1. Where should you expect to find people using email and instant messaging more? A) In separate offices B) In an open plan office
B) In an open plan office. A recent study by Harvard involved observing communication in a large team that changed from separate offices to true open plan (not even cubicles). Email and instant messaging rose 67%. Face-to-face discussions dropped 73%.
2. Do fussy-eating children grow up to be fussy-eating adults?
There’s a link, but it’s not strong. A new small study suggests that about 60 per cent will still be fussy eaters in their early 20s. The good news? No studies have found a link between fussy eating in childhood and eating disorders in later life.
3. What proportion of people believe they are above average intelligence? A) 50 per cent B) 35 per cent C) 65 per cent
65 per cent. The figure comes from a study involving 1500 Americans. Statistically, it doesn’t make any sense. The ‘better-than-average-effect’ as it’s known shows up in our estimates of our driving ability, social skills, job performance and popularity. A study in 2013 showed that convicted prisoners rated themselves more moral and kinder than the average non-prisoner. They conceded that they weren’t tops on being law-abiding – just average on that one.
4. Your friend’s relationship is over. She’s heartbroken. What words should you choose to console her?
The words don’t matter. It’s being there and sympathetic that count, not the words. Recent studies have shown that we all have our own ways of interpreting the words people offer for comfort. There’s no way of predicting what will be effective. Just listen and have the tissues standing by.
5. Let’s say you’re now enjoying your work as much as your weekends. Which of these should you expect? A) Less depression B) Less stress C) Better relationships D) All of them
D) All of them. And you can add: more happiness and more wealth if it’s paid work. Call it thriving. People who score high on measures of engagement at work are twice as likely to thrive at work and at home. You need to be in the top 20 per cent to be twice as likely to thrive, but engagement at all levels has benefits. There’s a risk too: if you allow your family relationships to suffer as you immerse yourself in your work.
6. Is happiness genetic? A) No B) Partly C) Mostly
A) Partly. Professor Sonia Luybomirsky from the University of California thinks genetics account for about 50 per cent of happiness. Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science have found a gene to account for it. If you have a variant (a long allele) of the 5HTTgene you are significantly more likely to enjoy your work and time with the kids.
7. What’s the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath?
Think of a psychopath as a callous person with superficial charm, no conscience and not necessarily a criminal. Think of a sociopath as someone with a long history of criminal behaviour. There are more symptoms (some of them the same) and the labels are often used loosely. These days, the official term covering both is ‘anti-social personality disorder’.
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