When the tempo slowed, so did their pedaling and their entire affect. Their heart rates fell. Their mileage dropped. They reported that they didn’t like the music much. On the other hand, when the tempo of the songs was upped 10 percent, the men covered more miles in the same period of time, produced more power with each pedal stroke and increased their pedal cadences. Their heart rates rose. They reported enjoying the music — the same music — about 36 percent more than when it was slowed. But, paradoxically, they did not find the workout easier. Their sense of how hard they were working rose 2.4 percent. The up-tempo music didn’t mask the discomfort of the exercise. But it seemed to motivate them to push themselves. As the researchers wrote, when “the music was played faster, the participants chose to accept, and even prefer, a greater degree of effort.”
But there are limits to the benefits of music, and they probably kick in just when you could use the help the most. Unfortunately, science suggests that music’s impacts decline dramatically when you exercise at an intense level. A much-cited 2004 study of runners found that during hard runs at about 90 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake, a punishing pace, music was of no benefit, physiologically. The runners didn’t up their paces, no matter how fast the music’s tempo. Their heart rates stubbornly stayed the same, already quite high, whether they listened to music or not.” —Phys Ed: Playing Music During Exercise - NYTimes.com
Or can we simply design things that people use and want? Is it good enough to just have a 1.2 million person following like AA? Or must we have to put numbers on its effectiveness? Social solutions are notoriously difficult to measure. AA has been going strong for 75 years and it’s still an enigma, but it’s the kind of solution that will save us from the deadliest disease we know– unhealthy lifestyle.
Do we need more AA-like solutions? We’d say yes. We can chase our tails for 75 years looking for a +/- 5% difference or we can design engaging solutions that people believe in.” —What if health solutions are unmeasurable?
Unless you’re an uncommon tightwad, shopping produces a pleasurable sensation in the brain. Dopamine receptors light up, as the brain anticipates the reward of a shiny new object—and the more objects they have to contemplate, the longer our receptors are kept in an agitated state. When you’re watching QVC, the hosts provide social cues that enhance these sensations, inviting you to imagine all the ways that you might use the product—amping up the anticipated reward.
Meanwhile, they stress the status-enhancing aspects. Compulsive shoppers (most of whom seem to be women) tend to zero in on jewelry, makeup, clothes, and consumer electronics—in other words, status goods. The hosts play up how the products will improve your appearance or your parties, or, when given as gifts, endear you to your friends.
Disastrously for compulsive shoppers, QVC shopping strips away the negative cues, separating the pain of paying from the joy of buying. All transactions are handled electronically, which, studies show, makes them seem less real; that’s why so many people get themselves into trouble with credit cards.” —The Genius of QVC - Magazine - The Atlantic
…eventually did recruit the subjects he needed for the study, comparing pain and inflammation in runners who took ibuprofen during the race with those who didn’t, and the results were unequivocal. Ibuprofen failed to reduce muscle pain or soreness, and blood tests revealed that ibuprofen takers actually experienced greater levels of inflammation than those who eschewed the drug. “There is absolutely no reason for runners to be using ibuprofen,” Nieman says.
The following year, Nieman returned to the Western States race and presented his findings to runners. Afterward, he asked whether his study results would change their habits. The answer was a resounding no. “They really, really think it’s helping,” Nieman says. “Even in the face of data showing that it doesn’t help, they still use it.”” —Rational Arguments — Evidence Is Only Part of the Story | Miller-McCune Online
A brand new iPod Touch’s chrome back is lovely. It’s a cool, worn pebble in the hand. On the other hand, the scratches on an older iPod Touch have gotten so dense that the chrome looks like brushed metal, but it’s proven itself tough. There’s little one can do to actually affect that “worn” pebble.
Apple carefully crafts all aspects of its products to reflect its brand message, from materials to advertising. Each new model, released like clockwork every year, is marketed to incite technolust. Does the speed at which it literally loses its shine play into this strategy? If so, it works—plenty of people are upgrading their hardware even though the iPhone is probably the most software-upgradable consumer electronics device ever.” —John Kestner. Honest objects. | Social Networks for Lonely Objects: the novelization