A pleasure to burn: Why do people like spicy foods?

Spicy foods are enjoyed the world over, but scientists don't know why people partake in culinary masochism.

Image source: Pixabay
  • Humans are the only animals known to willingly eat foods that cause irritation, discomfort, and even pain.
  • Theories for why range from thrill-seeking behavior to an evolutionary adaptation for seeking foods that reduce pathogens.
  • Taste results from an interplay of genes, culture, memory, and personality, a complex design that scientists are only now beginning to understand.
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Why your favourite film baddies all have a truly evil laugh

What's the role of evil in storytelling?

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Night, Christopher Nolan, 2008

Towards the end of the Disney film Aladdin (1992), our hero's love rival, the evil Jafar, discovers Aladdin's secret identity and steals his magic lamp. Jafar's wish to become the world's most powerful sorcerer is soon granted, and he then uses his powers to banish Aladdin to the ends of the Earth.

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Short men are indirectly aggressive toward taller men, study finds

The study shows when the 'Napoleon complex' is most likely to emerge.

Artist: Andrea Appiani
  • A recent study examined the Napoleon complex through economic games.
  • The results showed that shorter men are more likely than taller men to keep a disproportionate amount of resources for themselves, but only when the other player can't retaliate.
  • The study suggests that the Napoleon complex is most likely to manifest in situations where the shorter man has all the power.
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Promotional photo of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones
  • It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
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How evolution made our brains lazy

Blame our ancestors for why it's easier to be a couch potato.

Pixabay.com
  • A new study shows that the brain prefers to expend as little energy as possible.
  • Putting forth less effort had advantages for our ancestors.
  • Being inactive is not beneficial in modern life and needs addressing.
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