Saturday, February 11, 2012

Some advice for Valentine's day: Save the Best for Last and Always Protect Yourself

Well my dear readers, Valentine's Day is just around the corner. But before you run out the door for flowers and chocolate and sweep your sweetie off their feet, I have some scientific advice from the biological world. You follow these, and I am sure your valentine's day will be awesome.

First piece of advice: Save the best for last.
We all have heard that saying. The best thing should be last. Humans experience pleasure from things that are last, such as the graduation ceremony, the dessert after dinner, or a goodbye hug. A recent study done by University of Michigan psychologist Ed O'Brian was aimed at seeing if this phrase has some psychological truth (What kind of chocolate is best?). And how exactly did he test this? By having participants eat chocolate and rate which one is best (I wish I was in this study!). Participants drew out 5 different flavors of chocolate from a bag. Some participants were told "Here is the next one" until the last piece was drawn. Once the last piece was obtained,  some participants were told "Here is the last one". Participants were then asked to rate which one was the best. Those who were told there was a "last piece" marked it as being the best 65% of the time over those who weren't told there was a last (who marked the last piece as being the best only 22% of the time). So for valentine's day, if you have several surprises/gifts/activities planned, SAVE THE BEST ONE FOR LAST! Have I said it enough?

Second Piece of Advice: Always Protect Yourself
Everyone should be aware of the serious nature of STDs. In July 2011, the CDC released a report of a a strain of gonerrhea that is resistant to cephalosporins, the antibiotic currently being used to treat it. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine has called for action to prevent this strain from spreading further (Scientists sound alarm over threat of untreatable gonerrhea). According to this article, gonerrhea is the second most communicable disease in the US. The bacterium, Neisseria gonerrhoeae, is already resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, sulfanilamides, and fluorquinolones. SO this Valentine's Day, don't become a victim.  Be smart and protect yourself.
Don't Let Gonerrhea Ruin Your Life

Enjoy your Valentine's Day!
Original Papers:
E. O'Brien, P. C. Ellsworth. Saving the Last for Best: A Positivity Bias for End ExperiencesPsychological Science, 2012; 23 (2)

Gail A. Bolan, P. Frederick Sparling, Judith N. Wasserheit.The Emerging Threat of Untreatable Gonococcal InfectionNew England Journal of Medicine, 2012

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