2012 April

Huffington Post Science


Face’s Left Side More Attractive Than Its Right Side, Study Shows: Which is your better side? New research shows that the left side of the human face is generally more appealing to others than the right side–which may help explain why portraitists tend to paint their subjects’ left profiles. For the study, published in the journal Experimental Brain Research, Wake Forest University psychology professor Dr. James Schirillo and his co-author, Kelsey Blackburn, asked 37 male and female college students to rate photos of 10 male and 10 female faces. The photos were presented as originally taken and in mirror image form, so that right cheeks appeared to be left cheeks, and vice versa, Dr. Schirillo told The Huffington Post in an email.

What happened? Photos showing the left sides of faces were rated more “pleasant” than those showing right sides–no matter whether the portraits were shown as taken originally or in mirror-reversed form.…

CNN Living


Preventing tween behavior problems: The key [to preventing tween behavior problems]: building a close relationship. “That way, you’ll have more resources to draw upon later, especially during conflicts,” says Christy M. Buchanan, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Wake Forest University and the mom of teens. A study by Buchanan published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence surveyed 250 sixth- and seventh-graders and their moms and found that the moms who expected their kids to take risks and test limits later on tended to get what they bargained for.

And while parental expectations are just one of many influences on a teenager’s behavior, Buchanan says raising yours can make a difference. Why? Buchanan has several theories. First, our assumptions may tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies because of the way we interact with our kids, she says. So if you think it’s inevitable that your child will get into trouble, then you’re probably less likely to believe that what you do matters — and you may not try as hard to monitor or discipline him.

Northwest Public Radio

Two-Headed Trout Spur Scrutiny of Mine Pollution: Dennis Lemly is a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service and a professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He says the EPA is revisiting its decades-old selenium standards. And the dueling studies in southeast Idaho could have an impact on how strict those standards will ultimately be. “The smoking gun of course is the two-headed trout. Because once you see that condition, you know you’ve got a serious problem.” (Radio Interview)

U.S. Department of State Blog


‘May Their Memory Be for a Blessing’: In January, I was honored to attend a United Nations showing of the unique documentary film, The Last Flight of Petr Ginz. The film tells the story of an artistic Czech boy who was killed at Auschwitz. It focuses on Petr’s short life — how he wrote poems and novels while interned at Terezin and how strongly he wanted to live despite the horrors surrounding him. Watching the documentary, I was humbled by Petr’s strength, much as I am humbled whenever I meet survivors, camp liberators, rescuers, and eyewitnesses of this terrible event. I am the child of a Holocaust survivor myself. Films like Petr Ginz, remind us of the power of the individual, the power of expression, the power of memory. It is a lesson we must all take to heart.

Editor’s note: Members of the principal production crew for The Flight of Petr Ginz, Sandy Dickson, Cindy Hill and Cara Pilson are professional filmmakers and professors in Wake Forest University’s Documentary Film Program.

Inside Higher Ed

Heidi Robinson

Heidi Robinson

The Liberal Arts and Careers: For Wake Forest University students in the “Options in the World of Work” course on Wednesday, the topic was location. Heidi Robinson, the instructor, walked students through exercises in which they discussed how to evaluate job opportunities in different localities. The students were divided into small groups, each with an iPad with material designed to compare a specific job here (in a relatively small, affordable city) and a larger city such as Boston or Los Angeles. Salaries are provided for the jobs, and students are given websites to find out how much they would spend on groceries in a week, the cost of an apartment, and so forth.…

U.S. News & World Report – Money


How to Find Happiness at Work: “Employment is good for your health,” says Wake Forest University sociologist Robin Simon. “Work gives people a source of social interaction as well as [makes] a financial contribution” to their lives, she says. The added stresses and documented health effects of job losses during the past several years only prove how important work is to our well-being.