Will the bonniest Scot win?

Ahead of the Scottish vote on independence, Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling have been slugging it out on TV again.  In the coming weeks, their respective views on the North Sea oil, keeping the pound and nuclear submarines will be fought over in pubs, offices and newspaper columns. 

But research suggests that the looks of politicians are as important in winning voters as what they argue for.  Could Salmond’s paunch be as important as his policies?


How to change people’s behaviour without them realising

From each set of five words below, make a grammatically-correct four-word sentence. For example, from the list

good cat she very was

you could form the sentence

she was very good

If you are able to, time yourself on the task and see how quickly you can complete the exercise.

1. father sat TV likes my

2. apple the please rules respect

3. the was optimistic flat patient

4. flock sensitively granddad her told

5. tomorrow usually her they see

6. I ready discreetly was not

7. exercised bald dog Sally her

8. cautiously will golf play I

9. grass green the off keep

10. weight hair brown I have

11. here yield in it lives

12. optimistically this have finished I


Five Ways To Strengthen Your Willpower

Understanding self-control is perhaps the most important thing that a psychologist can do.  People with it are healthier, get better grades, commit fewer crimes, are luckier in love and have more successful careers.

We describe people with no willpower as weak willed or lacking mental strength.  They might talk of struggles, being worn down and running out of mental stamina.  In our language, we draw a parallel between self-control and physical exertion.  This metaphor is a surprisingly good one.