human behavior

The Faith Middleton Show
12:26 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

The Science of When We Laugh and Why

Credit Chris Huggins/flickr creative commons

Humor, like pornography, is famously difficult to define. We know it when we see it, but is there a way to figure out what we really find funny—and why?

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon December 8, 2014

The Challenges of Management; Ira Glass Previews Show at Yale Rep

Phil Whitehouse Creative Commons

It seems that all too often, bosses get a bum rap from their employees. But why?

This hour, we talk to management expert Bruce Tulgan about his new book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems. We learn about some of the challenges managers come up against in the workplace, and find out some of the best ways to handle them.

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Mental Health
2:18 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Biological Explanations for Mental Health Symptoms Make Clinicians Less Empathetic

Credit Commerce Marketing Communications Photography / Texas A&M UNiv

A new Yale University Study reveals a negative bias toward mental health patients whose symptoms are explained biologically.

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Technology
6:40 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Twitter Targets Trolls With New Rules On Abuse

An image from a Twitter video shows how a user would report harassment under a new process announced Tuesday.
Twitter

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 8:48 pm

Saying it wants to build "a safer Twitter," the company is announcing changes to two areas: how it handles harassment and the tools that let users block people who've sent abusive messages. One woman who has experienced such abuse calls the change "a big step up."

Twitter announced the changes in a blog post Tuesday, which reads in part:

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Europe
3:35 am
Mon December 1, 2014

German Government May Say 'Nein' To After Work Emails

German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses a mobile phone during a meeting of the German federal parliament in Berlin, on Nov. 28, 2013. The country's labor minister supports a call that would prohibit employers from sending emails to employees after normal business hours.
Michael Sohn AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

All of us are familiar with the sound a smartphone makes when an email or text has arrived. Our somewhat Pavlovian response is to pick up the device, see who the message is from and read it.

In Germany, a growing number of these emails come from the boss contacting employees after work. That's not healthy, say experts on work-related stress, including psychologist Gerdamarie Schmitz in Berlin, who is feeling the technological encroachment herself.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:07 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Would You Survive a Life-Threatening Disaster?

The Honduras Gulf from a 12-foot fishing boat.
Josh Glovo Creative Commons

John Aldridge, a 45-year old lobster fisherman from Long Island, flew off the back of his boat when a plastic handle supporting a box hook snapped with the power of his pull. He grabbed at the side of the boat, missing it by inches before landing in the water at 3:30 am, alone and stunned, as the boat sped away with his partner sleeping in his cabin. They were 40 miles off the coast of Montauk, Long Island. First, yelling, then panic, then silence before he allowed himself to think he was going to die. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:58 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Go Ahead And Talk To Yourself. You're Not Crazy!

A man talking to himself. Photo from www.mybrainsolutions.com.

Do you talk to yourself? Is it a silent inter-narrative or do you talk aloud? What form of address to you use to yourself?

When I'm mad at myself I sometimes address myself as Colin. But, I sense that when LeBron speaks to himself as LeBron, it's more affirming. 

I talk aloud quite a bit. A hangover, I think, from growing up as an only child.

The Spanish and Argentine novelist Andres Neumann has a new work, "Talking to Ourselves," in which he explores the solitary inner narrative that each of us conducts either silently, aloud, or writing a diary. 

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:03 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Why Do We Volunteer to Help People in Other Countries?

Credit Horia Varlan/flickr creative commons

As elections are held across the U.S., raising the volume on what needs fixing in America, many Americans choose to work on helping citizens in other countries. Whether paid, or unpaid, we wonder what inspires work that says we are living now in a global village.

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Changing Clocks
1:01 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Why Lab Rats Don't Observe Daylight Saving Time

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 8:27 pm

Twice a year, most Americans do a truly bizarre thing. In coordinated fashion, we change our clocks an hour ahead or behind and proceed as if the new time tells us what we should be doing: when to eat, when to sleep, when to wake and when to work.

Earth, of course, spins and rotates on its merry course, unperturbed by our temporal machinations. If we used to wake after sunrise, we might now wake before morning light. If we used to drive home with the setting sun, we might now drive home in darkness.

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Costumes
6:56 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

So For Halloween You're Dressing Up As ... A Sexy Ebola Nurse?

Dallas-area resident James Faulk turned his yard into an Ebola treatment center for Halloween. But he has a serious side: His Twitter account raises funds for Doctors Without Borders, a group active in the fight against the virus.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 9:53 am

People living in the United States have little to no reason to fear contracting Ebola, a deadly viral illness causing an epidemic in West Africa. Yet on Friday night, some Americans will dress up in hazmat suits akin to what health workers wear when treating an Ebola patient.

And, of course, there's even a "sexy" version.

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:40 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Studio Artists Call-In: What Things Inspire Your Work?

Sandy Hook Remembered, Lula Mae Blocton, 2013

Scenes. Conversation. Politics. What inspires artists working in their studios?

Inspiration can come from the quiet of the mind, or, as we just noticed, the spark that results in art can be set off because of world events. Connecticut artist Lula Mae Blocton explains how her work on paper was inspired by events in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Ebola Outbreak
2:04 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Poll: Majority Of Americans Worried About U.S. Ebola Outbreak

An ambulance carrying Amber Vinson, the second health care worker to be diagnosed with Ebola in Texas, arrives at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Wednesday.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 8:24 am

How are Americans sizing up the threat from Ebola?

A Harvard School of Public Health poll finds that more than a third of Americans (38 percent) are worried that Ebola will infect them or a family member over the next year.

Most (81 percent) believe Ebola can spread from someone who is sick and has symptoms. And that's correct.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu October 16, 2014

The Challenges of Management; Exploring the Music of Madagascar

Phil Whitehouse Creative Commons

It’s National Boss’s Day, so today we’re diving into the world of office management. 

This hour, we talk to management expert Bruce Tulgan about his new book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems. We learn about some of the challenges managers come up against in the workplace, and find out some of the best ways to handle them.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:02 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Pondering Modern Love

Credit Javie Delgado, Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to improve on the poet, Rilke, who wrote, "Love consists of this, that two solitudes meet, protect, and greet each other." But did Rilke have to deal with Angry Birds and Snap Chat?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Thu September 25, 2014

The Anatomy of a Villain

Credit Anna Fox / Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, I was sick with the April flu, lying in bed in a New York apartment, and trying to distract myself by watching one of the film adaptations of "Nicholas Nickleby." I found myself repeatedly moved to tears, especially when anything good or kind happened. Okay, part of this was that I felt a little vulnerable, and may have over identified with poor tubercular Smike. But another part, I'm convinced, was the excitement generated by pure moral language, which you don't encounter so much in modern culture.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

America: The "No-Vacation Nation"?

One in four Americans gets no paid time off.
Krystal International Vacation Club Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Please Don't Take My Stuffed Animal Away!

Credit Roxanne Ready / Flickr Creative Commons

Take a few seconds to reminisce about your childhood "best friend." Maybe it was a boy, a girl, an imaginary friend, or perhaps a stuffed toy. This stuffed toy was your childhood confidant that you dragged everywhere, from the local supermarket to the preschool sandbox, a transitional object that temporarily stood between you and your relationship with your parents. 

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Mental Health
2:20 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You

Keith Negley for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:21 am

Chronic stress is hazardous to health and can lead to early death from heart disease, cancer and of other health problems. But it turns out it doesn't matter whether the stress comes from major events in life or from minor problems. Both can be deadly.

And it may be that it's not the stress from major life events like divorce, illness and job loss trickled down to everyday life that gets you; it's how you react to the smaller, everyday stress.

The most stressed-out people have the highest risk of premature death, according to one study that followed 1,293 men for years.

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Altruism
3:32 am
Mon September 22, 2014

The Biology Of Altruism: Good Deeds May Be Rooted In The Brain

Rob Donnelly for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:55 am

Four years ago, Angela Stimpson agreed to donate a kidney to a complete stranger.

"The only thing I knew about my recipient was that she was a female and she lived in Bakersfield, Calif.," Stimpson says.

It was a true act of altruism — Stimpson risked pain and suffering to help another. So why did she do it? It involved major surgery, her donation was anonymous, and she wasn't paid.

"At that time in my life, I was 42 years old. I was single, I had no children," Stimpson says. "I loved my life, but I would often question what my purpose is."

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:53 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Positive Living: The Generosity of Strangers

Credit Carnie Lewis/flickr creative commons

If you need a pick me up, join us for stories about strangers who were unexpectedly kind or generous. Call us if you were inspired to "pay it forward," or surprised to be the recipient of someone's generosity: (203) 776-9677.

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Parenting
3:37 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Kids' Perception Of Parents' Favoritism Counts More Than Reality

If a child feels like the odd person out, it could mean more problems in the teenage years, psychologists say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 5:32 pm

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? It can, researchers say, but not always the way you might think.

Less-favored children are more likely to be using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as teenagers, according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.

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Brain Science
1:32 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Some Things You Can Do In Your Sleep, Literally

After people learned to sort words while awake, their brains were able to do the same task while asleep.
Courtesy of Current Biology, Kouider et al.

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:23 am

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, according to a study by researchers in France. They think this may help 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.

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Electronic Devices
2:59 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Kids And Screen Time: What Does The Research Say?

LA Johnson NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 3:46 pm

Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and it may be inhibiting their ability to recognize emotions, according to new research out of the University of California, Los Angeles.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:19 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

How Personality Shapes Our Lives

Credit Willi Heidelbach/flickr creative commons

Respected researcher and psychologist John Mayer says we can become the best version of ourselves by building our “personal intelligence” to understand ourselves and perceive what makes others tick.

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Baseball
12:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

An Attempt To Explain The Magic Of The Ballpark

iStock

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 1:44 pm

No doubt some of the autograph seekers leaning across the fence straining for the baseball players' attention were in it for the money.

I suppose a baseball signed by the right person is worth something. Others were collectors working to complete their sets.

But most of us clumped up along the side of the dugout were fans — and our motives were of an entirely different nature.

Well, to be accurate, I wasn't begging for autographs. My kids were. I was there as a chaperone.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

America: The "No-Vacation Nation"?

One in four Americans gets no paid time off.
Krystal International Vacation Club Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

Read more
Child Development
9:23 am
Wed August 20, 2014

What Kids' Drawings Say About Their Future Thinking Skills

Researchers asked 4-year-olds to draw a child. Here's a sample of their artwork.
Twins Early Development Study/King's College in London

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:54 am

At age 4, many young children are just beginning to explore their artistic style.

The kid I used to babysit in high school preferred self-portraits, undoubtedly inspired by the later works of Joan Miro. My cousin, a prolific young artist, worked almost exclusively on still lifes of 18-wheelers.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:52 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Cupcakes, Cronuts, and the Future of Food Trends

Chris Prosperi, chef and co-owner of Metro Bis restaurant in Simsbury
Chion Wolff

Here's my theory just in case I don't get a chance to say it during the show: I think food has become more like sports. People kind of root for things. Ted Allen and Anthony Bourdain are more like sport stars than people whom you would seek out for actual cooking information. People go to Chelsea Market just because they know the Food Network is somewhere upstairs. And, because of that, there's a lot more pressure on food to be exciting. When you pick up the sports pages you want news, not just the same old same old. So, driven by that pulse and a group of media engines that flow alongside it, we always have new things to cheer for. Yay bacon salt! Go gastropubs! Today on the show: where food trends come from and why they succeed, or fail. 

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Mental Health
12:03 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Can You Relate to a Sociopath?

Credit Kevin Hutchinson / Creative Commons

"What is your value to the world or to anything if you're not useful?" asked M.E. Thomas, a self-proclaimed sociopath, and author of Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight, on The Colin McEnroe Show Thursday. She continued, "It gets to the fundamental question of what makes humanity valuable, and why we should treat anyone as a person."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:52 am
Mon August 11, 2014

The Scramble: Working Less, Misandry, and Violence in Auto Racing

Credit Ben Newton / Creative Commons

We cover a lot of the ground on The Scramble this hour. We starting with Maria Konnikova, a New Yorker writer, who’s going to lead me through a conversation about proposals for a drastically reduced work week, about ways in which having more choices may actually reduce our sense of happiness and fulfillment, and about the illusion that we can taste something—wine, in this case —in a state of pure isolation and detachment from outside influences. 

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