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“With animals, we often don’t know the reason for a behavior,”

Zoo Animals and Their Discontents [New York Times]
posted by Fizz on Jul 4, 2014 - 20 comments

Lawn maintenance for beginners

The approximate moment when grumpiness kicks in for men is around age 70. Researchers found that as men grow older — from, say, 50 on — they have fewer obstacles and annoyances to worry about in life and, furthermore, they are more equipped to deal with adversity. But around age 70, life — or at least the perception of happiness — begins to go downhill. [more inside]
posted by arcticseal on Apr 14, 2014 - 97 comments

Fireman uniforms, bust size, dogs and flowers: for science

Nicolas Guéguen is a researcher in human behaviour who runs curious and somehow whimsical experiments. With the help of a small army of "confederates", he studies the effects of various stimuli, including dogs, smiles, fireman uniforms, bust size (inflatable), hair color, music, flowers, figurines, touching, mirrors, names etc. on the courtship, sexual, helping, chivalrous, tipping, buying, hiring, compliance or eating behaviour of unsuspecting victims. Because not all experiments are successful, he has also published one failure in the Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis. Selected papers are listed below the fold. [more inside]
posted by elgilito on May 17, 2013 - 6 comments

Mooing Vuitton in the verdant fields of a mall.

"What was lost in the realm of economic exchange is reclaimed in the realm of cultural/semiotic performance. Branding also identifies the product relative to the chain of signifiers constituting its brand “family,” in the same way that ranchers brand livestock with the sign of their ranch." [via]
posted by nickrussell on Sep 15, 2010 - 11 comments

Getting in (and Out of) Line

Getting in (and Out of) Line [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Aug 8, 2010 - 33 comments

Parasite Parade

The parasite Toxoplasma makes rats lust for cat pee and people drive motorbikes. Other behaviour-modifying parasites include Cordyceps (YouTube) and Sacculina. (Warning: Icky.)
posted by Zarkonnen on Jun 4, 2010 - 33 comments

The Secret

Lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles. They are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good Those who think they're unlucky should change their outlook and discover how to generate good fortune, says Richard Wiseman (Via Lisa Hoover at Lifehacker) [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Feb 16, 2010 - 130 comments

A new link in the food chain.

Gulls attack whales.
posted by binturong on Jun 24, 2009 - 63 comments

Chimp throws stones, gets castrated.

Chimp stores weapons. After throwing cached stones at zoo visitors, the unfortunate animal had his own stones removed. Other examples of foresight and planning in animals are described here and here.
posted by binturong on Mar 9, 2009 - 73 comments

Music and the Brain

Cockatoos are much better dancers than macaws. Well that was my clear conclusion after watching the first two vid clips linked to why animals dance in this Guardian feature. And since this is from a serious researcher I don't think they are faked. For those with much more time, this site has an interesting podcast on the topic of music and the brain.
posted by binturong on Aug 19, 2008 - 21 comments

This story is about something called Radical Honesty. It may change your life. (But honestly, we don't really care.)

I appreciate you for reading this article. I resent you for snarking in the thread without reading it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 5, 2007 - 293 comments

No stop signs, speed limit, nobody's gonna slow me down

Are you annoyed with careless, rude, or stupid drivers? Instead of obscene gestures, obscenities, and aggressive tailgating, now you can snitch on them at PlateWire.com, a site where you can enter the license plate, vehicle make & model, and a description of the offensive behavior. Members can search for repeat offenders' license plates and contribute to the blogs.
posted by fandango_matt on Dec 20, 2006 - 37 comments

This is because the letter U is phonetically pronounced with a Y, Yooo.

Sarah Elizabeth Witt struggles to convey a word game [direct to quicktime] that caused her doctor to diagnose her as obsessive-compulsive.

"When I hear a word that starts with the letter U, I immediately gain access to the letter Y!"
posted by odinsdream on Nov 24, 2005 - 16 comments

Come a little closer now....

I yearn for your tasty flesh

[ Gene Study Finds Cannibal Pattern ] - "Deep in the recesses of the human heart, lurking guiltily beneath the threshold of consciousness, there may lie a depraved craving — for the forbidden taste of human flesh. The basis for this morbid accusation, made by a team of researchers in London, is a genetic signature, found almost worldwide, that points to a long history of cannibalism" (NYT)
posted by troutfishing on Apr 11, 2003 - 45 comments

Anger plays a key role in human cooperation.

Anger plays a key role in human cooperation. And not only that, anger is altruistic! The link covers a behavioral experiment probing individual versus group benefits, freeloading, punishment and altruism.
posted by NortonDC on Jan 9, 2002 - 9 comments

How Culture Molds Habits

How Culture Molds Habits is a fascinating article. Read this article, tally another point for nurture. I've long thought this was true, but Nisbett's supposedly gathered rather a lot of data proving it is so. The article raises some interesting parts of the study, but I think the ramifications bear some considering. I'd be interested in reading the full study when it's published, but I haven't a clue where to get the Psychological Review. And can you imagine what the advertising execs will do with this stuff? Ads tailored to the way you think. Wheee. It does, of course, raise some fun questions about religion and politics.
posted by fable on Aug 8, 2000 - 4 comments

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