Weird But True: Sex on Planes, Kicking Butt Cuts Drinking, Sex and Social Stress, Harry Potter and Trump, Lower Income and Less Memory, and Ranveer Singh Sex Taboo

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Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne (Photo courtesy: Vogue)

Cara Delevingne  gets caught having sex on planes

Los Angeles–Model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne says she loves having sex on planes but always gets caught doing it. “I’ve had sex in planes a lot. But I’ve always been caught. It’s super-hard not to get caught. I had sex in the chair on the plane and there was a guy watching,” Delevingne said in an interview with LOVE magazine, reports mirror.co.uk.

“We ended up telling the air stewardess what was happening. Like, ‘This guy keeps staring at us. Can you tell him to stop?'” she added. Delevingne was being interviewed for the magazine by her “Suicide Squad” co-star Margot Robbie, in which they both discussed the most exciting places they have had sex.

Margot also admitted to being adventurous with her love life and once got carried away on a jet ski. However, she said that it was not moving at the time as that would have made things too difficult. “That’s aiming way too high. A non-moving jet-ski, but in the water,” she said.

Reading Harry Potter may make Americans less favorable to Trump

Washington– Harry Potter books, with their message of tolerance and respect for difference, may make Americans less favorable to Donald Trump, who is the Republican Party’s nominee for the US presidency in the forthcoming elections, suggests an interesting study.

Harry Potter is a series of fantasy novels, with more than 450 million copies sold worldwide and is written by British author J.K. Rowling. Reading Potter stories may act as a shield against Trump’s message as it leads Americans to take a lower opinion of him.

Trump’s messages oppose the lessons conveyed in Harry Potter, but have been found closer to that of his enemy, Lord Voldemort. In fact, the more books the participants read in the Potter series, the greater was the effect, the researchers said.

“Because Trump’s political views are widely viewed as opposed to the values espoused in the Harry Potter series, exposure to the Potter series may play an influential role in influencing how Americans respond to Donald Trump,” said Diana Mutz, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in the US. The study also found that Democrats, Republicans and Independents have all read Rowling’s books in roughly equal numbers.

“This may seem small but for someone who has read all seven books, the total impact could lower their estimation of Trump by 18 points out of 100. The size of this effect is on par with the impact of party identification on attitudes toward gays and Muslims,” added Mutz.

Even when controlling for party identification, gender, education level, age, evangelical self-identification, and social dominance orientation — all factors known to predict Americans’ attitudes toward Donald Trump — the Harry Potter effect remained, said the paper published in the journal PS: Political Science and Politics,.

In addition, the researchers also collected data on viewership of Harry Potter movies but found that these did not predict Trump opposition. This may be because of pre-existing partisan patterns in movie viewing whereby Republicans were less likely to see the movies than Democrats, the researchers said.

Students from lower-income groups may have less working memory

Toronto–Students from the lower-income groups have less working memory capacity than their peers from higher-income brackets, says a study.

The researchers have discovered important differences between children from lower and higher-income groups in their ability to use “working memory” — a key brain function responsible for everything from remembering a phone number to doing math in your head. The team used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure and map the brain activity of a group of middle-schoolers.

“It has never been shown before that lower-income (group) children have this qualitatively different brain response for this very basic ability that is essential to almost all cognition,” said Amy Finn from the University of Toronto in the study published in the journal Developmental Science.

For the study, 67 students were enrolled in either seventh or eighth grades in schools who were ethnically diverse and with a roughly equal number of boys and girls.  In the study, researchers focused on regions of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, which are important for high-level functions.

The researchers observed that students from the high-income groups largely kept this region of the brain in reserve until the tasks began to get more difficult. But the lower-income group children relied on brain more often and to a greater extent than chilkdren from higher-income groups even for relatively simple problems.

This suggested that there is a difference in how lower-income background children tap into their working memory — which is how the brain organises and holds information in mind that it can’t immediately see, revealed the study.

“We knew that there were differences in the neural structure of children from lower-income versus higher-income families, but we didn’t know if that really mattered for solving problems,” added Finn. Most cognitive neural science is conducted on people who are from middle and upper-middle class backgrounds because it’s less expensive to study populations near the university than to reach out to lower-income communities.

New study to explore sexual differences in social stress

New York–Why does the mechanism to cope with social stress tend to differ among men and women? Could there be different drug treatments for stress reduction in men and women? These are some of the questions that US researchers will seek answers to in a five-year study.

The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) at Georgia State University has received a five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate the neurochemical mechanisms underlying social stress in males and females, a university statement said.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services. In this study, Elliott Albers from Georgia State University and Mark Wilson from Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center hope to define the differences in how brain mechanisms promote resilience to social stress in males and females.

Specifically, they will investigate how two chemicals in the brain — vasopressin and serotonin — act to alter the responsivity to social stress, the statement said. Using hamsters and rhesus monkeys, the project will test the hypothesis that phenotypes characterised by dominance and active coping strategies are more resilient to stress than those characterised by subordinate status.

“We are excited by the potential of this innovative research to both define the basic brain mechanisms involved in regulating the expression of social behaviour and to have a substantial translational impact by defining gender-specific strategies for promoting stress resilience in the development of treatments for psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD,” said Albers.

“Our studies have the potential to have an almost immediate clinical impact by guiding different drug treatments for stress reduction in men and women as well as by guiding drug development,” Albers noted.

Kicking the butt can cut daily drinking too

London–Quitting smoking comes with another bonus: less drinking. According to researchers, people who have recently begun an attempt to quit smoking are more likely to try to drink less alcohol than other smokers.

In England, people who attempted to stop smoking within the last week and reported lower levels of alcohol consumption, were less likely to binge drink, and were more likely to be classified as “light drinkers” (having a low alcohol risk) compared with those who did not attempt to stop smoking.

“These results go against the commonly held view that people who stop smoking tend to drink more to compensate. It’s possible that they are heeding advice to try to avoid alcohol because of its link to relapse,” said lead study author Jamie Brown from the University College London.

Previous research has shown that tobacco dependence and alcohol consumption are closely related. The study involved household surveys, where a total of 6,287 out of 31,878 people reported smoking between March 2014 and September 2015. Of these, 144 had begun an attempt to quit smoking in the week before the survey.

“It may be that smokers choose to restrict their alcohol consumption when attempting to quit smoking to reduce the chance of relapse,” the study noted. Alternatively, it could be that people who drink less are more likely to quit smoking. If this is the case, smokers with higher alcohol consumption may need further encouragement to quit smoking.

“We can’t yet determine the direction of causality. Further research is needed to disentangle whether attempts to quit smoking precede attempts to restrict alcohol consumption or vice versa,” Brown added in a paper published in the journal BMC Public Health.

“We’d also need to rule out other factors which make both more likely. Such as the diagnosis of a health problem causing attempts to cut down on both drinking and smoking,” he said.

Youngsters don’t consider sex as taboo topic: Ranveer Singh

Mumbai–Actor Ranveer Singh, who has earlier endorsed a condom brand, says sex as a topic is not considered taboo by the youth any more even though it is considered “dirty” and “a stigma” by the larger population in the country.

Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone (Photo: Bajirao Mastani)
Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone (Photo: Bajirao Mastani)

“Sex in our country is a subject of stigma. For the longest time, sex in India has always been spoken and thought of as a dirty thing, a sleazy subject and always kept in the closet,” Ranveer said at a screening of the online series based on sex education “Sex Chat with Pappu & Papa”.

The series has been brought out by Y-Films, a branch of Yash Raj Films.

Ranveer had made news when he endorsed a condom brand a few years ago and had also featured in some steamy ads.

“It was my own small way of shedding light on the changing perception about sex. Youngsters don’t look upon it as a taboo subject anymore, they don’t think about it as a dirty thing.

“I wanted to try and bring sex out of the closet and make people understand that it is a beautiful thing… An expression of love. What’s most important is for the Indian youth to understand as much as they can about safe sex and sex education.

“There are still so many institutions that don’t have it mandatory, which I think should be made mandatory,” the “Bajirao Mastani” actor added.

About his expectations from “Sex Chat with Pappu & Papa”, he said: “I hope it sends out a strong message to parents and to youngsters, adolescents and to anybody who watches to change their perspective on this subject of sex.

“Of course, we have our culture and we live in a society which is traditionally very conservative, but times are changing. With the advent of the internet, things have opened up.

“Kids today have access to all kinds of information. If somehow or the other, this film manages to reiterate the importance of proper sex education for youngsters, I think that would be fantastic,” he said.

Ranveer will next be seen on the big screen in Aditya Chopra’s “Befikre”.

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