Follain Sugar and Shea Body Scrub Review 2019

Part of my adult experience has included figuring out the best ways to take care of my body, starting with its largest organ: Skin. After coming around to wearing sunscreen on a regular basis (moisturizers with SPF are my new go-to), and getting the complexities of my facial breakouts down to an exact science, my next target areas were my dehydrated knees and elbows.

Dry, uneven texture on those areas have been the bane of my existence for literally years. No matter how many body butters, lotions, oils, or creams I apply, at the end of the day the dry bits around my elbows and knees always end up feeling like a sandpaper sample from Home Depot.

That is, until I came across Follain’s Sugar and Shea Body Scrub one fateful day. After washing with body wash, I squeeze a little of the granular scrub into the palm of my hand. All I need is a quarter-sized amount of product per body part to get this wonder scrub’s full smoothing effect. It smells extremely fresh (like fresh lemons!). I was hooked the second I rinsed the scrub off my elbow mid-shower, and noticed how incredibly smooth and supple my skin felt. I don’t think I’ve ever really been able to use the phrase “smoother than a baby’s bottom” in earnest, but now I finally get it and couldn’t be more excited to hop in the shower.

This scrub is made with softening and moisturizing emollients like shea butter, coconut and jojoba oil, as well as actual sugar crystals, which accounts for its uncanny ability to smooth over rough patches in five minutes or less. Since I’m borderline obsessed with multi-use products, it was practically a no-brainer for me to fall for this gentle, yet powerful scrub that easily buffs away dead skin cells with just a few small circles. It also comes in a mess-free tube instead of a jar, which makes it easy to control the exact amount of product I want to use at one time. When I towel off, sometimes I find myself reaching for a tube of lotion, but then realize that I’m actually good without it.

Buy it: Follain Sugar & Shea Body Scrub, $22,

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Is It Bad to Fall Asleep in Front of the TV Every Night?

Some people crawl into bed, yawn like newborn kittens, pull the covers over their shoulders, and immediately drift off into uninterrupted sleep. Other people, like me, need a bit more coaxing. Almost every night, I turn off my lights, turn on my TV, and stream endless hours of New Girl reruns until Netflix saves me from myself. I don’t know exactly when this began or if it will ever end, but I refuse to drift into dreamland without Jess, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt lighting the way.

If you’re in the same boat, you might feel like your brain needs that technological nudge to fall asleep. But if you’re one of those people who sleeps while a streaming service cycles through episode after episode of some show, are you unintentionally damaging your rest?

To find out if it’s cool to nod off in front of a TV (or whichever device you’re watching), you need to understand how screens can affect your sleep. Let’s break down the two main ways screens mess with your sleep.

How light from your TV affects your sleep

Your body has an internal clock known as your circadian rhythm, which typically works on a 24-hour cycle and is controlled in large part by patterns of light and darkness, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). As it gets dark, your brain’s hypothalamus kicks in to make you feel like it’s about time to pass the hell out. Enter melatonin, a hormone your brain’s pineal gland secretes that helps make you tired.

During the day, your pineal gland stays relatively dormant, but when the sun goes down, this gland pumps melatonin into your bloodstream, according to the NINDS, essentially making your bed the most inviting thing you’ve ever seen.

The issue here is that exposure to artificial light—like the one coming from your TV as you cycle through Felicity episodes—can suppress melatonin, which could leave you less likely to fall asleep. (As could feeling tempted to stay up and watch a riveting plotline unfold.)

“We’re not supposed to be exposed to any artificial light at night, period,” Dianne Augelli, M.D., a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and an assistant professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, tells SELF. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, that’s not super realistic, but the light/sleep tug of war can be very real for some people. This is why those who are experiencing insomnia are sometimes told to limit bright light as they’re trying to prepare their bodies for sleep.

A 2011 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism looked at artificial light exposure before bedtime in 116 people with no diagnosed sleep disorders. The researchers found that when compared to dim light, exposure to indoor electrical lighting (also called room light) between dusk and bedtime suppressed melatonin production to some extent in about 99 percent of the participants. While the study didn’t explicitly mention TV brightness, the researchers looked at participants living in room light up to 200 lux (the measurement of light intensity), while dim light was less than 3 lux. For context, a 2012 analysis of TVs with automatic brightness controls conducted by the United States Department of Energy found that most TV viewing occurs at less than 50 lux, so somewhere in between the two extremes posed in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism study.

What’s more, the light from our tech devices has short wavelengths that make it appear somewhat blue, and some experts believe this “blue light” is particularly good at suppressing melatonin production.

What about when you’re actually sleeping? “As long as … you get those flashes of light, it’s getting through your eyelid,” Donald Greenblatt, M.D., director of the University of Rochester Medicine Sleep Center, tells SELF. Your eyelids are made of a thin enough material that this can definitely put you at risk of suppressing the melatonin secretion you need to sleep soundly, Dr. Greenblatt explains. You could also wake up due to the flashes of light themselves. However, your proximity to your screen can definitely have an impact here. “You’re probably getting less exposure to light from a TV that’s across the room rather than a tablet that’s in front of your face,” Dr. Greenblatt says.

How sounds from your TV affect your sleep

We’ve established that a flickering screen right in front of your face may affect your sleep, but there’s also the matter of sound.

“Some people would argue that something like TV in the background may be helpful because it prevents you from starting to ruminate or think about things that will get you into a pattern of what we call psychophysiological insomnia, where you’re not able to relax enough to fall asleep,” Dr. Greenblatt says. “There’s some element of truth in that, but the flipside is that the ambient noise of television is not steady.” Soothing and steady ambient sounds, like white noise or even a purring cat, can help some people fall and stay asleep, but the sporadic nature of TV noise could mess with your rest.

Environmental noise—like your neighbor stomping across her floor or a randomly loud-as-hell TV commercial—can interrupt your sleep without you even remembering it.

What all this means for your sleep quality

The primary concern here is that TV light and sound will keep you from getting into the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep, Dr. Augelli says. This can result in sleep deprivation, which can cause daytime sleepiness, irritation, lack of focus, and even muscle aches, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There’s also a possibility that this could affect your dreams. While there isn’t a lot of evidence to indicate that sleeping with the TV will give you Game of Thrones-themed nightmares, it’s possible that, say, a noise on the TV wakes you, you catch a glimpse of an adorable dog on the screen, and next thing you know you’re dreaming about rolling around in a pile of puppies. (Sign us up.)
But even if you don’t fully wake up, your brain is still active when you sleep, Dr. Augelli says. “We’re less attuned, but we’re not completely unaware, so you just don’t want to have a lot of sensory input,” she explains. And, of course, if you drift off to something disturbing, it could influence the contents of your dreams, Dr. Greenblatt says.

But what if you’re someone who always sleeps with the TV on and feels pretty damn rested when they wake up? “Sometimes we can get away with something until we can’t,” Dr. Augelli says. Ultimately, even if you have the TV on mute, the light can impact your circadian rhythm, Dr. Augelli explains. This might not impact your sleep in a major enough way for you to feel it the next day. But, as SELF previously reported, your circadian rhythm influences a lot more than just your rest. That includes your metabolism, hormone fluctuations, and even your body temperature—all pretty important processes that you don’t want light to potentially mess with.

What to do instead

Listen, if you always fall asleep with the TV on and feel well-rested, we can’t force you to stop. If, however, you suspect it might be messing with your sleep, it could be time to consider putting an end to this habit. There’s a reason why going to bed in a dark, quiet room is a cornerstone of great sleep hygiene.

If you’re insistent on watching a little TV while you drift off, your best bet is to put your television or screen on a timer if you can so that you aren’t exposed to light and sound all night. If you’re using a streaming service on a device like your laptop, see if you can disable autoplay so that you’re not seeing flashing lights and hearing random sounds all night long. Either way, try to dim the screen, and consider keeping the device as far away and as quiet as you can stand it.

You can also swap the TV for something like a podcast on really low volume, a white noise machine, or a meditation app that speaks to you, Dr. Greenblatt says—all things that can give you steady ambient noise without melatonin-suppressing light. The same goes for music. A calming mix might be the very thing you need.

If you’re having a really hard time letting go of leaving the TV on while you sleep, you might want to ask yourself why, Dr. Augelli says. Are you dealing with a lot of nighttime anxiety? Is it loneliness? Whatever the case may be, you might realize that your TV habit is masking something you may want to confront (potentially with the help of someone like a therapist, if it’s too much to handle on your own). Otherwise, it could make sense to experiment with going TV-free and seeing if that results in your best sleep yet.


Teens sleep longer, are more alert for homework when school starts later

Preliminary findings from a new study of middle school and high school students suggest that they got more sleep and were less likely to feel too sleepy to do homework after their district changed to later school start times.

In fall 2017, the Cherry Creek School District in Greenwood Village, Colorado, delayed school start times for middle school by 50 minutes (changing from 8 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.) and for high school by 70 minutes (changing from 7:10 a.m. to 8:20 a.m.). Results show that one year after the change, self-reported sleep on school nights was 31 minutes longer among middle school students and 48 minutes longer among high school students.

“Biological changes in the circadian rhythm, or internal clock, during puberty prevents teens from falling asleep early enough to get sufficient sleep when faced with early school start times,” said principal investigator Lisa J. Meltzer, Ph.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. “This study provides additional support that delaying middle and high school start times results in increased sleep duration for adolescents due to later wake times.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that middle schools and high schools should start at 8:30 a.m. or later to support teen health, alertness and safety. However, a previous data analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 14% of high schools and 19% of middle schools started at 8:30 a.m. or later.

The study involved more than 15,000 students in grades 6-11 who completed online surveys during school hours before the start time change in spring 2017 (n=15,700) and after the start time change in spring 2018 (n=18,607). The survey included questions asking about weekday and weekend bedtime, wake time and total sleep time; sleepiness during homework; and academic engagement.

The study also found that the percentage of students who reported feeling too sleepy to do their homework declined after the school start time delay from 46% to 35% among middle school students and from 71% to 56% among high school students. Scores on a measure of academic engagement were significantly higher after the start time change for both middle school and high school students.

“The study findings are important because getting enough sleep is critical for adolescent development, physical health, mood, and academic success,” said Meltzer.

CCSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegfried said that the study supports firsthand feedback he’s received from students across the 108-square-mile district.

“I don’t know how many of our high school students have come up to me and said, ‘This has changed my life for the better.’ They’ve told me they’re getting up to an hour of additional sleep before school starts,” Siegfried said. “That extra sleep makes a real difference in terms of health and wellness. The input from our students and the numbers from this landmark study point to the same conclusion: The change in our start times has been a positive step and benefited our students’ everyday routines.”

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented Wednesday, June 12, in San Antonio at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), which is a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

Meltzer is also the senior author of another abstract from this study, “Impact of Changing School Start Times on Teachers/Staff,” which found significant benefits of later school start times for middle and high school teachers and school-based staff. They reported increased sleep duration due to later wake times, as well as improvements in daytime functioning.

“This is the first large study to examine the impact of healthy school start times on teachers and staff,” said Meltzer. “It is important to consider that this policy change, critical for the health and well-being of students, also impacts other members of the school community.”

Posture impacts how you perceive your food

Summertime is often filled with outdoor parties and food trucks, meaning you’re spending more time standing up and eating. But if you want to actually enjoy your meal, researchers say you’re better off finding a seat.

A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research finds posture impacts taste perception, with food tasting better when you’re sitting down. Lead author Dipayan Biswas, PhD, professor of marketing at the University of South Florida, is an expert in cross-modal effects and looked specifically at how the vestibular sense, which is responsible for balance, posture and spatial orientation, interacts with the gustatory sensory system, which impacts taste and flavor.

He found that holding a standing posture for even a few minutes prompts physical stress, muting taste buds. The force of gravity pushes blood to the lower parts of the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood back up to the top of the body, accelerating heart rate. This activates the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and leads to increased concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol. This chain reaction reduces sensory sensitivity, which impacts food and beverage taste evaluation, food temperature perception and overall consumption volume.

When people experience discomfort, foods that normally taste good do not appear as pleasant to the palate. Biswas confirmed his hypothesis by having 350 participants rate the tastiness of a pita chip. Those who were standing gave it a less favorable rating than those who were sitting in a padded chair.

Researchers then provided participants classic bite-sized brownies baked at a local restaurant that were tested and widely considered pleasant tasting. Those who were sitting down rated them to be most delicious. However, when the baker altered the recipe and made the taste unpleasant by adding an extra ¼ cup of salt, the results were opposite. Participants standing up didn’t notice the brownies tasting saltier to that extent, and actually rated them to have a relatively more favorable taste perception than those who sampled them while sitting down.

“This finding suggests that parents might be able to make unpleasant-tasting, healthy foods seem more palatable to reluctant children by having them eat standing up (vs. sitting down). In a similar vein, it might be beneficial to maintain a standing posture when consuming pharmaceutical products that have unpleasant tastes.”

Biswas expanded the study by inducing additional stress. He required the participants to try fruit snacks while carrying a shopping bag, mimicking what happens when one tries samples at a grocery store or in a food court. Both sitting and standing participants reported the additional weight made the food item taste even worse. This highlights the underlying mechanism related to physical stress driving the effects of posture on taste evaluations.

In addition, the team tested posture’s impact on temperature perception. Participants were provided cups of hot coffee. Those standing up reported it not being as intense as those who were sitting down. However, they drank less than those sitting, suggesting physical stress suppresses appetite. Eating while standing can also help with long-term weight loss goals. Specifically, eating while standing (vs. sitting) leads to lower amount of consumption. Moreover, a standing position leads to greater physical stress, which in turn makes the heart pump more blood.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of South Florida (USF Innovation). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

13 Best Sporty (but Still Really Cute) Sunglasses for Outdoor Workouts in 2019

Aside from wearing lots and lots of sunscreen and lightweight jackets (or no jacket at all!) now’s the time to break out another classic warm weather staple—sunglasses. While tiny sunglasses had a major moment last season, right now, sporty sunglasses are all the rage and my new go to (and not just because I’m on #TeamSELF). I’m all about multi-purpose products, and these type of sunglasses are the perfect blend of function and fashion—which is essential when I’m trying to crush a workout all the way around.

I love a good pair of fashion glasses as much as the next person (you should see my stash), but since they’re not designed to work with a sweaty face or intense sunlight, they’re not always practical to wear during a workout. In legit sport sunglasses, I never have to stop to adjust my frames, and can easily transition from an outdoor workout to an outdoor restaurant table without skipping a beat.

I basically feel like a superhero from the future whenever mine grace my face. And they’re versatile, whether I plan to use them to keep the sun out of your eyes during a run, or style them with a pair of my favorite bike shorts (or both!). If you’re interested in trying the trend for yourself, I’ve handpicked a few stylish pairs that won’t make you look like the Terminator, below.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Can I Use Redness-Reducing Products Even If I Don’t Have Rosacea?

Welcome to Ask a Beauty Editor, our new column in which Sarah Jacoby, SELF’s senior health and beauty editor, goes on the hunt to find the science-backed answers to all of your skin-care questions. You can ask Sarah a question at


Can individuals with sensitive skin who have not been formally diagnosed with rosacea still benefit from “redness-reducing” products? And if so, what will they do? What ingredients are “calming”?


You might think this is a fairly simple question, but there’s a lot going on here! And, as someone who personally deals with a lot of redness (#rosacealife), I’m excited to get into it.

First off, though, I want to be clear here that we’re going to be talking about ingredients in over-the-counter skin-care products that are purported to calm redness—not makeup products, like green tinted color correctors, which basically anyone can use.

So, what’s really in those redness-reducing skin-care products anyway? Usually we’re talking about ingredients like aloe, colloidal oatmeal, green tea, or centella asiatica. But, it turns out that there’s really not much science to support the claim that those ingredients actually reduce redness, Shari Lipner, M.D., Ph.D., dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, tells SELF.

In some cases, they may address related concerns, like skin irritation or dryness. But targeting redness directly? Not likely. So, if you find that redness-reducing products are helpful for you, it may be that you’re dealing with some other common skin concerns that contribute to redness, like dryness or irritation. And if you find a product that helps with that, great!

Also, remember that it’s not always easy to self-diagnose yourself with rosacea because “it comes in many different forms,” Dr. Lipner says, which may or may not include redness. Its other symptoms may include acne-like bumps, broken blood vessels, and thickened skin around the nose. Each of those is treated differently, she says, with a gentle skin-care routine, topical medications, or laser treatments. And, in general, those with rosacea may have better luck with a gentle cleansing and moisturizing routine in addition to lifestyle changes to help manage their triggers rather than products that specifically target redness.

On the flipside, not all redness is related to rosacea, Dr. Lipner points out. Eczema as well as some immune-related conditions, like lupus, can also cause redness in a rosacea-like pattern. So if you’re trying redness-reducing products and aren’t seeing results, that might be a sign to talk to a dermatologist about what might be causing your redness.

Ultimately, Dr. Lipner doesn’t think there’s any real harm for those with healthy skin to try out redness-reducing products containing things like aloe or oatmeal. But if you’re using them to address a different concern (like, say, inflammation related to acne), there’s probably something better out there.

However, knowing that people with rosacea often have sensitive skin, it’s important to use these products with caution as they can actually cause irritation in some patients, Dr. Lipner says. And if you do have redness, it’s important to get it properly diagnosed with a board-certified dermatologist so you can manage it in the most effective way.


Aging Parents: 8 Warning Signs of Health Problems

As your parents get older, how can you be sure they’re taking care of themselves and staying healthy?

When you visit your parents, consider the following questions:

1. Are your parents able to take care of themselves?

Pay attention to your parents’ appearance. Failure to keep up with daily routines—such as bathing and tooth brushing—could indicate dementia, depression, or physical impairments.

Also pay attention to your parents’ home. Are the lights working? Is the heat on? Is the yard overgrown? Any changes in the way your parents do things around the house could provide clues to their health. For example, scorched pots could mean your parents are forgetting about food cooking on the stove. Neglected housework could be a sign of depression, dementia, or other concerns.

2. Are your parents experiencing memory loss?

Everyone forgets things from time to time. Modest memory problems are a fairly common part of aging, and sometimes medication side effects or underlying conditions contribute to memory loss.

There’s a difference, though, between normal changes in memory and the type of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Are your parents’ memory changes limited to misplaced glasses or an occasionally forgotten appointment? Or are the changes more concerning, such as forgetting common words when speaking, getting lost in familiar neighborhoods, or being unable to follow directions?

3. Are your parents safe in their home?

Take a look around your parents’ home, keeping an eye out for any red flags. Do your parents have difficulty navigating a narrow stairway? Has either parent fallen recently? Are they able to read directions on medication containers? When asked, do your parents say they feel safe at home?

4. Are your parents safe on the road?

Driving can be challenging for older adults. If your parents become confused while driving or you’re concerned about their ability to drive safely, it might be time to stop driving.

5. Have your parents lost weight?

Losing weight without trying could be a sign that something’s wrong. Weight loss could be related to many factors, including:

  • Difficulty cooking. Your parents could be having difficulty finding the energy to cook, grasping the tools necessary to cook, or reading labels or directions on food products.
  • Loss of taste or smell. Your parents might not be interested in eating if food doesn’t taste or smell as good as it used to.
  • Underlying conditions. Sometimes weight loss indicates a serious underlying condition, such as malnutrition, dementia, depression, or cancer.

6. Are your parents in good spirits?

Note your parents’ moods and ask how they’re feeling. A drastically different mood or outlook could be a sign of depression or other health concerns.

7. Are your parents still social?

Also talk to your parents about their activities. Are they connecting with friends? Have they maintained interest in hobbies and other daily activities? Are they involved in organizations or clubs? If a parent gives up on being with others, it could be a sign of a problem.

8. Are your parents able to get around?

Pay attention to how your parents are walking. Are they reluctant or unable to walk usual distances? Have they fallen recently? Is knee or hip arthritis making it difficult to get around the house? Would either parent benefit from a cane or walker?

Issues such as muscle weakness and joint pain can make it difficult to move around as well. If your parents are unsteady on their feet, they might be at risk of falling—a major cause of disability among older adults.

Taking action

There are many steps you can take to ensure your parents’ health and well-being, even if you don’t live nearby. For example:

  • Share your concerns with your parents. Talk to your parents. Your concern might motivate your parents to see a doctor or make other changes. Consider including other people who care about your parents in the conversation, such as other loved ones, close friends, or clergy.
  • Encourage regular medical checkups. If you’re worried about a parent’s weight loss, depressed mood, memory loss, or other signs and symptoms, encourage your parent to schedule a doctor’s visit. You might offer to schedule the visit or to accompany your parent to the doctor—or to find someone else to attend the visit. Ask about follow-up visits as well.
  • Address safety issues. Point out any potential safety issues to your parents—then make a plan to address the problems. For example, your parents might benefit from using assistive devices to help them reach items on high shelves. A higher toilet seat or handrails in the bathroom might help prevent falls. If your parents are no longer able to drive safely, suggest other transportation options—such as taking the bus, using a van service, or hiring a driver.
  • Consider home care services. If your parents are having trouble taking care of themselves, you could hire someone to clean the house and run errands. A home health care aide could help your parents with daily activities, such as bathing. You might also consider Meals on Wheels or other community services. If remaining at home is too challenging, you might suggest moving to an assisted living facility.
  • Contact the doctor for guidance. If your parents dismiss your concerns, consider contacting the doctor directly. Your insights can help the doctor understand what to look for during upcoming visits. Keep in mind that the doctor might need to verify that he or she has permission to speak with you about your parents’ care, which might include a signed form or waiver from your parents.
  • Seek help from local agencies. Your local agency on aging—which you can find using the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the Administration on Aging—can connect you with services in your parents’ area. For example, the county in which your parents live might have social workers who can evaluate your parents’ needs and connect them with services, such as home care workers.

Sometimes parents won’t admit they need help, and others don’t realize they need help. That’s where you come in. Make sure your parents understand the problem and your proposed solution. Remind your parents that you care about them and that you want to help promote their health and well-being, both today and in the years to come.

Updated: 2015-01-10

Publication Date: 2005-12-12

I, you, or we: Pronouns provide hints to romantic attachment styles

Sometimes people wish they had greater insight into how their partner really feels. Recent work in social and personality psychology dives into the stories people tell about their romantic relationships, and finds that those prone to avoidant attachment, are less likely to use the word “we” when talking about these relationships.

The results appear in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“The pronouns individuals use when narrating their previous experiences from within their romantic lives provide a clue as to their corresponding attachment styles,” says Will Dunlop (University of California, Riverside), lead author of the research.

Typically, attachment styles are represented by two factors — anxiety (reflecting the degree to which an individual is preoccupied with, and fears losing, his or her romantic partner) and avoidance (reflecting the degree to which an individual feels uncomfortable getting close to, and depending upon, his or her partner).

Dunlop and colleagues reviewed over 1400 observations drawn from seven studies, and then explored relations between adult romantic attachment styles and pronoun use.

They found that both anxious and avoidant attachment styles correlated positively with I-talk and negatively with we-talk, but once they accounted for participants’ demographics and personality traits, the correlation for anxious attachment and pronoun use was no longer significant. But for avoidant attachment types, the lack of the use of “we” talk held strong.

Dunlop suggests that the way individuals describe their romantic experiences could offer insights into how that person might behave and interact in romantic relationships as well.

“Anxious and avoidant attachment styles capture individual differences in the ways people think, feel, and behave in romantic relationships. Given that those with higher levels of avoidant attachment were found to demonstrate lower levels of we-talk when describing experiences from their romantic lives, considering the use of we words (e.g., us, ours) in the disclosure of previous romantic experiences may offer indication of one’s avoidant tendencies. This is a relatively novel and indirect way of gauging avoidant attachment, as individuals are typically unaware of the pronouns they use.”

For future research, Dunlop is curious as to the clues narratives from other domains (e.g., one’s professional life) may offer for attachment and other markers of adjustment. He also wonders what link, if any, there may be between the pronoun use and people’s overall love life satisfaction.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Researchers uncover indoor pollution hazards

When most people think about air pollution, they think of summertime haze, traffic or smokestack exhaust, wintertime inversions, or wildfire smoke.

They rarely think of the air that they breathe inside their own homes.

In a new study of indoor air quality, a team of WSU researchers has found surprisingly high levels of pollutants, including formaldehyde and possibly mercury, in carefully monitored homes, and that these pollutants vary through the day and increase as temperatures rise. Their study, led by Tom Jobson, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and graduate student Yibo Huangfu, was published in the journal, Building and Environment.

Researchers know that air pollution, whether inside or outside, has a significant impact on people’s health, including their heart, lungs, brain, and neurological health. But, while the government has increased regulation of outdoor air pollution over the past 40 years, there is little regulation of the air in people’s homes. Building laws generally require that homes are structurally sound and that people are comfortable — with minimal impacts from odors and humidity.

“People think of air pollution as an outdoor problem, but they fail to recognize that they’re exposing themselves to much higher emission rates inside their homes,” Jobson said.

These emissions come from a variety of sources, such as building materials, furniture, household chemical products, and from people’s activities like cooking.

One of the ways to clear out harmful chemicals is with ventilation to the outdoors. But, with increased concern about climate change and interest in reducing energy use, builders are trying to make homes more airtight, which may inadvertently be worsening the problem.

In their study, the researchers looked at a variety of homes — meant to reflect the typical housing styles and age in the U.S. They found that formaldehyde levels rose in homes as temperatures increased inside — between three and five parts per billion every time the temperature increased one degree Celsius.

“As a home gets hotter, there is a lot more formaldehyde in the home. The materials are hotter and they off-gas at higher rates,” Jobson said.

The work shows how heat waves and changing regional climate might affect indoor air quality in the future.

“As people ride out a hot summer without air conditioning, they’re going to be exposed to much higher concentrations of pollutants inside,” he said.

The researchers also found that pollution levels varied throughout the day — they were highest in the afternoon and lowest in the early morning. Until now, manufacturers and builders have assumed that pollutants stay the same throughout the day as they consider the emissions from their materials, so they may not be getting a true picture of how much pollution people are exposed to indoors, he said.

The researchers also were surprised to find in one home that gypsum wallboard emitted high levels of formaldehyde and possibly mercury when it’s heated. That home, built in the early 1970s, had radiant heating in its ceiling, which was a popular heating system at that time.

After finding high levels of formaldehyde in the home, the researchers suspected the gypsum wallboard radiant ceiling in the home. About half of the gypsum used in homes as drywall is made from waste products of the coal industry. They pulled a piece from the home, heated it up in their laboratory, and measured high levels of formaldehyde — as much as 159 parts per billion.

Household formaldehyde exposure is notregulated in the United States, but the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the Centers for Disease Control, has set eight parts per billion as posing a minimum risk level.

“Exposure to these chemicals impacts people’s ability to think and learn,” said Jobson. “It’s important for people to be more cognizant of the risk — Opening a window is a good thing.”

The researchers plan to continue looking at ways to reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants, such as using green building materials.

“We have to balance making more energy efficient homes with protecting our health and cognitive function,” he said.

The work was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Do we judge chocolate by its wrapper?

Packaging is the first impression consumers have of food products that influences the likelihood of purchasing. A new study in the journal Heliyon, published by Elsevier, evaluates the effect of chocolate packaging design on sensory liking and willingness to purchase. Researchers found that participants expressed stronger emotional associations with the packaging than they did from tasting the chocolate. The study concluded that while taste is the predominant factor in determining subsequent purchases, perception of taste is influenced by emotions evoked by packaging.

“There’s a difference in how consumers perceive intrinsic product cues — like flavor, aroma, and texture — which are associated with sensory and perceptual systems, and how they perceive external cues — like packaging materials, information, brand name, and price — which are associated with cognitive and psychological mechanisms,” explained co-lead investigator Frank R. Dunshea, PhD, School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia. “The information provided via packaging can influence customers’ expectations and affect their emotional response when their sensory experience confirms or doesn’t confirm their initial impression.”

The researchers set out to identify how packaging affects the liking of a taste; explore the emotions evoked by the packaging and the chocolate; and determine whether these factors affected subsequent willingness to purchase. Seventy-five participants (aged 25-55 years old, 59 percent female) were asked to evaluate chocolates under three conditions: a blind taste test of chocolate; packaging concepts only; and chocolate plus packaging. The same chocolate was wrapped in six different packaging designs representing bold, fun, every day, special, healthy, and premium concepts. At each step, participants were asked to associate the samples with a lexicon of emotion-based terms.

How much participants liked the taste of the chocolates was affected by their expectations based on the different wrapper designs, especially when expectations created by packaging were not met. Participants selected stronger emotional words to describe the packaging than they did when describing what they blindly tasted the chocolate. The investigators found that there was moderate positive correlation between liking the packaging and the taste of the chocolate when it was wrapped in packaging described with positive terms such as happy, healthy, fun, bright, relaxing, peace, achievement, togetherness, balance, excitement and friendship. Participants’ association of positive emotions with the packaging therefore had a direct influence on the acceptability of the chocolate.

“An estimated 60 percent of consumers’ initial decisions about products are made in stores solely by judging the packaging. As a result, our findings offer important insights that can be used in product design and development to control product intrinsic and extrinsic attributes by enhancing the emotional attachment towards the food products,” explained co-lead investigator Sigfredo Fuentes, PhD, also of the School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

The investigators note that participants preferred the taste of the samples more when they were eaten in blind conditions, as opposed to evaluating them after assessing the packaging, and that taste guides subsequent purchases. “This research proposed a cross-disciplinary approach with a combination of sensory and consumer science as well as psychology- and physiology-based assessments, which are important to understand the implicit response of consumers to meet the expectations of products in the market,” explained first author Nadeesha Gunaratne, PhD, Scholar, School of Agriculture and Food, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.