GI Joe and Average Joe Fallacies (Science of Well-being Course Week 2)

The videos and content in Week 2 of the  Science of Well-being course mostly focused on dispelling misconceptions we have about happiness. Professor Laurie Santos talked a lot about, and referenced studies to back her point, how a lot of things we perceive will make us happy, or sad should we not get it, don’t have nearly the impact we think they have. That’s because our intuition for predicting happiness is terrible! Professor Santos didn’t frame it in the following way, but it seemed to me our intuition for what would make us happy is very much based in the amygdala that’s the emotional centre, and reptilian part, of our brain that’s old, more animal-like and limited. Emotional intelligence, as a concept, is the ability to control this amygdata with the rest, and more rational part, of the brain, the part that knows waiting 20 minutes for 2 marshmallows instead of taking 1 now will bring you greater benefits when you are as young as 4 years old. That was the key to the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment that showed having delayed gratification as a trait in a 4 year old who first starts to think, is a better predictor of success in life compared to any other tests like SAT scores, education attainment, BMI, etc. That animal instinct suggesting what might make us happy is a very simple and basic form of processing that gets predicting happiness, and especially lasting happiness, all wrong.

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Women Body Shapes & Types Defined by Measurements

There are a lot of women’s body shapes or types infographics around, but they’re generally vague as to what body shape fits into what classifications. If you’re on the borderline, it’s hard to tell. This one below that I found has not only specific measurements for what qualifies as certain body types, but also a distribution of women in society that carry that body. The latter should be taken with caution as obesity is a lot worse now than it was back in 2003 when the sample of 6318 women were scanned. The lack of a “round” or “diamond” classification where the waist is the biggest of the bust, waist and hip measurements should drive that point home pretty clearly. Women in different cultures may also have different distributions of these shapes. However, you can still get an idea of what share of the American (or similar) female population has what body type shown, and which ones might be more or less common now than back in 2003.

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This Skinny Asian’s Chance for Obesity? 0.85X the Average Caucasian

23andMe’s genotyping results has provided scientific support for something I’ve been telling people over the years without many believing me… that I can become fat. At 5’2″ and 108 lbs. of a marathon runner’s body, I can’t say I blame them. I don’t look like much at this weight, never mind the 90 lbs. I used to be at before I started distance running 16 years ago. Yet, I can eat a lot, with consequences almost like any over typical person if I don’t run it all off.

The Anecdotal Case

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