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human behavior

Is failure a positive opportunity to learn and grow, or is it a negative experience that hinders success? How parents answer that question has a big influence on how much children think they can improve their intelligence through hard work, a study says.

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.

Spoiler Alert! It's a Discussion About Spoilers

Apr 14, 2016
Josh Engroff / www.flickr.com/photos/engroff/

Do you like spoilers? Hate them? Whether it involves sports, television, books or movies, has a spoiler ruined something for you? Enhanced it? Do you practice spoiler etiquette?

Javier 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?

The Placebo Effect

Apr 6, 2016
CHRISTIAN SCHNETTELKER / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

epSos .de / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s national distracted driving awareness month again, which means police will be out on the state’s roads and highways checking to see if you’re using your phone while you're driving. But it’s a targeted effort and not all police departments participate. 

WNPR Voicemail Project: Spoiler Alert!

Apr 5, 2016
Josh Engroff / www.flickr.com/photos/engroff/

Do you like spoilers? Hate them? We want to know your experience with them. 

North Country Public Radio

Reporters describe Donald Trump events as frightening and unsettling for those in the media. Trump relegates the media  to rectangular pens they're not allowed to leave, singles out reporters with personal insults and refuses entry to those he doesn't like, and whips up his crowds against reporters he says are "very dishonest people." Will there be a free press under a President Trump?

Betty Wants In / Creative Commons

Since its discovery in 1900, adrenaline and pop-culture have gone hand-in-hand. From extreme sports, to the latest energy drinks, to pulse pounding Hollywood blockbusters, the rush of this hormone is portrayed in countless ways.

But these portrayals seldom tell the whole story. So what exactly is adrenaline, and why does our society seem so keen on celebrating it?

Kat Northern Lights Man / Creative Commons

If you’re at a crosswalk, do you wait for the walk signal to cross to the other side? Or do you just cross when there's no oncoming traffic? What if you’re with other people, or children? 

That’s what researchers at the University of Connecticut and Manchester Community College are asking in a survey they hope to circulate online. 

Wikimedia Commons

Could King Henry VIII have suffered from the same brain injuries affecting some modern-day football players? That's the question at the center of a new study looking at traumatic brain injury. 

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Ficre Ghebreyesus and Elizabeth Alexander were born two months apart in 1962, he in Eritrea, she in Harlem. They didn’t meet until 1996. He was an artist and a chef at a New Haven Eritrean restaurant he owned with his brothers. She was a poet and professor. She had been teaching at the University of Chicago, where she had also met a senior lecturer named Barack Obama. She married Ghebreyesus. She delivered Obama’s 2009 inaugural poem. In 2012, a few days after her husband’s 50th birthday, he died abruptly. Her new book, “The Light of The World,” tells that story.

Watch How This Hustler Does His Work

Jan 29, 2016
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The art of the con can be pretty fascinating, but we often make the mistake of thinking we’re not vulnerable. One hustler stopped by WNPR to demonstrate how it’s done. 

Osseous / Creative Commons

Dr. Bill Petit spent Sunday, July 23, 2007 playing golf with his father. The day was sunny and hot and a great day to be outside. His wife and two daughters spent the day at the beach. Life was good - until it wasn't.

Within 24 hours, his wife and daughters would be murdered, his home burned, his belongings gone. The trauma would render him unable to return to his medical practice. 

At the start of the work week, many offices from Virginia to New York are closed, and road crews are working to clear streets as residents dig themselves out of a blizzard's snowfall. Flight schedules, riddled by cancellations, will likely take days to get back to normal.

They're coping with massive amounts of snow that, despite all the shoveling and plowing, will only start to go away once temperatures rise — something that will happen emphatically Tuesday, when much of the Interstate 95 corridor in the Mid-Atlantic will see melting from temperatures in the 40s.

Bansy / Creative Commons

Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon with the Royal Canadian Navy, had to think quick when his ship came upon a rickety boat with mangled and bloody bodies. at the height of the Korean War in 1951. As the only doctor on board, he quickly moved to operate on 19 men, all of them his enemies in this war. All survived, making the young doctor a hero.

Except he wasn't really a doctor. 

An Islamic center and mosque in Worcester is taking a proactive approach to confronting Islamophobia.

The Worcester Islamic Center is holding an event Saturday that it’s calling “Meet a Muslim Day.” It’s designed to get members of the public who may not know much about Islam — beyond the headlines — to learn about the faith practiced by about one-fifth of the world’s population.

Ugly Dolls / Flickr

What does it mean to say that someone, or something is ugly? For a label that gets tossed around so often, its meaning is hard to pin down. Perhaps that's because, throughout history and around the world, our notions of ugliness have shifted considerably.

Willle Stark / Flickr Creative Commons

Coincidences happen to everyon, wwhether it's hearing a song you've been thinking about all day on the radio, or running into an old acquaintance whose name recently came up in conversation. For events so seemingly unlikely, coincidences certainly have a way of happening quite often. And now, after much study, psychologists and mathematicians think they know why.

Lindsay Zier-Vogel / The Love Lettering Project

When was the last time you sent a letter? Not an email, but a real, tangible piece of mail? If your answer is "not recently," you’re not alone.

Except for the occasional birthday or holiday card, most of us haven’t sent -- or received -- good, old-fashioned snail mail in a very long time. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I first met cartoonist Bill Griffith back in the 1980s. I arranged for us to tour a Boston-area Hostess Twinkie plant, which sounds like a weird first date but makes perfect sense if you're familiar with his creation "Zippy the Pinhead," an unwitting surrealist who swims happily through a sea of taco sauce, processed cheese and, well, Twinkies.

The Placebo Effect

Dec 1, 2015
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

©Signed, Sealed & Undelivered Team, 2015. Courtesy of the Museum voor Communicatie, The Hague, The Netherlands

Deadbeat husbands, horrible bosses, and unplanned pregnancies are just a few of the topics written about in a recently-rediscovered chest found in the Netherlands containing hundreds of late-17th century letters.

A researcher at Yale is examining this "postal treasure trove," which is packed with all sorts of historical artifacts. 

Geoffrey Fairchild / Creative Commons

President Obama spoke with frustration last month at a press conference after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

He asked if anybody really still believes we need more guns and fewer gun safety laws.

Mass shootings are a big problem, but the majority of gun deaths are from homicide, accidental shootings, and suicide. The common denominator in all of them is easy access to guns.

Willle Stark / Flickr

Coincidences happen to everyone -- whether it's hearing a song you've been thinking about all day on the radio or running into an old acquaintance whose name recently came up in conversation. For events so seemingly unlikely, coincidences certainly have a way of happening quite often. And now, after much study, psychologists and mathematicians think they know why.

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