Shankar Vedantam http://wgcu.org en Why We Think Ignorance Is Bliss, Even When It Hurts Our Health http://wgcu.org/post/why-we-think-ignorance-bliss-even-when-it-hurts-our-health Medical tests are rarely a pleasant experience, especially if you're worried that something could be seriously wrong. That's true even though we know that regular screenings and tests often help doctors catch issues early.<p>But of course, humans don't always behave rationally. Sometimes people will go to great lengths to avoid hearing bad news. Social scientists call this sort of behavior information aversion, or the ostrich effect (based on the old myth that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they're scared). Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:00:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 12818 at http://wgcu.org Why We Think Ignorance Is Bliss, Even When It Hurts Our Health When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home http://wgcu.org/post/when-work-becomes-haven-stress-home In the land that came up with the phrase "Thank God it's Friday," and a restaurant chain to capitalize on the sense of relief many feel as the work week ends, researchers made an unusual finding in 2012.<p>Moms who worked full time reported significantly better physical and mental health than moms who worked part time, research involving more than 2,500 mothers found. And mothers who worked part time reported better health than moms who didn't work at all.<p>Working and juggling family responsibilities can be stressful. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 12369 at http://wgcu.org When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home Does Diversity On Research Team Improve Quality Of Science? http://wgcu.org/post/does-diversity-research-team-improve-quality-science As science becomes more diverse, scientific collaborators are growing more diverse, too. New research exploring the effect of this change suggests the diversity of the teams that produce scientific research play a big role in how successful the science turns out to be. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 09:06:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 8488 at http://wgcu.org Minority Aspirants To Federal Bench Are Hindered By Underrating http://wgcu.org/post/minority-aspirants-federal-bench-are-hindered-underrating Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish. When a president taps someone to become a federal judge, the American Bar Association reviews and rates the nominee. That rating shapes whether the president's pick is confirmed by the Senate. Now, new analysis claims that the ABA ratings are biased. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 21:03:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 7757 at http://wgcu.org Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health http://wgcu.org/post/cash-or-credit-how-kids-pay-school-lunch-matters-health American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/">most recent studies</a>. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 08:37:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 6433 at http://wgcu.org Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health Lessons In Leadership: It's Not About You. (It's About Them) http://wgcu.org/post/lessons-leadership-its-not-about-you-its-about-them Ronald Heifetz has been a professor of public leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School for three decades, teaching classes that have included aspiring business leaders and budding heads of state. Each year, he says, the students start his course thinking they'll learn the answer to one question:<p>As leaders, how can they get others to follow them?<p>Heifetz says that whole approach is wrong.<p>"The dominant view of leadership is that the leader has the vision and the rest is a sales problem," he says. Mon, 11 Nov 2013 08:20:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 4393 at http://wgcu.org Lessons In Leadership: It's Not About You. (It's About Them) Why Are Kids Who Get Less Candy Happier On Halloween? http://wgcu.org/post/why-are-kids-who-get-less-candy-happier-halloween What makes trick-or-treaters happy is candy. And more candy is better, right?<p>Well, it turns out that might not actually be the case. A few years ago researchers did <a href="http://www.psych.uncc.edu/pagoolka/pbr96.pdf">a study</a> on Halloween night where some trick-or-treaters were given a candy bar, and others were given the candy bar and a piece of bubble gum.<p>Now, in any rational universe, you would imagine that the kids who got the candy bar and the bubble gum would be happier than the kids who got just the candy bar. Thu, 31 Oct 2013 07:58:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 4038 at http://wgcu.org Why Are Kids Who Get Less Candy Happier On Halloween? Smart Teenage Brains May Get Some Extra Learning Time http://wgcu.org/post/smart-teenage-brains-may-get-some-extra-learning-time John Hewitt is a neuroscientist who studies the biology of intelligence. He's also a parent. Over the years, Hewitt has periodically drawn upon his scientific knowledge in making parenting decisions.<p>"I'm a father of four children myself and I never worried too much about the environments that I was providing for my children because I thought, well, it would all work out in the end anyway — aren't the genes especially powerful?" <a href="http://ibgwww.colorado.edu/hewitt/">Hewitt</a> says.<p>He knew intelligence has a strong biological component. Mon, 23 Sep 2013 07:37:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 2771 at http://wgcu.org Smart Teenage Brains May Get Some Extra Learning Time Diet Of Defeat: Why Football Fans Mourn With High-Fat Food http://wgcu.org/post/diet-defeat-why-football-fans-mourn-high-fat-food Backing a losing NFL team isn't just bad for your pride.<p>It's bad for your waistline.<p>A study that links sports outcomes with the eating behavior of fans finds that backers of NFL teams eat more food and fattier food the day after a loss. Backers of winning teams, by contrast, eat lighter food, and in moderation.<p>After a defeat, the researchers found that saturated fat consumption went up by 16 percent, while after a victory it decreased by 9 percent. Fri, 20 Sep 2013 07:22:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 2708 at http://wgcu.org Diet Of Defeat: Why Football Fans Mourn With High-Fat Food It's OK To Protest In China, Just Don't March http://wgcu.org/post/its-ok-protest-china-just-dont-march Thousands of messages posted on the Internet every day in China get censored. Until now, little has been known about how the Chinese censorship machine works — except that it is comprehensive.<p>"It probably is the largest effort ever to selectively censor human expression," says Harvard University social scientist <a href="http://www.gov.harvard.edu/people/faculty/gary-king">Gary King</a>. "They don't censor everything. There are millions of Chinese [who] talk about millions of things. Mon, 09 Sep 2013 07:30:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 2288 at http://wgcu.org It's OK To Protest In China, Just Don't March Money May Be Motivating Doctors To Do More C-Sections http://wgcu.org/post/money-may-be-motivating-doctors-do-more-c-sections Obstetricians perform more cesarean sections when there are financial incentives to do so, according to a new study that explores links between economic incentives and medical decision-making during childbirth.<p>About <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/08/31/129552505/cesarean-sections-stay-popular">1 in 3</a> babies born today is delivered via C-section, compared to 1 in 5 babies delivered via the surgical procedure in 1996. During the same time period, the annual medical costs of childbirth in the U.S. have grown by $3 billion annually. Fri, 30 Aug 2013 07:06:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 2009 at http://wgcu.org Money May Be Motivating Doctors To Do More C-Sections Why Aren't More Girls Attracted To Physics? http://wgcu.org/post/why-arent-more-girls-attracted-physics You don't need to be a social scientist to know there is a gender diversity problem in technology. The tech industry in <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/06/silicon-valley-race-gender-problem-income-inequality">Silicon Valley</a> and across the nation is overwhelmingly male-dominated.<p>That isn't to say there aren't women working at tech firms. Fri, 09 Aug 2013 07:03:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 1306 at http://wgcu.org Why Aren't More Girls Attracted To Physics? Being In The Minority Can Cost You And Your Company http://wgcu.org/post/being-minority-can-cost-you-and-your-company The racial wage gap in the United States — the gap in salary between whites and blacks with similar levels of education and experience — is shaped by geography, according to new social science research.<p>The larger the city, the larger the racial wage gap, according to researchers Elizabeth Ananat, Shihe Fu and Stephen L. Ross, whose findings were recently <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w18933">published</a> by the National Bureau of Economic Research.<p>"The average racial gap in metropolitan areas of around 1 million people — and you can think of a place like Tulsa, Okla. Wed, 24 Jul 2013 07:04:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 720 at http://wgcu.org How To Fight Racial Bias When It's Silent And Subtle http://wgcu.org/post/how-fight-racial-bias-when-its-silent-and-subtle In the popular imagination and in conventional discourse — especially in the context of highly charged news events such as the shooting of <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=148905699" target="_blank">Trayvon Martin</a> — prejudice is all about hatred and animosity.<p>Scientists agree there's little doubt that hate-filled racism is real, but a <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/archives/archive.php?thingId=148905699" target="_blank">growing body</a> of social science research suggests that racial disparities and other biased outcomes in the criminal justice s Fri, 19 Jul 2013 07:26:00 +0000 Shankar Vedantam 534 at http://wgcu.org How To Fight Racial Bias When It's Silent And Subtle