Psychology

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seem more scared than elated by United States smoking rates. They have migrated from a war on the world's top killer, smoking, to being in a war on a chemical, nicotine.

They needn't be concerned. Science and health have won, and it wasn't because of taxes on cigarettes or a cottage industry of anti-smoking ads built by a tobacco company settlement, it was because of peer pressure. In young people. As the American Council on Science and Health, a pro-science consumer advocacy group based in New York City, has said since the 1970s, smoking is a pediatric disease. In the past, 90 percent of smokers picked up the habit by age 18, making adolescence a critical time for smoking-prevention efforts.

All across America people are dreaming of a better life, thanks to the government-sponsored gambling event known as the Powerball Lottery.
Nomophobia, defined as smartphone separation anxiety,  is when people perceive smartphones as part of their extended selves.

Counselors, lawyers and therapists are aggressively pushing it as the fad diagnosis of 2017, but what behaviors and descriptors can help identify people with high nomophobia ? A new paper compares how people considered to have high and low nomophobic tendencies perceive and value their smartphones.
We know that corporations go where their market is. Whole Foods sets up shop in wealthy, progressive counties while smaller companies like Monsanto market to rural farmers. What about fast food companies? The claims have been that since there are obese people near places where high densities of restaurants exist, the restaurants must cause the obesity. Less considered is that people might move to where more food choices are and where those are dense, such as in cities, people tend to be more educated.
A theory is a very precise thing in science - yet some scientists can't resist using the term to lend intellectual weight to what may be a hypothesis and is likely just reasonable speculation. It's a large part of the reason why the term has become colloquialized, and 'wellness' is equivalent to gravity in the minds of some.

Physical science is not immune. String Theory put theory in the name, so it gets to skate on the edges of truth, but theoretical physicists are trying to recapture the Golden Age of the 1930s, plus write a bestselling book. Astrophysics should know better. Yet many have still used the word theory to describe the "glitch" and "wobble" detected among pulsars, despite having no basis for it.
No, this post is not about some exotic new physics model predicting dark photons or other useless concoctions which physicists sometimes entertain with, in their frustration for the lack of guidance from experimental data of what really is it  that the Standard Model is an effective theory of. For that kind of stuff, please wait and check out my blog at some other time.
Kids are stimulated by new experiences. So are pigs. If you watched the 2014 video where a camera falls out of a plane and crashes into a pig sty you saw how intrigued they were by it, even though it clearly was not food.



A new study says that such "consumerism", a preference for shiny new stuff, is universal across the animal kingdom. And they showed it in piglets.
Mothers supportive of their children's negative emotions rate their children as being more socially skilled than teachers do. Not really a big surprise, parents often think the way they have chosen to do things is the best way, even if their kids seem like many to be, well, brats.

Mothers’ supportive reactions were instead correlated to fewer socioemotional skills and more problem behaviors by third-grade teachers, who obviously see a different side of children.

Nonetheless, these contrasting patterns suggest a potential downside to mothers’ supportiveness of children’s negative emotions for third-grade children’s social adjustment in school. Or not, since it's surveys.

In this writing, I want to show how common psychological biases lead to the (largely incorrect) belief that young people in their adolescent years are incompetent, immature, and incapable of responsibly making decisions for themselves. In particular, it is evident that, while very young children are naturally incapacitated, at some point people become competent to make decisions for themselves, enter into contracts, and work, however, most of the world draws the line at an inappropriately high age.

Type “BPA” and “toxic” into Google and you get more than 500,000 results, many detailing how this chemical additive, which is used to strengthen plastics and line metal cans to prevent food poisoning, is disrupting your endocrine system and slowly killing you. It’s in your urine! It’s in your blood!

The first Google page is dominated by dire warnings of imminent health catastrophes, some even linking to articles on presumably legitimate websites, such as Newsweek, Mother Jones, Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Infertility. Destroys your body. Impotence. Heart Disease. Cancer.