human behavior

Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.

In fact, it's essential.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Maybe Holden Caulfield was onto something when he ranted about "phoniness." This June, Michael Sharpe  resigned as CEO of FUSE, a Hartford-based charter school management company, when it came to light that he was not, in fact, a doctor, as his biography might have you believe.

That got us thinking about faking it: Why do people commit resume fraud? What is with our obsession with titles? What happens when someone adopts a whole new identity?

In the past decade, texting has become more and more popular, and is even a primary means of communication for many people. But are there rules to these 160 character messages?

Does every message warrant a response and is it ever appropriate to thumb a message during a meeting?

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This week on The Nose, our culture roundtable, we'll tackle "Columbusing," the act of believing that something never existed before you discovered it. Also, this week's biting episode in the World Cup makes us wonder if vampires are setting a bad example.

Of all of the things that were a big deal as a sprouting toddler, learning to talk was one of the major milestones.

"Ma-Ma," we uttered, wide-eyed, to camcorder lenses and disbelieving parents. "Da-Da."

Talking is a big part of who we are as humans: as families, as business partners — as a society. It's arguably one of the most powerful forms of expression, alongside writing and art. We use our voices to ask questions, to deliver bad news, to tell someone we love them.

In the stuffy, little gymnasium at Richard Kluge Elementary in Milwaukee, 16 boys and girls are stretching, jumping and marching to music.

Two years ago, the school had no gym, art or music classes due to budget cuts. But now, Kluge students get a so-called "special" class three days a week.

Liz / Creative Commons

The emotional cuts of daily life are endured by all of us, but one of the most frequent cuts, rejection, can lead to profound consequences—four different psychological wounds.

According to our show guest, Dr. Guy Winch, The Squeaky Wheel blogger for Psychology Today, "Rejections elicit emotional pain so sharp it affects our thinking, floods us with anger erodes our confidence and self-esteem, and destabilizes our fundamental feelings of belonging." 

Erin Pettigrew/flickr creative commons

A remark? A cash loan? An affair? It's impossible to get through this life without wishing you could take something back. Torturing your sibling? Deciding to leave one job for another? Or, deciding to stay at a job long after you realized you had bigger fish to fry?

A study published Monday suggests Americans are less afraid of hurricanes with female names.

This is a real study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — not The Onion.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State looked at deaths caused by hurricanes between 1950 — when storms were first named — and 2012.

John Bartelstone / Jeffrey Berman Architect

Doctor's offices and hospitals may not always be stunning examples of architecture, but both architects and doctors are thinking of how designs can put patients at ease and help them heal.

Not so long ago, while enjoying a libation in a decorous saloon, the proprietor — who happened to hail from the fabled Windy City — suddenly jarred the genteel assembled by turning on the Cubs game. Just at that moment, a Cubby was heading toward the plate when the throw came in, and the runner (spoiler alert!), being a Cub, was tagged out.

Bullying is a behavioral problem often associated with children in grade school, but according to a recent Zogby poll commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they've experienced abusive conduct at work.

Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.

Neil Fowler/flickr creative commons

The pediatric oncologist Mark Greenberg says in his riveting TED talk, that medicine is losing its vision of healing. “We are not health care providers,” he notes pointedly. “We traffic in healing.” Greenberg knows what he's talking about, and not only because of his long history treating severely ill children. He lost his own child to cancer.

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour on The Nose, we lead off with a Gallup poll in which Connecticut ranked second, just a tick behind Illinois, as one of the states people are most eager to leave. Half of the Connecticut people polled said they'd like to move out.

Now, it would be a mistake to ascribe this to any one thing. Property taxes, job market, unfriendly people, dormant cities, and cold weather all play a role, but I can't help but wonder whether Connecticut temperament itself also plays a role. People from Wisconsin would be less likely to say a bad word about the place, even if they had all their belongings packed. That's just now how they talk about life.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

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.

My first hint that a recent column on diversity in late-night TV had made an impact came when I saw a tweet from an old acquaintance.

He runs a website and blog devoted to covering television and had decided to write a post based on my audio story on late-night TV. He then sent out a Twitter message with the headline:

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?

It was late, almost 9 at night, when Justin Holden pulled the icy pizza box from the refrigerator at the Brookville Supermarket in Washington, D.C.

He stood in front of the open door, scanning the nutrition facts label.

A few days ago, I wrote a post in which I was mulling just why so few Asian-Americans played Division I basketball. The numbers were striking: of the 5,380 men's players in the top tier of college basketball during the 2012-2013 season, only 15 were Asian-American. Asian-American ballers weren't just underrepresented. They were practically invisible.

Customers chat, read the paper and order sandwiches and espresso drinks at the counter of August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, Vt., but there's something different here. Where there used to be the familiar glow of laptop screens and the clicking of keyboards, now the devices are banned.

"I was here working on my laptop when I looked over and saw that there's a sign that says 'laptop-free,' " says Luna Colt, a senior at the University of Vermont.

Flickr user Ben Sutherland/Creative Commons

Fans watching major sports championship games in the U.S. sometimes riot afterwards. But unlike the fist fights that happen between fans of opposing teams in Europe, researchers found that U.S. fans riot if their team wins.

As the first woman to lead the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde is among an elite group of people determining how money is saved, spent and invested worldwide.

It's not the first time she's been a "first." Lagarde was France's first female finance minister, and before that, the first woman to chair the global law firm Baker & McKenzie.

How Not To Name Your Baby

Mar 6, 2014

Six weeks ago today, I gave birth to a baby girl. Like her older sister, she spent the first few days of life without a name.

You see, my husband and I wanted to get our children's names just right, and that meant taking some time to consider the options and get a feel for how well they fit each new baby. But we also happen to be cognitive scientists of an evidence-based persuasion so, for us, it also meant gathering and analyzing some data.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last Sunday, we took a road trip into New York City, but before we left, I read Beth Boyle Machlan's New York Times essay about the joys she sometimes gets driving with her kids, and surrendering their collective eardrums to the serendipities of commercial radio. She learns some of their songs, they learn some of hers... Everybody gives up some of the fierce control we all maintain these days over what we call our "playlists."

Question: Which of these foods are said to stir passion? An oyster, and avocado or a turnip? (Scroll down to the bottom for the answer.)

One of these, at least, is a gimme. The stories linking oysters and other shellfish to lust go back to at least the ancient Greeks.

Think of the image of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, rising out of the sea from the half-shell.

"There's something primal about eating oysters," says oyster-lover MJ Gimbar. He describes them as creamy and velvety. "It's like a kiss from the ocean."

National Park Service

I'm trying to get my panelists for today's Nose interested in this, so I have to lay out some thoughts.

I will tell this story (a) without permission and (b) quoting only to the best of my abilities. A few years ago, Bill Curry and I, and some dogs, were walking in the meadows of Avon.

Somehow, we got onto the subject of deism, and I must have said it was difficult to believe in the existence of God, given all the devastation and profound  unfairness which overspread the world every day. And Curry turned and stretched his arms out as if to encompass the landscape. He's a big guy, which enhanced the effect.

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?

Jeng_Niamwhan/iStock / Thinkstock

Heroin use is on the rise in Connecticut and nationwide. According to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, heroin arrests and seizures in the northeast outpace the rest of the country, two to one.

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