Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why People Like to Cheat

Why people are more likely to cheat or behave badly if it's easy to do

By Niall Firth
Last updated at 2:58 PM on 24th November 2010

People are much more likely to cheat or behave badly if it's easy
People are much more likely to cheat or behave badly if it's easy (picture posed by models)
People are much more likely to lie or cheat if it takes less effort than doing the right thing, new research suggests.

Scientists tested how willing people were to behave immorally and discovered that people will behave badly if it does not involve too much work on their part.
The researchers believe the findings could have implications for charities which rely on people’s good will for donations and help.

Rimma Teper, lead author on the study from the University of Toronto, said:  ‘People are more likely to cheat and make immoral decisions when their transgressions don't involve an explicit action.
‘If they can lie by omission, cheat without doing much legwork, or bypass a person's request for help without expressly denying them, they are much more likely to do so.’ 

In one study, participants took a maths test on a computer after being warned there were glitches in the system. One group was told if they pressed the space bar, the answer to the question would appear on the screen.

The second group was told if they didn't press the enter key within five seconds of seeing a question, the answer would appear.

‘People in the second group – those who didn't have to physically press a button to get the answers – were much more likely to cheat,’ says Associate Psychology Professor Michael Inzlicht, second author on the study, published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
The team also asked participants whether they would volunteer to help a student with a learning disability do the test. One group of participants had only the option of checking a 'yes' or 'no' box that popped up on the computer. 

The second group of people could follow a link at the bottom of the page to volunteer their help or simply press 'continue' to move on to the next page of their test.
Participants were five times more likely to volunteer when they had to expressly pick either 'yes' or 'no.' 

‘It seems to be more difficult for people to explicitly deny their help, by clicking 'no,' than it is for them to simply click 'continue' and elude doing the right thing. We suspect that emotion plays an important role in driving this effect,’ says Teper.

‘When people are confronted with actively doing the right thing or the wrong thing, there are a lot of emotions involved – such as guilt and shame – that guide them to make the moral choice.
‘When the transgression is more passive, however, we saw more people doing the wrong thing, and we believe this is because the moral emotions in such situations are probably less intense,’ said Teper.

The team's research on moral behaviour is unique in that it looks at how people behave in certain situations rather simply asking them to predict how they might behave.
‘Forcing people to make an active, moral decision – a 'yes' or 'no' to donating, for example – is going to be much more effective than allowing them to passively skip over a request,’ he said.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Drinking too much pop can speed up the ageing process

Drinking too much pop can speed up the ageing process

By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 2:08 AM on 28th April 2010

Phosphates in fizzy drinks were found to cause skin and muscles to wither in tests on mice

A liking for fizzy drinks could make you old before your time, scientists have warned.

Research shows that phosphate, which gives many soft drinks their tangy taste, can accelerate ageing.

The mineral, which is also added to processed meats, cakes and breads, was found to make the skin and muscles wither and could also damage the heart and kidneys.

Although the experiments were carried out in mice, the researchers – from the respected Harvard University – believe the results show the potential consequences of high doses of the mineral.

Gerald Weissmann, of the research journal FASEB, where the results were published, said: ‘Soda is the caffeine delivery vehicle of choice for millions of people worldwide, but comes with phosphorous as a passenger.

‘This research suggests that our phosphorous balance influences the ageing process, so don’t tip it.’

The study is not the first to raise concerns about the safety of the carbonated colas and juices enjoyed by billions every day.

Brittle bones, pancreatic cancer, muscle weakness and paralysis have been linked to soft drinks, with just two cans a week thought to be enough to raise the risk.

In the latest study, Dr M. Shawkat Razzaque, of Harvard’s dentistry school, looked at the effects of phosphate on three sets of mice.

The first group was genetically engineered to have a gene called klotho, leading to them having higher than normal levels of phosphate.

They lived between eight and 15 weeks, suffering a range of health problems linked to premature ageing.

The second group lacked klotho, with the result that their phosphate levels were closer to normal. They lived for 20 weeks.

The third was bred to be like the second group, except they were fed a high-phosphate diet. All of these mice died by 15 weeks, like those in the first group.

This, the scientists suggest, shows that the phosphate diet had toxic effects.

They warned that the mineral could age the skin and muscles and might trigger or exacerbate kidney and heart problems.

They said: ‘Humans need a healthy diet and keeping the balance of phosphate in the diet may be important for a healthy life and longevity. Avoid phosphate toxicity and enjoy a healthy life.’

Earlier this year, a U.S. study found that two or more soft drinks a week could almost double the chances of pancreatic cancer.

Last night, drinks manufacturers questioned the latest research, pointing out that the study did not look specifically at soft drinks.

Richard Laming, of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: ‘Only 3 per cent of phosphorous in the overall diet comes from soft drinks.

‘People can continue to enjoy soft drinks in moderation as part of a balanced diet.’

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Monday, November 1, 2010

From garlic to bananas, don't bin the skin: Eating fruit and vegetable peel could combat cancer

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:46 PM on 1st November 2010

Drop the peeler — ­eating the skins of fruit and ­vegetables could boost your nutritional intake of vitamins, combat cancer and increase your energy levels.
Dr Marilyn Glenville, former president of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of ­Medicine, says: 'All fruit and vegetables have a "bio-synergy", which means the nutritional ­benefits of each part are reinforced by the others.'
And the skin is not the only healthy bit we discard — stalks and cores can also be packed with nutrients.
Here, we reveal the fruit and vegetables you should try to eat whole...
Banana benefits: Eating the skin can ease depression
Banana benefits: Eating the skin can ease depression
Kiwi fruit
The hairy skin of the kiwi fruit is high in antioxidants and thought to have ­anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-­allergenic properties, says Dr Glenville.
‘The skin contains three times the anti­oxidants of the pulp; it also fights off bugs such as Staphylococcus and E-coli, which are responsible for food poisoning.’
HOW TO EAT IT: If regular kiwi skin is too tart for you, opt for ‘gold’ kiwi fruit (£1.99 for four,, which have sweeter, less hairy skins, but with the same benefits. Use the skin if you are juicing the fruit.
Don’t panic — it’s the tough core of the pineapple, not the prickly skin you should be tucking into.
Along with fibre and vitamin C, a pineapple’s real benefit lies in an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down food and dead human tissues linger in the digestive ­system quickly, ­protecting the stomach.
‘The core of a pineapple contains twice the bromelain concentration of the surrounding fruit,’ says Dr Glenville.
HOW TO EAT IT: Press and crush the core and add the juice to smoothies. It can be stringy, but the left-over pulp can also be added to soups or casseroles for extra fibre.
Those neat little florets look more appealing, but there’s ­every reason to eat the stalks, too.
‘­Broccoli stalks can be less flavourful than the florets, but they are notably higher in calcium and vitamin C,’ says Dr ­Glenville. The stalks are also high in soluble fibre, so you’ll feel fuller for longer.
HOW TO EAT IT: Simply shred the stalks into thin strips and add to stir-fry or serve steamed.
Researchers in Taiwan ­discovered banana peel extract can ease depression as it is rich in serotonin, the mood-balancing chemical. The skin was also found to be good for eyes, as it contains the antioxidant lutein which ­protects eye cells from exposure to ultraviolet light — a leading cause of cataracts.
HOW TO EAT IT: The research team advises boiling the peel for ten ­minutes and drinking the cooled water or putting it through a juicer and drinking the juice.
Get fruity: Parts of the food we usually discard have cancer combating qualities
Garlic skin contains six separate antioxidant compounds, according to research from Japan. ‘Peeling garlic cloves removes the ­phenylpropanoid antioxidants which help fight the ageing ­process and protect the heart,’ explains Dr Glenville.
HOW TO EAT IT: Drizzle olive oil over half or even a whole garlic head, then add to your baking tray when cooking a roast dinner or oven-baked Mediterranean vegetables.
Citrus fruits
Orange and tangerine peel is high in powerful antioxidants called super-flavonoids, which can significantly reduce levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, without lowering the ‘good’ HDL levels.
The antioxidants obtained from the peel were 20 times more ­powerful than those from the juice, according to a U.S. study.
‘The same goes for all citrus fruits,’ says Dr Glenville. ‘The white pith ­contains high levels of pectin, a component of dietary fibre known to lower ­cholesterol and colonise the gut with beneficial bacteria.’
HOW TO EAT IT: Add grated citrus peel to cauliflower cheese or cakes and muffins for a zesty health kick — or throw the whole, unpeeled fruit into a juicer so you get all the benefits.
Pumpkin, butternut and other squashes
All squashes are high in zinc, which helps promote healthy skin and nails, and the antioxidant beta carotene which protects against heart disease and cancer.
‘The skin itself is obviously too tough to eat, but the closer you scrape it against the skin for the pulp — where it’s more of a rich, orange colour — the more nutrients you’ll get,’ Dr Glenville says.
And don’t ditch the seeds, either — these are an excellent source of Omega 6 and essential fatty acids that keep your brain healthy.
HOW TO EAT IT: Wash the seeds in warm water and bake with a drizzle of olive oil for about 20 minutes. Use to sprinkle on salads and soups.
Most people know potato skins are healthy, but few are aware of the reason why. It’s because the skin is a real nutritional powerhouse. Just one fist-sized potato skin provides half your daily ­recommended intake of soluble fibre, potassium, iron, phos­phorous zinc and vitamin C.
‘Pound for pound, potatoes ­contain more vitamin C than oranges, so are perfect for anyone looking to ward off colds,’ says Dr Glenville.
HOW TO EAT IT: Bake whole as ­jackets, boil and mash with the skin on, or slice into wedges, toss in a ­little olive oil and bake for potato wedges.

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