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Nicotine Makes You Smarter and 37 More Surprising Facts We Have Learned From Science

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | February 9, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | February 9, 2014 |

Science doesn’t lie.

1. Lack of confidence can be a sign of competence and ability. Seriously. Paradoxically, incompetent people tend to be more confident in their abilities, overestimate their own abilities, fail to recognize their own inadequacies, and fail to recognize skill in others, while more competent, smarter people are less confident and are more often filled with doubt or fears of inadequacy. (Dunning-Kruger Effect)

2. I’m not suggesting there’s any relationship between the above fact and this one, I’m just highlighting the science here: Conservatives are happier than liberals. Why? Because conservatives are better able to rationalize inequality (i.e., poor people get what they deserve) while liberals find inequality inherently unjust. (ScientificAmerican)

3. Spoiling a book or a movie for someone actually allows them to get more enjoyment out of a story. I’m not lying. It’s science. (Pscyhosocial Science)

4. Like humans, monkeys think that realistic animations of themselves are creepy. (Scientific American)

5. Chicks dig bearded men more than men without facial hair. (Pajiba)

6. Men literally get dumber around attractive women. (The Telegraph)

7. Yawning is indeed contagious, but you are 50 percent more likely to yawn if you see a friend or acquaintance yawn than you are if you see a stranger yawn. (PLoS One)

  • In examining what makes a successful profile photo on dating websites:

    8. It’s better for women to smile and look at the camera and/or reveal their cleavage. (OKCupid)

    9. It’s best for men to look away from the camera, not smile, and show their abs (if they have well-sculpted abs). (OKCupid)

    10. In stressful situations, it’s more healthy to get angry than be fearful. (CarnegieMellonToday)

    11. You can actually die of a broken heart; the trauma of a bad break-up can kill you. (WashingtonPost)

    12. Behavior is contagious; if a close friend gains weight or becomes obese, you are 57 percent more likely to also gain weight or become obese. (NYTimes)

    13. Awkward dancing (let’s call it the Phil Dunphy Dance) is a Dad’s subconscious effort to repel childbearing women. (Telegraph)

    14. People with “white-sounding” names are 50 percent more likely to receive employment interviews than those with “black-sounding” names. (ABC)

    15. The more money you give away, the happier a person you are. (Sagepub)

    16. Women apologize more than men, not because they’re eager apologists, but because they consider more things offensive than men, and therefore feel the need to apologize. In other words, men don’t apologize because they don’t believe they did anything wrong. (Scientific American)

    17. After breakups or separations, women are financially worse off than men, but men are lonelier and sadder. (Fox)

    18. Men who marry much younger women live longer. (The Telegraph)

    19. Polygamists live longer than monogamist. (NewScientist)

    20. The ability to multi-task well is a myth. It can’t actually be done. (NPR)

    21. When we see half-naked people, we don’t actually objectify them (and this is true of both men and women): We simply change our perception. We believe that people wearing less clothing are more capable of experiencing pleasure, as well as fear and pain, while we find that people with more clothing have better self-control. (PsycNet)

    22. Scientifically, men are not objectively any funnier than women, they simply make more attempts at humor than females do. (Psychonomic)

    23. Women are more likely to gain more weight than men during the first few years of marriage. (Scientific American)

    24. The use of profanity actually increases one’s tolerance for pain. (Scienceblogs)

    25. Gossiping among women increases well-being and reduces anxiety and stress.(

    26. Every argument between a couple boils down to one of two fundamental complaints: One person feels that he or she is being blamed or controlled, unjustly, for something that has nothing to do with the argument, or one feels neglected, and this manifests in the feeling of “you don’t really care about me” or “you are not as invested as I am.” (Scientific American)

    27. Shallow women — those that base their self-worth on their own appearance — are more likely to post more photos on Facebook and have more FB friends. (

    28. Facebook status updates and images create an illusion of happiness, and when others see that illusion, it often makes them feel depressed that their lives are not as happy as the illusory lives depicted in Facebook profiles. (Slate)

    29. The irony to the above fact is that narcissists and people with low self-esteem tend to spend the most amount of time on Facebook. (MSNBC)

    30. If you wear black clothing, people are more likely to mentally associate you with immorality. (Scientific American)

    31. Twitterers are happiest in the morning, and most miserable around 3-4 p.m. each day. (Gothamist)

    32. 50 percent of “consumed” Tweets are made by only 5 percent of Twitters. (Mashable)

    33. Fatherhood decreases a man’s levels of testosterone, turning them into ninnies. (Pajiba)

    34. Environment and context is a bigger contributor to overeating than the quality of the food. For instance, if given stale, week-old popcorn, people who typically eat popcorn at a movie theater will continue to eat as much as they normally do regardless of the quality of popcorn, while people who do not typically eat popcorn at movie theaters will eat less stale popcorn than they will fresh popcorn. (Scientific American)

    35. Children allowed to watch R-Rated movies are more likely to start drinking at an early age. (AV Club)

    36. Nicotine by itself (as in, a nicotine patch or lozenge, and not in a cigarette) is an “effective cognitive enhancer and treatment for relieving or preventing a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s, mild cognitive impairment, ADHD, Tourette’s, and schizophrenia. Plus it has long been associated with weight loss. With few known safety risks.” (Scientific America)

    37. Watching movies together strengthens marriages and decreases the rate of divorce. (Scientific America)

    38. Drinking too much water can kill you. (Scientific America)