In a highly competitive job market, so-called “soft” skills can mean the difference between landing a job and standing in line at the unemployment office. For many workers, a college degree feels like a ticket to career success, but a new study suggests that neither college nor work experience provide workers with the people skills they need to excel on the job.
Researchers evaluated 2,500 workers. Some had college degrees, while others had several years of work experience. They found that neither was correlated with better people skills. Instead, some workers were just better with people than other workers, regardless of experience or training. The study’s authors explain that people skills may be innate traits. Workers with college degrees, though, had better professional and technical skills, while those with job experience displayed stronger leadership skills.
A small study of 34 men and women smokers suggests that women may have better luck quitting smoking when they track their menstrual cycles. Women who attempted to quit smoking had stronger urges during the follicular phase of the cycle—the two or so weeks immediately following menstruation—but quitting during the luteal phase was tied with better success. It may be that decreases in estrogen and progesterone during the second half of the menstrual cycle increase urges to smoke.
Bacteria play a number of roles in the body, and large colonies of bacteria help you digest food. Research suggests that gut bacteria may also affect emotions. A new study has found that taking prebiotics—sugar molecules that encourage the growth of certain types of gut bacteria—could improve mental health and mood.
A research team at the International School for Advanced Studies has found that people may re-enact emotions when trying to remember them. The team found that people recreate the facial expressions associated with an emotion, which means that trying to recall a pleasant memory can make you smile.
A parent’s suicide attempt is undoubtedly an extremely traumatic experience for a child. A study evaluating 700 children of 334 parents with depression and other mood issues suggests that a parent’s suicide attempt might increase his or her child’s likelihood of attempting suicide. Among study participants, 191 parents had previously attempted suicide, and 44 of their children followed up with their own attempt.
A survey of UK prison officers has found the group is vulnerable to depression, fatigue, and chronic work-related stress. Researchers found that the demands placed on prison officers were higher than most other safety-oriented jobs, but support and direction from prison leadership was lower. This led to more stress and depression, but prison officers also reported high stigma associated with reporting work-related stress.
According to data from 89,000 people residing in 31 different countries, Internet addiction has a worldwide rate of 6%. The rate was lowest—2.6%—in Northern and Western Europe, and highest—10.9%—in the Middle East.
Weight-loss, healthy eating, and eating more home-cooked foods are among the most common New Year’s resolutions. According to a study of 200 New York households, though, food bills often go up, not down, at the dawn of a new year. Food purchases increase 15% during the holiday season, but continue to rise another 9% at the beginning of a new year.
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