Challenging. If that’s a defining word for your job, then you should look forward to mental benefits after you retire.
“Based on data spanning 18 years, our study suggests that certain kinds of challenging jobs have the potential to enhance and protect workers’ mental functioning in later life,” said Gwenith Fisher, a faculty associate at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) and assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University.
The study Fisher is referring to involved 4,182 participants, ages 51 to 61, who were interviewed eight times between 1992 and 2010. They had been doing the same job for more than 25 years, and their duties included analyzing data, solving problems, evaluating information, making decisions, and developing strategies. The researchers discovered that those who worked in mentally challenging jobs had better memories before they retired and slower memory declines after they retired, compared to those whose jobs were less mentally demanding.
“These results suggest that working in an occupation that requires a variety of mental processes may be beneficial to employees,” said Jessica Faul, an ISR assistant research scientist. “It’s likely that being exposed to new experiences or more mentally complex job duties may benefit not only newer workers but more seasoned employees as well. Employers should strive to increase mental engagement at work and, if possible, outside of work as well, by emphasizing life-long learning activities.”
The researchers did control for formal education and income; however, they admit that people with higher levels of mental functioning chose jobs with more mental challenges.
“What people do outside of work could also be a factor,” Fisher said. “Some people may be very active in hobbies and other activities that are mentally stimulating and demanding, while others are not.”
How mentally challenging is your job? Or do you engage in non-work hobbies that challenge your brain, and if so, which ones? Please contribute to the conversation in the comments section.
There was a lot of news this past week. Here are some stories that caught our eyes.
Red Sox Nation Goes Global
“A sports conglomerate that’s integrated vertically, horizontally–and globally–Fenway Sports Management handles all sponsorships for its three teams, as well as players and squads it doesn’t own…”
Want to Be More Creative? Think on Your Feet
“Companies like Life Is Good use improv exercises to boost collaboration and creativity.”
Bluetooth Beacons Coming to Trade Shows
“To interact with the beacons, event goers will need to have a recent Android phone that supports BLE or an iPhone 4S or later.”
How to Never Forget Anything Ever Again
“Short-term memory and long-term memory are actually two ends of a spectrum. Everything that ends up in long-term memory has to start off in your short-term memory.”
Roma Unveil Plans for New 52,500-capacity Stadium
“Roma said the new stadium would be a central part of the strategy for the club’s future and its ‘re-emergence as a force in international football.'”
IAVM’s get-a-member campaign, iCommit, ends March 31, in just four days! Do you know any potential superstars that will benefit by being connected to our tremendous network? If so, here is the next step:
Call or email your friends, colleagues, product and service providers—anyone that is involved in our industry—and encourage them to join.
Your one membership referral gets us closer to our goal AND more members means more collaboration, a bigger and more diverse network for you, and a greater pool of experts to create inspiring and motivating educational sessions at conferences.
For your efforts, you will be entered in a raffle to win one of five $500 Apple gift cards (generously provided by Ungerboeck Software) to apply toward the purchase of any Apple product including an iPad, iPhone, or iPod—your choice.* The more members you refer, the more chances you have to win.
To ensure you are eligible to win, make sure the new member who joins lists your name in the Applicant Section titled “Who Recommended IAVM To You?” and enters “iCOMMIT” in the Promotional Code field in the Payment Method section of the membership application. Your referral will save the one-time initiation fee up to $150.00. If you have questions, please call Member Services at 972.906.7441 or email@example.com. We value and appreciate your support of IAVM!
*iPAD, iPhone, iPod not included
(Image: Orange Photography)
A new study found that after more than one billion anonymized Facebook status updates from more than 100 million U.S. users were analyzed that positive posts produced more positive posts and negative posts generated more negative posts. The positive posts, though, were more influential and contagious.
“Our study suggests that people are not just choosing other people like themselves to associate with but actually causing their friends’ emotional expressions to change,” said lead author James Fowler, professor of political science in the Division of Social Sciences and of medical genetics in the School of Medicine at University of California, San Diego. “We have enough power in this data set to show that emotional expressions spread online and also that positive expressions spread more than negative.”
The researchers ran an experiment involving rain to determine cause and effect. They found that posts by people being rained on affected posts by those in drier parts of the country. Even more, they found that positive posts created more positive posts among friends.
“It is possible that emotional contagion online is even stronger than we were able to measure,” Fowler said. “For our analysis, to get away from measuring the effect of the rain itself, we had to exclude the effects of posts on friends who live in the same cities. But we have a pretty good sense from other studies that people who live near each other have stronger relationships and influence each other even more. If we could measure those relationships, we would probably find even more contagion.”
The findings are significant for the public well-being, too, the researchers said.
“If an emotional change in one person spreads and causes a change in many, then we may be dramatically underestimating the effectiveness of efforts to improve mental and physical health,” Fowler said. “We should be doing everything we can to measure the effects of social networks and to learn how to magnify them so that we can create an epidemic of well-being.”
This latest study is another confirmation that being positive is a major key to creating viral content (the other key is emotion). Consider an experiment conducted by two University of Pennsylvania professors, Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman.
“After controlling for online and print placement, timing, author popularity, author gender, length, and complexity, Berger and Milkman found that two features predictably determined an article’s success: how positive its message was and how much it excited its reader,” Maria Konnikova wrote in The New Yorker. “Articles that evoked some emotion did better than those that evoked none. But happy emotions outperformed sad ones.”
Even after re-framing a single story to be either positive or negative, Berger and Milkman found that the positive one was way more popular.
How often do you find yourself sharing positive stories compared to negative ones? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
The big Blue Bear has something new to look at in the Colorado Convention Center. In a public-private partnership between the City & County of Denver and SMG (the center’s management firm), $235,000 worth of new art has been installed in its halls.
Local artists created all the pieces, selected by art consulting firm NINE dot ARTS.
“Half of the artists in the new slate are under 35, which is impressive considering most public artists are over 40,” said Martha Weidmann, CEO and co-founder of NINE dot ARTS. “For many of the artists, this was the largest scale permanent installation they have ever worked at, including veteran artist Roland Bernier, who installed the largest piece of his nearly 60-year career. The art committee showed an amazing vision and faith in Denver’s emerging talent to knockout results.”
Most convention centers are also learning centers where people come to be engaged and broaden their knowledge, said Kent Rice, executive director of Arts & Venues for the City of Denver, so it’s appropriate that art be an important part of the building’s environment.
“Convention centers today must provide practical, green, efficient and easy to use space, but art and atmosphere are just as important to create surroundings that are conducive to learning and to conducting business,” said John Adams, an IAVM member and general manager of the Colorado Convention Center.
You can view all the pieces here.
(Image: NINE dot ARTS)