FAVORITE CHILD: We all know which kid Mom and Dad liked best, and odds are you’re thinking it’s not you. But does that really make a difference?
Many if not most parents do have a favorite child. And though parents usually strive to hide that, it’s not always successful. That differential treatment has been linked to problems with family relationships and risky behavior in teens.
But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.
In families that weren’t particularly close, the child who felt less favored was more likely to be a substance abuser. The more dramatic the difference they perceived in preferential treatment, the more likely they were to be using.
But when family members were more engaged with each other, the perceived favoritism had less impact, at least when it came to substance abuse.
After people learned to sort words while awake, their brains were able to do the same task while asleep. (Current Biology, Kouider et al.)
THINGS YOU DO IN YOUR SLEEP: For those who find themselves sleeping through work — you may one day find yourself working through sleep. People who are fast asleep can correctly respond to simple verbal instructions. This may explain why you might wake if someone calls your name or why your alarm clock is more likely to rouse you than any other noise.
LOVE DESTINY OR JOURNEY? Do you see love as a union of two people who are destined to be together? Or is it more of a journey they undertake, facing obstacles and working together to overcome them? According to new research, how you answer these questions may affect how you handle relationship troubles.
Those who believe in ‘destiny’ put less effort into working through relationship conflict. If they are soul mates, then nothing will go wrong in the relationship, and it will be easy. A conflict makes a destiny-believer question whether the current partner is actually their soul mate, and then they give up on working it out.
There are two mind-sets — a fixed mind-set, which occurs when someone believes that personal qualities like intelligence are immutable, and a growth mind-set, which occurs when someone believes that skills and characteristics can be cultivated through effort.
Love lock (NYTIMES)
LIFE PURPOSE & LONGEVITY: People with a sense of purpose had a 15% lower risk of death, compared with those who said they were more or less aimless. And it didn’t seem to matter when people found their direction. It could be in their 20s, 50s or 70s.
It could be as simple as making sure one’s family is happy. It could be bigger, like contributing to social change. It could be more self-focused, like doing well on the job. Or it could be about creativity: produce something that is appreciated in written or artistic form, whether it’s music, dance or visual arts.
A sense of purpose may protect people against stress with all of its harmful effects, including greater risk of heart disease. And that may explain why people with a sense of purpose live longer.
SPEAKING IN A DEAD DIALECT: Growing up, I could feel the language of my parents wither and die like autumn leaves. They had immigrated to the United States from Calabria in the late 1950s and continued to speak the dialect of their poor southern Italian region, but it was a tongue frozen in time by exile and filled with words that no longer existed in their homeland.
He had only Calabrian words for the plants, procedures and tools. Each of his children had attained some form of higher education and, with it, freedom from the strife and poverty that had chased him from Italy. We now found his background primitive and remote.
I had so much to tell him but no way to say it, a reflection of our relationship during his lifetime. Without his words, I was losing a way to describe the world. Memories suddenly mattered more than ever before, and I didn’t know if I could find the language to keep them alive. Perhaps this Calabrian I now speak with my father is the truly dead dialect, the language that neither changes nor translates.
Social Media Dating (Lou Beach)
SOCIAL MEDIA DATING: 15% had used social media to ask someone out on a date. “Getting to know someone through social media could be much more appealing than using traditional dating sites because it was possible to get a more realistic impression of a person. While profiles on dating sites are often carefully contrived, people tend to let more of their individuality and personalities come through casual interactions on Twitter and Instagram.”
ARE YOU DESIRABLE? The old axiom says beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to initial impressions, this statement is not really true: Consensus about desirable qualities creates a gulf between the haves and have-nots. But the truth of this maxim increases over time: As people get to know each other, decreasing consensus and increasing uniqueness give everyone a fighting chance.
So if you do not have a high mate value, take heart. All you need is for others to have the patience to get to know you, and a more level playing field should follow.
Desire (Olimpia Zagnoli, NYTimes)
FAKE CULTURAL LITERACY: What we all feel now is the constant pressure to know enough, at all times, lest we be revealed as culturally illiterate. So that we can survive an elevator pitch, a business meeting, a visit to the office kitchenette, a cocktail party, so that we can post, tweet, chat, comment, text as if we have seen, read, watched, listened.
What matters to us, awash in petabytes of data, is not necessarily having actually consumed this content firsthand but simply knowing that it exists — and having a position on it, being able to engage in the chatter about it.
We come perilously close to performing a pastiche of knowledgeability that is really a new model of know-nothingness.
Whenever anyone, anywhere, mentions anything, we must pretend to know about it. Data has become our currency.
Because we spend so much time staring at our phones and screens, texting and tweeting about how busy we are, we no longer have the time to consume any primary material. We rely instead on the casual observations of our “friends” or the people we “follow” or, well, who, actually?
The lesson was not to immerse and get lost in the actual cultural document itself but to mine it for any valuable ore and minerals — data, factoids, what you need to know — and then trade them on the open market.
You Had Me at Hello: trustworthiness, aggressiveness, confidence, dominance and warmth. In less than a second, the time it takes to say “hello,” we make a snap judgment about someone’s personality.
The pitch of the untrustworthy voice was much lower than the male deemed most trustworthy. McAleer says this is probably because a higher pitched male voice is closer to the natural pitch of a female, making the men sound less aggressive and friendlier than the lower male voices.
All seem to perceive that one voice is the most trustworthy and another voice is the least trustworthy
Humans make split-second judgments about others based on the way they talk. (Katherine Streeter, NPR)
SLEEP CULTURE: This obsession with eight hours of continuous sleep is largely a creation of the electrified age. Back when night fell for, on average, half of each 24 hours, people slept in phases.
People fell asleep not long after dark for the “first sleep.” Then they awoke, somnolent but not asleep, often around midnight, when for a few hours they talked, read, prayed, had sex, brewed beer or burgled. Then they went back to sleep for a shorter period.
There is every reason to believe that segmented sleep, such as many wild animals exhibit, had long been the natural pattern of our slumber before the modern age, with a provenance as old as humankind.