Sick at work and surfing the net? You’re not alone – or are you?

Some scholars estimate that presenteeism, a relatively recent buzzword that applies to people who are less productive at work because of health issues, costs employers as much as three times the dollar amount as absenteeism in terms of lost productivity. A new opinion paper suggests that the tools for measuring and quantifying hours of lost productivity and translating those hours to dollars are unreliable and don’t capture the entire presenteeism picture, said Susan Hagen, an analyst from the U-M School of Kinesiology Health Management Research Center (HMRC).

Cohabiting parents struggle with nonstandard work schedules

Irregular work schedules appear harmful to the well-being of cohabiting parents, a growing segment of the U.S. population, a study by Michigan State University researchers finds. Working nights, weekends and other nonstandard schedules is increasingly common as the United States moves toward a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week economy, according to the study, which appears in the journal Social Science Research.

Brain’s visual system rewires itself during learning

A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts and College of Science and Engineering have found that an early part of the brain’s visual system rewires itself when people are trained to perceive patterns, and have shown for the first time that this neural learning appears to be independent of higher order conscious visual processing.

After good or bad events, people forget how they thought they’d feel

People aren’t very accurate at predicting how good or bad they’ll feel after an event — such as watching their team lose the big game or getting a flat-screen TV. But afterwards, they “misremember” what they predicted, revising their prognostications after the fact to match how they actually feel, according to new research.

Unhappy children turn to sex and alcohol

Young children who don’t like school are more likely to be involved in underage drinking and sexual activity. A study reported in BioMed Central’s open access journal Substance Abuse, Treatment, Prevention and Policy, has found that pupils’ general wellbeing and specific satisfaction with school were both associated with the incidence of risky behaviors.

Views on health disparities fueled largely by political ideology

When it comes to public perception about health disparities in the United States, political ideology plays a surprisingly large role – more so even than party affiliation, according to new research by a Michigan State University sociologist.

Bilingual benefits reach beyond communication

Although bilinguals tend to have smaller vocabularies in each language than do children who know one language, bilinguals may have an advantage when it comes to certain nonverbal cognitive tasks. Bilinguals tend to perform better than monolinguals on exercises that require blocking out distractions and switching between two or more different tasks.

Electrical brain stimulation improves math skills

By applying electrical current to the brain, researchers reporting online on November 4 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, have shown that they could enhance a person’s mathematical performance for up to 6 months without influencing their other cognitive functions. The findings may lead to treatments for the estimated 20 percent of the population with moderate to severe numerical disabilities (for example, dyscalculia) and for those who lose their skill with numbers as a result of stroke or degenerative disease, according to the researchers.

Burning pain and itching governed by same nerve cells

We all know how hard it is not to scratch when we have an itch. But how can an itch be alleviated? In a new study published today in the prestigious journal Neuron, researchers at Uppsala University present the surprising finding that the same nerve cells that are active when we experience heat pain are also associated with itching.

The mind uses syntax to interpret actions

Most people are familiar with the concept that sentences have syntax. A verb, a subject, and an object come together in predictable patterns. But actions have syntax, too; when we watch someone else do something, we assemble their actions to mean something, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Anger makes people want things more

Anger is an interesting emotion for psychologists. On the one hand, it’s negative, but then it also has some of the features of positive emotions. For a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers find that associating an object with anger actually makes people want the object—a kind of motivation that’s normally associated with positive emotions.

Language appears to shape our implicit preferences

The language we speak may influence not only our thoughts, but our implicit preferences as well. That’s the finding of a study by psychologists at Harvard University, who found that bilingual individuals’ opinions of different ethnic groups were affected by the language in which they took a test examining their biases and predilections.