Your intentions revealed?
"You spend more time window-shopping than you may realize," Ewen Callaway writes for New Scientist. "Whether someone intends to buy a product or not can be predicted from their brain activity - even when they are not consciously pondering their choices. The ability to predict from brain scans alone what a person intends to buy, while leaving the potential buyer none the wiser, could bring much-needed rigour to efforts to meld marketing and neuroscience, says Brian Knutson, a neuroscientist at Stanford University in California who was not involved in the research. Neuromarketing, as this field is known, has been employed by drug firms, Hollywood studios and even Campbell Soup Co. to sell their wares, despite little published proof of its effectiveness."
Listen to your clothes
"High-tech clothing with embedded biosensors and an Internet connection could respond to your mood and help you get through the day," Michelle Bryner reports for LiveScience. "The new 'smart' clothing contains wireless biosensors that measure heart rate and temperature (among other physiological indicators), small speakers and other electronics that wirelessly connect to a handheld smartphone or PDA. Data from the sensors [are]note>// sent to the handheld where it is converted into one of 16 emotional states, which cues a previously set-up database to send the wearer some inspirational message. … The sounds, photos and videos sent to the wearer aren't arbitrary. Instead, the messages are spoken by a friend or loved one. 'When you first wear the garment, you turn on the device and you tell it what person you want to channel that day,' said Barbara Layne, professor at Concordia University and co-developer of the garments. 'That could be your lover who's away, it could be your deceased parent, your best friend, whoever you want to be with that day.' "
"This Sunday in New York, a small knot of runners will start running around the block," Benjie Goodhart reports for The Guardian. "They will resemble any other running club although they might look a little slow. They will run one lap of the 0.5488-mile [883-metre]block. Then they will do it another 5,649 times. The 3100 Transcendental Race is the longest certified foot race in the world. Every day for the next six to eight weeks, the entrants will race from 6 a.m. until midnight - averaging 75 miles a day. For no payment or prize."
"Contrary to popular belief, the ups and downs of romantic relationships have a greater effect on the mental health of young men than women, according to a new study by a Wake Forest University sociology professor," ScienceDaily.com reports. Even though men sometimes try to present a tough face, unhappy romances take a greater emotional toll on them, says Robin Simon, co-author of the study, which is published in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. "The researchers also found that men get greater emotional benefits from the positive aspects of an ongoing romantic relationship. … [Dr.]Simon suggests a possible explanation for the findings: For young men, their romantic partners are often their primary source of intimacy - in contrast to young women, who are more likely to have close relationships with family and friends. … She also explains how men and women express emotional distress in different ways. 'Women express emotional distress with depression while men express emotional distress with substance problems,' [Dr.]Simon says."
Some U.S. schools are taking measures to stay competitive during a recession, United Press International reports. "At least a dozen private and public colleges are bringing in extra revenue by offering summer school classes with lower tuition than during the regular school year, USA Today reports. … Jenna LaPlace of Bainbridge, Ohio, says she's saving $1,560 [U.S.]by taking animal physiology at Hiram College this summer rather than during the regular school term when it costs 40 per cent more. … For the second summer in a row, St. Peter's College in New Jersey is offering a 'buy-one-and-get-the-second-for-half-price' deal on summer school courses."
Don't dwell on the present
The weeklong celebration of the Facts & Arguments page, cultural landmark though it is, may strike some readers as excessive and unhealthy. Not so. Back in 2006 - those were the good old days - Marina Krakovsky had this to say in Psychology Today: "Despite nostalgia's bittersweet rap and the oft-heard advice to live in the moment, recent studies suggest that the occasional detour down memory lane can give your spirits a significant lift. Thinking of good memories for just 20 minutes a day can make people more cheerful than they were the week before and happier than if they think of their current lives, report researchers from Loyola University in Chicago."
Thought du jour
"The feeling of having taken a wrong turning in life was made worse by the fact that he could not, for the life of him, remember having taken any turnings at all."
- Charles Fernyhough, writer