The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of new behaviours into daily routines, like physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizing. Meanwhile, many old behaviours such as attending events, eating out and seeing friends have been put on hold.

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VR experiments manipulate how people feel about coffee

A new study looks at how images of coffee's origins affect the perception of its premiumness and quality.

Expert drinking coffee while wearing a VR headset.

Credit: Escobar / Petit / Velasco, Frontiers in Psychology
  • Images can affect how people perceive the quality of a product.
  • In a new study, researchers show using virtual reality that images of farms positively influence the subjects' experience of coffee.
  • The results provide insights on the psychology and power of marketing.
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Godzilla vs. Kong: A morphologist chooses the real winner

Ultimately, this is a fight between a giant reptile and a giant primate.

The 2021 film “Godzilla vs. Kong" pits the two most iconic movie monsters of all time against each other. And fans are now picking sides.

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Ancient cave artists were getting high on hypoxia

A new study says the reason cave paintings are in such remote caverns was the artists' search for transcendence.

Credit: Petar/Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • Hundreds of prehistoric paintings have been found in subterranean chambers with barely enough oxygen to breathe.
  • Low oxygen causes hypoxia that can induce exalted mental states.
  • A new study says the artists chose these hard-to-each caverns in search of an oxygen-starved high.
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Supernova 2014J

Credit: NASA.gov
Surprising Science
  • There was a massive die-off of marine life 359 million years ago, and nobody knows why.
  • A new study proposes that the Late Devonian extinction may have been caused by one or more nearby supernovae.
  • The supernova hypothesis could be confirmed if scientists can find "the green bananas of the isotope world" in the geologic record.
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Despite social pressure, boys and girls still prefer gender-typical toys

Fifty years of research on children's toy preferences shows that kids generally prefer toys oriented toward their own gender.

Credit: tan4ikk via Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • A recent meta-analysis overviewed 75 studies on children's gender-related toy preferences.
  • The results found that "gender-related toy preferences may be considered a well-established finding."
  • It's a controversial topic: Some people argue that these preferences stem from social pressure, while others say they're at least partly rooted in biology.
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