Tom Jacobs

How Being Lazy Can Help You Lose Weight

Social critics fret that Americans are growing fat and lazy. Well, newly published research suggests we may be able to combat our obesity problem by tapping into our inherent unwillingness to get up off of our butts.

It finds choosing a healthy or unhealthy snack may come down to which of them is nearest to our fingertips. St. Bonaventure University researchers Gregory Privitera and Faris Zuraikat report that, if placed within easy reach, people will eat more of a low-calorie treat, “even in a competitive food environment in which a preferred, higher calorie food is also made available.”

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Hate Kills: How Homophobia Takes Years Off of Your Life

This article originally appeared at Pacific Standard, and is reprinted here with their permission.

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Losing Weight? That May Not Mean You’re Any Healthier

Why do we go on diets, anyway? Two answers immediately come to mind: To look better, and to be in better health.

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Eerie and Depressing -- Why Ordering a Big Mac Comes With a Side of Impatience

Are you feeling impatient right now? Do you find it difficult to slow down long enough to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, such as a sunset or a beautiful piece of music?

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Is Your Neighborhood Red or Blue? Americans Are Increasingly Segregating Themselves in Ideological Enclaves

This piece originally appeared on Pacific Standard.

Pacific StandardDoes your next-door neighbor vote the same way you do? How about the couple who live across the street, or your friends on the next block?

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Only a Few Weeks of Mindfulness Training Boosts Test Scores for Memory and Reading Comprehension

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Experiment Shows How Facebook Can Spread Racist Thoughts

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Study: Recent Elections Show a Strong Link Between Racism and Political Preference

As he looks back on his first term, President Barack Obama can take satisfaction from a series of significant accomplishments. But according to a new analysis by a Brown University political scientist, his rise to power has also produced a less-welcome result: A renewed alignment between political preference and “old-fashioned racism.”

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The Weird Things Money Does to People

Given the tone-deaf comments a wealthy political figure recently made while addressing some equally affluent donors, you’d almost think money makes a person less able to relate to the feelings of others.

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In Aurora, Expect PTSD to Spread Far Beyond the Movie Theater

Like all such tragedies, the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater will claim more victims than is immediately apparent. In the coming weeks and months, many people who were somehow involved in the event but physically unhurt will find themselves experiencing the sometimes debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

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What Happens When Atheists Confront Mortality

Are there atheists in foxholes? That timeless question (the literal answer to which is yes) is a shorthand way of asking whether, when confronted by their own mortality, even nonbelievers’ thoughts turn to God.

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Does Eating Organic Food Make You Selfish?

Do you want to be a better person? First, get stressed out. And whatever you do, don’t go near organic food.

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Was Sarah Palin's Image Hurt By Tina Fey? You Betcha!

The new HBO movie Game Change,which revisits the 2008 presidential campaign, includes a scene in which Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin watches Tina Fey impersonate her on Saturday Night Live. While that was surely a surreal experience for the Alaska governor, the bigger question is: Did Fey’s spot-on mimicry affect how the rest of us viewed her?

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Why Are People Still Afraid of Atheism?

Plenty of people are reviled for their religious beliefs. But a lack of faith seems to inspire even more intense antipathy.

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How Television Can Make You Believe Things That Aren't True

Our beliefs about the world are shaped by many factors. The courses we took in college. The lessons we learned from our families.

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Musicians Hear Better Into Old Age

Musicians retain the ability to distinguish speech in noisy conditions far longer than non-musicians. That’s the key finding of a just-published study by two Canadian researchers, who report playing music seems to delay the decay in an aging brain’s central auditory processing system. “This finding suggests that continued practice throughout life may alleviate some of the age-related decline in speech perception often experienced by older adults,” Benjamin Rich Zendel and Claude Alain of the Rotman Research Centre and University of Toronto report in the journal Psychology and Aging.

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A Legacy of 9/11: Years of Increased Illness

To most Americans, the 9/11 terrorist attacks were shocking, frightening, enraging.

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Male Happiness on the Decline? Men Less Satisfied, Less Confident Than Ever

Few research papers hit a nerve like the 2009 report The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness. Over the past 35 years, “women’s happiness has declined both absolutely, and relative to men,” Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers wrote in the American Economic Journal.

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The Simple Trick That Can Bolster Willpower At the Supermarket

Do you routinely walk out of the supermarket and find your grocery bags are filled with junk food? Have you bemoaned the fact that, against your better judgment, you can’t resist strolling down the cookies-and-candy aisle? Here’s an idea. Next time you walk into the store, don’t grab one of those little hand-held baskets. Even if you’re only purchasing a few items, push around a cart instead.

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Why Men in Southern States Are More Likely to Die in Accidents

Be a man! That pointed phrase, often offered as a rebuke, means pretty much the same thing the world over. Be strong. Don’t back down. Show some courage.

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Why Don't White Audiences Go See Black Movies?

n terms of box-office grosses, this is an extraordinary week for Hollywood: The No. 1 movie in America features a mixed-race cast.

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Novelist T.C. Boyle on Humankind's Arrogant Attitude Towards Nature

Mankind’s relationship with the natural world has dominated the news of late, with terrifying images of tsunami damage and well-founded fears of nuclear contamination. But even during periods when we don’t seem quite so puny or powerless, the topic captivates T.C. Boyle.

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Facebook Linked to Narcissism?

Who uses Facebook? The simple answer is a whole lot of people: The online social network has more than 600 million members.

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Study: How Our Alarmist TV News Makes People Overly Paranoid About Cancer

Coming up on Action News at 11: Man arrested in fatal stabbing! Huge winter storm approaches!

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Study: Confederate Flag Unleashes Racist Attitudes

The Confederate flag, which continues to fly on buildings throughout the American South 150 years after the Civil War, is a potent symbol. But of what? Cultural heritage, answer many Southern whites. Lingering racism, insist many blacks.

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How Fears of Bin Laden Can Lead to Authoritarian Parenting

With the recent discovery of explosives hidden in cargo airplanes, fears of a terrorist attack have returned to the front of many people’s minds. If the past is any indication, this sense of apprehension is likely to make us less trusting of outsiders, and less tolerant of those who violate social norms.

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People Are Allergic to the Facts

A clear consensus of opinion emerges within the scientific community on an important issue, such as climate change. But the public, and its elected leaders, remains unconvinced and unreceptive to well-founded warnings.

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How Not to Stop Smoking

Over the past 25 years, a series of studies have found suppressing unwanted thoughts is not only ineffective, but counterproductive. Try to not think of a white bear, and chances are the creature will come roaring into your mind.

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