A 2-Minute Exercise to Do Better in Interviews

By Anupum Pant

Is there a job interview or a public speaking gig coming up for you? Well, you don’t have to worry as much as you are doing right now because Amy Cuddy is here to save you.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, talks about a power pose – a 2-minute pose – you could strike before going into an interview which has been proven to have a significant difference in your performance at anything that requires confidence (like an interview).

She introduces this concept in the a very convincing TED talk that I’ve attached below. If you do not need much convincing, you could skip watching the talk and just do this before you go into an interview or go to the stage for something.

  • Find a quiet place where no one will see you and make fun of you.
  • Strike a superhero pose. If you don’t know what that means, stand like this. For 2 minutes. Done! Otherwise, here is a nice infographic based on Cuddy’s research. [Link]
  • If you don’t, at least do not stoop and close your shoulders while waiting in the lobby because it certainly affects you negatively.

Apparently, according to an experiment by Amy Cuddy and Dana Carney of Berkeley, 86% of those who posed in the high-power position (the superhero pose) opted to gamble, while only 60% of the low-power posers (closed poses) felt comfortable taking a roll of the dice.

Moreover, a significant difference was found in the saliva samples of both the high-power pose people and the low-power pose people. Who’d have thought that a simple 2 minute pose could make chemical differences in your body!

On an average, the high-pose people saliva showed an 8% increase in the testosterone level, while the ones who did the low-power pose had a 10% decrease of the same. That is phenomenal, if you ask me.

Also, the hormone related to stress, Cortisol decreased by 25% among high-power posers and increased 15% among low power posers. (A decrease in cortisol levels is better for activities like interviews)

Mind Controlling Fungus Turns Insects into Zombies

By Anupum Pant

If you have played the game Last of Us on PS3, you’d know that the game is set in a time 20 years after a fungal-based, brain-altering pandemic has taken over the world and infected nearly 60% of the world’s population. Sounds too fictional. Right? Well, of course the game is fictional, but the brain-altering fungus parasite is not very far from reality.

The real fungus, Cordyceps isn’t really fatal to Human beings. However, there’s always a chance. In a very absurd way they kill insects. In fact their life cycle is totally dependent on insects. And a there are more than 1000 different kinds of these fungi, each one of which specializes on one kind of insect. What these fungi do to insects is something very incredible.

The fungus infects insect brains and turns them into zombies! Something similar to what this wasp does to cockroaches. This is how it works…

When an insect comes in contact with the spores of this parasitic fungus, they start acting in a weird manner. That is because the fungus affects its brain and turns it into a zombie, an insect zombie which takes directions from a fungus. The infected brain tells the insect to climb up. At some point, high up on a tree or plant, the insect dies and the fungus hollows the body and starts growing a shoot out of the insect. It’s bizarre to watch! (see the video below)

The fungus programs the brain to make the insect move up because its life-cycle actually benefits from it. The higher the insect goes, the better its spores can spread and can have a better reach.

The fungus is like a nature’s way of saying to an insect species that your population has reached very high levels.

Hit like if you learnt something.

Sundays Are The Worst – Sunday Neurosis

By Anupum Pant

Are Mondays really that bad?

It’s fair to assume that readers read through my website when they find “free time”. And assuming it is their free time, I can also assume that they are usually happy during those times. So, is it safe to assume that Sundays are days when I can expect most people to read these articles? Is Sunday the best?

Logically, the most amount of free and happy time a working person could have, should be on Sundays. However, AweSci experiences the least amount of traffic on Sundays (and Saturdays).

People think that Mondays are sad because on Mondays they need to go and toil at the workplace after a nice long break. According to most surveys, Mondays and Tuesdays are the most “blue days” of the week. And still, traffic on this website gushes during these weekdays. So, how do people find enough free time to go through a website that publishes long texts filled with trivia, on tedious Mondays? Is Monday really the worst day of the week? Deriving happiness from visitor metrics, it certainly isn’t a bad day for me. What do you think?

Sunday Neurosis

Sundays are actually worse. In a huge survey that included 34,000  people, well-educated people reported that they had lower life satisfaction values on weekends. On the other hand, people who were less qualified reported that there wasn’t a much difference in their life satisfaction level when compared with a weekday.

There may be a hundred ways to explain why Sundays are bad for the well-educated masses, but I prefer to explain it with a term coined decades ago by an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl. The term was “Sunday Neurosis“. According to him:

Sunday Neurosis refers to a form of anxiety resulting from an awareness in some people of the emptiness of their lives once the working week is over.

According to him, Sundays are the days when educated people find enough time to introspect about how empty and meaningless their lives are. Such complex thought patterns aren’t commonly seen among the less educated masses.

As a result, on Sundays, these people tend to get involved in short-term compensatory behaviours like avoiding mentally taxing activities, bingeing on food and drink, overworking, and overspending etc. Which of course could land them into big trouble in the long-term – like depression.

You, the people who come here to read science are most definitely well qualified people. So, please don’t trouble yourself on Sundays. On Sundays well-educated working individuals should remind themselves that being anxious about things is going to take them nowhere. Worrying is for Mondays.

So the next time whoever tells you, Mondays are the worst, ask them to read this. And tell them, they think Mondays are the worst because they probably aren’t very well-educated.

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