I only noticed this little irony because I'm such a huge college football fan (okay, all football really) and I'm getting incredibly excited about the start of the football season... but I saw a commercial for some of Gatorade's new products - the one I've embedded here actually and I got to thinking... One of the new products for Gatorade (it's Gator-ade, as in drink to 'aid' the Florida Gator athletes), including one that appeared to be some kind of a gel, which I believe is glucose.
That got me thinking about the research that played a role in developing that product and how I believe that some of that research is from our own world of psychology! I believe that Gatorade's gel-like product has to have been at least partially influenced (there's an obvious connection at worst) by some of Roy Baumeister and his colleagues at Florida State (you know, the big rival for the University of Florida). What stands out to me in particular is a study that made an impression on me if for no other reason than because I cannot believe the number of participants, IRB forms and restrictions, and sheer man power taken to conduct it.
Gailliot, along with Baumeister and several other co-authors, published a paper in 2007 demonstrating the connection between glucose and self-regulation, self-control... the subtitle was even "Willpower is more than a metaphor." While Gatorade isn't exactly used to improve performance on a Stroop test, I would think its creators and researchers were at least aware of the Baumeister & Tice lab because those who had the best performance (and most self-control, self-regulation) had ingested a glucose drink!
I could easily be reaching with this, but it's a funny coincidence at least... any time you name a product for the school's mascot, I think you probably prompt some comparison to and anger at your rival... plus, I tend to find weird little connections to psychology from Gatorade, such as when they had their "what is g" commercials series and all I could think about was general intelligence... thoughts? Think there is a connection?
(If you're interested, this is the citation: Gailliot, M. T., Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., Maner, J. K., Plant, E. A., Tice, D. M., Brewer, L. E., & Schmeichel, B. J. (2007). Self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source: Willpower is more than a metaphor. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 325-336.)
I'm always a big fan of psychology making its way into the "mainstream media" and I still get excited when I see some article in Cosmopolitan or The New York Times or some equally "popular" form of media that references a study in a psychological journal (and I'm even more excited when I can guess who one of the authors is - not as hard as you might think given that some people talk to the media a lot and their research is repeatedly featured... sort of like crosswords, after a while, you see that some answers appear over and over again). All that is just leading me to point out that Cosmopolitan magazine had a little article on how women are attracted to men wearing red... which cited a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology!
So being the awesomely nerdy gal I am, I found the journal article. It was seven studies and they compared humans to nonhumans and vertebrates to invertebrates and it's a pretty long thing... but you can tell pretty quickly that - as usual - the Cosmo writers have taken some liberties... though they didn't completely overdo it like I think they are prone to do (which is not unique to them, of course - we all want better answers than just "it depends").
Nonetheless, you can see for yourself what Cosmo said compared to what the scholars had to say... here's what Cosmo had to say:
"Ladies found men in red clothing more attractive and sexually desirable. The not-so-shocking reason why? Women subconsciously viewed men wearing that color as being higher in status and more likely to earn a good salary."
The study's authors:
"Specifically, in a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing, and we additionally show that status perceptions are responsible for this red effect. The influence of red appears to be specific to women's romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men's perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women's perceptions of men's overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion."
(In case you want it, the full citation for the scholarly article is:
Elliot, A. J., Kayser, D. N., Greitemeyer, T., Lichtenfeld, S., Gramzow, R. H., Maier, M. A., & Liu, H. (2010). Red, rank, and romance in women viewing men. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139(3), 399-417.)
All this is just to say that Cosmo did a better job with this one than they have with some other studies I've seen them report on in the past and that I'm excited that this study made it to Cosmo, even if I wish something a little less "evolutionary psychology-based" made it (because let's be fair, this basically says that women are gold diggers - a frequent bottom line in evolutionary psychology), but I'll settle for any psychology and some pretty good reporting...
In honor of my internship, we have another intern explaining why he's the most interesting... the video's here, but one of my favorite sites - The Collared Sheep - has the lyrics for us to enjoy here.
While I'm busy finishing up an internship and moving back to my regular small-town, very Southern life - not to mention getting over a recent not-so-pretty break-up - I'm not really overflowing with creative ideas for topics and posts this week. So instead, I thought I'd feature some of the recent stuff I've been reading on the Harvard Business Review's website...
- "A Deeper Kind of Joblessness" on Harvard Business Review - the current economic situation keeps finding its way into various psychological talks and debates. I was fortunate enough to attend a U.S. House subcommittee meeting on potential policy responses to long-term unemployment and one of the expert witnesses pushed Keynesian economics quite heavily... while he was not someone I took all that seriously (and hopefully not too many others did as well), this article actually manages to use economic arguments to persuade readers of the value of improving jobs and work for employees right now...
- "Why the Powerful Can Be So Rude" on HBR - while I was saddened by the passing of George Steinbrenner, at least as much as anyone, I found it somewhat surprising that in death his memory is completely free of much of the hallmark of his personality as a businessman - there is little mention of the fact that Steinbrenner would probably not be anyone's best friend nowadays, at least not based on his personality and treatment of others. But I was thrilled to see this article actually points out that Steinbrenner is NOT associated with much of the traits we currently link to good managers and leaders.
- "Millenials Won't Change Work; Work Will Change Millenials" on HBR - the title is catchy and I wish I could say that the arguments are somehow unique or eye opening, but ultimately, as much as I want to just agree with the author and not have to read another freakin' article about this topic and the generations at work, etc. (despite my interest in the topic, these articles manage to recycle a horrifyingly large amount of content), I'm not sure I'm convinced. The changes in work design and the employment relationship are too overwhelming and real to ignore and it's hard to say that it's not partially due to the rise of the millenial employee and the changes that shape both the millenial attitudes and the design of work... at least for me.
- "Getting Beyond Engagement to Creating Meaning at Work" on HBR - it's almost ridiculous to think about something so 'luxurious' as making meaning and finding a job that provides you with personal fulfillment in the context of the current economy, but it's still a topic that's interesting to me personally and should be to researchers too as the author wisely points out that even in the midst of dangerous and miserable working conditions, individuals can thrive and create meaning. I think the arguments here harken back to Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model, but I love that the idea of making meaning - this active process that employees can choose to engage in and take action to alter the quality of their own experiences - is making it to the workplace!
(from the Washington Post story "Why going green won't make you better or save you money")
P.S. I made the little "artsy quote" from the Zooey Deschanel quote myself - like it? I'm kinda proud of myself!
The main idea behind the Tumblelog is that I can save links, photos, articles, videos, etc. and more together in one place rather than trying to use Flickr and Digg and Delicious and all of the other services out there. And with Tumblr, I can just post little bits of content without needing to make a whole big entry... so it's a good sort of supplement (complement?) to this site. So check it out!
I'm a sucker for any blog post or article that attacks the mainstream media's failure to look at actual scientific research or that breaks down how "impartial" articles somehow manage to forget the entire other side of a debate.
So, I had to share this article from Bella DiPaulo's "Living Single" blog on Psychology Today, where she examines how a nine page article from the Washington Post (pictured) on the 'effectiveness' of marriage education somehow failed to include quotes from those who didn't think the programs are all that they're cracked up to be or any examination of examinations of the programs in peer-reviewed scientific journals...
Basically, it's a scary look at how articles in reputable publications really aren't as scientific or unbiased as we think they are, even when they are supposedly covering scientific topics and interviewing experts. I guess it's terrifyingly easy to ignore the dissenting opinions when you need an angle - in this case, the idea that divorce rates are so high because couples just don't know how to be married - but in getting people to read about the science, it's scary how much is ignored... and ultimately, is this really better? Is anyone really learning anything from this?
Just another reason we need more science in the mainstream, if you ask me!