The Psych List: Do employees prefer the boardroom or living room? Plus more weekly links

A selection of recent behavioral science news, articles, and resources of note:

  • Boardroom or living room? In a recent study, the results seemed to be clear: employees working from home clocked more hours, were more productive per minute, and reported higher job satisfaction. But after the study’s conclusion, more than half of the workers chose to come back to the office. Why? (Harvard Business Review)
  • A new study by the World Well-Being Project found that the language used on Twitter can predict heart disease at the county level. Language related to anger, stress, and fatigue was linked to counties with high instances of heart disease, while language related to positive emotions, such as excitement and optimism, was linked to counties with lower rates of heart disease. The analysis included Tweets from over 1300 counties, where more than 88 percent of the US population resides. (Psychological Science)
  • As jury selection continues in the trial of alleged Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, researchers from Northwestern and Harvard Universities explore the implications of the answer to the question, “Is the defendant white or not?” (New York Times)
  • Knowing the number 4 is orange and the name “Mark” tastes like cabbage may not, as it turns out, be an experience exclusive to the somewhat rare synesthete. As Shruti Ravindran writes in Aeon, some neuroscientists are beginning to believe we all could be on a synesthesia spectrum. Just look at your infancy. (Aeon)
  • In 1980, virtuoso jazz musician Pat Martino, underwent life-saving brain surgery to remove a blood clot and mass of malformed veins. Seventy percent of his left temporal lobe was removed, something doctors predict would lead to near total memory loss. At first, unable to remember family and friends, Martino eventually picked up a guitar found his way back to excellence. (Nautilus)
  • For years researchers have touted the benefits of bilingualism for children. While we’re learning those benefits may be overstated, as Maria Konnikova writes in The New Yorker, scientists are now finding out how important knowing more than one language can be for adult brains. (The New Yorker)
  • A blind woman learns to echolocate, which leads to a little trouble while hiking with famous echolocator Daniel Kish, as well as a new understanding about what it means to be a guide. (NPR Morning Edition and Invisibilia)

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