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Are you a “pre-crastinator?” A recent study suggests that there may be a bias towards completing simple tasks sooner than is strictly necessary in order to avoid having to remember to do them later. In this series of experiments, subjects were asked to choose one of two buckets to carry to the end of a corridor (see inset schematic-layout). The experimenters varied the relative distance of the two buckets from their destination: sometimes the two were equally far, but more often one was closer to the end than the other. Intuitively, one might expect that people would opt to carry the bucket a shorter distance, meaning they’d select the bucket closer to the end, farther from themselves. However, what the graph below shows is that people were generally biased towards picking a bucket that was closer to them along the corridor, and farther from the end. The graph indicates the probability of selecting the right-hand bucket as a function of the relative distances of both buckets; to the left of the vertical dashed line, the left-hand bucket is closer to the subject’s starting position (and farther from the end of the corridor), and to the right of the dashed line the right-hand bucket is closer. One way of looking at this data is to focus on the data points to the right of the dashed line: there we can see that despite the left-hand bucket being nearer to the end of the corridor, subjects chose the right-hand bucket more than 50% of the time (horizontal dashed line), requiring them to carry the bucket further on average. Thus, people in this study tend to work a bit harder, just to get the job of making a choice out of the way a bit sooner. #science #psychology #precrastination http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/7/1487

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Sleeping in a cold room (19 Celsius / 66 Fahrenheit) can increase #metabolism and #insulin sensitivity. Researchers had volunteers sleep and eat in a controlled environment for 4 months. In each months, the ambient temperature of their sleeping quarters was kept constant. The sequence of temperatures was: 24C-19C-24C-27C. Seeping in the 19C room had the effects described above, which were abolished by sleeping in the 24C room. #Science #Diabetes http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2014/06/18/db14-0513

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Is it better to be from a family with many children or few? Which results in more successful kids? Does it matter if the family is well off? What about long-term effects: do children from big families have more children than those from small? Perhaps children in small wealthy families eventually produce the biggest broods? These questions, regarding the interactions of family size, socioeconomic position (SEP), individual success and reproductive success are complex and fascinating grist for the imagination mill. This study of 14,000 Swedes and their descendents has found that family size among high "SEP" individuals is a strong predictor of descendent SEP: smaller families result in higher SEP descendents. Not so among low SEP families. The graph shows one of many variables (probability of entering university) which track SEP in descendants.However, the interaction between family size and SEP had no effect on reproductive success! Regardless of origin (high/low SEP x large/small family), average number of descendents was the same.#Science #rspb