Maybe its the neuroscience in me, but I just love this Halloween Pumpkin!

Here is what I am reading today:

“The Sauder study shows that only 6.13 per cent of an S&P 500 CEO sample was born in June and only 5.87 per cent of the sample was born in July. By comparison, people born in March and April represented 12.53 per cent and 10.67 per cent of the sample of CEOs. “Our findings indicate that summer babies underperform in the ranks of CEOs as a result of the ‘birth-date effect,’ a phenomenon resulting from the way children are grouped by age in school,” says Sauder Finance Prof. Maurice Levi, co-author of the study to appear in the December issue of the journal Economics Letters.”

“More than 35 percent of American adults are obese and more than 28 percent sleep less than six hours a night. While weight-loss strategies incorporate lifestyle changes focusing on diet and exercise, modifications in an individual’s daily routine, including sleep behaviors, can help manage weight. “Various investigations, although diverse, indicate an effect of partial sleep deprivation on body weight management,” says lead investigator Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, PhD, MD, professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park. “The intriguing relationship between partial sleep deprivation and excess adiposity makes partial sleep deprivation a factor of interest in body weight regulation, particularly in weight loss.””

“Working mothers may have to juggle more tasks than their husbands, but the long-held belief that women are better than men at multitasking is a myth, according to new Swedish research. “On the contrary, the results of our study show that men are better at multitasking than women,” Timo Maentylae, a psychology professor at Stockholm University, said.”

“Can heterosexual men and women ever be “just friends”? Few other questions have provoked debates as intense, family dinners as awkward, literature as lurid, or movies as memorable. Still, the question remains unanswered. Daily experience suggests that non-romantic friendships between males and females are not only possible, but common—men and women live, work, and play side-by-side, and generally seem to be able to avoid spontaneously sleeping together. However, the possibility remains that this apparently platonic coexistence is merely a façade, an elaborate dance covering up countless sexual impulses bubbling just beneath the surface.”

Right now, your brain and nervous system are busy making sense of this sentence – just one example of how basic the brain is to every function of your waking and sleeping life. If you are sighted, nerve cells in your eyes are sensing the letters’ boundaries and transmitting the news from your eyes to the brain. (For Braille readers, nerves in the fingers send similar information from the skin up through the spinal cord to the brain.) About one fourth of the brain is involved in visual processing, more than any other sense. The precise process of reading, like many brain functions, is a topic of intense research by neuroscientists.”

“With bright blue hair and tattoos, Dr Caspar Addyman is not your average scientist. But then Britain’s “Babylab” is not your average laboratory. Here, inside one of the world’s leading infant-research units, Dr Addyman has spent the morning filtering through the results of his new Baby Laughter project. It is the first in-depth study since the Sixties into what makes infants chuckle.”

“Anesthesiologists aren’t totally lying when they say they’re going to put you to sleep. Some anesthetics directly tap into sleep-promoting neurons in the brain, a study in mice reveals.

The results may help clarify how drugs that have been used around the world for decades actually put someone under. “It’s kind of shocking that after 170 years, we still don’t understand why they work,” says study coauthor Max Kelz of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Most neurons in the brain appear to be calmed by anesthetics, says neuropharmacologist and anesthesiologist Hugh Hemmings Jr. of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. But the new results, published online October 25 in Current Biology, show that two common anesthetics actually stimulate sleep-inducing neurons. “It’s unusual for neurons to be excited by anesthetics,” Hemmings says.”

“Neurobiologists at the Free University of Berlin have found that sleepy bees fail to remember lessons learned the day before, a finding that could help scientists discover the neural processes involved in sleep and memory formation. They present their research October 25 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.”



BenSimon · October 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm

“With bright blue hair and tattoos, Dr Caspar Addyman is not your average scientist?” For possibly psychology-related reasons, there seems to be a (minor) phenomenon of punk rockers going into scientific fields, as Milo Aukerman of the punk band Descendents has a Ph. D. in biochemistry as well as Greg Graffin of the punk band Bad Religion working as a professor of evolutionary biology at UCLA. But I digress. I wish that “Summer babies less likely to be CEOs, research finds” gave more information on the results of the study because as I have a May birthday and was always one of the youngest in my class, I wonder whether May is the third lowest month for CEOs to be born in after July and June.

vylu · October 29, 2012 at 9:39 am

I really liked the study on whether guys and girls can just be friends. I watched a youtube video ( where two students went around doing this same, but unofficial, study and got the same results. It’s strange to see how two people can view the same relationship so differently.

The baby study, I feel, is very important to do. Not only is it adorable, but studying babies as young as two months old to see what stimulates them and makes them laugh or cry or react in any way is very important in finding ways to detect down’s syndrome or autism at an earlier age. I personally, would love to work at that clinic and make babies laugh all day.

ckobinsk · October 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I thought that it was interesting that people born in June or July are less likely to be CEO’s than those born in the other months. The claim that younger students are at a disadvantage because their mental capacities are underdeveloped makes sense. Similarly because the cut off dates for schools range from September to January, students born in those months are generally always in the younger group in the class. I found this article particularly interesting because I am born in November and have always been significantly younger than the other students in my age. I feel like being young hasn’t affected me in my education but this article makes me wonder whether I would have been more successful if I had started school later.
This article also made me question whether there is a solution to this “birth date effect” because no matter what, there has to be a cut off to determine which grade the student can be in and some students are always going to be younger while other students are older.

Carolynn Kern · October 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I have had many discussions with my brother and his friends on this very question, can guys and girls ever be just friends. I feel like the finding expressed in the article, that in the eyes of women, guys and girls can have seemingly completely platonic friendships, is accurate. I find this interesting because in relationships, women are more likely to be attached to someone emotionally, which in my opinion leads to sexual attraction. Women then confuse emotional attraction for sexual attraction, and further bond to them emotionally AND physically. This then releases bonding hormones (oxytocin) and further biologically attaches women to men. I think for guys it is the other way around. There is an emotional intimacy built upon initial attraction, which I think is why men rated physical attraction as a benefit to having a female friend.

csommo · October 31, 2012 at 10:53 am

Reading the article on opposite-sex platonic relationships was very funny. I can completely relate to the findings of the research that women are not as attracted to their male friends as men are to their female friends. The idea that women underestimate their level of attraction and that men overestimate their’s is so accurate. From personal experience I can completely believe this. Generally, men always keep the option for a romantic encounter to spark, whereas women usually make a final decision about where the relationship is going after a small amount of time passes. This was a fun article to read and I agree with everything the author had to say.

Sarah Dougherty · October 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm

OK, I was surprised that men come out better multitasking than women and that women’s spatial ability is linked to their menstrual cycle. The test sounded very boring–I would like to see the multitasking take place in different environments such as the home and the workplace, not just with names. I wonder if action makes a difference. It seems that working mothers have so many action jobs in the present that this test would seem pointless. Still, I would like to read further. Men who have to multitask at work should also be compared to women at work. I do believe the brain changes during the menstrual cycle, so there may be some merit to this study.

LauraGregorich · November 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I found the article “Can men and women just be friends” very amusing. This concept seems to always be questioned and thought about, especially on a college campus in a town that has such a high population of students ranging in age 18-30. As a female, I have always been a strong believer than men and women can just be friends. Personally, I think a lot of friendships with males can be less stressful and more drama-free than relationships with all females. I have never really considered that males may read more into the friendship than females, but now that I’m seeing it in writing, I can definitely see instances where this type of behavior can be evident. I was a little surprised that most feelings originated with males, rather than females, but it makes sense that if a guy had an opportunity with a female friend, he would probably take it if he was single. I found this article very enlightening and plausible as well; I could definitely agree with the author in a few parts of the article and got a laugh out of it. Good read.

jblangle · November 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

After reading the “sleep deprivation and obesity” article it was quite interesting to see that there is a link between the two. It is tough to see if this can be correlated back to how your job can have a negative impact because of the fact that individuals are working longer hours, which is resulting in lack of sleep and also eating habits. It will be interesting to see if research can find any differences between individuals that are living a healthy lifestyle and getting the recommended hours of sleep so that they could cross examine the results.

mminor · November 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

I found the article on baby laughter and humor to be a really neat read. Maybe it’s the simplicity of finding out what makes babies laugh or the potential that the research has in treating cases of autism or other challenges facing many children these days. One particularly interesting fact was that babies tend to find daddy more funny than mommy. I wonder if this correlates with the fact that daughters derive their sense of humor from their fathers. And in that case is it just the biological father that the babies will find more funny and learn their sense of humor from or do adoptive fathers and step fathers have the same effect?

AlexandraKanemaru · November 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I found the article, “Men and Women Can’t Be ‘Just Friends'” to only enforce my belief that men have a harder time being just friends with women rather then vice versa. I found this as almost comical because I recently just debated this topic with a couple friends and we came to this conclusion almost unanimously. The idea that men view their attractiveness on how attractive they deem themselves is a known fact of the social sciences, which I also found comical, because it at times is a far off judgement. Likewise, the idea that women are often times oblivious and naive about this situation was not overwhelmingly surprising. After hearing about MTV’s new reality series “Friendzone” I believe this show enhances on a less scientific level that males have a harder time being “just friends” with women. This show is based on friends of the opposite sex where one has romantic feelings for the other. In all the episodes I have watched the women who confess their feelings towards their male friend are happily embraced and the feelings are reciprocated. However, when the male friend bombards his female friend and confesses romantic feelings, awkwardness is bound to ensue and the women usually never reciprocate romantic feelings. Thus, furthering evidence that men have a harder time drawing the line between “just friends” and a romantic partner.

AlexandraKanemaru · November 6, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I found the article, “Summer Babies Less Likely to be CEOs, Research Finds” interesting but however possibly misleading with some confounding variables. Although the statistics show that most CEO’s are overwhelmingly born in April and March rather then the summer months, I personally find this data as very beneficial, being an April baby myself. First, I agree that the education system may influence the way in which a student develops throughout the lifetime. If a student is older in school when they first enter then they may be more confident therefore a better leader and thus a better CEO. With this being said I am interested in finding out whether the education system will change the way in which cut-off dates for school admission falls.

limjstephanie · November 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I found the article, “Men and Women Can’t be ‘Just Friends'”, to be very entertaining. I feel like this question is frequently being debated in today’s society. Being a women, I can honestly say that my answer would be the same as those in the study. I’ve never really took the time to sit down and think about this topic before but, being a girl I kind of find it hard to believe that my guy friends would see me as physically attractive and what not. I suppose its hard for me to put myself in their shoes because I can’t imagine thinking about looking at my friends in that way further supporting this study.

csommo · November 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm

While reading the article on sleep deprivation and obesity, I couldn’t help but wonder: isn’t this relationship a bit obvious? The more hours one is awake, the more opportunity one has to eat. Although, reading about the different hormones that affect us in terms of eating and sleeping was quite interesting. I am curious to see if there is further research done on this topic.

csommo · November 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I found the article on babies’ laughter very intriguing. I think it was a very smart approach to study an infant’s laughter rather than an adult’s (or just an adult’s). This is because an infant is so pure in terms or opinions and experiences. An adult may find something funny because he or she can relate it back to a past experience, someone they know, or a view that they have. Infants, however, have yet to have the opportunity to gain such experiences, which is why studying their laughter would be the easiest way to decipher what it is that makes humans laugh. I was really interested in this article and in Dr. Addyman’s findings.

PaigeBroderick · November 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm

In regards to the article “what is he really thinking when he says he wants to be friends”, I found the conclusion to be completely in sync with all my past experiences with male friends. For whatever reason, us girls always think this time will be different and he really does just want to be friends. However, what I found to be the most interesting aspect of the article is that men reported finding their female friends just as attractive regardless if they were single or taken. To be fair, I think this c has to be taken with a grain of salt. Guys are usually stereotyped as much more sexually aggressive than women. But, I recently had a male friend express interest even though I am currently in a relationship. So, do most males in platonic relationships feel this way but only a few disregard social norms and express interest regardless? It seems that women are better able to supress these desires than men are.

jennamcbee890 · November 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm

In the article “Men, not women, are better multitaskers: Swedish Study,” I found it interesting that this information somewhat paralleled the information we learned in class about differences in men’s and women’s cognitive and spatial skills. The study states that the performance gap differs in regards to the females menstruation cycle, with them being lower when oestrogen levels were low. This makes sense with what we learned in class in regards to women’s and men’s testosterone levels. When women had more testosterone they were generally better at spatial skills, such as a man’s. I found this information interesting to compare to my own family. My brother and my dad are actually awful multi-taskers and cannot pay attention to more than one thing at a time. My mother and I both very good at multi-tasking and keeping up with various projects at the same time. It is clear to me that there must be some variation between individuals and maybe further into the genetic codes of offspring of differing fathers or mothers.

viviannethorbecke · November 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

What is behind a baby’s laugh?
This article was very interesting. Any observations having to do with baby’s laughter would be fun because a babies laughter is just too cute! Laughter, as it says in the article, is next to tears are the most genuine expressions from children. Babies have not been clouded with the worries of the world so their laughter can, for sure, be very genuine. Also, the fact that you cannot make a baby laugh on demand is a good showing that the laugh is genuine. The biggest breakthrough of this article is definitely the consideration that children with Down Syndrome and Autism will interpret the stimuli differently than babies who do not have those conditions. My main question is how do they react differently?

viviannethorbecke · November 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Not born in the summer? No worries, you’ve increased your chances to be a CEO
It takes a certain kind of person to be a CEO but I never considered that it could be the month of the year that they were born that was affecting them at their job. It makes sense that the students who are younger are less intellectually developed then the older students in the class. The younger students in the class are going to be lower on the grade scale. This can
subconsciously make the children feel inferior and the children getting good grade s have a higher confidence level. Those children with a higher confidence level will act more like leaders than the other children. These leaders on the playground will grow up and become leaders in the working field as CEO’s. The attitudes you adopt early in life might have more of an effect on you later in life than you think. This should not affect your lifestyle, though, because there are more factors that can influence wether you become a CEO or not.

VeronicaVasquez · November 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

The article “Men and Women Cant be “Just Friends”” seems to be very accurate on concluding men are the ones who are for the most part unable to be just friends. It was daunting to read elder men who were married felt becoming romantically involved with a female friend would be a positive outcome. This article is already making me mistrust my future husband.

EricaOhye · November 25, 2012 at 3:04 am

I found the article that discussed whether or not women and men can be “just friends” to be very interesting and coincidentally very applicable to my life right now. In a college situation the ambiguity of dating is clouded even more by co-ed living situations and with Fall quarter coming to a close something my friends and I have been wondering is if it is possible to live with guys or could that eventually get messy? My female friends and I thought it would be possible, while on the other hand we recently found out the guys see things differently with promise for romance if we were to live together. I think this has something to do with the fact that men are more likely to choose to befriend a woman because he finds her to be physically attractive, where as a woman is more likely to befriend a man because she likes his personality. Even though I think living with a guy would be easy as long as I know there is no physical or romantic attraction on my part I have always been skeptical because I believed, like the studies showed, that men are more likely to want to pursue a romantic relationship with a female friend.

EricaOhye · November 25, 2012 at 3:09 am

As far as sleep deprivation and obesity is concerned I find myself wondering about other confounding variables that were unaccounted for in the article. For example, who’s to say that those who are sleep deprived don’t just have overall unhealthier lifestyles? I wouldn’t find it hard to believe that people who are sleep deprived are also just short on time in all aspects of life. Maybe having a more demanding job, leaving less time to cook meals, more going out to eat, less time to exercise, etc. The one thing I did find really interesting was the fact that sleep deprivation increases the production of the hormone called ghrelin. I remember learning that ghrelin was a hormone that stimulated hunger.

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