Brain

The Neanderthal in us

The Neanderthal in us

This news release is available in German.

Positive, negative thinkers' brains revealed

Positive, negative thinkers' brains revealed

EAST LANSING, Mich. --- The ability to stay positive when times get tough -- and, conversely, of being negative -- may be hardwired in the brain, finds new research led by a Michigan State University psychologist.

The study, which appears in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, is the first to provide biological evidence validating the idea that there are, in fact, positive and negative people in the world.

Cereal box psychology

Cereal box psychology

Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids! In a study of 65 cereals in 10 different grocery stores, Cornell researchers found that cereals marketed to kids are placed half as high on supermarket shelves as adult cereals—the average height for children's cereal boxes is 23 inches verses 48 inches for adult cereal. A second key finding from the same study is that the average angle of the gaze of cereal spokes-characters on cereal boxes marketed to kids is downward at a 9.6 degree angle whereas spokes-characters on adult cereal look almost straight ahead.

Eyes in the cereal aisle -- how Cap'n Crunch's gaze is influencing your purchasing

Eyes in the cereal aisle -- how Cap'n Crunch's gaze is influencing your purchasing

Director of Cornell's Food and Brand Lab Brian Wansink and post-doctoral lab researcher Aner Tal, are releasing a new study today published in the Journal of Environment and Behavior that discovered consumers are 16 percent more likely to trust a brand of cereal when the characters on the boxes on the supermarket shelves look them straight in the eye. Not surprisingly, the study also found that the gaze of characters on children's cereal boxes is at a downward, 9.6-degree angle, while characters on adult cereal boxes look almost straight ahead.

Wansink says:

Record number of older adults completing living wills

Record number of older adults completing living wills

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A record number of elderly people are completing living wills to guide end-of-life medical treatments – up from 47 percent in 2000 to 72 percent in 2010 – according to new research from the University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Contrary to expectations, life experiences better use of money than material items

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite knowing that buying life experiences will make them happier than buying material items, shoppers might continue to spend money on the latter because they mistakenly believe items are a better value, according to a San Francisco State University study published today. That belief, however, isn't accurate.

Great minds think alike

Pinecone or pine nut? Friend or foe? Distinguishing between the two requires that we pay special attention to the telltale characteristics of each. And as it turns out, us humans aren't the only ones up to the task.

According to researchers at the University of Iowa, pigeons share our ability to place everyday things in categories. And, like people, they can hone in on visual information that is new or important and dismiss what is not.

Gene therapy improves limb function following spinal cord injury

Delivering a single injection of a scar-busting gene therapy to the spinal cord of rats following injury promotes the survival of nerve cells and improves hind limb function within weeks, according to a study published April 2 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that, with more confirming research in animals and humans, gene therapy may hold the potential to one day treat people with spinal cord injuries.

Penn Medicine points to new ways to prevent relapse in cocaine-addicted patients

Night owls, unlike early birds, tend to be unmarried risk-takers

Women who are night owls share the same high propensity for risk-taking as men, according to a recent study by a University of Chicago professor.

The research suggests that sleep patterns are linked with important character traits and behavior, said study author Dario Maestripieri, professor in Comparative Human Development. Night owls—people who tend to stay up late and wake up late in the morning—are different in many important ways from early risers, he found.