Learning! Roundup: Cat Love is Real, Menu Order Matters, Suicide Interventions, and More!

New research shows that cat love is REAL and cats can be securely attached to their owners. That and more science in this week's Learning! Roundup
Photo by Jonas Vincent.

Cat Love is Real

I mean, I knew this all along, but it's nice to have science to back it up: cats aren't just aloof, heartless beings. They form attachments to their owners, and that attachment can even be secure or insecure. Now, of course, I am a bit worried to figure out whether my kitty is securely attached or not!

Menu Order Matters

Do you make your menu choices based on your actual desires and free will, or are you manipulated based on the order things are presented to you? According to a new study, the order makes a big difference. Researchers swapped the position of the regular Coke and Coke Zero on 511 self-serve kiosks at McDonald's and saw sales of Coke Zero rise and regular Coke fall.

New Suicide Intervention Points

For the first time, researchers have done an in-depth, large-scale analysis of patterns of behaviour for people before they commit suicide. The result is a much better understanding of common things that happen in the lives of people who feel they have no other choice but to kill themselves, including getting evicted and dropping their pets off at shelters. This means that health professionals have more opportunities to intervene and, hopefully, save lives.

Placebo Anxiety Reduction

I love love love the placebo effect! It's so wild and mysterious how a person can take a pill that has no active ingredients and still heal! Even wilder is the fact that they could know it's a placebo and STILL get the effect! A new study shows this very impact by giving college students placebos to help with their test-related anxiety. Spoiler alert: it worked.

Extraverted Introverts

Sometimes it feels like we are living in the age of the introvert: fear of missing out on social media has been replaced with joy of missing out and all the self-care strategies we discuss are really very introvert-specific (stay in, do a face mask, ignore your phone). While introverts are celebrating finally being accepted for their desire to avoid people, science says the opposite: that introverts are happier when they act like extraverts. This study asked introverts to force themselves to act like extraverts for a whole week and it found that their sense of well-being went way up!

Suffering and Compassion

If you've suffered a lot in your life, you are more likely to have strong levels of compassion for other people's suffering as well as to believe that you can do something to help it out. People who haven't suffered much were able to match the levels of compassion and belief in their ability to help when they were primed for empathy.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!