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We don’t talk anymore

sex and relationships Updated: Feb 01, 2011 15:59 IST
Hindustan Times
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Married couples may think they communicate well with their partners, but a new study shows that spouses often communicate no better than strangers. Psychologists also found the similar communication problem among close friends.

“Closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the ‘closeness-communication bias’,” said Boaz Keysar, a professor in psychology at the University of Chicago and a leading expert on communications.

When people meet a stranger, they automatically provide more information, researchers report in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Smoking trap

Though cigarette advertisements have been tied to teen smoking before,a recent pediatrics study showed that tobacco ads have an impact even when other advertising doesn't. For the study, 2,100 teens aged 10 to 17 who had never smoked were shown billboard advertisements for six different cigarettes and eight other commercial products, with all brand information removed.

Each teen was then asked how often they had seen each image and if they could identify the represented brand. In the next nine months, about 13% began smoking.

This was true even after accounting for other risk factors, such as age, sex, family's economic situation, school performance, and having friends or family who smoked.

Teaching texts

Rejecting fears that the use of abbreviations such as 'CU L8R', 'Gr8' and 'innit' can mess up children's reading and spelling, a UK study reports that cellphone texting actually improves literacy and spelling skills.

Academics from Coventry University conducted the study invovling 114 children aged nine and 10 from primary schools in the Midlands, UK.

The study, which took account of individual differences in IQ, found higher test scores recorded by children using mobile phones after 10 weeks compared with the start of the study. It will be published in Journal of Computer Assisted Learning next month.


Playing video games does not make teenagers fat but can affect their school grades, found study that debunked previous research that linked video games and TV to rising obesity. More than video games, the strongest predictors for obesity were race, age, and socio-economic status. The researchers took into account exam scores, height, weight, socio- economic and race factors, and measured the children's mathematical, visual, and reading skills.