Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | February 3, 2012

Friday Five – February 3, 2012

In hopes of getting this week’s post done in a more timely manner, I took a different strategy for selecting links. This week, at the end of the day Monday through Thursday, I went through my Twitter retweets and selected a tweet of the day. The plan was then to pick the fifth tweet this morning before writing this post.

All that happened, except for writing the post this morning. Meetings and a general “it’s Friday, I don’t wanna work” attitude got in the way. But, better late than never.

Medical News Today – January 30, 2012

Medical News Today reports on a study by Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and CHU Sainte-Justine. The study observed the attention skills in children who attended kindergarten in Montreal, and then followed these children through grades 1 to 6. (Mark Keys) – January 20, 2012

For my students, this should be five blogs you should read beyond More than Crazy. I have to admit, that out of the five listed by Mark Keys, I only knew of one of the blogs (The Media Psychology Blog) before this.

Scientific American: The Thoughtful Animal (Jason G. Goldman) – February 1, 2012

My choice of this post was confirmed when I heard about this story the next night on the local evening news. It has also been retweeted by many of the Psychology-related feeds I follow. After I retweeted the link, I even got a reply from Jason Goldman thanking me for the retweet.

Goldman reports on a recent study that found that people, particularly college-aged normal weight women, will adjust their food eating behavior so that it is in synchrony with their same-sex eating companion.

Chronicle of Higher Education (Peter Monaghan) – January 29, 2012

The timing on the tweet that sent me to this article was amazing. It came in as I was preparing for my Honors Seminar in Social Influence. The theme for this week’s class was the power of information and how an asymmetry of information (when one party has information that the other does not) can be used to influence people.

In his article, Peter Monaghan is describing the vast machine of retail and marketing that is operating behind the scenes of nearly every purchase we make.

PsychCentral (John M. Grohol, PsyD) – February 3, 2012

I knew somebody would bring up the Super Bowl. Thankfully, PsychCentral did. John Grohol reports statistics that demonstrate that there is a 41% increase in both fatal and non-fatal car crashes on Super Bowl Sunday compared to other Sundays when football is televised. Also, it’s riskier to be driving in the losing team’s state than the winning team’s state or a state that didn’t have a team involved in the game.

So, regardless of whether the Giants or the Patriots win, be careful driving if you’re on the roads in the Northeast. The study didn’t say anything about the host city/state, but I suspect traffic will be a TAD messy in Indianapolis.

Who am I routing for? The commercials! (I’m I social psychologist interested in persuasion & marketing, what else did you expect of me.)



  1. I read the synchronized eating article, and I found it surprising. I can honestly say that I never thought that something like that could be occurring when eating out. I think that it makes sense especially if one of the women feels more of a need to be like the friend she is dining with, in terms of behavior or appearance.

    I think that politicians could really use a lesson from some of these marketing firms. I know that there are things that I never thought that I would buy until I saw the options that the Nook had chosen for me. They were targeting my reading addiction and I was happy to let them oblige me. I’m careful in terms of what information I put out on the internet, but some of my information is still out there and it will never go away. This article just gives more reason for us to be careful as to what we put on the internet, because now they can make you buy things you might not have the money for.

  2. I read the article on synchronized eating and it made complete sense to me as well. Naturally humans want to be like their fellow companions and of course this causes them to modify certain behaviors and, in turn, act similarly to those they are surrounded by. This is true throughout everyday life as well as when it comes time to eat.
    The article singles out average college-aged women, which I would assume are more susceptible to the opinions of others. This most likely causes them to become more conscientious of their surroundings and what those around them are doing. If one woman finishes her meal too quickly or barely ate at all, she could quickly be categorized as being overindulgent or having some type of eating disorder. By mimicking the behaviors of their eating partners, neither women will have a problem with these stereotypes.
    Other factors, such as conversation come to mind, however I believe that most women are likely to be at least somewhat conscious of how they are eating when in the company of others.

  3. The study on kindergarten students and their attentiveness was very interesting and I believe it is an extremely important subject that needs to be addressed. Children obtain certain habits and work ethics at such a young age that will follow them into their adulthood and entrance into the working world. It is obvious that those students that cannot pay attention and work well with others in kindergarten will not become a successful worker later on in life because of the traits that they grew up with.
    This study allows students to possibly receive help before they are set in their ways that may keep them from success in the future. Education is critical of obtaining a job and eventually a career. However, if a child already has a low attention span in kindergarten, the odds are that they will have trouble throughout their education and become at a higher risk of dropping out or getting into other trouble.
    By doing more research and setting up ways to correct these early signs of inattentiveness, there will be a much better outcome of adolescents, especially from underprivileged areas of our society.


    Its super bowl Sunday and it’s the time to be very competitive time but also dangerous. You may ask how the super bowl can be dangerous especially if one isn’t playing on the field themselves. It is very simple because on Super bowl Sundays there are Super bowl parties. These times can proven to be fatal because there is a lot of alcohol consumption. Drunk driving is already against the law but how else would you get to and from the super bowl party? From this article I have learned that there were more injuries after the game than A whole new years eve. I found that to be very surprising because it new years ! I really recommend this to giants fans win the patriots win .
    School is almost like a job. You wake up every morning and get ready for 6 hours of school time. Its only right you go in to the school with a well orientated attitude and behavior. In this article I have learned that teacher can determine the potential of any child from their behavior. The article says that if you or well rounded you are more likely to be in a high trajectory and are in a better standing for work orientated positions.

  5. Andrew S.
    •Be Careful Driving on Super Bowl Sunday
    I’m not suprised that there are so many accidents on Super Bowl Sunday due to the alcohol consumption. It also makes sense that fatigue has a lot to do with it because people eat so much that they probably put themselves in a “food coma.” It’s very interesting that the majority of car accidents happen in the losing states!

    •Synchronized Eating: Social Influences on Eating Behavior
    This definetly makes sense. I was aware of this before I read the article. Whenever I eat with people, I tend to follow their pace and eat the same foods they are eating. This is why many times, I choose to eat alone because I do not want to be influenced to eat alot or eat very unhealthy foods.

  6. Synchronized eating brought to light something that many might have seen but never really thought about. I personally have notices my self that i will eat meals at the same pace as the other people at the table with me. Along with the subconsciousness of drinking when others drink. While eating if i notice someone taking a drink i find myself taking a drink soon after.

    Careful Driving on Super Bowl Sunday brings up a good point when it comes to the 41% increase in car accidents, not only is alcohol a huge factor but the fatigue people go through in the day is just as bad. people leave a party even with out drinking full of food and tired from cheering and enjoying themselves all day long with friends and family, leading to bad judgement calls while driving. I cant tell you how many time i have left a sporting event feeling exhausted from just sitting and cheering for a few hours. With three different factors playing against the drivers leaving the games tonight all people should be on there toes while driving home tonight.

  7. -Synchronized Eating: Social Influence on Eating behavior. Sometimes I catch myself imitating the way my friend talks or pronounces specific words and always assumed that it was because we spend so much time together. Thanks to the article I now know that that behavior is called “behavioral mimicry”. What this article also taught me was that people generally take bites in sync, but I strongly believe that the flow of the conversation also plays a big role in the amount of “bites” taken.
    -Good Kindergarten Attention Skills Predict Later Work-Oriented Behavior. I agree with the article to a certain degree. Although a kindergartener may be unfocused or not too friendly with classmates, there still are plenty of years left to develop those skills. For example, I have been a C student throughout my elementary-highschool days and no I feel like I’m thriving in college.

  8. •Be Careful Driving on Super Bowl Sunday
    I found this article to be very surprising. I didnt think loosing led to possible accidents.However it makes sence because your attention, focus or state of mind is different when your happy or upset. A person is not as attentive and may get carried away on the road.
    •Good Kindergarten Attention Skills Predict Later Work-Oriented Behavior
    This article is very interesting.I find it very important to look at children’s habits and address the importance of attention that will help them for the future. in the end of this article it said that “The researchers noted that the next step would be to undertake further study into how specifically the classroom environment influences children’s attention spans.”
    Hopefully after the researchers explore this, they find a solution if a problem to children’s attention span arises.I predict that it may lead to less dropout rate.

  9. Synchronized Eating

    The article on synchronized eating makes a lot sense. I already noticed the examples they gave about imitating the way a friend speaks before i read this article. However, the examples they gave about the pace of a conversation effecting the amount of food consumed also makes perfect sense. It also makes sense that another persons food consumption would effect your own due to the pressure to conform.

    Attention Skills in Kindergardeners

    It makes sense that students who are more productive and well behaved would have better work skills in the future. The children who are naturally behaving like this at such a young age would most likely continue to be that way when they are older, while the children who have trouble paying attention will have less skills when they are older.

  10. Be careful driving on Super Bowl Sunday. Obviously Super Bowl Sunday brings in allot of partying and alcohol consumption bringing more risk for drunk drivers and accidents. Surprising to me was accidents go up to 41% on this one day. Also causing accidents is fatigue. Drinking or not after being all riled up for the big game you seem to get tired quick leading to unaware drivers especially after some drinks. Be careful driving on Super Bowl Sunday!

    To me it is important to start young in finding attentiveness and work ethic in children. It is important because it could change the future. This study studied kindergartners ability to maintain self control and work oriented projects and see how they handled the situations. This then in the future would predict their efforts in the real world. These studies can also help out in learning disabilities in early ages that if noticed at a young age could change the child’s future. This is a great study.

  11. -Synchronized Eating: Social Influence on Eating behavior.
    Sometimes I feel myself imitating the way my friend talks or pronounces specific words and always thought that it was because we spend so much time together. From reading this article I now know what I’m doing is called behavioral mimicry. I also learned that people generally take bites in sync, but I strongly believe that the flow of the conversation also plays a big role in the amount of bites.

    -Good Kindergarten Attention Skills Predict Later Work-Oriented Behavior.
    I agree with the article to a certain degree. Although a kindergartener may be unfocused or not too friendly with classmates, there still are plenty of years left to develop those skills. I am sometimes unfocused and don’t feel the need to work with others but I feel i always get the work needed done.

  12. Synchronized Eating:
    While reading this article I was amazed at how there is a name for imitating what your friends say and do. It’s called behavioral mimicry. I was surprised that behavioral mimicry also effects eating habits. Social eating, in which you see another male or female eating the same amount as you and you are mostly likely to eat at about the same pace, and about the same amount. This amazed me and I’m going to try to conduct my own survey on this particular study.

    Kindergarten Attention Skills:
    I believe this article does make sense. In the kindergarten classroom it is chaotic, and children seem to loose focus. So for the children who do follow the rules, and pay more attention to the teacher it will help more down the road. But as for the children who tend to think about other things that they aren’t suppose to be thinking about. They are paying less attention to the teacher, and the rules. So there for they will develop learning habits which will not be for the better, and have more trouble in later years. I do believe that if the parents and teachers work together when they notice the child is doing other things, the child can overcome these habits.

  13. Synchronized Eating
    This article was a quite interesting looking into the habit forming part of human psychology. Behavioral mimicry makes a lot of sense in that I’m sure that other students and i could easily recall a time in which after hanging out with someone for awhile you begin to pick up on things they do and say. It is interesting that this goes as far as eating and drinking habits.

    Kindergarten Attention skills
    This article seems like a great approach toward helping to prevent opposed to treating a problem. If a problem arises for a child in school, whether it be behavioral or attention related, to be able to help that child and work with them before they get older and it starts to affect them in a more negative way seems like a great idea. In the field of psychology much more emphasis needs to be put on preventing problems opposed to dealing with them after the facet.


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