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January 12, 2018

Long weekend reads: People don't like braggers, but what about 'humblebraggers'?

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Could listening to music help you sleep? The research is inconclusive on whether listening to music before bed might help you nod off, but having firmly established rituals—such as listing to music—might be the best approach, according to Mathias Basner, an associate professor of sleep and chronobiology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Basner cited a recent meta-analysis that found 95% of more than 1,000 insomnia patients self-reported that listening to music was the best way for them to fall asleep—but he noted that it's unclear "whether the music was played while they were trying to fall asleep, or before sleep." Rather, according to Basner, establishing a ritual—such as putting on pajamas and brushing your teeth—is key to a good night's rest because those rituals tell the body it's time to secrete melatonin. Basner suggested listening to music if that is part of your established ritual, but he recommended putting the music on a 30-minute timer, so you "get the benefits from the ritual of falling asleep without the intrusion into your sleep state."

    Don't humblebrag, it makes people not like you. "Humblebragging"—defined as a form of "bragging masked by a complaint or humility"—is actually more off-putting than blunt self-promotion, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. For the study, researchers conducted a series of experiments to see how common humblebragging is—and what people think about it. Overall, the researchers found that the practice is very common, with 70% of 646 surveyed people recalling hearing a humblebrag recently. Overall, however, the researchers found that regular, upfront bragging was more acceptable in terms of the bragger's perceived likeability and competence—largely because it was perceived as sincere. Ovul Sezer, study author and an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, said, "If you want to announce something, go with the brag and at least own your self-promotion and reap the rewards of being sincere, rather than losing in all dimensions."

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Need to be reminded of your own mortality? There's an app for that! As Americans struggle to disconnect from their phones, a new iPhone app seeks to boost mindfulness by reminding users of their own mortality. The app, WeCroak, five times a day sends its users notifications that remind them that they will someday die. The idea is borne of a Bhutanese maxim that holds "to be a truly happy person, one must contemplate death five times daily."

    Penguin dads slacking off to go fishing, researchers find. Male emperor penguins are known for going extended periods without food while they mate and protect eggs from brutal winter winds. But recent research suggests the penguin's stellar reputation as nature's most devoted dad might not be as impressive as once thought: While observing a colony of emperor penguins, researchers often observed the males stepping away from their duties to go fishing. 

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