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5 Ways Physical Gestures Influence Your Thinking

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We’re used to thinking about the mind being in control of the body: Think about moving your hand, and your hand moves. But in some situations, the body can have just as much influence on the way you think as the mind has on how you move. Here are five ways physical gestures and movements can influence how you think and feel: 

1. Slouching can make you moody. 

Psychologists from Ohio University found that when people were told to slump forward at their desks during stressful tasks, they reported more negative feelings and felt more insecure about their work-related skills than people who sat up straight. However, the popular idea that “power poses” can make you act more confident is probably a myth. A recent study found that adopting power stances did not affect confident behavior or cause hormonal changes in study subjects.

2. Eliminating frowning can decrease depression. 

Several studies have found that paralyzing a person’s forehead using Botox injections—physically preventing them from frowning—can improve symptoms of depression. When you feel sad, you furrow your brow, but studies have shown that just the act of furrowing your brow can make you feel worse. Not being able to show outward signs of negativity may help minimize the feelings, short-circuiting the negative feedback loop.

3. It's easier to remember actions than words. 

In a 2004 study, psychologists asked children to read sentences about life on a farm. Some kids acted out what they read with toys after reading, while other kids just read the sentences again. Those who had acted out the sentences showed better reading comprehension and remembered more details about the story several days later than those who had been assigned to the rereading group [PDF]. Other research has found that months after a play is over, actors are better at remembering lines they spoke while moving than the ones they recited while standing still.  

4. People tend to like words more if they are easier to type. 

Several recent studies suggest that the increase in computer use is changing our speech, and not just because we’ve started say “OMG!” more. For instance, researchers found that popular baby names tend to be those spelled with letters that are typed with the right hand on the QWERTY keyboard. Since many people are right-handed, these letters may be easier to type. Another study found that people might view words typed mostly with the right hand (like LOL) more positively, though the results were subtle. 

5. Moving can make you more creative. 

In a 2014 Stanford University study, taking a stroll resulted in more creative ideas than sitting in a lab. The results held true even after the walk was over, and for walks in a seemingly uncreative place, like on a treadmill facing a blank wall. That’s probably why people pace when thinking hard.  

Additional sources: How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel

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Art
The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself
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Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Narcissists Are More Likely to Be Compulsive Facebook Users
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Updating your Facebook status throughout the day is probably a sign you need a different hobby, but according to a new study, the habit can also indicate something else. As PsyPost reports, people with Facebook addiction are also likely to be narcissists.

For their recent study published in the journal PLOS One, scientists from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany followed the Facebook activity of 179 German students over the course of a year. They were looking for cases of so-called Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) based on the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale, a system developed by University of Bergen researchers that measures factors like mood modification, withdrawal, and relapse in relation to Facebook use.

They wanted to find out whether FAD was linked to other mental health problems. In addition to gauging Facebook compulsion, they also surveyed subjects on their depression and anxiety levels, social support systems, physical health, narcissism, and general satisfaction with life. The results showed a strong correlation between FAD and narcissism. Rather than Facebook making its users more narcissistic, the researchers state that people with narcissistic personalities are at a greater risk of developing the social media addiction.

"Facebook use holds a particular meaning for narcissistic people," they write in the paper. "On Facebook, they can quickly initiate many superficial relationships with new Facebook-friends and get a large audience for their well-planned self-presentation. The more Facebook-friends they have, the higher is the possibility that they attain the popularity and admiration they are seeking; whereas in the offline world they might not be as popular since their interaction partners can quickly perceive their low agreeableness and exaggerated sense of self-importance."

The researchers also found a connection between Facebook addiction and higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Studies investigating Facebook Addiction Disorder have been conducted in the past, but there’s still not enough research to classify it as an official behavioral addiction. The researchers hope their work will lead to similar studies pinning down a link between FAD and mental health consequences.

[h/t PsyPost]

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