October 2012 Archives

"Women Use Emoticons More Than Men in Text Messaging"

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In Cosmopolitan, I read a quote that said researchers at Rice University found that women are twice as likely to use emoticons in text messages than men. I then clicked on the link attached to this finding and was directed to the Science Daily website.

According to Science Daily, this was a longitudinal study with smartphones that collected data from men and women for six months. The participants were provided with iPhones to use for the duration of the study but were unaware of what the researchers were studying. Over the course of the six months, researchers analyzed 124,000 texts.

Researchers found that all of the participants used emoticons, but not on a regular basis. Only 4% used emoticons in all of their sent texts. This study addresses that these findings differ from other similar studies regarding the use of emoticons but does not explain how. One researcher of this study said, "our study represents the first naturalistic and longitudinal study that collects real emoticon use from text messages".

Near the end of the article, the writer briefly mentions the psychological aspects of this male and female communication. As a reader, I would like to see more information and background knowledge on this component and how they vary. Also, I am curious as to how the results would change based on the type of smartphone the participants received. Given that the participants automatically received iPhones, it would be beneficial to know if the participants downloaded the emoticon application or if it was previously installed on the phone when they received it. Additionally, the number of male and female participants was not provided nor does the reader know if the participants were communicating with each other for this data.

(For those who are not familiar with emoticons, they are symbols that using punctuation marks and letters to depict facial expressions. These expressions are used to convey a certain mood.)


"Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-time Work"

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Returning to full-time positions has been less appealing for mothers for the past couple decades. One-in-five mothers say a full-time position is a preferable work situation which is a decrease since the study conducted in 1997. Now, six out of ten said working a part-time position would be ideal and only 16% of mothers would prefer to work full-time outside of the home.

The Pew Research Center first conducted this research in 1997 and then once again in 2007. The results are based on telephone interviews, conducted on a sample of adults (over 18) living in continental U.S. telephone households. The oversample of minorities in the study was created by contacting a disproportionate number of area code-exchange combinatons.

In 2007, 2,020 interviews were conducted between February and March. There was a margin of sampling error of 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.

Overall, I was very impressed with this research study. The article provides a comprehensive and thorough summary of the findings. The researchers provide appropriate information regarding the structure and execution of the study. The article also includes an attachment to a complete summary report as well as provides other relevant information and comparisons.

"Cellphone Use Tied to Changes in Brain Activity"

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Cellphone use can speed up brain activity in the area of brain closest to the phone antenna, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health. Researchers are skeptical of the findings because the effects on an individual's health are still unknown.

The researchers tested 47 people by placing a cellphone in each ear. In the first test, both phones were turned off. In the second test, the right phone was on a muted phone call. After almost one hour of tests, the brain scans showed increase consumption of glucose, or sugar, in areas of the brain near the activated phone.

This study raises the question of whether there are long-term consequences of repeated stimulation from electromagnetic radiation. This study continues to fuel the debate on the safety of cell phones.

This study proposes a controversial topic to does not result in any definitive conclusions. As the researchers stated in the beginning of the article, they are skeptical to make interpretations of the data because the effects on one's health are still unknown. I think the sample size of 47 participants is somewhat small, but yet still large enough to support that there is a consistent brain activity phenomenon as a result from the experiment. I am curious to know if there was a control group in these tests and if using a land-line phone would produce the same results (granted there is still an internal antenna). This is a topic I am personally interested in but it seems researchers are a long ways away from drawing any conclusions on the safety of cellphone use.


"To Lose Weight, Savor Your Food"

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A study posted on Cosmopolitan's website says that scientists from the Unversity of Minnesota and Texas A&M University found that paying close attention to eating unhealthy foods makes you more likely to eat less unhealthy foods.

Additionally, paying attention while eating unhealthy foods makes you feel satisfied quicker. Participants who counted the number of times they swallowed while eating unhealthy snacks said they felt fuller sooner.

Even if these results are true, there is no numerical evidence to support the data. The sample population as well as other conditions were not provided by the researchers. Because of the obvious missing information, a reader must be critical and skeptical when analyzing this research study.

Chicago Tribune:

Although both Caucasian and African American stressed females tend to gain weight, the stress appears to have a greater effect in the weight of African American girls. However, the African American girls reported less stress overall than Caucasian girls.

In the article, researcher Dawn Turner Trice addresses the epidemic of obesity-related chronic diseases in the United States. She also mentions the level of stress that teens face.

A professor at UCLA said, "the biggest gap in health disparities in this country is in the obesity rates between black and white teen girls." This study was published by Annals of Behavioral Medicine and was conducted from a long-term study by the Nation Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that began in the 1980s. The study analyzed 2,379 girls, half were African American and the other half was Caucasian. The girls came from different regions of the country and various income levels. The researchers have been studying the girls beginning at age 10 until age 19. The research team of psychologists is also studying the emotions that affect health.

Researchers are still looking for ways to explain the results of this phenomenon. The results show that African American girls increase in one unit of stress led to a .8 increase in BMI every two years while one unit of stress led to a .55 BMI unit increase for Caucasian girls.

This study is relevant to our class material because it encompasses numerous variables and units of measurement. The researchers used a long-term structure, measuring the same population at various ages. I find it interesting that the researchers analyzed the emotional factors that influence stress level, although I would have liked to have an explanation of how the emotions affect daily health. I think this a very thorough study, the only concern I have is how the researchers assigned a value "one unit" to stress, and this value was not thoroughly explained.


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