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They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
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May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
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May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
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The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
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May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
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April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
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Clifford D. May:
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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Heat seekers: To the brain, physical and social warmth are the same thing
Temperature strongly influences how we feel about ourselves, our environments, and the people around us
To the brain, physical and social warmth are one and the same
Feeling lonely in life or unhappy at work? Before you pity yourself or call it quits, check the thermostat. Temperature strongly influences how we feel about ourselves, our environments, and the people around us.
Physical warmth can diminish feelings of loneliness and increase feelings of generosity, finds Yale psychologist John A. Bargh. In a recent study in Emotion, participants who reported feeling the loneliest also took the warmest, longest, and most frequent baths or showers"quite literally," Bargh says, "to compensate for feeling socially cold."
One implication: Don't be so quick to crank up the office AC. In two studies by UCLA researcher Geoffrey Ho, people were asked to rate the efficacy of heating pads or ice packs and then answer questions about their employer or a hypothetical company. Those who got their hands warm expressed higher job satisfaction and greater willingness to buy from and work at the made-up companies.
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The findings are just the latest to show how our physical selves shape our psychological selves, a field known as embodied cognition. Previous studies have demonstrated that social exclusion can make us feel chilled and a cup of iced coffee can make us judge others as unfriendly. "Abstract psychological and social conceptshow we think and feel about people, including ourselvesgrow out of basic physical concepts like warmth and coldness," explains Bargh.
Some parts of the brain are particularly adept at translating physical sensations into psychological effects. By looking at subjects inside an fMRI machine, Bargh found that activity in the insular cortexthe brain's Richter scale for discomfortspikes when participants hold chilled objects and drops when they hold toasty ones. The warmed subjects were also more likely than the cold ones to offer to a friend the prizes they received for participation, suggesting a possible overlap between the neural centers of trust and physical comfort.
Temperature affects our perception and mood below our level of awareness, for the most part. But Ho and Bargh agree that we can consciously use its subtle influence to our advantage. "Try providing warm beverages at a job fair or an office to increase the organization's perceived friendliness," suggests Ho.
Bargh's advice? Trust your instincts. "Most of us use physical warmth as a home remedy without even understanding or being aware of why we do it," he explains. Not only will a warm bath or a steaming cup of tea relax you, it might also make you less lonely and more trusting. "So if you're craving a higher temperature," says Bargh, "go for it."
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