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Sea of clouds: The interaction of cold and warm air masses causes a rare total cloud inversion in the Grand Canyon in Arizona. (Erin Whittaker/Associated Press)
Sea of clouds: The interaction of cold and warm air masses causes a rare total cloud inversion in the Grand Canyon in Arizona. (Erin Whittaker/Associated Press)

Talking points: couples' selective hearing, ticker talk and inheriting fear Add to ...

HEAR, HEAR

Are you talkin’ to me? Selective hearing really does exist, and plays out on a daily basis with most couples, according to a study reported in The Daily Mail. Researchers from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital compiled pairs of words believed to be more attention-getting to men (beer and football, for example) and to women (chocolate and shopping) and put them together in a single list, which was read aloud to 40 men and 40 women. On average, the men correctly recalled more “male” than “female” words, while the women recalled more “female” words. “For a long time patients [have remarked] that their spouses have selective hearing, so it’s been fun explaining that there is some truth in what they say,” said researcher John Phillips.

TICKER TALK

Athletes and regular folks thinking of cutting back on energy drinks should probably listen to their hearts. CTV News reports on a study from Germany’s University of Bonn that imaged the hearts of volunteers one hour after they consumed an energy drink containing caffeine and taurine. Each participant showed more forceful heart

contractions after the drink, particularly in the left ventricle, the chamber responsible for pumping blood around the body. “We’ve shown that energy drink consumption has a

short-term impact on cardiac contractility,” said researcher Jonas Dorner. “We don’t know how or if this greater contractility impacts daily activities or athletic performance.” The researchers also advised that children and adults with irregular heartbeats avoid energy drinks altogether.

INHERITING FEAR

If you have a fear of flying, spiders or clowns, you could pass that fear down to your children. As reported in The Mirror, new research has surfaced suggesting that fear may be passed down from generation to generation. Scientists at Emory University recently trained lab mice to be frightened of the smell of cherry blossoms. When the offspring of the same mice were exposed to the aroma several months later, they were likewise frightened, despite never having encountered it before. In fact, even when the mice were bred using in vitro fertilization, they still showed signs of the cherry-blossom phobia, indicating their behaviour was inherited rather than taught.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, author (1896-1940)

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