Entries in Mood (5)


Rosemary Aromatherapy Lifts Mood, Performance

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You are what you eat, so the old buzz phrase goes. But new research looking at people's moods and smarts may have us one day saying you feel as well as what you smell.

Researchers in Great Britain concluded that sniffing rosemary aromatherapy oil makes a person feel more content and gives a slight boost to performance.

The researchers exposed 20 study participants in their 20s to the scent of rosemary aromatherapy oil anywhere from four to 10 minutes. They hid the oil under a desk so participants didn't know they were being intentionally exposed.

The participants were then asked to complete basic subtraction problems, more complex subtraction problems, and detect number patterns on a computer. They also completed a mood questionnaire and underwent a blood test.

Those who smelled the rosemary oil for less time were less likely to report feeling "content." The study found no relationship between the rosemary oil and feeling calm, alert, or pleasant, which were other mood types they were asked to assess.

Participants who absorbed more rosemary oil could accurately answer the basic questions in less than two minutes, but there was no difference in the ability to answer more complex questions or to detect number patterns compared to those who were exposed to the oil for a shorter period of time.

The researchers found that the longer the participants had time to take in the rosemary oil, the larger amounts of a chemical compound known as 1,8 Cineole—which is found in aromatherapy oils—were detected in their blood.

"This study supports the suggestion that active compounds present in aromas may be absorbed through the nasal or lung mucosa and thus provide the potential for pharmacological activity," the researchers wrote about their study, published Saturday in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sweethearts Tend to Hit the Sweets, Says Study

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GETTYSBURG, Pa.) -- As Halloween approaches, parents around the country will warn their kids not to eat all their candy at once. It may rot their teeth out and make them gain a few pounds, but it also may show just how sweet they are.

That’s according to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Brian Meier, an associate professor of psychology at Gettysburg College, and his colleagues analyzed five studies that related to taste and behavior. Even after controlling for positive mood and reward, researchers found that people who eat sweet foods tend to be more agreeable and cooperative than those who eat non-sweet foods.

“It looks like metaphors related to taste sensations in terms of behavior are more than just devices for communication,” said Meier. “There is this theory of embodiment. People who we considered ‘sweet’ preferred sweet foods.”

Those who enjoyed sweets also seemed to be more likely to volunteer. Specifically for one study, people were more likely to help clean up their city after a major flood.

Of course, several limitations put the results in question. The studies were small -- the largest included 108 participants. The results were self-reported, correlated in result, and researchers did not test for other tastes (i.e. Are people who prefer bitter foods more bitter by nature?).

So, it’s a bit early to say that people who eat sweets are sweeter and those who load on the salt are saltier, but researchers plan to expand their research in the future by studying other tastes.

“We’d like to examine taste with other personalities,” said Meier. “It may tell us a lot more about how people differ in nature than we think it does.”

In the meantime, go ahead and eat that bit of chocolate. Hey, you’re just showing others how darn sweet you are.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Twitter Used to Track the World’s Mood; Shows We’re Happiest in Morning

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ITHACA, N.Y.) -- Twitter is now so big, and so constantly used, that two Cornell University researchers were able to use it as a sort of “global mood ring” to monitor the world’s feelings.

By analyzing the tweets of 2.4 million people in 84 countries, they report, they found that people generally wake up in good spirits, but things go downhill as the workday goes on. On weekends the pattern holds as well, though everything happens two hours later because people sleep in.

The patterns were consistent across the globe, they say, despite widely varying cultures and religions.

The researchers, graduate student Scott Golder and sociology professor Michael Macy, say they ran 509 million tweets through a computer program designed to discern moods from the users’ use of key words. The results are published in this week’s edition of the journal Science.

“People criticize the Internet for being mundane or filled with gossip, but that’s really not so,” said Golder in a telephone interview. “The Internet records everything, so Twitter is a giant archive of time-coded conversations.”

The researchers said there are so many tweets that there were more than enough to show mood patterns around the world. They confirmed the weekend mood boost, for instance, by looking at traffic from the United Arab Emirates, where weekends are celebrated on Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday.

The survey of course does have its limits. Golder admitted, “We’re measuring the expression of something, not the action itself.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Shows Casual Video Games Lower Depression Symptoms

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GREENVILLE, N.C.) -- Casual video games, such as family-friendly, non-violent puzzle games, can significantly lower symptoms of depression, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Researchers at East Carolina University's Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic conducted the year-long study of nearly 60 participants, all of whom were clinically depressed.  Researchers found that those who were exposed to the video games -- about half of the participants -- had their depression symptons go down by 57 percent.

Participants who played also had an average mood improvement of 65 percent and a reduction in anxiety by an average of 20 percent.

"The results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression," said Dr. Carmen Russoniello, director of the Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic at ECU and the professor who oversaw the study.

"In my opinion the findings support the possibility of using prescribed casual video games for treating depression and anxiety as an adjunct to, or perhaps even a replacement for, standard therapies including medication," Russoniello added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Daydreaming May Be Tied to Bad Mood, Study Finds

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Whether in line at the supermarket or sitting in traffic on the highway, the human mind is prone to wander at the slightest sign of boredom.

However, daydreaming may not be as harmless as it seems: According to a study published Thursday in the journal Science, a wandering mind is often an unhappy one.

Using an iPhone application that prompts users to answer survey questions about their mental state throughout the day, researchers at Harvard University tracked how frequently the minds of 2,250 U.S. adults wandered and how their moods changed accordingly.

Based on self-reported mind-wandering and self-gauged levels of happiness collected via subjects' phones, researchers found that people reported being significantly less happy when their minds wandered than when they were focused on the task at hand.

"The human capacity that underlies our ability to mind wander is incredibly important," says Matthew Killingsworth, the lead researcher and a doctoral candidate in psychology at Harvard University. "It allows us to plan for the future, process the past, imagine things that could never occur, but at the same time, the data shows that when people use this capacity it reduces their happiness."

Daydreaming was a surprisingly frequent practice -- subjects reported meandering thoughts nearly half of the time they were questioned -- but this state was consistently associated with a lower mood, even when subjects were thinking about pleasant things, researchers found.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio