Friday November 24, 2017

Taking and sharing smiling selfies can help one become a happier person, say Scientists at California University

Researchers collected nearly 2,900 mood measurements during the study and found that subjects in all three groups experienced increased positive moods

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Women taking selfies on beach. Pixabay
  • Chen and her colleagues designed and conducted a four-week study involving 41 college students
  • The project involved three types of photos to help the researchers determine how smiling, reflecting and giving to others might impact users’ moods
  • The study shows that sometimes our gadgets can offer benefits to users

New York, Sep 14, 2016: Taking smiling selfies with your smartphone and sharing them with your friends can help make you a happier person, say computer scientists at the University of California, Irvine.

“This study shows that sometimes our gadgets can offer benefits to users,” said senior author Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics.

“Our research showed that practicing exercises that can promote happiness via smartphone picture-taking and sharing can lead to increased positive feelings for those who engage in it,” lead author Yu Chen, a post-doctoral scholar, added.

By conducting exercises via smartphone photo technology and gauging users’ psychological and emotional states, the researchers found that the daily taking and sharing of certain types of images can positively affect people.

A couple taking selfie. Pixabay
A couple taking selfie. Pixabay

Chen and her colleagues designed and conducted a four-week study involving 41 college students.

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The participants — 28 female and 13 male — were instructed to continue their normal day-to-day activities (going to class, doing schoolwork, meeting with friends, etc.) while taking part in the research.

Each was invited to the informatics lab for an informal interview and to fill out a general questionnaire and consent form. The scientists helped students load a survey app onto their phones to document their moods during the first “control” week of the study.

Participants used a different app to take photos and record their emotional states over the following three-week “intervention” phase.

The project involved three types of photos to help the researchers determine how smiling, reflecting and giving to others might impact users’ moods.

The first was a selfie to be taken daily while smiling. The second was an image of something that made the photo taker happy. The third was a picture of something the photographer believed would bring happiness to another person (which was then sent to that person). Participants were randomly assigned to take photos of one type.

Researchers collected nearly 2,900 mood measurements during the study and found that subjects in all three groups experienced increased positive moods.

Some participants in the selfie group reported becoming more confident and comfortable with their smiling photos over time, said the study published in the journal Psychology of Well-Being.

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The students taking photos of objects that made them happy became more reflective and appreciative.

And those who took photos to make others happy became calmer and said that the connection to their friends and family helped relieve stress. (IANS)

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Do You Only Experience Happiness, Sadness, Anger, Surprise, Fear and Disgust? Not Anymore! Researchers Discover 27 Different States of Human Emotions

The study has revealed that there are smooth gradients of emotion between, say, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration

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Emotional reponses
According to the study, there are not just 6 but 27 different human emotions. They have also found gradients between these 27 different emotions. Pixabay

Berkeley, September 11, 2017 : A new study challenges a long-held assumption in psychology that most human emotions fall within the universal categories of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and disgust.

Using statistical models to analyse the responses of 853 men and women, who are demographically diverse, to 2,185 emotionally evocative video clips, University of California, Berkeley, researchers have identified 27 distinct categories of emotion and created a multidimensional map to show how they are connected.

According to the study published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, there are smooth gradients of emotion between, for instance, awe and peacefulness, horror and sadness, and amusement and adoration.

“We don’t get finite clusters of emotions in the map because everything is interconnected,” Xinhua quoted lead author Alan Cowen as saying.

The results showed that study participants generally shared the same or similar emotional responses to the videos shown to them, providing a wealth of data that allowed the researchers to identify 27 distinct categories of emotion.

Through statistical modelling and visualisation techniques, the researchers organised the emotional responses to each video into a semantic atlas of human emotions.

“We found that 27 distinct dimensions, not six, were necessary to account for the way hundreds of people reliably reported feeling in response to each video,” said study senior author Dacher Keltner. (IANS)

 

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Scientists report Groundwater replenishment in West and South India

An international team of researchers, including experts from IIT-Kharagpur and  NASA, has observed groundwater storage replenishment in certain Indian regions

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Scientists noted Groundwater replenished
Scientists noted Groundwater replenished. Pixabay
  • The implementation of ingenious groundwater management strategies in both Indian public and private sectors
  • Long-term ground-based measurements and decadal-scale  satellite-based groundwater storage measurements
  • The Indian groundwater withdrawal and management policies for sustainable water utilization

August 12, 2017: An international team of researchers, including experts from IIT-Kharagpur and NASA, has reported discernible groundwater storage replenishment in certain Indian regions, in a new study, attributing it to changes in strategy in the public and private sectors.

Published in the Nature Scientific Reports in August, the study says this groundwater storage (GWS) rejuvenation may possibly be attributed “to the implementation of ingenious groundwater management strategies in both Indian public sector and private sector”.

A research team from IIT-Kharagpur in collaboration with NASA American scientists has observed regional-scale water replenishment through long-term (1996-2014, using more than 19,000 observation locations) ground-based measurements and decadal-scale (2003-2014) satellite-based groundwater storage measurements, in large parts of India.

While the northern and eastern parts of India are still undergoing acute usable groundwater depletion and stress, encouraging, replenishing such scenarios are detected in western India and southern India under proper water resource management practices, the study notes.

“Our study shows that the recent paradigm shift in the Indian groundwater withdrawal and management policies for sustainable water utilization, probably have started replenishing the aquifers by increasing storage in western and southern parts of India,” said research leader Abhijit Mukherjee from IIT-Kharagpur on Friday.

The team used numerical analyses and simulation results of management and policy change effect on groundwater storage changes in western and southern India for this study.Mukherjee drew attention to the recent changes in Indian central/state government policies on its withdrawal and stress on management strategies.

Strategies such as restriction of subsidized electricity for irrigation, separate electricity distribution for agricultural purposes (e.g. Jyotigram Yojana), construction of large-scale, regional enhanced recharge systems in water-stressed crystalline aquifers (Tapti river mega recharge project), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, enhanced recharge by interlinking of river catchments (e.g. Narmada-Sabarmati interlinking), will probably start replenishing the aquifers by increasing groundwater storage in near future.

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Chief of Hydrological Sciences Laboratory Matthew Rodell at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, helped in interpreting the NASA satellite (GRACE) data (2003-2014) of the above-mentioned water source storage changes in India for this study.

The co-authors are — Yoshihide Wada affiliated to International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; Siddhartha Chattopadhyay of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur; Isabella Velicogna and Kishore Pangaluru from the University of California, the USA; James S. Famiglietti of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, the US.

“We conclude that in India, where huge groundwater consumption is widely known to be leading to severe dwindling of groundwater resource in recent times, previously unreported, discernible GWS replenishment can also be observed in certain Indian regions,” said lead author Soumendra Bhanja affiliated to Hydroscience and Policy Advisory Group, Department of Geology and Geophysics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, as well as to Hydrological Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. (IANS)

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Here is Why Mountain Lions Run Away from the Sound of Humans!

They are so Afraid that they Run Away When they Hear Us

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Mountain Lions, California
A new study conducted by a student of the University of California says that mountain lions run away to the sound of the humans.. Pixabay
  • A new study conducted by a student of University of California says that mountain lions run away from the sound of the humans
  • “We exposed pumas in the Santa Cruz mountains to the sound of human voices to see if they would react with fear and flee, and the results were striking: They were definitely afraid of humans”
  • The study might prove to be valuable because of the human interference in places of the habitat of the Pumas which increases the chance of human-puma encounters

Los Angeles, June 23, 2017:

One roar from the “King of the Jungle” and that will be enough to chill your spine. We all fear those canines and claw bearing wild cats but that might not be the only case. A new study conducted by a student of the University of California says that mountain lions run away to the sound of the humans.

Justine Smith, who led the study as a graduate student in University of California (UC), Santa Cruz in the US said,  “We exposed pumas in the Santa Cruz mountains to the sound of human voices to see if they would react with fear and flee, and the results were striking: They were definitely afraid of humans.”

The study might prove to be valuable because of the human interference in places of the habitat of the Pumas which increases the chance of human-puma encounters.

“Fear is the mechanism behind an ecological cascade that goes from humans to pumas to increased puma predation on deer. We are seeing that human disturbance – beyond hunting – may alter the ecological role of large carnivores.” said Wilmers.

He also added, “As we encroach on lion habitat, our presence will likely affect the link between top predators and their prey,” he added.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi