What States Drink The Most Alcohol, Link Between Stress and Dementia, and Pointing Elephants: The Week's Most Surprising Studies

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You know that nagging feeling that your cat doesn't actually like being stroked, and he's just humoring you whilst quietly plotting your demise? Yeah, that's not just in your head. New feline research from England's University of Lincoln has found that not only do cats dislike being close to one another, they also get stressed when you go near them. The "docile" variety of cat, which sits quietly while you stroke it, actually exhibited much higher stress levels than cats that hiss at you and edge away whenever you go near them.

Apparently, cats who live together are also more stressed than those who live alone, the research continued. Which isn't to say they like living with you in the first place, but it's all a bit of a rock-and-hard-place situation. There's a book entitled How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You, which might prove helpful.

No, Your Cat Really Doesn't Like You

You know that nagging feeling that your cat doesn't actually like being stroked, and he's just humoring you whilst quietly plotting your demise? Yeah, that's not just in your head. New feline research from England's University of Lincoln has found that not only do cats dislike being close to one another, they also get stressed when you go near them. The "docile" variety of cat, which sits quietly while you stroke it, actually exhibited much higher stress levels than cats that hiss at you and edge away whenever you go near them.

Apparently, cats who live together are also more stressed than those who live alone, the research continued. Which isn't to say they like living with you in the first place, but it's all a bit of a rock-and-hard-place situation. There's a book entitled How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You, which might prove helpful.

Dogs, However, Love You Like a Human

If you're a cat owner, you're probably fearing for your life at this point and wondering: well, what else is out there? Maybe it's time to get a dog to balance things out, because a dog's capacity for love and emotion is unnervingly similar to that of a human. A neuro-economist and his colleagues at Emory University spent years training dogs to step into MRI machines at their own will (instead of forcing them in there, which would play havoc with the accuracy of their brain scans).

Their conclusion? "Dogs are people, too," researcher Gregory Burns wrote in a New York Times op-ed. Dogs' brains lit up in happiness when they saw a familiar hand or smelled a familiar human-smell, suggesting that dogs' brains imitate infant brains in this way. According to the research, they're capable of feeling long-term love and deep attachment like babies do. "I suspect that society is many years away from considering dogs as persons," concluded Burns. "However, recent rulings by the Supreme Court have included neuroscientific findings that open the door to such a possibility." Burns is clearly a dog person.

Step Away From Web MD, For Crying Out Loud

Let it be noted: Web MD is not your friend. According to Baylor University, the condition "cyberchrondia" — the Internet version of hypochondria that causes you to frantically Google your symptoms — is absolutely just going to make things worse. If Hannah on Girls has proven one thing, it's that frenetic symptom-searching is always going to lead you to dark places, and that worrying and anxiety is far more likely to actually make you sick. Or get back together with your ex-boyfriend.

The study utilized 513 healthy adults, and found that in the cases of those with "cyberchrondria," a dangerous spiral emerged: anxious, healthy people Googled symptoms, went to the doctor, demanded a myriad of tests, weren't diagnosed with anything, freaked out more, and kept Googling for worse and worse maladies. 

How To Cure A Hangover

The age-old question of oh God how to make this hangover go far away has, until now, been answered mainly by old wives' tales, bacon sandwiches, and buckets of water. But science has turned its hand to fixing your pain, and it has a conclusion: Sprite. Drink Sprite. Sprite will help you.

Basically, a hangover is what happens when the chemical byproducts of consuming lots and lots of alcohol hit you all at once. The process is actually slowed down by herbal teas (don't do that) but sped up by Sprite and soda water, which quickens whatever chemical equation makes you feel like you've been hit by a truck. Thank you, science.

Conservatives Really Hate Insults, Liberals Are Used to Them

A recent experiment courtesy of a Lafayette College professor measured the response to politically provocative comments on blogs in terms of the reactions they elicited from liberals and conservatives. Here's a surprise: conservatives became infuriated, and their views moved more to the Right than they had before, whereas liberals kind of just cyber-shrugged and stayed calm.

Here's the weird part: even when conservatives read obnoxious comments by other conservatives, they grew furious, and their views adjusted to become even more Right-leaning. It's only a single study, so take it with a pinch of salt, but pretty interesting.

American Adults Test Below Other Nations

According to a global study by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, American adults score under the global average when faced with a battery of math, literary, and problem-solving tests. It's long-established that American kids don't score as well as their international peers, but this is the first time that research had indicated that adults don't, either. Scoring higher than the U.S. are Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland, and several others.

Northern European countries generally fared better than the rest of Europe, which has been hit hard by years of recession. More good news for America: social mobility is more difficult here than in other countries, and the findings reinforced the gap between high and low-skilled workers, indicating that if your parents are from one of those camps, you probably will be too. Don't shoot the British messenger, guys...

Link Found Between Stress And Alzheimer's

This is not good news. A Swedish-American research group meticulously followed a group of women between the ages of 38 and 54, and tracked their stress levels, from grave (the death of a child) to mild (job stresses). The women who had suffered the highest levels of stress in midlife — divorce, serious illness, a death in the family —were 15 percent more likely to develop dementia, usually around their seventies.

No one really knows yet what causes Alzheimer's, but the risk tends to increase with age, beginning in middle age. Forty years after a major stress in midlife, research indicated that chances of dementia tend to jump by a fifth.

Elephants Understand Pointing

Hey, remember earlier when we talked about how dogs have higher social intelligence than we realize? Well, so do elephants, apparently. Dogs have typically understood pointing (like when humans point to where the food is) and now, it turns out that elephants also understand that humans' pointy finger means "here!"

Researchers at Scotland's University of St. Andrews got hold of a bunch of elephants, and placed two identical containers in front of them. One contained food. When they pointed to the one with food inside, the elephant instinctively understood the sign for "what you want is in here!" and moved towards that container. Then, presumably, they never forgot where it was. 

Who Is Most Likely To Be Hungover At Work?

The hangover remedy Blowfish used a third-party research center to set up a study entitled "Intoxication Nation," which measured intoxicated behavior and hangover patterns across America. Here's what they found: Workers most likely to be hungover on the job are, in order: waiters, realtors, sales workers, police officers, and chefs. Golf fans were more likely to drink at sporting events than any other sport — probably because golf is terribly long and boring. In terms of drunk behavior, women were 40 percent more likely to drunk-dial an ex, and men were three times more likely to use sex to stave off a hangover. 

Maine, Wyoming ,and Alaska drink the most, but Washington D.C., Wisconsin, and Utah spend the most time complaining about their hangovers. The average non-teetotal American says they consume 277 drinks every year, but apparently the real total is more like, um, 819. Woah. Don't forget what we said about the Sprite, guys.