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Visiting Santa: a supplemental view.
Abstract: Four recent informal successive yearly enquiries of the emotions of 1,050 children (total) immediately before their visit with Santa Claus at a shopping mall suggested that about 80% displayed facial expressions, judged by an observer, as indicating indifference. To investigate possible change in emotions of children immediately after their visit with Santa, this study was conducted in 2007. Of the 280 exiting children observed, about 60% appeared to be indifferent.
Pub.: 27 Mar '09, Pinned: 23 Dec '16
Holiday plants with toxic misconceptions.
Abstract: Several plants are used for their decorative effect during winter holidays. This review explores the toxic reputation and proposed management for exposures to several of those, namely poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), English holly (Ilex aquifolium), American holly (Ilex opaca), bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara), Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum), American mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum), and European mistletoe (Viscum album).
Pub.: 30 Jan '13, Pinned: 23 Dec '16
Christmas: an event driven by our hormones?
Abstract: No other event in the Christian calendar has such a deep impact on our behaviour as the annual event called Christmas. Christmas is not just 'Christmas Day'; indeed, it is a long developmental rhythm with a period of almost exactly 365 days. Here, I describe the neuronal and hormonal changes and their effects on our behaviour during the preparation and the execution of the event(1) .
Pub.: 21 Oct '11, Pinned: 08 Dec '16
Images in Christmas Balls
Abstract: We describe light-reflection properties of spherically curved mirrors, like balls in the Christmas tree. In particular, we study the position of the image which is formed somewhere beyond the surface of a spherical mirror, when an eye observes the image of a pointlike light source. The considered problem, originally posed by Abu Ali Hasan Ibn al-Haitham -- alias Alhazen -- more than a millennium ago, turned out to have the now well known analytic solution of a biquadratic equation, being still of great relevance, e.g. for the aberration-free construction of telescopes. We do not attempt to perform an exhaustive survey of the rich historical and engineering literature on the subject, but develop a simple pedagogical approach to the issue, which we believe to be of continuing interest in view of its maltreating in many high-school textbooks.
Pub.: 19 Dec '05, Pinned: 08 Dec '16
Jeopardizing Christmas: Why spoiled kids and a tight schedule could make Santa Claus fall?
Abstract: Santa Claus' spatio-temporal gait characteristics, ground reaction forces during treadmill walking as well as postural sway during loaded, unloaded and cognitive interference tasks were examined in order to estimate his fall risk. Seventeen healthy males, disguised as researchers and students (age: 30±10 years; height: 179±6 years; weight: 76±7kg; BMI: 24±2kg/m(2); physical activity: 12±4h/week) and who still believe in Santa Claus randomly underwent balance and gait analyses with and without cognitive interference. The conditions were to be dressed as "Santa Claus" (wearing costume consisting of a beard, cap, robe, heavy sack with a load of 20kg) or dressed in "normal clothing" (no costume). Spatiotemporal gait parameters (walking velocity, gait variability and stride time, length and width), ground reaction forces (GRF) (left- and right-sided heel strike and push off) and postural sway (30s tandem stance on a force plate) were measured. "Santa-effects" (0.001<p<0.05; 0.21<ηp(2)<0.72) and "Dual-task effects" (0.001<p<0.003; 0.46<ηp(2)<0.86) were found for postural sway (increased sway), GRF (decreased forces for dual tasking, increased forces for the Santa condition) and the majority of spatio-temporal gait parameters. Significant "Santa"×"Dual-Task" interaction effects were not observed (0.001<p<0.05; 0.21<ηp(2)<0.72). Relevant leg effects of GRF during walking were not found. Santa Claus faces a tremendously increased risk of falling when carrying his Christmas sack with 20kg of presents. Cognitive loads also impair his neuromuscular performance. It is recommended that Santa trains his strength and balance before Christmas and also to avoid filling his sack with more than 20kg of presents. Also, cognitive training may help to improve his dual task performance.
Pub.: 15 Mar '15, Pinned: 08 Dec '16
The relationship between television advertising, children's viewing and their requests to Father Christmas.
Abstract: Children's letters to Father Christmas provide an opportunity to use naturalistic methods to investigate the influence of television advertising.This study investigates the number of toy requests in the letters of children aged between 6 and 8 (n = 98) in relation to their television viewing and the frequency of product advertisements prior to Christmas. Seventy-six hours of children's television were sampled, containing over 2,500 advertisements for toys.Children's viewing frequency, and a preference for viewing commercial channels, were both related to their requests for advertised goods. Gender effects were also found, with girls requesting more advertised products than boys.Exploring the children's explicit understanding of advertising showed that children in this age group are not wholly aware of the advertisers' intent and that, together with their good recall of advertising, this may account for their vulnerability to its persuasive messages.
Pub.: 20 Dec '07, Pinned: 08 Dec '16
What Makes for a Merry Christmas?
Abstract: Despite the importance of Christmas within many cultures, researchhas not examined the types of experiences and activities that are associated withholiday well-being. Thus, we asked 117 individuals, ranging in age from 18 to 80,to answer questions about their satisfaction, stress, and emotional state during theChristmas season, as well as questions about their experiences, use of money, andconsumption behaviors. More happiness was reported when family and religiousexperiences were especially salient, and lower well-being occurred when spendingmoney and receiving gifts predominated. Engaging in environmentally consciousconsumption practices also predicted a happier holiday, as did being older and male.In sum, the materialistic aspects of modern Christmas celebrations may underminewell-being, while family and spiritual activities may help people to feel more satisfied.
Pub.: 01 Dec '02, Pinned: 08 Dec '16
Bah humbug: Unexpected Christmas cards and the reciprocity norm.
Abstract: The reciprocity norm refers to the expectation that people will help those who helped them. A well-known study revealed that the norm is strong with Christmas cards, with 20% of people reciprocating a Christmas card received from a stranger. I attempted to conceptually replicate and extend this effect. In Study 1, 755 participants received a Christmas card supposedly from a more- versus less-similar stranger. The reciprocation rate was unexpectedly low (2%), which did not allow for a test of a similarity effect. Two potential reasons for this low rate were examined in Study 2 in which 494 participants reported their likelihood of reciprocating a Christmas card from a stranger as well as their felt suspicions/threat about the card and their frequency of e-mail use. Reciprocation likelihood was negatively correlated with perceived threat/suspicion and e-mail use. It appears that reciprocating a gift from a stranger in offline settings may be less likely than expected.
Pub.: 17 Dec '15, Pinned: 08 Dec '16