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PT Blogs: News You Can Use!

Does the latest research influence PT bloggers' behavior?

Experiments are cool—but they don't always take the leap into real-world improvements. We asked PT 's bloggers ( ) if they've changed their own behaviors based on research findings.

Discomfort Zone

I've been hugely influenced by research showing that novelty and challenge contribute to happiness. I love routine and mastery, so I figured that this finding wouldn't apply to me, but I decided to test it, anyway: I started to blog. And to my astonishment, blogging turned into an enormous engine of happiness for me. — Gretchen Rubin ( The Happiness Project )

Double Take

I remember as a freshman learning that you forget about 80 percent of textbook material just two or three days later. However, if you reread it after a delay, you remember about 50 percent. This "Eureka!" experience gave me a simple strategy for doing well in college. — William Ickes ( Everyday Mind Reading )

Touch and Go

Monkeys go nuts and die if they aren't touched. Touch is crucial for survival and well-being, so we carried our little monkey everywhere and learned that humans have a latent ability to do anything one-handed. Our son, now a teenager, continues to be what Californians call "centered" and normal people call "well-adjusted." — Tad Waddington ( Smarts )

Seize the Day

When I was in my 30s, I read research finding that young people tend to regret things they did, but old people tend to regret things they did not do. Soon after I decided to learn to play the saxophone. — Art Markman ( Ulterior Motives )

Change of Scenery

I have always loved bourbon, and as a graduate student, I loved it regularly. But I also value a life free from nagging temptation. Research by Wendy Wood and her colleagues showed that habits often do not survive the move to a new setting. Before leaving for vacation one year, I removed the bourbon from the cabinet. When I returned, it was more than an arm's length away. — J.D. Trout ( The Greater Good )

Reach Out

There is a difference between extroversion (which is inborn) and social connectedness (which one cultivates). Social connections are the biggest single predictor of human happiness, so I overcome my natural introversion by making a concerted effort to build my network. — Ilana Simons ( The Literary Mind )

Bedtime Stories

Children who are encouraged to share conversations about the past produce more sophisticated autobiographical narratives later in development. With both kids, we play a bedtime game called "What We Did Today," which involves talking about the events of the day, recapping the funny bits, and discussing our emotions and those of others. I have no idea if it will produce any lasting benefit, but it makes for a sharing moment not to be missed. — Charles Fernyhough ( Dad the Observer )

To Help Or Not

The bioethicist Peter Singer raised an ethical dilemma on his blog, The Life You Can Save . See if you agree with the logic.

  • First premise: Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care are bad.
  • Second premise: If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so.
  • Third premise: By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter, and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important.
  • Conclusion: Therefore if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong.