Today in research: the case for a rosy memory, the 99-cent gimmick, the post-Labor Day blues, fewer smokers and unchecked anonymous sperm donors.
- Timely: the good things about vacation fade away in about, say, two weeks. Welcome back to work. MSNBC.com's Body Odd highlights the studies of tourism researcher Jeroen Nawijn, who spitballs that the psychological benefits of vacation time wear off two weeks after returning to the cubicle. And, sadly, longer vacations don't mean longer-lasting benefits. Just enjoy the tan while it lasts... [MSNBC.com]
- Does it seem like there's a bit less smoke out there? No? Well, anyway, there's fewer smokers. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report finds that only 19 percent of Americans have a cigarette habit, down from 21 percent in 2005. We look forward to seeing the explanations (disgusting cigarette packs?) for why the slight decline occurred. [Associated Press]
- The case for viewing the past through a rose-tinted lens. Another reason not to linger pessimistically on what's already happened: one University of Granada researcher finds a link between thinking negatively about the past and a decline in health. Using surveys from a random sample of 50 individuals, researchers found "the most influencing dimension is the perception of the past. A negative view of the past is highly related to worse health indicators," co-author Cristián Oyanadel explained in a news release. Veering into "future focused" territory, the author explains, isn't much help either: these people "forget to live pleasant experiences." [Eurekalert]
- Used car sales are more regulated than the fertility industry. One disturbing part in this excellent New York Times investigation into how an anonymous sperm donor can lead to, in one case at least, up to 150 half-siblings is this quote on the current state of the U.S. fertility industry. "We have more rules that go into place when you buy a used car than when you buy sperm," said Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard College. "It's very clear that the dealer can't sell you a lemon, and there's information about the history of the car. There are no such rules in the fertility industry right now." [The New York Times]
- 99-cent price endings get exposed as... ineffective? Sure, it's sometimes annoying, but we never doubted the effectiveness of the 99-cent eye-grabbing product ending. New research, however, suggests ditching the 1 cent reduction in, understandably, higher quality goods. "When consumers care more about product quality than price, just-below pricing has been found to actually hurt retail sales," says Rutgers-Camden professor Robert Schindler in a news release. While most people do focus on the left most digit (i.e. the 2 in $20.00 or 1 in $19.99), he suggests that with higher quality goods "It's better to be straightforward when selling that kind of product." [Eurekalert]