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“Yawning, Telling Jokes to Babies, Politics and Looks” is episode 171 of the Psych Files. Michael Britt is the host of the show, which starts with an accompaniment of music from Syne Partington. In the show Michael discussed elements such as: a red dress effect, an impact of facial characteristics of political leaders, yawning, psychology of money and how jokes influence babies. 

Talking about a red dress effect, men rate women who wear red clothing as more interested in sex and they also associate red with fertility. In a certain experiment, men are asked to rate the same women wearing different colors of clothes and answer the questions such as, “Is she interested in sex?” The woman in red was rated higher when than others.  Adam, a professor of psychology explained this by pointing to the fact that when primate females (chimpanzees and some types of baboons) become interested in sex, their estrogen levels pick opens blood vessels and turns their faces bright red. Such a bright complexion gives males a signal that it is time to make their move. It is quite interesting that whenever we think about colors, red comes out as one of the most exciting ones.

As for presidential elections, the taller candidate is regarded more ‘presidential’. One research showed that it should not be surprising that the elections are often won by taller politicians. A certain quote about looks states that ‘it’s not attractiveness alone that counts but a cluster of traits people believe we can look into faces’. Even the philologists of the 19th century believed that they could read a politician’s character from his eyebrows and his jaw line. The scientists reasoned that voters who do not know much about a candidate use his appearance to define other good qualities. Thus, this argument is very realistic as in many cases the most handsome and attractive candidates are the ones that win presidential elections. It is a so-called ‘hero effect’.

As for contagious yawning, Michael argued that a person is more likely to yawn when the other person yawning is a family member or a friend. We are less likely to yawn near a stranger. A research undertaken by Eliza Beta Paligi of Pizza University in Italy suggests that yawning occurs in part as a form of social empathy. Actually, it is quite realistic as we are more empathetic towards people we know well as well as we are more likely to be upset when a person we know and love is upset.

The Time magazine observed that people are more sensitive to tactile information when they are grumpier and more pathetic towards visual information when they are in a good mood. The same study has found out that people are more receptive to physical comfort when they are in a hostile environment. That is why people are likely to pay more for goods such as televisions, sports cars, and goldfish when they are in a good mood. Being in a bad mood, people are more likely to buy a very expensive curtain or some casual ware that is more pleasant to the touch. Thus, people are more receptive to certain stimuli when they are in different moods.

According to the developmental psychology, babies know a joke when they hear it.  The British Psychological Society in the journal of developmental Psychology released findings of a study that stated that mums and dads use a certain tone of voice when being humorous. When babies hear this tone of voice accompanied by laughter, they understand that they are hearing a joke. Being funny, parents speak in a higher tone, louder and slower. The pitch of their voice rises in the end of the sentence like they are asking a question. Thus, it is easier for the children to apprehend the joke. Parents sometimes do not want children to believe the joke, so when they are joking, the tone of their voice makes the story sound uncertain. Such trick also helps to communicate with a child as there is something weird about the idea presented

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