This Is Your Brain on Prayer

A 1980s anti-drug use PSA featured a hot skillet and a raw egg. To demonstrate the effect that drugs had on your brain, the hot skillet was held out and the voiceover told us, “This is drugs.” As an egg was cracked into the skillet and immediately began to pop and sizzle, the voiceover continued: “This is your brain on drugs.”Those lines came to mind as I read a Huffington Post article about recent research studying what happens to the brain when we pray. The research found that prayer activa … [Read more...]

The Noose of Popular Opinion

It used to be that only large companies with generous funding could afford messaging via mass comm. But today, we have social media tools, opening access to the marketplace to anyone who cares to send a thought into the world. We can send our opinions through Web sites, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, and we can even gain a following of loyal readers who find our thoughts insightful or amusing.But those on the receiving end are no longer content to act as a sponge. They take in the messages, … [Read more...]

Money Can’t Buy Happiness but It Can Give You Depression

Every U.S. citizen knows that by law we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Although it isn’t stated in our Constitution, most Americans also add in the pursuit of the American Dream for good measure. We see the amassing and usage of wealth as a way to have the life, liberty, and happiness that is promised.Wealth, however, isn’t always content to give us our rights. We may pursue it, but it promises us nothing, and oftentimes, it takes more than we expected. At lea … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Staged Brand Experiences or Building Blocks for Belonging?

You remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—it prescribes the building blocks individuals need to achieve something dubbed self actualization. In order to work toward the pinnacle, our physiological, personal safety, love and belonging, and self esteem needs must be met, respectively. Then we arrive at some idealistic state of personhood, which no one has ever experienced but supposedly exists.Marketing specialists keep these psychological goals in mind to develop strategic messages that impact … [Read more...]

The Cure for Workplace Blues

Back when I was in college, I remember dreaming of what my first job would be after graduation. I didn’t know what I would do, exactly, but I assumed whatever job I found would be challenging and fulfilling. There I would be, working for some company’s marketing department, the creative communications pouring out faster than I can write them down.My first job was for a great company and I got to work with great people. I did get to develop some interesting, creative communications. But I was … [Read more...]

Research Shows that Complaining Turns Brains to Mush

You know that feeling of fight or flight that comes over you when you get caught in the middle of someone's gripe session? You want out, but you aren’t sure how to escape. You try to turn the conversation to something more positive, to no avail. You finally get away, but the negativity lingers, clouding your thoughts, preventing you from concentrating on work and making decisions.There’s a reason for that. An Inc. article by Minda Zetlin reports:Listening to too much complaining is bad fo … [Read more...]

Is It OK to Fake a Disability to Skip Airport Lines?

Rules are a part of living life in a civilized society. These rules keep our society in order, giving us a construct by which we can live life without a paralyzing amount of fear or distrust. For example, we trust that other drivers are obeying the traffic signals, making it possible for us to enter intersections with confidence when we have a green light.At some point, however, each of us has encountered a rule or two that we find less crucial to obey.One of those rules has been … [Read more...]

President Obama and Cultivating Habits of the Heart

A recent Vanity Fair interview with President Obama highlighted how his daily habits produce a routine for the ordinary aspects of his life, freeing him to focus on the important decisions he faces. Maria Popova connects the President’s strategy to psychologist and philosopher William James, in an article posted at The Atlantic: In fact, the same tenets Obama applies to the architecture of his daily life are those . . . William James wrote about in 1887, when he penned Habit (public library; p … [Read more...]

Be Creative and Live Longer

Exercise and diet are the quintessential factors contributing to good health and prolonged life. They may have some company, after a study found that creativity is another factor that does the body good.Fast Company’s Co.Exist channel reports that: In a study of 1,349 older male veterans, creativity—serving as an indication of openness, the willingness to try new things and accept new ideas—seems to have predicted a longer lifespan. The Journal of Aging and Health study, which followed the m … [Read more...]

Mixed Signals: Grey Poupon and Our Search for Validation

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.If 1981 was before your time, you may have missed the TV advertisement that solidified Grey Poupon mustard (owned by Kraft Foods) as the go-to condiment for discerning palates. ad was successful, placing the mustard in the upscale, premium category and appealing to people who wanted something a bit more f … [Read more...]