1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28  |  29  |  30  |  31  |  32  |  33  |  34  |  35  |  36  |  37  |  38  |  39  |  40  |  41  |  42  |  43  |  44  |  45  |  46  |  47  |  48  |  49  |  50  |  51  |  52  |  53  |  54  |  55  |  56  |  57  |  58  |  59  |  60  |  61  |  62  |  63  |  64  |  65  |  66  |  67  |  68  |  69  |  70  |  71  |  72  |  73  |  74  |  75  |  76  |  77  |  78  |  79  |  80  |  81  |  82  |  83  |  84  |  85  |  86  |  87  |  88  |  89  |  90  |  91  |  92  |  93  |  94  |  95  |  96  |  97  |  98  |  99  |  100  |  101  |  102  |  103  |  104  |  105  |  106  |  107  |  108  |  109  |  110  |  111  |  112  |  113  |  114  |  115  |  116  |  117  |  118  |  119  |  120  |  121  |  122  |  123  |  124  |  125  |  126  |  127  |  128  |  129  |  130  |  131  |  132  |  133  |  134  |  135  |  136  |  137  |  138  |  139  |  140  |  141  |  142  |  143  |  144  |  145  |  146  |  147  |  148  |  149  |  150  |  151  |  152  |  153  |  154  |  155  |  156  |  157  |  158  |  159  |  160  |  161  |  162  |  163  |  164  |  165  |  166  |  167  |  168  |  169  |  170  |  171  |  172  |  173  |  174  |  175  |  176  |  177  |  178  |  179  |  180  |  181  |  182  |  183  |  184  |  185  |  186  |  187  |  188  |  189  |  190  |  191  |  192  |  193  |  194  |  195  |  196  |  197  |  198  |  199  |  200  |  201  |  202  |  203  |  204  |  205  |  206  |  207  |  208  |  209  |  210  |  211  |  212  |  213  |  214  |  215  |  216  |  217  |  218  |  219  |  220  |  221  |  222  |  223  |  224  |  225  |  226  |  227  |  228  |  229  |  230  |  231  |  232  |  233  |  234  |  235  |  236  |  237  |  238  |  239  |  240  |  241  |  242  |  243  |  244  |  245 

October 08, 2013

Reading nuanced fiction greatly improves empathy

Reading literary fiction makes you a nicer person - life - 07 October 2013 - New Scientist
They randomly assigned volunteers to one of three groups – literary fiction readers, popular fiction readers and a non-reading group. The first read extracts from texts shortlisted for the US National Book Award, while the second read extracts from Amazon.com bestsellers – popular fiction books with characters that are likely to be two-dimensional and straightforward to understand. All three groups were then asked to identify the emotions behind facial expressions – a standard test of empathy. Those who had read the literary fiction showed a heightened ability to empathise compared with the other groups. The result was the same when they ran different tests with different volunteers (Science, doi.org/n5p). "I like the study, and one would want to believe the outcomes, but at the same time, there are a lot of questions," says Matthijs Bal at VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who also investigates the link between fiction reading and empathy. "The study was not clear on what the stories included – so which aspects of a story really make the difference?" says Bal. It might just be that literary fiction is more challenging to read and so requires more cognitive effort, he says. Bal's work suggests it takes several days for reading to affect empathy, which makes the instant results in the new study surprising, he says. "If I were to guess, I would say that the effect is short-lived, dissipating within hours or days at best," says Castano. "This research, we hope, marks a first step towards better understanding the psychological consequences of living in communities that support and promote literature." . . .

October 04, 2013

Chicken nuggets are only 50% meat

The rest is fat, gristle, organs and filler. And probably sawdust. Just How Much Chicken Meat Is In Your Chicken Nugget? – Consumerist
Chicken nuggets remain a source of mystery for many fast food customers (who often don’t hesitate to chow down after briefly pondering why that one piece looks like a boot), as they generally don’t come from unprocessed cuts of white or dark meat. And so researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center performed an “autopsy” on some nuggets to see what they came up with. For their paper, published in the American Journal of Medicine, the doctors bought some nuggets from area fast food chains (they do not identify which ones, though they did describe chains as “national”), dissected and stained the materials contained therein to see if they could tell muscle from fat, blood vessels, internal organs, skin, cartilage, bones, and nerves. One chain’s nugget contained about 50% muscle tissue, the other had even less meat, at only 40% muscle. “What has happened is that some companies have chosen to use an artificial mixture of chicken parts rather than low-fat chicken white meat, batter it up and fry it and still call it chicken,” one of the researchers tells Reuters. “It is really a chicken by-product high in calories, salt, sugar and fat that is a very unhealthy choice. Even worse, it tastes great and kids love it and it is marketed to them.”