Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gender Bias Discrimination DOES Exist at B Schools!

I've always had the uncanny feeling that there was something systematic about the discrimination and abusive environment that follows me everyday I've been in academia. Here is a recent article from BusinessWeek that substantiates my hunches!

Let's Be Honest About Gender Discrimination at Business Schools

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Eating Foods with Olestra Clears Toxins From Body Faster

Olestra, which doesn't sound very yummy, is added to snacks as a substitute for fat creating a low fat version. Some have worried that this additive isn't the healthiest thing in the world to eat. However, some research is showing that adding olestra to chips seems to help in clearing away toxins like serum polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs from the body faster (more on the research here!). This seems like a really good added benefit if this indeeds is proven to be the case! Yeah for additives that do good things for the body!!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Sleeping In" Not So Bad For Grumpy Teens

Since I have been tracking my own quality (or lack thereof) of sleep, I have become increasingly interested on how sleep impacts cognitive performance and mental health. My 15 year old has switched from a "rise before the sun" type sleeper to a "hybernating bear" late riser! I'm sure it is linked to his stage in adolescence. If you do try to get him up early, boy is he a grumpy person for the day (sounds like someone else I know...hmmm)!

It turns out that it may not be so bad letting teens sleep in a little longer in the mornings. A new study has found that teens may function better when they have school start times that are later in the day. Given that we don't fully understand everything that is going on in the body and the brain as we develop and age, it might indeed be smart to allow all those hormonally and physically stretched brains and bodies a little extra shut eye as they move into adulthood. In the end all we really want is for our kids to be fully functioning, smart, achieving individuals...a little extra sleep could do us all a little good. Lucky for my kid we have picked home schooling and he has some flexibility on when he wakes up...time will tell if our gamble will pay off. Now I have to go make sure he is actually awake!!

Missing Data

There is so much to consider when collecting and analyzing data. We can't force subjects to answer every question so sometimes they skip some answers. When they do this it leads to the problem of MISSING DATA.

I went on a quest to figure out which is the right thing to do when this happens because of a doc student's questions and found out that, as always in this business, it all depends.

The first step is to figure out if data are missing and if so if it is random. Using SPSS, you can click Analyze --> Missing Data Analysis, and select the variables that are in your study.

If data are missing at random (MCAR) then you can use imputation to fill in the holes. Simple imputation seems to have issues if there isn't some way to figure it out from another variable (like SES from income). But multiple imputation, if complicated, seems to be a pretty accurate way to fix the problem.

Next I'll post the step by step for multiple imputation...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What Science Says Really Makes You Happy

(Image credit: HuffPost.com)

Love this article on HuffPost about what studies say will make you more happy versus the amount of effort it takes. Notice that there is nothing about earning more money up here (note to self!)? 

Money, Money, Money...And Happiness?

(Photo credit: epSos.de )

An interesting article on Huff Post regarding how money affects our well-being.

It is a indeed a dilemma that many people spend so much of their time and energy on amassing money or wealth that it becomes almost an obsession. I am included in that bunch. But anecdotally there does seem to be little connection between happiness and wealth. Many of us have a lot in terms of stuff, but are increasingly more anxious, stressed, unhappy, angry as we strive everyday to get more. 

It seems the attachment to money just like food or sex is a “process addiction.” Unlike a chemical addiction that interacts with the body’s internal mechanisms (like alcohol or nicotine), addictive behaviors impact the brain by stimulating a dopamine surge that also can cause you to want more and more even to your detriment. So how do you get out of this cycle of process addiction? That’s the $64 million question I guess! Stay tuned for more....

Monday, October 28, 2013

More Women Run 10Ks

It is one of my life goals to run a 10K someday. Not at a winner's pace, just at a decent enough pace to get me over the finish line at some point before sundown.

More and more we women are pushing ourselves to experience life in a way that our great grandmothers would have killed for. A recent study at Northwestern Medical found that women are participating in marathons in big numbers. Running 10 kilometers with guys in front of you, next to you and behind you is a huge step in the right direction for women and men. It's good for the heart, good for the brain, and good for society. It is something that in many parts of the world it wouldn't be allowed and it wasn't allowed for women for literally thousands of years. Keep on moving sisters!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Biggest Predictor of Anxiety, Lying and Aggression in Low Income Children: Housing Quality

For low-income families, substandard housing takes toll on children. A new study finds that children who live in housing with leaks, broken windows, insects and rodents are more likely to suffer from all of the negative outcomes that plague poor and inner city children. The quality of housing, more than any other factor, seems to predict whether a child will develop anxiety, aggression, criminal behavior and other mental and behavioral conditions most likely because the sense of instability and the stress of bad day to day living conditions probably leads to a strong impact on development. This makes so much sense! If we could provide children with decent, stable, secure living space, we could probably reverse the poor performance of poor children around the world. What an impact on education alone this would have.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homeschooled Kids are Less Obese than Traditionally Schooled Kids

ScienceDaily: This interesting study has found evidence that the stereotype of homeschooled kids being less active and more overweight because they are at home all day may be upended. It turns out that homeschooled kids and traditionally schooled kids are equally as active but that at traditional schools, kids are eating more calories, more sugar, more salt and more fat during lunchtime. This indicates what I have always thought after my kindergartener spent 1 year in private school with a full lunch served daily. While not having to cook lunch as a mom is nice, they were overfeeding her and feeding her a lot of heavy, starchy foods that led to constipation and rashes. So we really need to rethink what we offer kids for school meals and allow kids if they aren't hungry (which my kids are rarely hungry during the day until dinner time) to not eat until they want to. School lunch programs have really been a government subsidy program for agriculture and now food processors...not the people we should necessarily trust to know what and how to feed our kids.

Sleep Flushes Toxins from the Brain

new study on the mouse brain, indicates that sleep may allow for toxins that accumulate in the brain to be processed and flushed out of the system. These toxins can be related to neurodegenerative disease which might indicate that those who have difficulty sleeping may not be removing these toxins properly.
Scientists watched dye flow through the brain of a sleeping mouse. (Credit: Courtesy of Nedergaard Lab, University of Rochester Medical Center)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Feeling of Guilt Can Be Very Heavy...Literally!

It seems that new research indicates that guilt may be processed in the brain where bodily sensations are processed. This leads to the sensation of being "burdened with guilt" that is metaphorically used to describe a guilt laden feeling: Click here for more: ScienceDaily.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tend to Overeat? Blame Your BNST

A new study from UNC Medical School published in Science has identified that the gaba neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, or BNST might play a role in appetite and maladaptive behaviors such as bulemia and anorexia. Really cool study: ScienceDaily

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Working From Home Is Good!

Research gives us evidence that telecommuting or working from home can help give a sense of work/life balance: ScienceDaily:

Ballerina Brains Are Different From Yours: They Don't Get Dizzy

It seems ballet dancers' brains adapt over time to suppress the sensation of imbalance in the inner ear. This allows dancers to spin without getting dizzy the way a normal person would. Read more about the research here: ScienceDaily

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Babies are Addictive to Moms!

I always knew it! A new article in Time Magazine finds that the way babies smell is addictive...my kids are definitely an addiction for me and I've talked to other mothers who have said the same thing. And the more you're around them, the more you want to stay around them no matter how loud and obnoxious they are. Makes it really hard to have a hard hitting career, that's for sure, if you can't even tear yourself away from the house! I guess that's what they made schools for!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Older People Slow Down but They Are Better At Using What They Have

Researchers at UC Riverside and Columbia studied older people and their decision making over time, the first study to do this! The results are fascinating! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130924141037.htm

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Conference on Consumer Well-Being at Queen's Universiity

I just got back from Kingston Ontario and a great conference on Consumer Well-Being hosted by Prof. Monica Labarge and Queen's University School of Business! Presenters included Ron Hill from Villanova, Jim Gentry from U. Of Nebraska, Lauren Block from Baruch, Melissa Bublitz from U. Of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Beth Vallen from Fordham, Laurence Ashworth from Queen's, Tandy Thomas from Queen's, Stacy Baker from U. Of Wyoming, Andrea Godfrey from U. of San Diego, Roland Gau from U. of Texas El Paso, Monica and little old me. What a great crowd! Thanks Monica and Queen's!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can you do this? Simple sitting test predicts longevity

Can you do this? Simple sitting test predicts longevity

Whether you can get down and up from the floor without using another part of your body to prop you up could be a predictor of how long you'll live. Boy that is strong vote to keep up the yoga practice!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I presented recently for Western Alumni Office on advertising and how consumers can arm themselves against its effect. This is the video posted on YouTube: http://youtu.be/VJq2UHxzGA8

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Our Values are Processed in the Brain

The price of your soul: How the brain decides whether to 'sell out'

ScienceDaily (2012-01-22) -- A neuro-imaging study shows that personal values people refuse to disavow, even when offered cash, are processed differently in the brain than those values that are willingly sold. The experiment found that the realm of the sacred -- whether a strong religious belief, national identity or code of ethics -- is a distinct cognitive process, and prompts greater activation of a brain area associated with rules-based, right-or-wrong thought processes, as opposed to regions linked to costs-versus-benefits thought. ... > read full article

Friday, December 23, 2011

Why We Spend When We Shouldn't

A front page article in today's Globe and Mail by Tavia Grant on why retail sales seem to be strong this year despite wage stagnation and vacillating consumer confidence included some "sage" words from yours truly! :)

The questions Tavia asked are really good ones and are at the crux of much of what I research. Part of the explanation could be attributed to the pent-up demand effect, where even if consumers are financially limited and they try their best to resist the urge to spend and be frugal, when there are cues from the environment, like ubiquitous reminders of the rapidly approaching holiday season, or when there are stressors or pressures, due to worry about one's job or the economy for example, theory from psychology and consumer behaviour posits that people may be even more susceptible to the temptation to spend even when there is uncertainty that the cash is available to pay for these purchases. So while we might expect that a dip in consumer confidence might dampen spending because people should be preparing for what they expect might be harder times, in fact it can be difficult and stressful for people to cope over an extended period of time with that fear and trepidation. In addition, because we have certain cultural expectations of what an ideal holiday is and often it is important to at least provide a happy experience for loved ones it makes sense that people would muster up any surplus, whether from a savings account or a credit card, in order to make the best of hard times. This can result in surges in spending even during declines in consumer sentiment. In a nutshell it is still difficult for us to predict how consumer confidence impacts consumer spending given the idiosyncrasies of how we psychologically consumer when under stress. There are many other factors that can modulate that impact. I think that some of us react to the uncertainty in the environment by looking for ways to feel confident, in control and successful and interestingly the process of shopping to procure consumption items especially for our households and families is very satisfying, very rewarding.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Hate Cortisol! It Makes Me Fat and It's Keeping My Baby Up At Night!

When babies awaken: New study shows surprise regarding important hormone level

ScienceDaily (2011-12-01) -- Cortisol may be the Swiss Army knife of hormones in the human body -- just when scientists think they understand what it does, another function pops up. While many of these functions are understood for adults, much less is known about how cortisol operates in babies and toddlers, especially when it comes to an important phenomenon called the cortisol awakening response, or CAR. ... > read full article