The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things we learned about our bodies in the last seven days…
People Forced to Smile at Work Drink More Booze
Working with the public usually means providing service with a smile, even when Karen is scolding both you and your manager for putting one too many ice cubes in her iced tea. Anyone who works a service job knows just how frustrating this can be, but new research suggests that forcing happiness when you really want to toss that Goddamn iced tea out the Goddamn window can also have profound and lasting effects on your mental health, amplifying your negative emotions and making you more likely to drink heavily after fake smiling through a shift.
“Faking and suppressing emotions with customers was related to drinking beyond the stress of the job or feeling negatively,” explains researcher Alicia Grandey in a press release related to this study. “It wasn’t just feeling badly that makes them reach for a drink. Instead, the more they have to control negative emotions at work, the less they are able to control their alcohol intake after work.” Good thing service workers at least make enough to rent a nice home and eat regularly… oh wait.
Accepting That You’re a Fuck-up Can Make You Happier
We all wonder what we might be like in the future, and we usually like to believe we’ll be a better version of our current selves. But according to a new study, that kind of thinking often makes us feel even worse about ourselves down the road. Instead, the research shows that people who expect to stay more or less the same as life goes on, whether or not they currently consider themselves a total fuck-up, are happier in the long-term. “The more people initially predicted that they would remain the same — whether predicting less decline or less improvement across a number of core traits — the more satisfied they typically were with their lives 10 years later,” says author Joseph Reiff in a press release. Expect nothing from your shitty self so you won’t be disappointed — it’s a strategy we can all get behind.
Talking a Lot Makes Your Kid Smarter
Another recent study shows that talking a whole bunch in front of your young kid, no matter what you’re talking about, can improve their overall cognitive ability, which helps with things like reasoning, numeracy and even shape awareness. While the researchers suggest that this could be because higher exposure to language provides more learning opportunities for young children, they also note that this could simply boil down to the fact that smarter children might encourage their parents to talk more. In other words, this has the potential to be more correlation than causation. Even still, talking with and around your kid is probably a good idea, so yeah, do that.
Micro-Robots Are the New Toothbrush
Welcome to the future: Engineers, dentists and biologists at the University of Pennsylvania have officially developed micro-robots that are capable of removing plaque from all the tiny nooks and crannies among your teeth. The engineers are able to control these robots by using a magnetic field, which allows them to be moved around without being tethered to anything outside your mouth. No word on when exactly these miniature dental robots will become common dental practice, but I look forward to the day when I can sit back, relax and let tiny robo-dentists crawl around my teeth as I unceremoniously toss my worn-out toothbrush in the trash can.
Sugar Doesn’t Actually Make Tea Taste Any Better
Put down the sugarcube and step away: New research suggests that people tend to enjoy tea the same whether or not it contains sugar. The researchers figured this out by gathering a bunch of tea drinkers who religiously added sugar to their cuppa. They then asked them to either stop adding sugar to their tea overnight, gradually reduce the amount of sugar they added or continue drinking sweetened tea as a control group. Once four weeks were up, those who either reduced or stopped adding sugar to their tea reported that they still enjoyed the drink, and once the study was over, 42 percent of those in the gradual reduction group stopped adding sugar to their tea altogether, with 36 percent of those in the overnight group doing the same. Sugar is made of lies, yo.