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Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts

March 11, 2014

Why We're Wired to Binge-Watch TV

In this day and age of microblogging, distracting smartphones, 140-character tweets, and compulsive multitasking, it seems a little backward that one of the top post-workday hobbies of young folks is to become completely engrossed in the complicated storylines of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards for hours on end.

A new type of consumer has evolved in recent years—the love child of the Couch Potato and the Channel Surfer, raised by streaming devices and nurtured by entire seasons of shows available at the click of a remote.

For just a few dollars a months, subscribers to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video have access to thousands of streaming movies and TV shows updated regularly. And with Netflix’s new post-play feature, which prompts viewers to play the next episode just as the credits of the last one begin rolling, it’s easier than ever to succumb to the captivating lure of Walter White and Frank Underwood.

Indeed, the birth of the “binge-watcher” has been an intriguing, unexpected development in the past five years. Neuroscience, it turns out, can partially explain the phenomenon.

December 8, 2012

How stores trick our senses to make us buy more (Part 1 of 5: Taste)

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

...a bunch of crap I really didn't need.

With just sixteen shopping days until Christmas, it's easy to get roped into buying things we might not actually have on our gift list.

Most times, we're conscious of our impulse purchases—there's a great sale on this! I'll use that later!

But sometimes reasons for our frivolous purchases are not so obvious to us. Don't feel too bad—store chains actually hire researchers to study our shopping patterns and take advantage of our weaknesses.

Our brains are endlessly fascinatingly organs—but sometimes they betray us. The following is the first post in a five-part series on how stores trick our senses into shelling out more money than we may intend.

April 6, 2012

Clothes make the man—literally

In the sleep research lab where I'm currently completing my rotation, we are bringing back students for a follow-up study. Most of them don't seem to recall the uncomfortable beds or having electrodes pasted to their scalp from their baseline test, which was done back when they were in elementary school. (For our sake in recruiting participants, that's probably for the best.)

Nowadays they're older, wiser, more self-aware, and, as teenagers, a bit more judgmental. The researchers in charge of performing psychometric testing—new college grads and not much older or taller than the participants themselves—recently made an interesting observation: if they wear a white coat when interacting with the participants (and their parents), they receive more respect.

According to a study by Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky of Norwestern University, it's possible that our psych testers not only look more professional, but subconsciously feel more professional. In other words, the clothes may literally make the man (or woman).

The study, published February in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychologyobserved an interesting phenomenon: wear a white coat you believe belongs to a doctor, and you'll be more focused. Wear a white coat you believe belongs to a painter, and you won't see that improvement.

September 23, 2011

Rituals, overeating, and...stale popcorn?

Baseball game = hot dog.

Carnival = cotton candy.

Birthday = cake.

And, of course, movie theater = popcorn.

Our culture dictates these rituals, and we are happy to comply. But does this sense of ritual subconsciously force us to continue eating, even if a particular serving isn't quite so yummy?