toxoplasma Animals Biology Health 

Toxoplasma Infection Makes Mice More Brave

By Mackenzie Myers, @kenzwrites Quiet as a mouse. Timid as a mouse. When’s the last time you heard a mouse described as brave?  The scientific community has already established that a parasite carried by cats and their feces, Toxoplasma gondii, causes infected mice to lose their fear of feline predators. But a new study from researchers at the University of Geneva and the University of Toronto points to a decrease in anxiety that may be less specific than previously thought, giving mice a one-size-fits-all fearlessness.  What is Toxoplasmosis? T. gondii,…

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Chemistry on EH Science Biology 

Handshakes May Engage Our Sense of Smell

Why do people shake hands? A new Weizmann Institute study suggests one of the reasons for this ancient custom may be to check out each other’s chemistry. Even if we are not consciously aware of this purpose, handshaking may provide people with a socially acceptable way of communicating via the sense of smell. Handshakes: Nice to Sniff You Not only do people often sniff their own hands, but they do so more actively and for a much longer time after shaking someone else’s hand, the study has found. “It’s well…

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Valentine's Day Gift Giving (Photo courtesy of Ambro via freedigitialphotos.net) Psychology 

Psychology of Valentine’s Day Gifts

We don’t have to buy our loved ones cars on Valentine’s Day to show them how we feel, although car dealerships would love for us to believe otherwise! Since the 19th century, when it was considered bad luck for senders to sign their name on the valentine cards, the occasion is now marked with mass-produced greeting cards and seasonal advertising campaigns for increasingly expensive gifts. However, recent consumer research on gift giving from the University of Cincinnati suggests that if you want to buy someone a Valentine’s Day gift this…

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