If you have yet to check out any of the TED Talks we have featured, start with this one!
You may know Mike Rowe from many things – Dirty Jobs, the show on the Discovery Channel, Ford commercials, and as the voice of many things, including many of the last Shark Week shows.
What you may not already know is the respect and reverence with which he treats all those he comes in contact with because of his show, and the adoration he has for each job he has done.
If you are cursing your cubicle walls (and swearing that they are closing in on you) than take a look at this and you will appreciate where you are – all while listening to an amazing adventure by Mike. Enjoy!
Ladies, have you ever had a moment when you just felt like dressing sexier than usual?
You know you’re heading into the office, but for some reason, that little black dress in your closet is the exact item you want to put on.
And when you put on that dress, you know that you look good – damn good. In fact, you know you will look better than every other woman that you pass today.
Want To Know The Science Behind The Sexy?
There is a reason why you may unconsciously choose to dress sexier – you may be ovulating.
While ovulating, once per month the female brain kicks into competition mode. You want to look better than other females in your local vicinity – those who may compete with you to attract the attention of the perfect man.
In this quest to look sexy and stand out, you may reach for the hottest little number in your closet.
While you may not wake up consciously thinking ‘Look Out World!’ your body’s processes (ovulation) send those sassy feeling signals to your brain for you.
Frankly, it is out of your control!
In the next issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management explains the connection between competition, ovulation, and a sexy dress.
This experiment was basically two in one. The goal was to see, as the researchers predicted beforehand, if “competition for a suitable partner would be influenced by a woman’s fertility status.”
The first question that Kristina Durante and others sought to answer was this: would an ovulating woman choose sexier clothing to wear than a non-ovulating woman, simply because her body was in that process?
To test this, researchers showed a group of women (in various stages of the body’s ovulation, including some women not ovulating at all as the control) color photographs of other women wearing different outfits – some staunchly conservative and others scandalously sexy – and then asked the women which of the clothing they desired.
If you’d like to read more on their methods and results before the article is published next month, check it out at the school’s website.
Spoiler Alert! The researchers were right and the ovulating women chose sexier items of clothing.
The second question that the researchers wanted to answer was about distance: does the sense of competing for a male’s attention only exist on a local scale (as in, competing against that other hussy who works in your office for the attention of the new male intern) or is the range bigger (as in, you live in LA and want to compete with women in NYC)?
Spoiler Alert 2! The sense of competition is only local. The participants were shown pictures of women who lived locally and of women who lived over 1,000 miles away. They were then given the sexy clothing test again.
This test showed that: “The majority of participants chose sexier products [when viewing the pictures of local women] than those who had seen pictures of women who lived over 1000 miles away.”
The results continued: “This change in consumer choice is not a conscious decision and non-ovulating women are not subject to this effect.”
Who Does This Study Really Benefit?
If you didn’t notice before, take a look back up in the body of this article…this study was sponsored by a business school, not a science/neuroscience related institution.
The findings of this study do not only benefit the world of science, they give consumer marketers a whole new weapon. The effects of ovulation on a woman’s shopping habits may have huge implications for consumer marketers for years to come. By targeting ovulating women, marketers may begin to feature more sexy clothing and products at times when women are most likely to buy:
“For about 5 to 6 days every month, normally ovulating women – constituting over a billion consumers – may be especially likely to purchase products and services that enhance the physical appearance,” said Durante.
What do you all think? Ladies, do you have a tendency to purchase sexier clothing and other items that make you look and feel better at certain times every month?
More so, and this question is open to everyone, how would you feel if you consciously knew that marketing advertisements and promotions were taking advantage of a monthly bodily issue? Would knowing that fact alone alter your shopping habits even further?
Let us know what you think!
Durante, Kristina M. “Ovulation, Female Competition, and Product Choice: Hormonal Influences on Consumer Behavior.” Journal of Consumer Research, issue to be released late 2010.
You’ve seen them all over the place. Advertisements with nothing but a celebrity and a product, like Tiger Woods for Tag Heuer watches (a few months ago, anyway) or Jennifer Aniston for Smartwater.
There is no point to the ads, no overwhelming themes we are supposed to come away with, and yet, advertising companies are convinced that by simply pairing a celebrity with a product, we will want it.
Are they right?
Yes, according to a joint study conducted by the Rotterdam School of Management and Donders Institute for the Brain, both in the Netherlands.
Past research had already shown that simply by pairing a well known celeb with a product, people will be more likely to recall the advertisement, even if it was around years and years before.
Example: “Better eat your Wheaties” – tell me you don’t remember who said that.
The present study sought to find the neurological underpinnings of our attraction to celeb-endorsed products.
To test our brain’s reaction to celebrity associations, 24 women were given fMRI scans as they were told to look at 40 color photographs of women wearing high-end shoes.
In the set of test photos, some of the women were famous and some were unknowns.
After testing all of the women and dissecting the scans, the team discovered that there was a difference in the reaction of the brain when exposed to the celebrity versus the non-celebrity.
It turns out the medial oribitofrontal cortex lit up more when exposed to a celebrity than to the plain Jane.
This is the section of the brain responsible for feeling affection.
The Affection Transfer
Does this feeling of affection transfer to an endorsed product?
The folks behind this research project say yes!
They believe that because the brain showed more activity in the parts related to semantic and episodic retrieval tasks, that: “the perception of a celebrity face results in the retrieval of explicit memories.”
Let’s continue with Jennifer Aniston as an example.
Jennifer Aniston was in Friends, and odds are that at some point, you watched Friends with some of your own friends, and happy memories were created at that time.
Your love of that memory is now connected to your memory of Jennifer Aniston. If you like the memories, you like the celebrity, and therefore you like the product.
Friends àJennifer AnistonàSmartwater.
This study is very encouraging for advertisers using celebrities. However, they still do not establish a real link between the transfers of all these positive recollections to the products in question. I would like to see them test the shoes worn by celebrities versus the shoes worn by non celebrities – then we would have something a little more direct!
Interesting note – some people are even interested in the concept of the celeb endorsement itself. When we were researching this article, we came across thousands of sites about ‘odd celebrity endorsements’ or ‘bad celebrity endorsements’ of embarrassing products.
Even the concept of celebs plugging goods is enough to garner an entire blog, can you believe it? Looks like our obsession is here to stay.
Check out this site, http://www.oddee.com/item_96843.aspx, which offers the 10 Strangest Celeb Endorsements – OJ Simpson and Hertz? Joe Namath and pantyhose? If that site does not fufill your celebrity desiring needs, just google it, there are thousands more…
Stallen, M. et al. “Celebrities and Shoes on The Female Brain: The Nueral Correlates of Product Evaluation in The Context of Fame.” Journal of Economic Psychology. Spring 2010, p 2-9.
If you are not familiar with Dunbar’s Number, let me explain it before we get going here.
Dunbar’s Number, also referred to as the Cortex Ratio, is the brainchild concept coined by Robin Dunbar in 1992. Dunbar is currently the professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University. He claims that human’s brains are only capable of managing a network of 150 people.
This does not mean people you know (obviously most of us come in contact/meet way more than 150 people throughout a lifetime) but the people you maintain genuine relationships with on a regular basis.
By studying the social formation and group cohesion of primates, Dunbar determined that the neocortex, the part of the brain used for conscious thought and language, could only manage a social circle of 148.7, or in whole person numbers, 150 friends.
Enter: Social Media
More recently, Dunbar’s Number has come under criticism from some who believe that social media and networking online makes Dunbar’s Number irrelevant.
Multiple works, including Collaboration by Morten Hansen, discuss the fact that weak relationships are not only important but necessary, because those weak relationships are what enable us to extend our current circles, and because we can keep more than 150 ‘weak’ ties very easily.
“Strong ties…tend to be worlds we already know; a good friend often knows many of the same people and things we know…Weak ties are also good because they take less time. It’s less time consuming to talk to someone once a month (weak ties) than twice per week (strong ties). People can keep up quite a few weak ties without them being a burden.”
To a certain extent, I agree here – social media does allow us to maintain a huge number of weak ties, like how Facebook announces birthdays and anniversaries, and you can follow what your friends are doing by looking at their Twitter or Facebook posts, without actually having to speak to them.
Honestly, for some ‘weak-tie’ friends, the only way I contact them is through social media – I don’t even have a few people’s phone numbers. How is that for weak?!
Other social media gurus also challenge the relevancy of Dunbar’s Number in today’s social media world.
Check out rebuttals from Jacob Morgan of Social Media Today here. Also, Chris Brogan’s “Beating Dunbar’s Number” article, seen here, discusses how not to deal with Dunbar’s Number, but how to organize your contacts to keep ‘strong’ ties with way more than 150, which Chris has to do in his profession. In addition to these, there are countless other articles that dispute Dunbar’s Number.
Questions, Comments, and Your Opinion, Please!
Obviously there are so many questions left unanswered here. Dunbar himself has expanded his investigations to include the phenomenon of social media and its effect on his earlier theories.
A few questions I have included:
-Do social networks only allow us to build weak ties with other people? Or do they allow you to have such a deep understanding of that individual that we don’t need to ‘check in’ with them more than once a month (Morten’s definition of how often we check in with a ‘weak’ tie friend).
-What does gender have to do with maintaining relationships? Are women better at this than men? Why?
-Since people tend to exaggerate about themselves on the internet, can you ever move from a ‘weak’ to a strong tie with someone only using social media? Or do you have to actually meet that person to increase your bond with them?
The questions are endless, so I found a couple videos that should help us to try to figure this all out. First, for a brief (5 minutes, really) introduction on the concept of Dunbar’s Number, delivered by Professor Dunbar, click the Play button below.
After you watch the video, tell us what you think!
For More Information:
If you’re looking for a longer explanation on the concept of Dunbar’s Number, click here. This 23 minute long video is excellent as Professor Dunbar explains his theory in relation to social media. Check that out, here.
And lastly, in case you’re interested at the background of the Dunbar Number, you can check out Dunbar’s past research, with many live links to articles, on his faculty page at Oxford University – Click here.
By now, you’ve probably seen the pictures of Drew Carey all over the ‘net (or here, taken from the ‘net) – he has lost over 80 pounds since January. He looks great, and he has firmly committed to keeping it off.
How did he do it?
His key (and yours, and mine) was and is good old fashioned exercise and a brand new menu.
His new regimen is quite strict – in addition to the “no donuts” rule he made for himself (good call there), he has taken a huge step to cut out grains and processed carbs completely!
In addition to changing his diet, he has committed to exercise as well, and hits the gym 5-6 times per week for 45 minutes each session.
But it was probably plastic surgery, or some miracle pill, right?
We read those rumors earlier this year, too. We had heard that thanks to his connections in Hollywood, he was taking a custom made nutritional supplement to curb his appetite. (Do we smell a cheater?!)
Now we are reading that this is not true, and Carey himself insists it is not true either.
He reported to People Magazine: “There’s nobody really standing over me. I do work with somebody who gives me advice on what to do, how many minutes to run, what my heart rate should be and all that kind of stuff.”
Straight from the horse’s mouth! (Or should it be “pony” considering he has lost so much weight?)
The Best Part
Thanks to Drew’s new healthier lifestyle, he has actually been able to get rid of his diabetes!
He was a Type-2 diabetic, and thanks to losing weight and becoming healthier, Carey reveals he is no longer considered diabetic and has stopped taking medication!
Carey continues to encourage himself – when he saw how his determination paid off, now wearing a 33 inch waist pant (down from a 44 inch waist), he became more determined to lose even more weight and regain his health:
“I like being skinny,” says Carey. “I was sick of being fat on the camera. Really, I just got sick of it.”
If the Price is Right host, who seemingly has every short cut method to losing weight just sitting there at his fingertips, instead chooses the old fashioned way of eating right and working out, is there any excuse left for us?
Pills Don’t Work
If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you know that popping pills does not help. Yes, you may lose weight, but you do gain it back – and usually you gain even more than you lost!
At the same time, however, it makes sense to want to try those pills. First, the commercials make them look like demigods in a bottle, and second, it is really hard to stay on a strict diet.
However, committing to a decent meal plan and moderate exercise is really the only tried and true way to take weight off and keep it off. You’ve got to have that desire, like Drew did, to want to change your lifestyle.
It looks like Drew made a change in the way he thinks about himself in order to make his incredible transformation; hopefully he keeps it up.
If you want me to discuss strategies that might allow you to make this kind of transformation, please comment at the end of this post. We have a lot of experience here!
When trying to impress a woman, past advice has included bringing her flowers, holding open doors, or perhaps an invitation to a romantic dinner.
The latest, scientifically proven advice to win a woman in 2010, you ask?
Wear a red t-shirt. No, we are not kidding.
The Ultimate Power Color
Red, like purple, has long been used to signify power, like on a monarch’s crown or even the dashing red cape of a bullfighter, to signify his dominance.
This continues today – celebrities walk down “red carpets” at premiers of movies and theater all the time, a royal space reserved for them only.
In more modern times, a sexy red dress on a woman has been proven time and time again to be the ultimate kryptonite against any man’s will. A “lady in red” (thank you, Chris de Burgh, for getting that song stuck in my head) is instantly thought to be provocative, powerful, and undeniably sexy.
Scientists at the University of Rochester in New York have revealed that there is a neuro-attraction to the color red in the human brain. There is no resisting temptation!
Back in 2008, researchers determined why men loved to see red on women. More recently, in the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, they have also discovered that this primal attraction to the color red exists in the brains of both males and females.
The fascinating field of color psychology dissects the connection between viewing a certain color and the messages that your brain instantly emits.
Daniela N. Kayer and her team found 288 female and 25 male University of Rochester undergraduates and showed them color photos of men in different color t-shirts (red, green, gray or blue).
The students (who identified as heterosexual or bi-sexual) were then asked a series of questions about the attractiveness of the man in the photo.
The questions ranged from, “How attractive is this person?” to their level of desire to kiss, date, or engage in sexual activity with the individual in the photo.
Non-sexual questions included were how kind the person in the photo looked, how successful he looked, and how friendly or outgoing he looked.
The non-surprising part of these results was that, just like men being attracted to women in red, the members of this group (mostly women) were similarly more attracted to men in red shirts than in any other color.
The surprising part is that the photos of men in red were not rated as being more likely to be successful or more sociable, two things I tend to think of as associations with red (celebs on a red carpet is the image that keeps popping into my mind).
The attraction of the red color was limited to a sexual viewpoint, not as a measure of success. Interesting, right?
Wearing the color red also seems to give athletes an advantage because it intimidates referees and the opponent. In multiple studies, it has been demonstrated that the “red” team gets more favorable calls than the “blue team”.
And a recent study just demonstrated that students who look at the color red before an exam actually end up doing worse! So even though red is sexy, don’t look at it – it might just make you feel inferior. When you wear it, you force other people to see it – giving you the dominant position.
Not Just for Humans…
It seems as if even non-human species hold red things in high regard, too, like the baboon with its fleshy, bright red behinds, which signify power and status. Like a human male with a red shirt, a baboon with a bright red behind is sure to capture the attention of a lovely lady.
So, our advice in 2010 for catching a new mate, whether you desire a male, female, or baboon – wear something red and wear it proudly, and you’ll be sure to attract some quality attention. Just don’t look at it before taking a test.
Elliot, Andrew J., and Daniela N. Kayser. “Red, Rank, and Romance in Women Viewing Men.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Volume 139, Number 3. Aug 2010, 399-417.
For so many of us, it is too easy to get caught up surfing the web for hours at a time.
It seems as if you can do pretty much anything over the internet – settle your bank account, check your email, follow friends on social networking sites, send an instant message, order a meal to carryout, shop for good deals, and so much more.
Have you ever wondered what other people are doing online?
Well, ponder no more, because the fine folks at the Nielsen Company (the people who rank and rate everything under the sun) have gone ahead and charted American internet usage, trying to determine just why it seems that everyone can waste spend hours and hours of time online, and what the heck it is that keeps us all so occupied.
My immediate reaction to this chart is to wonder exactly what ‘other’ is, and I have a sneaking suspicion I know exactly what that section of the pie is meant to denote!
What is most interesting about these results is that people seem to be using the internet mainly to communicate with other people (social media sites and gaming).
Again, instead of getting out and socializing – we are doing it through terminals! Weird, strange and true!
Check out the full story on the Nielsen Company blog for the full rundown.
How do you spend your time on the internet?