Lying Down Makes You More Stupid
Gravity Influences How We Make Decisions, Says New Study
Gravity plays a fundamental role in human behaviour and cognition.
The central nervous system does not have "specialised" sensors for gravity. Rather, gravity is inferred through the integration of several sensory signals in a process termed graviception.
This involves vision, our balance system and information from the joints and muscles.
Sophisticated organs inside the inner ear are particularly important in this process.
Under terrestrial gravity, when our head is upright, small stones – the vestibular otoliths – are perfectly balanced on a viscous fluid.
When we move the head, for instance looking up, gravity makes the fluid move and this triggers a signal which informs the brain that our head is no longer upright.
Our results indicate that lying down does seem to influence how people make decisions, with participants struggling with random number generation.
This indicates that people are therefore less prone to generating novel behaviours in the absence of gravity.
Using a smartphone at mealtimes can lead to an expanding waistline, say scientists.
Researchers have found that men and women consumed 15 percent more calories when looking at their phones while eating. They also ate more fatty food.
The groundbreaking study suggests that staring at a phone screen may distract diners from how much food they are actually eating.
‘It may prevent the correct understanding of the brain over the amount of food ingested,’ said researchers who filmed 62 volunteers eating alone.
The men and women, aged 18 to 28, were invited to help themselves to a choice of food – ranging from healthy options to soft drinks and chocolate – until they were satisfied. In three trials, the volunteers were recorded eating with no distractions, using a smartphone or reading a magazine.
On average, the volunteers ate 535 calories without the distraction of a smartphone but 591 when using a mobile.
Those in the sample who were classed as overweight ate 616 calories while using their phones. When in possession of their mobiles, the volunteers also consumed 10 percent more fatty foods. They also ate more when reading a magazine.
‘Smartphone use during a meal increased calorie and fat intake,’ said Márcio Gilberto Zangeronimoa, a lead author of the study – carried out at the Federal University of Lavras in Brazil and University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands.
He added: ‘Tablets and smartphones have become the main “distracters” during meals, even early in childhood, so it is important to pay attention to how this may impact food choices.
‘A distracter prevents the brain correctly understanding the amount of food ingested.’
The study is published in the journal Physiology And Behavior.
Many people don't get enough sleep, with a recent study claiming that the average Briton gets just six hours of shut-eye a night.
The study, published in the journal SLEEP, involved more than 20,000 adults in the US and China, all of whom had their sleeping habits and urine samples analysed.
"If you are only getting six hours of sleep a night, it can affect your hydration status.
"This study suggests that if you're not getting enough sleep, and you feel bad or tired the next day, drink extra water."
The most obvious way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and avoid or limit drinks such as caffeine, tea and alcohol, which can dehydrate the body.
But when it comes to how much water one should drink each day, the advice is conflicting, with some experts suggesting as much as four litres while others say two.
A recent study revealed that half of Britons have no idea how much water they should be drinking daily, while a third admitted they fail to keep themselves properly hydrated and don't drink water unless it's mixed with something else.
“There are many healthy and delicious ways to beat dehydration,” a public health nutritionist commented at the time.
“For example, try adding mixed berries to your water,” she told The Independent, “adding three to four mixed berries - raspberries, blueberries and strawberries - could help increase your vitamin C consumption.
“So, not only does it keep you hydrated, taste great, it also has added health benefits.”