Categories
Environment

Studies Show That The Fashion Industry Has A Huge Impact On The Environment – But There Is Still Hope

Nowadays the fashion industry is booming, and more and more people seem to be trying harder to keep up with the latest fashion and continue to buy the latest clothes. But that comes at a cost: new research shows that the fashion industry is, astonishingly, the second most polluting global industry on the planet. According to the research, the fashion industry is responsible for around 10% of global CO2 emissions, 20% of the world’s industrial wastewater, 24% of insecticides and 11% of pesticides used.

But while the fashion industry has been a major source of pollution, one good piece of news here is that buyers seem to be more environmentally-conscious. For example, last year the Lyst fashion search engine tracked over one hundred million searches on its site and reported that there was a 47% rise in buyers looking for products that were produced ethically.

Studies also show that the vast majority of millennials value companies who carefully consider the environmental impact of their products. One such study was conducted by the World Consumer Confidence Survey, which found that around 5 in 6 (83%) of millennials do care about how environmentally friendly a company they do business with is. It is now hoped that given this trend, more and more companies will be carefully considering how to manufacture their products in a way that does less damage to the environment.

Image source: https://www.iamrenew.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/cloth-pollution-fashion.jpg

Categories
Misc

Science Answers: What Is Pansexuality?

First off, what is pansexuality? It is a concept that goes back as far as the time of Freud, and there have been a number of studies on it. It may be loosely defined as someone who is sexually attracted to a person regardless of the sex of that person, as defined by sociologist Emily Lenning. Now, a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research is claiming that among non-heterosexual pansexual people, there are a staggering 5 times as many women than men. It is also more likely for people who identify as some gender other than male or female to consider themselves pansexual, and more likely for younger people to consider themselves pansexual.

While these studies are making some headway into how many pansexual people there are and how they view things, there is still a lot of work to be done, and the numbers are still somewhat unclear. “Pansexual” is rarely offered as an option in research studies, and therefore the exact percentage of the population that would consider themselves pansexual is still unclear.

You may be wondering, based on the above definition, what is the difference between pansexual and bisexual? Another study also published in the Journal of Sex Research has explored these differences and concludes that those who consider themselves pansexual are longer, more likely to be of a diverse gender (eg. transgender or non-binary) and tend to be more politically liberal.

Image source: http://www.curvemag.com/images/cache/cache_d/cache_4/cache_d/women-149577_640copy-f85ccd4d.jpeg?ver=1560428509&aspectratio=2

Categories
Health

Nightmares May Be Beneficial, New Research Suggests

For decades people have been worrying about whether nightmares affect the quality of sleep that we get. For most people, though, we can be fairly sure that all dreams – even nightmares – are beneficial to the restorative function that has sleep. When we sleep, we pass through several stages: light sleep, deep sleep and finally REM sleep. Each one of these stages is important, but the most important when it comes to helping the body recover is deep sleep. During deep sleep, the body relaxes and temperature drops. It’s also a period where dreams do not take place.

So if the most beneficial part of sleep is deep sleep, where dreams don’t take place, what is the actual benefit of dreams? According to Isabelle Arnulf, a neurologist and director of sleep pathology at Pitie-Salpetriere hospital, of thousands of dreams that have been studied during scientific experiments, bad dreams “prepare us for the danger in this safe place that is the dream to allow us to face it better in real life.” Interestingly, of all the dreams analyzed, 82% were violent or negative. One could make the argument that if the majority of dreams are nightmares, then they must have some evolutionary use – else it would be bizarre for them to be so frequent.

One other recent area of research by Antonion Zadra, however, distinguishes between just “bad” dreams and “nightmares” that are so disturbing that they wake us up. Nightmares that happen regularly can actually be harmful, Zadra argues – they can reduce the amount and quality of sleep, and recurring nightmares can be related to depression, anxiety and neuroticism.

Image credit: https://a57.foxnews.com/static.foxnews.com/foxnews.com/content/uploads/2018/10/1024/512/Nightmare3.jpg?ve=1&tl=1

Categories
Psychology

Science Asks: How Long Should We Wait Before Asking For A Favor To Be Returned?

A new investigation by the University of Pennsylvania has found that when it comes to favors, it is best to ask for them back as soon as possible, assuming we are not doing the favor as a purely selfless act. The study authors conducted a detailed experiment with many participants from a public hospital (all of them in a reasonable financial situation) who had undergone very expensive treatments. In exchange, the hospital would request a donation of any amount.

In one group they would ask for the donation just one week after the patient had undergone treatment, and in the other group, they would ask for the donation several months later.

The results were that every single person in the first group made the donation, and at a higher amount. For those in the group that were asked several months later, the researchers found that for every month that passed, the willingness to make a donation decreased by 30%.

Does this example apply to every-day situations? We think so, and in our view, the results of this study are not too surprising. The takeaway is very clear: the further into the future you get, the less likely someone is to repay a favor.

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Categories
Health

Study Finds Dog Owners Live Longer

Dogs have always been considered to be a man’s best friend – but can they help you to live longer as well? A study conducted in Sweden may have the answer. Based on national registries of more than 3.4 million people between 40 and 80, they found that dog owners have a significantly lower risk of death during the 12 years that the study monitored them.

“A very interesting finding in our study was that the protective property of having a dog was especially prominent in people living alone, which is a group that has an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. The dog may be an important member of the family in individual households. The results showed that single dog owners had a 33% reduction in the risk of death and an 11% reduction in the risk of myocardial infarction during follow-up compared to non-single ones,” says Mwenya Mubanga, lead author of the study.

This study is stronger than most since it has such a huge sample size, and the conclusion is very interesting. Fortunately, in Sweden each person has a personal identity number and there is a dog property registry that is mandatory in Sweden – so they were able to use publicly available data.

“Such epidemiological studies seek associations in large populations, but they do not provide answers on whether dogs could protect against cardiovascular disease or how. We know that dog owners generally have a higher level of physical activity, which could be an explanation for the observed result. Other explanations include greater welfare and social contacts or the dog’s effects on the bacterial microbiome in the owner, “says Tove Fall, lead author of the study.

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Categories
Behavior

When the holidays come around, we may start surfing the internet and looking into different things that might make us happy, including impulse items. Suppose you are looking at a potential vacation destination and your booking website indicates that only 1 room is left for your planned date. You go ahead and make the booking – but was it what you really wanted? Maybe not.

Looking into this phenomenon is a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, who analyzed 200 huge retailers online and then asked customers what tools might be useful to try to reduce impulse purchases. Of course, we know there are all kinds of things that websites do to try to get you to impulsively book: discounts and sales, product ratings, incentive screens, a limited number of items remaining and so on.

“Many consumers are familiar with the marketing tactics they could push to buy in a traditional store, but the novelty on the internet is the amount of information that electronic retailers have about their consumers or other real-time data, such as the exact number of products left in stock or the number of customers who also have that product in their shopping cart at this time,” says Carol Moser, lead author of the study. To conduct their research, the authors of this study analyzed more than 200 online stores, including Macys.com, Amazon.com, Newegg.com, Target.com and more. They found that a staggering 192 out of 200 major ecommerce websites engaged in what are called “social influence characteristics”, where they recommend items based on what other people buy.

In addition, about 2 in 3 websites (69%) would use a countdown timer, along with a limited stock warning to try to induce the surfer to buy.

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Categories
Psychology

Memories With Smell May Be More Powerful Than Memories With Sight

What activates memory better, sight or smell? Recently, 2 separate studies have been done to identify how effective both visual memory and smell are. In the first study, researchers showed a group of people images of over 2,500 objects for more than 5 hours. Afterward, they were shown the images again, along with similar images, and were asked to identify which ones they had seen before. The results (published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)) showed that 87% of the future images shown to the participants could be correctly identified as having been shown before or not. However, if asked to recant the image from memory, participants usually only have a very vague idea of what the image looked like.

When it comes to smell, it seems that it has a greater ability to spark personal experiences. In a study published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, the researchers found that memories associated with odor tend to be stronger than those associated with sight or language. Also, memories associated with smell tend to form earlier, as researchers found that memories associated with smell can form and stay before the age of 10, but memories associated with sight tend to only be forged strongly between the age of ten and twenty.

More studies may need to be done in these areas, but based on these two studies, there is already strong evidence that smell forms stronger memories than sight. Why is another question, and hopefully more researchers will look into that in future as well.

Image credit: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/-/media/images/health/3_-wellness/aging-well/memory-hero.ashx?h=500&la=en&mh=500&mw=1300&w=1297&hash=0CCCC56A41F24F1C8F2AFF650235079433D8DDED

Categories
Psychology

What Happens When We’re Rejected? Science Has The Answer

There are many times when we may feel legitimate mental pain: a divorce, a conviction, rejection and more. But it’s not just extremely life-changing events that can bring us down. In the modern world, even off-the-cuff comments on social media or encountering one rude person in your day can have a negative effect on your mental health. That can be traced back to evolutionary times, when being ostracised from the group would have major implications for our survival.

What goes on in the brain when we are rejected or encounter someone rude? A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has an interesting answer that lends credence to the phrase “rejection hurts.” In the study, they analyzed what happened in the brains of 40 volunteers who had been abandoned by their parents. The MRI scanner showed that the same region of the brain is activated when someone is rejected as is activated when someone feels physical pain. “The results give new meaning to the idea that rejection ‘hurts'”, the study states.

As for how to deal with rejection, one may speculate that if it has a similar effect to physical pain, then perhaps it can be treated similarly to physical pain. But there are other methods. According to Guy Winch, a protagonist of TED talks, one should not take it too hard on themselves if they are rejected. It is better to instead give yourself some sensible self-criticism and reflect on what you might want to do if the situation repeats itself.

Image credit: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/woman-with-hand-up-1024×683.jpg

Categories
Misc

How Much You Earn May Be Written In Your DNA, Study Says

What do the richest people in the world have in common? A study from the University of Edinburgh has come to an interesting conclusion: these people may share the same genes of wealth. A team led by David Hill looked into the UK Biobank database, which contains over 500,000 genetic profiles of people living in the UK, to try to find commonalities between wealth and DNA. This is an unusual study, and to the best of our knowledge, the first that has been done of this kind.

The study involved taking 286,000 people in the UK Biobank and then dividing them automatically according to income level. For people with lower income, Hill found that there were less advantageous genetic variants, while in the wealthiest group he found several commonalities that could be attributed to a higher level of intelligence. The question is whether that is enough to determine that DNA and wealth are closely correlated.

One of the issues with this study, as mentioned by Julien Larregue, is that it is hard to exactly define the concept of intelligence and that there are many factors that go into someone’s income level. After all, the same person with the same DNA may easily earn differently if they were born in a different country or had a difficult upbringing.

The closest study we found to Hill’s study (where researchers linked income to some other trait) was this one led by Philipp Koellinger, where more than 800,000 people were analyzed to try to calculate someone’s income based on job type, age and sex. But as far as determining with definite certainty whether DNA will influence income, there is just the 1 study for now.

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