You can bring the spark back into your relationship with one simple online program. No, this isn’t a ploy by OKCupid, but the opinion of researchers at the University of New England in Australia. In their study, a hundred couples were randomly assigned to either a four-week online relationship excitement program or put on a waiting list. The program encouraged users to participate in shared activities for 90 minutes a week; those who engaged reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction and excitement in their relationships. In a follow-up four months later, the couples showed significantly higher levels of happiness than reported when they first began the trial. Researchers were impressed that a brief internet intervention could have such a strong influence—perhaps those seeking love online will turn to this sort of program instead of low-brow standbys like CanDoBetter.com and the always amusing Sea Captain Date.
Bees are buzzing, and this time it’s from caffeine. While we may get a boost from a grande latte, honeybees consume caffeine from the nectars of citruses and, big surprise, coffee plants. Of the bees studied by Newcastle University, those with caffeine in their systems demonstrated an improved memory for floral scents for up to 72 hours. Researchers hope their work will prove to be more than a fun fact; an increased understanding of bee foraging may help address crashing bee populations.
Tel Aviv University researchers report they have found a link between job burnout and the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries. In their investigation, some 8,838 apparently healthy men and women between the ages of 19 and 67 were examined for an average of 3.4 years for both job burnout levels—feelings of physical, cognitive, and emotional exhaustion—and levels of coronary heart disease. Ninety-three new cases of CHD were identified in the follow-up, and those with burnout were 40 percent more likely to have CHD. “Those who were identified as being in the top 20 percent of the burnout scale were found to have a 79 percent increased risk of coronary disease,” the team found. Research leader Sharon Toker says these findings were more extreme than anticipated, and that job burnout may be a stronger predictor of coronary disease than “classical risk factors” such as smoking and blood lipid levels.
With the introduction of the new Argentinian pontiff, the 483 million Catholics of Latin America have cause for celebration. Pope Francis’ induction caused thousands of faithful followers to applaud and pray throughout the region—which has the largest number of Roman Catholics in the world—while the Los Angeles Times reports that some hope his influence will cause those who have left the church in Latin America to return.
Men who wish to get ahead in the social media game may envy their female counterparts. A University of Alabama study reports that women are more frequent users of “mediated communication”—social networking sites, e-mail, video calls, instant messaging, texting, and phone calls—and have surpassed guys in using text-based communication and being pleased with it. “Women and men were both equally likely to value email for its efficiencies and convenience,” the researchers state, “but women reported feeling more satisfied with the role email played in their life.” Specifically, women surveyed were more likely to be successful in maintaining relationships via the internet and using text-based interactions in a “more engaging way.” The findings are a bit surprising since the online world has long been considered male-dominated. What emojis should I use to show my elation …?
NPR’s All Things Consideredreports that a “little-known jobs report” may change our opinions on the progress of American jobs creation. It’s called the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey, and the latest to be released states that 4.25 million people got new jobs in January. Yay! But wait, 4.1 million people also quit or got fired. Huh? This means every 1.6 seconds someone gained a job and someone else got booted out. As journalist Adam Davidson relays, this report is important in regards to understanding that the U.S. isn’t “a single economy that’s either doing well or doing badly” but rather “lots and lots of little economies, some which are coming back, and some which are struggling.” While construction added more jobs than it lost, manufacturing lost more jobs than it added. Overall progress is still a ways to go.
Something you may not want to show your boss: a study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience reveals that punishment and monetary rewards are equal as performance enhancers. Researchers asked participants whether a shape behind a blurry window was a person or something else, and then punished “incorrect” interpretations via cash penalties. Researchers found that the subjects’ performance and brain activity increased systematically as the amount of punishment increased.