Innocence is bliss, but if you're looking to gain that edge in life, these studies will help

Innocence is bliss, but if you're looking to gain that edge in life, these studies will help

CultureDecember 22, 2012

SWEARING ALLEVIATES PAIN

We always knew there was a certain therapeutic effect in expressing a good string of expletives—now science is backing us up.

A recent study by British psychologist Richard Stephens (and the Brits know a bit about dirty words) suggests that swearing increases pain tolerance. The study measured pain tolerance by timing subjects to see how long they could keep their hands immersed in ice water. The subjects, a group of 67 college volunteers, were asked to repeatedly chant either an obscenity of their choosing or a neutral word, while keeping their hands underwater as long as possible.

It turns out that when the subjects cussed, they were able to endure the ice water 40 seconds longer on average that those who uttered neutral words, which is pretty fucking interesting shit to ponder if you’ve ever thought about joining a polar bear club.

It’s not clear how swearing achieves this effect, but researchers speculate the brain circuitry involved in swearing may link to emotional regions of the brain, rather than the neocortex, which controls neutral speech. The amygdala is suspected to be implicated since it controls the fight-or-flight response, which is triggered by the increased heart rate observed during a bout of cursing. These theories would imply that the use of vulgar language and the accompanying pain relieving effect has evolved as an adaptive survival mechanism.

Unfortunately, a subsequent study found that people who swore more than 60 times a day didn’t display the same pain relieving effects as those who didn’t.  Shhii…shucks


ELEPHANTS HOTTER THAN DONKEYS

Recent research examining precisely how appearance is linked to party affiliation has scientifically established that conservative women are twice as feminine looking than liberal women. The UCLA study discovered this phenomenon by feeding all 434 members of the House Of Representatives into the ‘FaceGen’ computer modeling system, evaluating over 100 subtle facial traits (eye shape, jaw shape, lip fullness, ect.) to assign representatives scores ranging from -40 (highly male-typed) to +40 (highly female-typed) comparative to each gender’s norm. They then compared these to the politicians’ corresponding DW-NOMINATE (a scale developed by political scientists to designate a politicians’ degree of conservationism/liberalism) scores to conclude that "Female politicians with stereotypically feminine facial features are more likely to be Republican than Democrat, and the correlation increases the more conservative the lawmaker's voting record” with the reverse being true for liberal women. This effect, the researchers saw fit to dub the “Michele Bachmann effect.”

That’s all and well, and while we’d rather bang Sarah Palin than Hilary Clinton (our definition of femininity), we certainly don’t want an intellectually-challenged prima donna making decisions for our country’s best interest when she’s oblivious to her own. The fact that an egotistical, irrational, and above all ignorant candidate has a serious chance to win the electoral vote, is not only terrifying to informed, rational citizens- it’s downright reprehensible.

Whether this is because femininity entails beauty, beauty predisposes stupidity (generally speaking), and the liberal argument against the Michelle Bachmann’s of our country over the entire female gender’s collective advancement of their entire gender requires further research. However, the amount of inherent aggravation amounting from the unwavering Republican position in the face of logic and science on women’s rights could very well be causing physical mutation on an evolutionary level.

"With the increasing emphasis on television and Internet video as a source of political news, a candidate's physical appearance is an important part of politics, especially political campaigns," Johnson said. "A considerable portion of the electorate may not be well-informed, and they may be making decisions based on subtle cues.” This effect was demonstrated recently by the debates, when Romney’s performance roused previously apathetic Republicans to his cause because of right wing media’s devastatingly ability to convince undecided voters that superior style and technique trumps the competition, regardless of the Romney/Ryan ticket’s political strategy of definitive deceit to obscure a forever-changing ideology. Examples like these, further contribute to the growing body of evidence suggesting voters may use shortcuts in forming impressions of political candidates; shortcuts so dangerously severe that the next leader of the free world could potentially be appointed with complete disregard to his/her integrity and substance of character- of lack thereof.


SMELLS LIKE ELDERLY SPIRIT

You know that stale, musty odor tinged with something far more acrid than mothballs? Well that Rooster readers, is the real reason why most families put grandma and grandpa at the end of the table, though we’ll never admit it’s not because they’re the most respected and valued members. That smell, according to a new scientific study, is the sole distinctive scent recognizable as a product of the effect of time on a human body.

This aromatic breakthrough research was conducted by having a group of 41 volunteers (all young adult to control for possible confounding variables) smell pads that were woven into the armpit area of specially fitted t-shirts that were slept in for 5 nights by 41 other volunteers. These participants were separated into 3 groups (20 to 30, 45 to 55, and 75 to 90): young adult, middle-aged, and elderly. The sniffers, after smelling 2 pads back to back were asked which belonged to the old person. It was also repeated for the other age groups; however, the only scent that was effectively discernible was the old.
Interestingly, the elderly aroma was rated as being less intense and less unpleasant than those from the younger groups.

So it would seem, that according to science old people smell, but they don’t stink like society believes they do. They smell in a certain, identifiable way that scientists can only speculate serves as a signal for old age. Additionally, research involving other animal species suggests that this scent serves an an indicator of "good genes,” which is the elderly’s version of an alpha male marking. Less optimistically however, it’s possible it’s not at all direct result of age; but an odor signaling failing health, such as increased inflammation. Whatever, the reason, we think it’s safe to think of it as the orafactory signal of your impending demise.