What Matters More For Weight Loss? Diet Or Exercise (Health / Fitness)

We’re not saying you should choose between eating healthy and going to the the gym, but if you’re trying to lose weight and you can only do one, you know what they say: Abs are made in the kitchen. (Translation: eat healthier.)

If you’re hoping to lose weight, focusing on your diet could prove way more helpful than hitting the gym. Exercise burns comparatively few calories when you take food into consideration. A 30-minute workout might burn somewhere between 300 and 400 calories, but you could cut the same amount from your diet by giving up a bag of chips and a soda. Multiple studies confirm that physical activity doesn’t seem to be the deciding factor in whether people gain or lose weight, and that adjusting what you eat has a larger impact. This isn’t to say that exercise isn’t good for you—it absolutely is and has significant effects on your overall health and fitness. Combining exercise with a healthy diet can indeed help with achieving sustainable weight loss.

SO CAN I STOP WORKING OUT?

Not so much. Exercise still has plenty of necessary benefits: it can keep your brain sharp, your body healthy, and your emotional state in check. Losing weight and being healthy aren’t the same thing. But if you’ve got a New Year’s resolution to shed a few lbs and you’re feeling too lazy to work out, it’s still possible to achieve your goal. (Not that we endorse that.)


Hanging With your Friends Can Help You Live Longer (Psychology)

Ever wish you could cancel plans with friends in favor of staying in and watching TV? Been there. But as tempting as it is to stay in and binge-watch Legion, you will always be better served by hanging out with friends. In fact, one study found that low social integration is as bad for you as alcoholism, obesity and smoking nearly a pack a day.

According to a 2010 study in PLOS Medicine, low social interaction is a definite risk factor for death, and can impact your longevity in startling ways. The researchers found that it can do as much harm as alcoholism or smoking, and even more harm than lack of exercise or obesity. They reached these conclusions by performing a meta-analysis of 148 studies. The data suggested that maintaining connections with your social network can improve your chances of survival by 50%, regardless of your age.

Why are friends such a strong indicator of a longer life? There are a few possibilities, but one popular theory is that friends encourage healthy behaviors. “Our relationships encourage us to eat healthy, get exercise, get more sleep, see a doctor,” Julianne Holt-Lunstad, associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young, told The New York Times. In other words, your best pal might force you to see a doctor when you find a strange mole, or drag you to the gym for company at a spin class. So don’t be surprised at your next check if your doctor prescribes exercise, vitamins, and a healthy dose of socializing.


References: Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

Your Eyes Fool Your Ears With The McGurk Effect (Psychology)

It’s pretty easy to spot a badly dubbed foreign film: The sounds that you hear coming out of the actors’ mouths don’t seem to match up with the movements of their lips that you see.

In other words, even when our vision and hearing are being stimulated at the same time during the film, our brains do a really good job of picking up on which lip movements go with which speech sounds.

But the brain can also be fooled. In an intriguing illusion known as the McGurk effect, watching the movements of a person’s lips can trick the brain into hearing the wrong sound.

The McGurk effect occurs when there is a conflict between visual speech, meaning the movements of someone’s mouth and lips, and auditory speech, which are the sounds a person hears. And it can result in the perception of an entirely different message.

Now, in a new study, neuroscientists at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston attempted to offer a quantitative explanation for why the McGurk effect occurs. They developed a computer model that was able to accurately predict when the McGurk effect should or should not occur in people.

The model is relied on an idea known as causal inference, or a process in which a person’s brain decides whether the auditory and visual speech sounds were produced by the same source. What this means is that the sounds come from one person talking, or from multiple speakers, so you are hearing one person’s voice, but looking at another person who is also talking, at the same time.

In the demonstration of the McGurk effect used in the study, the participant is asked to keep his or her eyes closed while listening to a video that shows a person making the sounds “ba ba ba.” Then that individual is asked to open their eyes and watch the mouth of the person in the video closely, but with the sound off. Now, the visuals look like the person is saying “ga ga ga.” In the final step of the experiment, the exact same video is replayed, but this time the sound is on, and the participant is asked to keep his or her eyes open. People who are sensitive to the McGurk effect will report hearing “da da da” — a sound that doesn’t match up with either the auditory or visual cues previously seen.

That’s because the brain is attempting to resolve what it thinks it’s hearing with a sound closer to what it visually sees. If the person closes their eyes again, and the video’s sound is replayed, he or she will once again hear the original sound of “ba ba ba.”

The effect was first described in an experiment done in 1976 by psychologists Harry McGurk and John MacDonald, which showed that visual information provided by mouth movements can influence and override what a person thinks he or she is hearing.


References: Magnotti JF, Beauchamp MS (2017) A Causal Inference Model Explains Perception of the McGurk Effect and Other Incongruent Audiovisual Speech. PLoS Comput Biol 13(2): e1005229. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005229

A Broken Heart Is More Likely To Suffer A Heart Attack (Psychology)

The day after the death of a loved one, your risk of heart attack skyrockets to an incredible 21 times higher than normal. And while those chances decrease on day two, for a week after a loved one’s death the odds are still about six times what they otherwise would be.

And this doesn’t take into account the risk of broken heart syndrome, or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which is different from a heart attack but can feel similar. Broken heart syndrome is a temporary (and usually non-fatal) weakening in the muscles of the heart that can cause congestive heart failure, usually brought on by grief or stress. To know more watch the video given below:

Can You Die of a Broken Heart? | BRITLAB


Imaginary Friends Have Very Real Benefits (Psychology)

Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid? Maybe one who joined you in blanket forts or in your treehouse? If so, good news: You just might be better off for it.

Imaginary friends are pretty common childhood companions. In fact, according to a 2004 study, about 65 percent of kids have had an imaginary friend by age 7. And while there was a time when parents found this worrisome, plenty of research over the last decade has shown that those make-believe pals are simply a product of a creative imagination.

“Certainly, it scares many parents today when they have children who are talking to people who are not there,” Ansley Gilpin, a psychologist at the University of Alabama’s Knowledge in Development (KID) Lab, recently told Science Friday. As the 2004 study showed, children of all personality types had imaginary companions, so they shouldn’t be considered a red flag.

Researchers have found that kids who have imaginary friends might be more equipped to deal with real relationships later on in life. A 2013 study in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology looked at how imaginary friends impacted a child’s “private speech,” that is, the chatter a young child has with himself, which has been shown to improve cognitive abilities. As it turned out, kids with imaginary friends were more likely than those without imaginary friends to engage in such private speech.

Marjorie Taylor, a researcher on the topic of imaginary friends, told Science Friday that the ability to create a fully formed character speaks to an imagination that will stick with a child even when they don’t remember their fake pal anymore. “Imagination is not just a frivolous thing you outgrow,” she explained.

That said, if you didn’t have an imaginary friend, that’s not cause for alarm. “It is not true that all intelligent children create imaginary companions nor that only highly intelligent children create them,” Taylor said. “The absence of an imaginary friend says nothing about the child’s intellectual abilities.”


Are Boys Born With Better Spatial Reasoning Than Girls? (Psychology)

Men aren’t born with better spatial reasoning than women are, a new meta-analysis suggests.

It is well-established that, on average, men outperform women on a spatial reasoning task known as mental rotation — imagining multi-dimensional objects from different points of view. The new research, however, indicates that males gain a slight advantage in mental-rotation performance during the first years of formal schooling, and this advantage slowly grows with age, tripling in size by the end of adolescence.

“Some researchers have argued that there is an intrinsic gender difference in spatial reasoning — that boys are naturally better at it than girls,” says lead author Jillian Lauer, who is set to graduate from Emory in May with a Ph.D. in psychology.

“While our results don’t exclude any possibility that biological influences contribute to the gender gap, they suggest that other factors may be more important in driving the gender difference in spatial skills during childhood.”

The meta-analysis included 128 studies of gender differences in spatial reasoning, combining statistics on more than 30,000 children and adolescents aged three to 18 years. The authors found no gender difference in mental-rotation skills among preschoolers, but a small male advantage emerged in children between the ages of six and eight.

While differences in verbal and mathematical abilities between men and women tend to be small or non-existent, twice as many men as women are top performers in mental rotation, making it one of the largest gender differences in cognition.

Mental rotation is considered one of the hallmarks of spatial reasoning. “If you’re packing your suitcase and trying to figure out how each item can fit within that space, or you’re building furniture based on a diagram, you’re likely engaged in mental rotation, imagining how different objects can rotate to fit together,” Lauer explains.

Prior research has also shown that superior spatial skills predict success in male-dominated science, technology, engineering, and math fields, and that the gender difference in spatial reasoning may contribute to the gender disparity in these STEM fields.

“We’re interested in the origins of gender differences in spatial skills because of their potential role in the gender gap we see in math and science fields,” Lauer says. “By determining when the gender difference can first be detected in childhood and how it changes with age, we may be able to develop ways to make educational systems more equitable.”

It takes most of childhood and adolescence for the gender gap in spatial skills to reach the size of the difference seen in adulthood, Lauer says. She adds that the meta-analysis did not address causes for why the gender gap for mental rotation emerges and grows.

Lauer notes that previous research has shown that parents use more spatial language when they talk to preschool sons than daughters. Studies have also found that girls report more anxiety about having to perform spatial tasks than do boys by first grade, and that children are aware of gender stereotypes about spatial intelligence during elementary school.

“Now that we’ve characterized how gender differences in spatial reasoning skills develop in children over time we can start to hone in on the reasons for those differences,” Lauer says.

Meanwhile, she adds, parents may want to be aware to encourage both their daughters and sons to play with blocks and other construction items that might help in the development of spatial reasoning skills, since evidence shows that these skills can be improved with training.

“Giving both girls and boys more opportunities to develop their spatial skills is something that parents and educators have the power to do,” Lauer says.


References: Lauer, J. E., Yhang, E., & Lourenco, S. F. (2019). The development of gender differences in spatial reasoning: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 145(6), 537–565. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000191

HM, the Man with No Memory (Psychology)

Henry Molaison, known by thousands of psychology students as “HM,” lost his memory on an operating table in a hospital in Hartford in August 1953. He was 27 years old and had suffered from epileptic seizures for many years.

William Beecher Scoville, a Hartford neurosurgeon, stood above an awake Henry and skilfully suctioned out the seahorse-shaped brain structure called the hippocampus that lay within each temporal lobe. Henry would have been drowsy and probably didn’t notice his memory vanishing as the operation proceeded.

The operation was successful in that it significantly reduced Henry’s seizures, but it left him with a dense memory loss. When Scoville realized his patient had become amnesic, he referred him to the eminent neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield and neuropsychologist Dr. Brenda Milner of Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), who assessed him in detail. Up until then, it had not been known that the hippocampus was essential for making memories, and that if we lose both of them we will suffer a global amnesia. Once this was realized, the findings were widely publicized so that this operation to remove both hippocampi would never be done again.

Penfield and Milner had already been conducting memory experiments on other patients and they quickly realized that Henry’s dense amnesia, his intact intelligence, and the precise neurosurgical lesions made him the perfect experimental subject. For 55 years, Henry participated in numerous experiments, primarily at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Professor Suzanne Corkin and her team of neuropsychologists assessed him.

Access to Henry was carefully restricted to less than 100 researchers (I was honored to be one of them), but the MNI and MIT studies on HM taught us much of what we know about memory. Of course, many other patients with memory impairments have since been studied, including a small number with amnesias almost as dense as Henry’s, but it is to him we owe the greatest debt. His name (or initials!) has been mentioned in almost 12,000 journal articles, making him the most studied case in medical or psychological history. Henry died on December 2, 2008, at the age of 82. Until then, he was known to the world only as “HM,” but on his death his name was revealed. A man with no memory is vulnerable, and his initials had been used while he lived in order to protect his identity.

Henry’s memory loss was far from simple. Not only could he make no new conscious memories after his operation, he also suffered a retrograde memory loss (a loss of memories prior to brain damage) for an 11-year period before his surgery. It is not clear why this is so, although it is thought this is not because of his loss of the hippocampi on both sides of his brain. More likely it is a combination of his being on large doses of antiepileptic drugs and his frequent seizures prior to his surgery. His global amnesia for new material was the result of the loss of both hippocampi, and meant that he could not learn new words, songs or faces after his surgery, forgot who he was talking to as soon as he turned away, didn’t know how old he was or if his parents were alive or dead, and never again clearly remembered an event, such as his birthday party, or who the current president of the United States was.

In contrast, he did retain the ability to learn some new motor skills, such as becoming faster at drawing a path through a picture of a maze, or learning to use a walking frame when he sprained his ankle, but this learning was at a subconscious level. He had no conscious memory that he had ever seen or done the maze test before, or used the walking frame previously.

We measure time by our memories, and thus for Henry, it was as if time stopped when he was 16 years old, 11 years before his surgery. Because his intelligence in other non-memory areas remained normal, he was an excellent experimental participant. He was also a very happy and friendly person and always a delight to be with and to assess. He never seemed to get tired of doing what most people would think of as tedious memory tests, because they were always new to him! When he was at MIT, between test sessions he would often sit doing crossword puzzles, and he could do the same ones again and again if the words were erased, as to him it was new each time.

Henry gave science the ultimate gift: his memory. Thousands of people who have suffered brain damage, whether through accident, disease or a genetic quirk, have given similar gifts to science by agreeing to participate in psychological, neuropsychological, psychiatric and medical studies and experiments, and in some cases by gifting their brains to science after their deaths. Our knowledge of brain disease and how the normal mind works would be greatly diminished if it were not for the generosity of these people and their families (who are frequently also involved in interviews, as well as transporting the “patient” back and forth to the psychology laboratory). After Henry’s death, his brain was dissected into 2,000 slices and digitized as a three-dimensional brain map that could be searched by zooming in from the whole brain to individual neurons. Thus, his tragically unique brain has been preserved for posterity.

This article is first published in psychology today


Want To See Area 51? Tikaboo Peak Is The Closest You Can Legally Get (Amazing Places)

It’s basically impossible to enter Area 51. It’s only slightly less impossible to see it. The top-secret military base is smack in the middle of the Nevada desert, in a dried-out lake bed surrounded by mountains. The closest peaks are heavily guarded so no one can spy on the activity below. There’s just one mountaintop where you can catch a glimpse of the goings-on at the base: Tikaboo Peak, the closest you can legally get to Area 51.

To scale Tikaboo Peak, here’s what you’ll need:

• A car with four-wheel drive
• A shovel
• As much water as you can carry
• Binoculars
• Sunscreen
• An intense desire to see Area 51
• An understanding that you probably won’t see aliens

The car and shovel are for the first phase of your journey: a 25-mile drive on a rough dirt road that sometimes needs manual shovel repairs. This takes you most of the way up the mountain. For the last leg, though, you have to hike. Here, the water and sunscreen come into play. The hike is a little over a mile, but ultra steep and with no water stations along the way — and it’s so hot in this region, a local town is called Caliente. When you reach the peak, grab those binoculars and take a peek at Area 51, which is as close as it will ever be at 26 miles away.

For Area 51 enthusiasts, it can be exciting and meaningful to see the base in real life, but the visual on its own isn’t particularly striking. It’s the visual plus the rumors that swirl around it that can make Tikaboo Peak worth the trip.

There’s really one big rumor: that the base has ties to aliens. It all started in 1989 when a man named Bob Lazar told the press he had worked at Area 51 helping to design flight technology modeled after extraterrestrial spaceships. He alleged he made real flying saucers that flew with anti-gravity technology. The government strenuously denied this, obviously. But in the wake of his claims, people in the area started spotting a lot of UFOs in the night sky.

Lazar’s account has since been called into question. He lied about some of his credentials, and may not have worked in the intelligence world at all. Government officials lied, too, though. Initially, they claimed Area 51 didn’t exist. As the years passed, however, they released increasingly complete information about the base. We still don’t know what’s going on there right now — it’s top secret — but we know what went on in the early days.

Area 51 opened in 1955 as a development site for new combat aircraft, like stealth bombers and spy planes. One early Area 51 invention was the high-altitude spy plane, which explains many of the area’s UFO sightings. People simply weren’t used to seeing light so high in the sky; some sightings were called in by commercial pilots who didn’t understand what could possibly be flying above them. At the time, not wanting to unveil their new technology, officials attributed these sightings to nature or “high-altitude weather research.”

Some people still distrust the government account of Area 51’s activities. Is it the truth at last, or just more cover-up? Whatever the answer, it’s definitely entertaining to imagine Area 51 is a secret alien research lab where they keep the extraterrestrial remains of the Roswell crash — especially if you just took a grueling desert hike to look at the base through binoculars.


What Is Microgravity? Which Methods Do We Use To Create Microgravity In Space?? (Astronomy)

Guys, we all know about gravity which causes every object to pull every other object toward it. But, what about microgravity. Why it is so important in space. Why does NASA study it? There are many questions in your mind but today you will get all the answers.

So, let’s start with what is microgravity? It is the condition in which people or objects appear to be weightless. The effects of microgravity can be seen when astronauts and objects float in space. Microgravity can be experienced in other ways, as well. “Micro-” means “very small,” so microgravity refers to the condition where gravity seems to be very small. In microgravity, astronauts can float in their spacecraft – or outside, on a spacewalk. Heavy objects move around easily. For example, astronauts can move equipment weighing hundreds of pounds with their fingertips. Microgravity is sometimes called “zero gravity,” but this is misleading.

Some people think that there is no gravity in space. In fact, a small amount of gravity can be found everywhere in space. Gravity is what holds the moon in orbit around Earth. Gravity causes Earth to orbit the sun. It keeps the sun in place in the Milky Way galaxy. Gravity, however, does become weaker with distance. It is possible for a spacecraft to go far enough from Earth that a person inside would feel very little gravity. But this is not why things float on a spacecraft in orbit. The International Space Station orbits Earth at an altitude between 200 and 250 miles. At that altitude, Earth’s gravity is about 90 percent of what it is on the planet’s surface. In other words, if a person who weighed 100 pounds on Earth’s surface could climb a ladder all the way to the space station, that person would weigh 90 pounds at the top of the ladder.

If 90 percent of Earth’s gravity reaches the space station, then why do astronauts float there? The answer is because they are in free fall. In a vacuum, gravity causes all objects to fall at the same rate. The mass of the object does not matter. If a person drops a hammer and a feather, air will make the feather fall more slowly. But if there were no air, they would fall at the same acceleration. Some amusement parks have free-fall rides, in which a cabin is dropped along a tall tower. If a person let go of an object at the beginning of the fall, the person and the object would fall at the same acceleration. Because of that, the object would appear to float in front of the person. That is what happens in a spacecraft. The spacecraft, its crew and any objects aboard are all falling toward but around Earth. Since they are all falling together, the crew and objects appear to float when compared with the spacecraft.

What does it mean to fall around Earth? Earth’s gravity pulls objects downward toward the surface. Gravity pulls on the space station, too. As a result, it is constantly falling toward Earth’s surface. It also is moving at a very fast speed – 17,500 miles per hour. It moves at a speed that matches the way Earth’s surface curves. If a person throws a baseball, gravity will cause it to curve down. It will hit the ground fairly quickly. An orbiting spacecraft moves at the right speed so the curve of its fall matches the curve of Earth. Because of this, the spacecraft keeps falling toward the ground but never hits it. As a result, they fall around the planet. The moon stays in orbit around Earth for this same reason. The moon also is falling around Earth.

NASA studies microgravity to learn what happens to people and equipment in space. Microgravity affects the human body in several ways. For example, muscles and bones can become weaker without gravity making them work as hard. Astronauts who live on the space station spend months in microgravity. Astronauts who travel to Mars also would spend months in microgravity traveling to and from the Red Planet. NASA must learn about the effects of microgravity to keep astronauts safe and healthy. In addition, many things seem to act differently in microgravity. Fire burns differently. Without the pull of gravity, flames are more round. Crystals grow better. Without gravity, their shapes are more perfect. NASA performs science experiments in microgravity. These experiments help NASA learn things that would be hard or perhaps impossible to learn on Earth.

But, how do researchers create microgravity?

Well guys, researchers can create microgravity conditions in two ways. Because gravitational pull diminishes with distance, one way to create a microgravity environment is to travel away from Earth. To reach a point
where Earth’s gravitational pull is reduced to onemillionth cf that at the surface, you would have to travel into space a distance of 6.37 million kilometers from Earth (almost 17 times farther away than the Moon, 1400 times the highway distance between New York City & Los Angeles, or about 70 million football fields). This approach is impractical, except for automated spacecraft, because humans have yet to travel farther away from Earth than the distance to the Moon. However, freefall can be used to create a microgravity environment consistent with our
primary definition of microgravity.

But, are there any other methods? Or can you able to create microgravity on earth?? Yes, you can guys. How? Well, we already explained one above i.e. by using spacecraft. The others are elaborated below.

1) DROP FACILITIES

Researchers use high-tech facilities based on the elevator analogy to create micro-gravity conditions. The NASA Lewis Research Center has
two drop facilities. One provides a 132 meter drop into a hole in the ground similar to a mine shaft. This drop creates a reduced gravity environment for 5.2 seconds. A tower at Lewis allows for 2.2 second drops down a 24 meter structure. The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center has a different type of reduced gravity facility. This 100 meter tube allows for drops of 4.5 second duration. Other NASA Field Centers and other countries have additional drop facilities of varying sizes to serve different purposes. The longest drop time currently available (about 10
seconds) is at a 490 meter deep vertical mine shaft in Japan that has been converted to a drop facility. Sensations similar to those resulting from a drop in these reduced gravity facilities can be experienced on freefall rides in amusement parks
or when stepping off of diving platforms.

2) AIRCRAFTS

Airplanes are used to achieve reduced gravity conditions for periods of about 15 seconds. This environment is created as the plane flies on a parabolic path. A typical flight lasts 2-3 hours allowing experiments and crew members to take advantage of about forty periods of microgravity. To accomplish this, the plane climbs
rapidly at a 45 degree angle (this phase is called pull up), traces a parabola (pushover), and then descends at a 45 degree angle (pull out). During the pull up and pull out segments, crew and experiments experience accelerations of about 2
g. During the parabola, net accelerations drop as low as 1.5×10-² g for about 15 seconds. Due to the experiences of many who have flown on parabolic aircraft, the planes are often referred to as “Vomit Comets.” Reduced gravity conditions created by the same type of parabolic motion described above can be experienced on the series of “floater” hills that are usually located at the end of roller coaster rides and when driving over
swells in the road.

3) ROCKETS

Sounding rockets are used to create reduced gravity conditions for several minutes; they follow suborbital, parabolic paths. Freefall exists during
the rocket’s coast: after burn out and before entering the atmosphere. Acceleration levels are usually around 10-5 g. While most people do not
get the opportunity to experience the
accelerations of a rocket launch and subsequent freefall, springboard divers basically launch themselves into the air when performing dives
and they experience microgravity conditions until they enter the water.