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Documentaries I Like: POSSESSED

POSSESSED is a short documentary (21 minutes) by director Martin Hampton, showing the private lives of compulsive hoarders -- people who collect or save things far beyond reasonable limits. It's available online in its entirety (see below), and it's worth a look both for general interest as a documentary, but also for people who are curious about compulsive hoarding -- hoarding being a topic we flossers seem to blog about quite a bit.

The film is not too shocking -- these folks don't seem in imminent danger of death from their hoarding, and there aren't any animals involved -- but it's well worth twenty minutes of your time. Watch the film for a look into the lives of four hoarders who allow cameras into their rather cramped apartments.

POSSESSED from Martin Hampton on Vimeo.

Representative quotes:

"You've got no choice but to buy it. ...It's just so overpowering, the need to own something. It's almost like I recognize that I can't trust myself. The temptation of something is so much that I'm just going to give in to it."

"I don't feel I could actually ever get out of this flat on my own. I mean, I just don't think it's achievable. Actually, if my girlfriend moved to America tomorrow, I'd probably stop. The actual goal of breaking free from the possessions wouldn't be enough to actually get rid of them. The contentment of having them would be enough to just keep them."

(Ed. note: this is from a man who reports spending £5,000 collecting Sony MiniDisc players -- a format that's effectively obsolete.)

"I think...what happened? Because I mean, the clutter -- I see it, but I don't see it, in a way."

If you enjoy this film, you might dig the new show Obsessed on A&E -- it deals with OCD patients of all kinds (including compulsive hoarders) who are going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A few episodes are available online, although not the two which feature compulsive hoarders.

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Food
Learn to Spot the Sneaky Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use
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While dining out, you may have noticed (but perhaps didn’t question) some unusual features—like prices missing dollar signs, or burgers served on plates that could accommodate a baby cow.

These aren’t just arbitrary culinary decisions, as the SciShow’s Hank Green explains in the video below. Restaurants use all kinds of psychological tricks to make you spend more money, ranging from eliminating currency symbols (this makes you think less about how much things cost) to plating meals on oversize dinnerware (it makes you eat more). As for the mouthwatering language used to describe food—that burger listed as a "delectable chargrilled extravagance," for example—studies show that these types of write-ups can increase sales by up to 27 percent.

Learn more psychological tricks used by restaurants (and how to avoid falling for them) by watching the video below. (Or, read our additional coverage on the subject.)

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Animals
Owning a Dog May Add Years to Your Life, Study Shows
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We've said that having a furry friend can reduce depression, promote better sleep, and encourage more exercise. Now, research has indicated that caring for a canine might actually extend your lifespan.

Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being. A new paper published in Scientific Reports and conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden looked at the health records of 3.4 million of the country's residents. These records typically include personal data like marital status and whether the individual owns a pet. Researchers got additional insight from a national dog registry providing ownership information. According to the study, those with a dog for a housemate were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or any other cause during the study's 12-year duration.

The study included adults 40 to 80 years old, with a mean age of 57. Researchers found that dogs were a positive predictor in health, particularly among singles. Those who had one were 33 percent less likely to die early than those who did not. Authors didn't conclude the exact reason behind the correlation: It could be active people are more likely to own dogs, that dogs promoted more activity, or that psychological factors like lowered incidences of depression might bolster overall well-being. Either way, having a pooch in your life could mean living a longer one.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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