa to India – derive more happiness from spending money on others than they do on themselves.

"For the first time, we show that giving away money or spending it on others confers the ironic psychological benefit of increasing the giver’s sense of wealth,” says Michael Norton of Harvard Business School and co-author with Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia of the upcoming book Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending. In a suite of new, not-yet published, studies, Norton and colleagues showed that charitable giving makes people feel wealthier.

This research follows on other recent work published in Psychological Science by Norton and colleagues that shows that giving time to others – from helping with homework to shoveling a neighbors’ driveway – actually makes people feel that they have more time. "In fact, giving time away alleviates people’s sense of time famine even more than receiving unexpected windfalls of free time.”

That people feel wealthier from spending money on others may explain why poor individuals tend to give away a higher fraction of their income than members of the middle class do. In one study, researchers reported that Americans earning less than $20,000 a year give a higher percentage of their income to charity than others earning up to $300,000 a year.

"Our results suggest when the poor give money away, that very act might mitigate their feelings of poverty,” Norton says. "More broadly than this specific benefit, our investigation contributes to the growing body of research documenting the benefits of prosocial behavior, which include greater happiness, reduced mortality, and better immune function.”


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The above story is extracted from the January 19, 2013 news release by Society forPersonality and Social Psychology

Here's another lecture by Dr Elizabeth Dunn on "Money, Generosity and Happiness"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Smaller Snacking Is Smart Snacking

Credit: www.nolard.com


How much chocolate would you need to eat to be satisfied?

Less than half as much as you think, according to this recently published Cornell University snacking study. Using chocolate chips, apple pie, and potato chips, researchers Ellen van Kleef, Mitsuru Shimizu, and Brian Wansink designed a study to determine if people who were given smaller portions of snack foods would feel hungrier or satisfied fifteen minutes after eating.

Participants were given either a small portion (x) or a 5-10x portion

Two groups with different portion sizes were tested. The larger portion size group was given 100g of chocolate, 200g of apple pie, and 80g of potato chips, all slightly larger than the recommended portion sizes. This equaled 1370 calories in snack foods. The other group was given 10g, 40g, and 10g of these same foods respectively, for a total of 195 calories. The two groups were given as much time to eat as needed, and were asked to fill out surveys to rate the liking, familiarity, and boredom with the food. They were also asked to rate their hunger and craving before the food was presented and fifteen minutes after the taste tests ended.

'Just a Bite' Will Satisfy

The results remarkably showed that smaller portion sizes are capable of providing similar feelings of satisfaction as larger ones.  Those given larger portions consumed 77% more food, amounting to 103 calories more, but they did not feel any appetite enhancing or stronger feelings of satiety than the group with the smaller portions.

Overall these findings reflect the importance of portion size. While larger portions result in increased food intake, smaller portions may make you feel equally satisfied. The smaller portions can lead to a decline in hunger and desire that would help people limit their food intake.

So, next time you are craving a snack food, remember that you can feel similarly satisfied with one handful as you would with two!


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The above story is Jan. 29, 2013 reprinted from materials provided by Cornell Food & Brand Lab.

The research findings has been published in Food Quality and Preference, an official journal of the Sensometric Society:
Ellen van Kleef, Mitsuru Shimizu, Brian Wansink. Just a bite: Considerably smaller snack portions satisfy delayed hunger and craving. Food Qual Prefer, 2013; 27 (1): 96 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.06.008

Alcohol Shortens Time to Fall Asleep, BUT…



Credit: http://i.huffpost.com

Alcohol Makes People Fall Asleep Sooner But Disrupts Sleep Quality.

Alcohol may help you get to sleep faster and sleep better at first, but it disrupts your sleep later in the night, according to British researchers who reviewed all known scientific studies on alcohol's impact on sleep.

The authors said they hope their findings will help people understand that drinking alcohol only gives the impression of improving sleep, and that it should not be used as a sleep aid.

The review found that alcohol consumption shortens the time it takes to get to sleep and increases initial deep sleep, but reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Lack of REM sleep can harm concentration, motor skills and memory.

"One hypothesis is that alcohol acts like medications that are used for depression and anxiety," review corresponding author Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at the London Sleep Centre, said in a journal news release.

"Studies on patients with depression have identified that untreated patients had excessive REM sleep, particularly in the early part of the night, and that antidepressant medication suppressed REM sleep. Alcohol acts like antidepressants, reducing REM sleep particularly in the first part of the night. This impact of alcohol on REM sleep may explain the mood elevation and anxiety reduction associated with alcohol use," Ebrahim said.

Ebrahim's colleague, Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Center in Scotland, pointed out that the review helps clarify the research findings. "Certainly a mythology seems to have developed around the impact of alcohol on sleep," Idzikowski said in the news release.

"In sum, alcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night's sleep. Sleep may be deeper to start with, but then becomes disrupted. Additionally, that deeper sleep will probably promote snoring and poorer breathing. So, one shouldn't expect better sleep with alcohol," Idzikowski said.


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Source: Health News

The review appeared online January 22, 2013 and is in the April print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research:
Clinical and Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View: Ebrahim, I. O., Shapiro, C. M., Williams, A. J. and Fenwick, P. B. (2013), Alcohol and Sleep I: Effects on Normal Sleep. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. doi: 10.1111/acer.12006http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acer.12006/abstract

More information:

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about sleep.

Will You Live to see 80?

Hugh Hefner, 86 and Crystal Harris, 26; Credit: telegraph.co.uk

My classmate from St Anthony's, Robert Kong recently picked a new primary care doctor:

After two visits and exhaustive Lab tests, the doctor said I was doing 'fairly well' for my age.

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking the doctor, 'Do you think I'll live to be 80?'

He asked, 'Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?

'Oh no,' I replied. 'I'm not doing drugs, either!'

Then he asked, 'Do you eat rib-eye steaks and Bak-Kut-Teh?

'I said, 'Not much.... My former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!'

'Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?'

'No, I don't,' I said.

He asked, 'Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have lots of sex?'

'No,' I said...




He looked at me and said,.. 'Then, why the hell do you want to live to 80?'


The Zestzfulness recommends Bak Kut Teh from The Big Tree in Port Klang. Enjoy it with your favourite Chinese tea, preferably after a dose of OAT Glucan Powder

Condoms Don't Diminish Sexual Pleasure



A new study reveals sex to be pleasurable with or without use of a condom or lubricant.

American men and women rated sex as highly arousing and pleasurable regardless of whether condoms and/or lubricants were used, according to a study by Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington researchers.

The researchers reviewed a nationally representative study of men and women ages 18 to 59 to assess characteristics of condom and lubricant use during participants' most recent sexual event, and the relationship of their condom and lubricant use to their ratings of sexual quality.

"There's this commonly held belief that condom use makes sex feel less natural or pleasurable," said study lead author Debby Herbenick, associate research scientist and co-director for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. "But when people use them, sex happens to be great."

No significant differences were found in regard to men's ratings of the ease of their erections based on condom and lubricant use.

Misperceptions Can Raise Risk for STDs, HIV and Unintended Pregnancy

"The U.S. continues to grapple with high rates of sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unintended pregnancies," Herbenick said. "We need to understand how people make choices about the products they use, or avoid using, and how these products contribute to the safety and pleasurable aspects of their sexual experiences. This is particularly important as the products themselves evolve and become more mainstream in American society. We also need to understand what men and women know, or don't know, about the products they use so that we can better target public health education messages to individuals and groups."

Lubricants also related to Pleasure and Excitement

Lubricants are underestimated for their ability to improve sex, said Herbenick. And women of any age may misinterpret the need to use a lubricant as an indication of non-arousal. "I knew a 26-year-old woman who said she dreaded pulling out lubricant," said Herbenick. "She said there needs to be a website that says, 'Younger women need lubricant, too.'"

Women who experience vaginal dryness after menopause can also feel frustrated, seeing the need for a lubricant as a sad sign of aging.


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The above story is based on the January 23, 2013 news release by Indiana University.

The study is published online January 24, 2013 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine:
Herbenick, D., Schick, V., Reece, M., Sanders, S. A., Smith, N., Dodge, B. and Fortenberry, J. D. (2013), Characteristics of Condom and Lubricant Use among a Nationally Representative Probability Sample of Adults Ages 18–59 in the United States. J Sex Med, 10: 474–483. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12021 

More information

Learn how condoms help prevent sexually transmitted diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.