Health & Spirit

Sound Emotions

Scott LaFee on

Eyes may be windows to the soul, but if you really want to know how someone else is feeling, Yale University scientists suggest closing your eyes and listening. They say tone of voice may be a better indicator of figuring out others' emotions than looking at facial expressions or body language.

The researchers conducted a series of published experiments. In one, they recruited participants online and showed them short videos of a group of friends talking and teasing each other over a nickname. Participants watched one of three versions: one group watched and listened to the video, a second heard only the audio and a third saw only the video -- no sound.

Then they were asked to discern what emotions they thought the friends displayed, rating feelings like amusement, embarrassment or happiness on a scale of 0 to 8. Participants who only heard the interaction -- but did not watch the video -- made more accurate estimates.

One reason may be that the voice alone is capable of conveying enormous emotion, said researchers. Another may be that when confronted by multiple modes of communication, our brains get confused and simply miss important cues.

Body of Knowledge

Nerve impulses speed to and from your brain at speeds of up to 170 miles per hour.

Get Me That, Stat!

This is not shocking, for obvious reasons: Women have four times as many foot problems as men. High heels were originally designed for men, used by Persian cavalry to keep their feet more stably inside stirrups.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of riding a bus burns 68 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.1 Big Macs.

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for kimchi is 8.5 pounds in 6 minutes, held by Miki Sudo. Kimchi is a national dish of Korea, consisting of salted and fermented vegetables, usually cabbage and radishes, with various seasonings.

Doc Talk

Aphonia: the inability to speak

Phobia of the Week

Dishabiliophobia: undressing in front of someone

Medical History

This week in 1848, the Boston Female Medical School, the first medical school in the world exclusively for women, opened its doors to 12 students. It was founded by Samuel Gregory, who disapproved of male doctors attending childbirth. Its early curriculum focused on midwifery. In 1850, the school was renamed the New England Female Medical College and expanded to include a full medical curriculum. Later, the school merged with Boston University School of Medicine to become one of the first co-ed medical colleges in the world.

Self Exam

Q: If you extracted all of the iron in your body and fashioned it into a nail, how long would the nail be?

A: Three inches

Final Words

"Nothing, but death."

--English author Jane Austen, when asked by her sister, Cassandra, if there was anything she wanted. The 42-year-old Austen died after a long, debilitating illness.


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