Today in research news: Wall Street analysts don't like to admit they're wrong, terrible co-workers ruin your home life, white lies are pervasive on online dating profiles and, yes, watching TV will still kill.
- Financial analysts who bet big--and bet wrong--tend to double down on their mistakes...which only compounds the errors. The researchers, John Beshears and Katherine L. Milkman, culled data from 6,800 analyst forecasts from 3,500 companies between 1990 and 2008 for their study. They found that analysts who make "extreme" forecasts ("above or below the consensus or median estimate among all analysts") tend to become stubborn when they make a wrong call. "People become over-committed to a previous course of action," says Beshears, whose sentiment could be applied liberally to either D.C. or Wall Street. [Stanford Graduate School of Business]
- People tend to lie on online dating profiles, because--why not? Michigan State University researcher Nichole Ellison talked to the Wall Street Journal about her new study, which finds that people on dating websites think "certain kinds of 'misrepresentations' are okay." The Journal relays: "In addition, users say that they actually expect a certain amount of embellishment." In other words, don't feel guilty about lying on your dating profile--people may think you already do. [The Wall Street Journal]
- The great, miserable, circle of life at work: A rude co-worker will get under your skin, cause you to be mean to your partner, and then cause him/her to be stressed while at work. So says newly published research from a Baylor University assistant professor, Merideth J. Ferguson, who had 190 full-time workers and their partners complete a survey. Short version of the findings? Your stress "also creates problems for [your] partner's life at work," stated Ferguson in a news release. [Eurekalert]
- We've been waiting for this: An hour of TV is just as terrible for you as two cigarettes. So says a new study published by Australian researchers who'd like to scare everyone about their exorbitant Netflix habits. Here's how they made this leap in logic before quantifying it in cigarette terms: "The researchers estimated that in 2008 Australian adults aged 25 and older spent 9.8 billion hours in front of the small screen, and that this time was associated with 286,000 years of life that ended prematurely. Every single hour of TV watched after the age of 25 shortened the viewer's life expectancy by just under 22 minutes, according to an extrapolation of these figures." [AFP]
- The great possibility of coffee sunscreen. A Rutgers university researcher, Allan Conney, exposed genetically modified mice to ultraviolet radiation to come to the conclusion that "caffeine, possibly [applied to the skin], would have an inhibitory effect on sunlight-induced skin cancer," he said to The Guardian. Coffee-infused sunscreen, however, is quite a ways off. The BBC adds this helpful caveat: "Applying caffeine on a beach to a person's skin, however, is not the same thing as genetically modifying mouse skin in a laboratory." [The Guardian, BBC News]