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Andy Stepanian, Leon III, & “Fly Migrator”: The Song That Took Me Down A Rabbit Hole [Interview/Stream]

first_imgYou may not have heard of Andy Stepanian, or his brainchild Leon III. To be fair, I hadn’t either until about three weeks ago when his publicist sent an email to my editor with a yet-to-be released, nearly ten-minute track called “Fly Migrator”. Now, we here at Live For Live Music receive a vast amount of emails everyday with tracks to check out and albums to listen to. It would be impossible to listen to every one, and it’s all the more unlikely that you’ll take the time when you’ve never heard of the act being pitched.Due to a well-placed tip (thanks, Emily), our team decided to dive into this new track from this band we’d never heard, and our excitement effectively derailed an entire morning’s worth of productivity. What is Leon III? Who are these people? How have I never heard of them? Why can’t I stop listening to this song?After a few back-and-forth emails, some digging through known information, and prowling around on Soundcloud, my interest was fully piqued. Here was an act that wasn’t on any of the message boards, didn’t have Facebook fan groups, wasn’t mentioned in the jam Twitterverse—don’t worry, this will eventually turn into a compliment. With little out there on Stepanian and Leon III, I decided that I wanted to get in on the ground floor of what I think could be one of the next names in improvisational music. If you’re this far already, then you’re also probably willing to take a chance and get to know Leon III. While you read, take that first step down the rabbit hole just like I did: hit “play” on “Fly Migrator”.Leon III – “Fly Migrator” Live For Live Music: For me specifically, [“Fly Migrator”] really had it all. So, can you tell me a bit about how that track came about, and how it fits into your sound as a whole?Andy Stepanian: I’ve got a pretty long and crooked path in music, and I’m sort of moving in a particular direction at the moment—or back when this song was written, and even more now, probably—and it’s trying to expand the boundaries of songs and get beyond your three-to-five minute song. Really work some space into them, and be a little bit more free in the way that we approach things. So “Fly Migrator” was really a song that, as far as songs, didn’t have a tremendous amount of words. It had lyrical content, but not necessarily volume. But the song itself seemed to be best delivered in this sort of epic format. Even from the demo stage. When I demoed it, I think the demo that I did—which I sort of create them on my own—was seven minutes or something.So we kind of identified it with the guys that played on the album. We knew that we were going to get pretty jammy on it, and that’s exactly how it went down. So it kind of almost is a song in three stages. I feel like there’s a beginning, and then there’s the lyrical middle, and then there’s an ending section that has a beat that comes in, a looped drum beat.Yeah, it was a fun one to make. I think the take that is on the album is one that was done while we were still kind of learning the song. I think everybody was playing a little bit more adventurous than they would be if you were saying, “Okay, this is the take,” or “Let’s go for one.” So that probably gave it the spirit that it wanted.Live For Live Music: In terms of that style of the no words—these long songs, this adventurous style—is that an approach that’s new to you?Andy Stepanian:  No. I mean, I write long songs that tend to have big moments in them, but letting myself put a ten-minute song on an album is probably new to me, sure.I think the longest one prior to that was six or so minutes, but as a listener, I’ve been drawn to that kind of music for a long time, and I listen to a lot of that type of music, and then I’ve sort of gotten more and more into that style of music over time, and migrated away from some of the more formulaic things that I used to be drawn to, I guess… to be very unclear.Live For Live Music: Speaking of the unclear, speaking of those older, more formulaic things, what made you and Mason Brent decide to put Wrinkle Neck Mules, a band that enjoyed a fair amount of commercial success with that more traditional formula, up on a shelf and start anew with Leon III?Andy Stepanian: Some of it is musical. So Wrinkle Neck Mules has a certain audience, and has a certain thing. I find that Wrinkle Neck Mules is a band, and it has five people in it, and there’s the same five people that have been in it for 15 years. That band sort of always takes a certain angle on the music. There’s a perimeter to it, but it was really an opportunity to go explore. Leon III was an opportunity to say, “Let’s crack out of the formula, and let’s go try to use some different paint colors on the canvas, and let’s take an opportunity to not be necessarily locked into a specific band, on any given recording project or any given tour.”So, we can explore different sonic things, and if they work, we can take what works and apply it to the future. But, we don’t have to be married to anything necessarily. So that’s how it started. “Hey, let’s go do this thing,” and pushed it into a different area that Wrinkle Neck Mules has ever explored, and see where the songs can go, without sort of the confines of fan expectations, and the band, and those kind of things.Live For Live Music: How has that change in dynamic affected you, as a musician, so far?Andy Stepanian: I think a lot of confidence. So, when you play with the band for a long time, you kind of have your role and you know where you stand, and it becomes comfortable, I guess I’d say. So you’re comfortable in what the band does, and the style and how it works and all that. But sometimes, that comfort isn’t necessarily the best thing, in terms of growth. So going out and putting a lot on my own shoulders and on my own song’s shoulders, and then getting into the studio with some people that are true virtuoso types on their instruments, and kind of learning from them. … It’s been a growth thing, and then you start to see, “Oh, well that works,” and these songs are working and things are going well, so let’s do more. Let’s go one more step. Let’s take this one more step. So it kind of builds on itself. It takes time. I’m a slow learner.Live For Live Music: Has it been daunting, kind of scary, to do that and put more on your shoulders, whereas with that band it was a set lineup and everybody kind of had this distribution, and now, it’s kind of more on you. Is that kind of scary at times?Andy Stepanian: It was at first, but I’m feeling it. I feel like I’ve kind of broken through the scary part, and am starting to really be happy with what we’re turning out, in terms of songs, and super proud of the product that we’ve created, in terms of what these songs are. So that more and more starts feeding on itself, and you start saying, “Okay, well that worked. Let’s keep going. Let’s keep pushing.” So in that regard, I’m pretty happy.Live For Live Music: So then, let’s talk about the new album, Antlers In Velvet, out in 2021. There are some new singles coming out next month. How does this new record expand on the first album from Leon III?Andy Stepanian: So it’s a lot of what we just talked about. So the first album… [2018’s] Leon III, is this out-of-thin-air kind of thing that we made when we decided to do it. We have the songs. We’d done some demoing, but there was no real sound for Leon III. It was hard to know exactly what to expect, and we went in with Mark Nevers, who is a guy some people know just from his work with Body Prints or Silver Jews or Vic Chestnutt or whatever. And I didn’t really know. I was a little nervous. I was unsure of directionally where it was going to end up, and so I felt like I loved a lot of the songs—and still do—on the first album, but I felt hesitant personally about how it was going to go.I think even the working relationship with Mason [Brent] and working relationship with Nevers, everyone would feel each other out and get to know each other. So I almost immediately knew I wanted to do another album with Mark, because I felt like, “Okay, now we’ve got this real comfort level,” and I think that will result in pushing the boundaries a little farther.For this one, we decided to do kind of a lock-in type thing, where we all went to California and we lived and worked in the studio for a week, and we brought in some guys that are excellent musicians and their friends, or friends of friends, that they’re pros, and that sort of unlocked a little bit deeper and richer feel to the songs, in terms of let’s put one more different angle on these things.So, yeah. I just feel like it’s a little bit deeper step. Definitely a lot of underlying psychedelia in the songs. There was in the first album too, but this is, again, another step forward.Live For Live Music: You talked about bringing in all these immensely talented people. How did that A-team come together for the recording of the new album?Andy Stepanian: Yeah, it was just Mark Nevers and myself working on it, and figuring out who might come. I mean, there was this guy Kai Welch, who is the kind of good friend who worked on the first album. He’s a touring member of Kacey Musgraves‘ band, but also kind of a wiz on a lot of different instruments. We kind of knew right away that we would bring Kai, and then Mark came to bring William Tyler, who is a very talented guitar player who Mark has worked with for a long time, from Lamb Chop and Silver Jews, and Williams’ solo stuff. I was a little hesitant about that, because Mason is really the guitar player, but we kind of decided that that’s part of what we’re trying to do here. Let’s just break out of our norms, and see what Williams can do, and William plays in a really unique style. It’s almost not guitar. Sometimes, it sounds like padded keyboards, or a little atmospheric and new age, which is cool.Then there’s this drummer who, also, a lot of people know from his days with a band called Centro-Matic, but who’s a pretty recognized engineer and producer on his own right. This guy Matt Pence, who has a real unique drumming style, and who I’ve always loved. I knew Matt not a ton, but knew him a little bit from around the Texas music scene. Anyway, we got Matt Scott. That was the core, just us brainstorming anything. He might be unique. He might fit together well, but also bring different elements to the table.Live For Live Music: You talked about it earlier, how part of the fun was not having the set lineup, but it seems like you got a good group of guys together. If you guys do make another album, are you going to stick with these people, or are you going to build it up from scratch again?Andy Stepanian: I don’t know. We’re talking about that right now, and then got a bunch of songs now. This one was recorded way back in the spring of last year, and so I don’t know. It may be some of both. It might be a hybrid. I have no idea. It’ll probably be determined by who we work with. I’m likely to say we’re going to work with a producer again, and that might drive some of the decision-making.Live For Live Music: I also realize this is probably a distant reality right now, but in terms of taking Leon III on the road—a lot of these guys already have other touring obligations. What would that look like, if you wanted to take this act on the road?Andy Stepanian: Yeah, so it depends. We did a bunch of touring right up until January of this year, and the live lineup changes also. Sometimes it’s just because guys are busy, but we have a pretty good crew that are national guys, that are friends of ours, that jump in and play various roles. I have a good buddy from Houston who’s a bass player, who I think he’s played all of our shows with us, but it kind of depends on who answers the phone, and who wants to go at any given time.Matt Pence, the drummer who is on the recording, has played with us some, but he is the full-time drummer for a guy named Paul Coffin, who’s kind of an up-and-comer in the Americana world.I’m rambling, but it totally depends. So sometimes, we’ll bring a female who sings and plays piano. Sometimes, we’ll bring a pedal steel player. There was always the same core instruments, but often, we’ll have a fifth or sixth instrument that is different, or it’s a different person. Synth player or something like that.Live For Live Music: It seems like that just contributes to the whole idea of this being a shifting thing that’s very open ended.Andy Stepanian: Yeah, it does. I mean, there’s downsides to it too at times, just because you’re not always super familiar, and you’re always cramming in rehearsals, and we joke that by the end of each little tour, the band is awesome. And then, everybody disbands and goes back to their own music or doing their own. So there’s ups and downs to it. You get different angles on the music, but you’re always learning. You got to stay on your toes.Live For Live Music: And then just one more question about the personnel. How did dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry get involved in this project?Andy Stepanian: Through just pure effort. On our last album, we had Scientist—who’s also a dub legend—do a remix for a song, and I’m always kind of dreamy on stuff like that. So, I just reached out to Lee Perry, really just his email address [laughs], and I didn’t hear anything and I was bummed out, but it didn’t surprise me.And then all of a sudden, I got a WhatsApp thing from his wife, and ended up starting a dialogue with her, and they were super open to it, and I was like, “Look, it’s not a reggae song, but I think that he could do some cool things with it,” and so he jumped in and did it. They rented a little studio, I think, in Jamaica, but I think a lot of times he was living in Switzerland. In one of the two places, I never could tell, but he just jumped in and did it. He’s in his eighties now, so I think he had an engineer help him with it, but it was kind of a dream come true.Live For Live Music: And then switch gears a little bit. How does the Howler Brothers brand fit into your creative output?Andy Stepanian: It’s just another thing. It’s something that I started with one of my Wrinkle Neck Mules bandmates, and at the time, it was kind of a means to an end. We were session musicians and scared, and so he’s a very talented graphic artist, and he was trying to pursue this thing, and I’m a sucker for a bad idea. So, I decided to jump on and help him, and it’s grown and grown over the years. So I’m able to do a lot of creative things. I write a lot of words for Howler, but then I also create a lot of video and content type things that are often funny or bizarre.So it’s a way to sort of toggle in and out of music, and not have it be everything I’m thinking about every single day, but also have another creative realm that I can play in, and also make a living, which has been a blessing during the last six months in particular.Keep a look out for new singles from Leon III over the next few months as we draw closer to the release of Antlers In Velvet in February 2021. Visit the group’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date.last_img read more

Tyr makes a big splash as Set Up Events’ series wide…

first_img Related Set Up Events, a leading producer of triathlons, running and endurance events across the US, has announced today that it has partnered with TYR – with the swim and tri brand on board as the Official Swimwear and Swim Accessory Sponsor for all of Set Up Events’ triathlon series.The TYR sponsorship, which runs through to 2013, includes category exclusive rights as the Official Swimwear and Swim Accessory Sponsor for each series. These includes the Inside-Out Sports North Carolina Triathlon Series, Go-Tri Sports South Carolina Triathlon Series, TrySports Series, Virginia Triathlon Series, Maryland Triathlon Series and the newest Georgia Triathlon Series.“TYR is proud to partner with Set Up Events, one of the nation’s largest triathlon production companies,” said Ryan Dolan, Vice President of Sales for TYR. “With a growing number of races and competitors, the Set Up Events series is an opportunity for TYR to reach triathletes at the grassroots level.”“It has been a successful partnership in previous years of working with TYR, and we are excited to take this to the next level,” added Bill Scott, CEO of Set Up Events. “TYR is a recognized leader in swimwear and swim accessories, and it’s great to have such an innovative, performance-focused company aligned with Set Up Events and our triathletes.”The sponsorship was secured by John Jones of fortyninegroup, the official strategic marketing agency of Set Up Events.Set Up Events, one of the US nation’s largest producers of triathlons, is a full-service production, registration and timing company for participatory sports, triathlon and running events. In 2012 Set Up Events will produce over 140 triathlons in 8 states totaling over 64,000 registrations.TYR engineers technical apparel and equipment for swimmers and triathletes. Named for ‘TYR’, the Norse god of warriors, the company was started by athletes and is populated by athletes. The cultures and communities of competitive swimming and triathlon pervade TYR’s offices, with company ‘dedicated to re-imagining technologies that help athletes attain peak performance.’www.SetUpEvents.com www.tyr.com www.fortyninegroup.comlast_img read more

British Triathlon powered by peanuts as Whole Earth confirms new sponsorship

first_img Related Whole Earth Foods has been announced as an Official Supplier to British Triathlon. The organic and natural peanut butter brand is seen as a natural fit for the national governing body for multisport in Britain as… ‘the high fibre [and] protein content are perfect for fuelling performance especially in endurance sports like triathlon.’The three-year deal will see Whole Earth support British triathletes ‘in their quest to be fuelled to achieve their personal triathlon challenge.’ Whole Earth will share insider tips on fuelling and nutrition, helping to inspire both experienced triathletes and newcomers to the world of triathlon.Triathletes have used peanut butter within their training regime for a number of years and it is regarded by some as a secret weapon pre-race and whilst competing. The quick, accessible snack has also been shown to aid the recovery process when consumed as part of a healthy diet and in combination with other sports nutrition products.Whole Earth notes that its peanut butter contains a significant level of protein, and in turn provides much needed amino acids to muscle.The relationship with national governing body British Triathlon comes at a key time for triathlon in Great Britain, where the sport continues to grow in both popularity and participation. With over 500 clubs and over 900 registered events around the country, there is a growing pool of talent and a wider opportunity to make a difference, helping improve athletes’ PBs and encouraging others to get involved.To mark the launch of the relationship with British Triathlon, Whole Earth is releasing a range of materials to help triathletes – from beginners to veterans – improve their PBs. The information will aim to motivate, educate and improve triathlon performance and general fitness across Britain.Going forwards, Whole Earth and British Triathlon will be releasing short films covering: what to eat, advice on how to tackle your first triathlon and some insider tips from Britain’s leading world-class triathletes.Zara Hyde Peters OBE, British Triathlon’s outgoing CEO, said “We’re hugely excited to be adding a household name like Whole Earth to our current sponsor family. With the sport of triathlon growing so rapidly, we believe that Whole Earth share our aim to support triathletes at all levels deliver their best performances, whilst adding real value in growing the sport’s profile and promoting excellence within the triathlon community.”Gill Hesketh, Marketing Director at Whole Earth Foods said “We believe that there is a link between eating good, natural foods and sporting success. To be involved with triathlon, where participation is growing and standards are improving, we see it as our role, using our product to make a difference. Through our product, our advice and our passion for the sport, we can help beat PBs and help continue the increasing success of the sport.”Whole Earth Foods was founded in 1967 by Craig Sams and his brother Gregory to bring natural foods to consumers as they believed such products are ‘better for body and planet’. The brothers created Whole Earth, pioneering the production of organic and natural foods. These products ‘were made available to a wider market for those who wanted to eat healthy, tasty food and also cared about the planet.’www.wholeearthfoods.comwww.britishtriathlon.orglast_img read more

Atlanta Track Club acquires Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon from…

first_imgThe Atlanta Track Club has announced its acquisition of the Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon from Life Time, ‘The Healthy Way of Life Company’. Ownership of the event transitioned to Atlanta Track Club in a deal that was finalized in early December ahead of the event’s 10th anniversary, scheduled for Sunday 20 March 2016.Included in the deal, Life Time’s Athlinks, billed as ‘the world’s largest database connecting athletes and events’, will stay on as a sponsor of the event for the next five years.“The Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon has become a tradition for runners and walkers in the Southeast, and we are proud to continue that tradition as we celebrate its 10th year,” said Rich Kenah, Atlanta Track Club’s Executive Director.“We will work with Publix to build on the event’s strong heritage and continue the world-class experience participants have come to expect from Atlanta Track Club.”Kimo Seymour, Senior Vice President of Life Time Events, was noted to be pleased to transition the marathon to such an esteemed organization. He said “We’re excited for the continued growth and success of the Publix Georgia Marathon and look forward to supporting the race through our Athlinks portfolio of services, including registration, timing and results hosting.”While the marathon and half marathon distances will take place as planned, Atlanta Track Club has cancelled the Luckie 5K. All registrants of the 2016 Luckie 5K will be offered a full refund or an alternative race registration.Atlanta Track Club is currently evaluating the marathon and half marathon courses, and will announce any changes in the coming weeks.The Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon began in 2007 with more than 17,000 registered participants, making it one of the largest inaugural marathon combo races in history. The event has since become a ‘True Southern Tradition’, appealing to beginner, committed and local elite runners alike.Atlanta Track Club is a non-profit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the local community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.With more than 24,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race (peachtreeroadrace.org) ‘the largest 10K running event in the world’, the Atlanta 10 Miler and Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year.Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honouring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program.www.atlantatrackclub.orgwww.georgiamarathon.com Relatedlast_img read more

Elite triathlete inspires beginners to ‘Tri Something New’ in Leeds

first_img Related With five months to go until Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds prepares to take over the Yorkshire city on 10-11 June, elite triathlete Jessica Learmonth was on hand to help beginners take their first step in the sport.Triathlon novices turned up to Bramley Baths in Leeds this week (Wednesday 11 January) for a unique chance to learn from one of the best swimmers in the sport. The session marked the launch of the 2017 Tri Something New series, designed to offer complete beginners a helping hand as they start the journey to completing a triathlon.Sessions are taking place across Leeds, and include beginner swimming, social bike rides and jogging groups, with the aim of inspiring Leeds locals to take on the beginner GO TRI event in June.Owen Scurrah-Smyth, Tri Something New session participant said “The Tri Something New sessions have been really good so far. This is my second week and it’s been great to learn the basics and start to improve my technique. There’s no pressure to have any prior experience – the sessions really are for everyone.“I’m looking to take part in my first triathlon this summer and this will help prepare me. Plus, it’s great to be able to fit in training in my lunch hour!”Elite triathlete Jessica Learmonth said “Taking on a triathlon can appear daunting at first, but GO TRI sessions like these really help to put people’s minds at ease and offer a great chance to meet others in the same boat.“Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds was a definite highlight of 2016 for me; and with races for all abilities to take part in, there really is something for anyone who wants to get involved this year.”The British athlete finished tenth in the 2016 event, leading the way with teammate Lucy Hall for over two-thirds of the elite women’s race, which eventually saw Olympic Champion Gwen Jorgenson take the title.In 2017, the event is preparing to host 5,000 triathletes across the two days of triathlon action, witnessing everyone from nervous first-timers to the triathlon stars of Rio 2016 take on the challenge in the heart of the city.The GO TRI event takes place on Saturday 10 June, in and around the picturesque grounds of Roundhay Park, allowing an opportunity for newcomers to get a taste of the excitement.Rupert Pybus, Global Head of Brand and Marketing at Columbia Threadneedle, said “Having supported the ITU World Triathlon Series since 2013, we are proud to be showing our support again to an event that caters for all participants, regardless of their ability or triathlon experience.“With just five months to go, we can begin to really look forward to seeing triathlon take over the city of Leeds for another show-stopping weekend.”Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said “We are proud to be offering a chance for beginners to get involved with triathlon across Leeds, in preparation for Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds this June.“The GO TRI event witnessed many individuals conquer their own personal triathlon goals in 2016, [with] more people across the city being active and getting involved in the sport. With the Tri Something New sessions taking place over the coming months, we hope many more will be inspired to have a go themselves this summer.”The 2017 Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds will be organised exclusively by British Triathlon, in partnership with Leeds City Council, UK Sport and the ITU.active.leeds.gov.uk/triathlonleeds.triathlon.orglast_img read more

Daniel Levitin: “The Organized Mind”

first_imgThe Diane Rehm Show: Texts, emails, cellphone messages, tweets, news alerts, apps and fit bits. We are expected to process much more information than ever before. It is no surprise that the average American reports feeling worn out by the effort to keep up with everything. In a new book, the best-selling neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says new research on memory and attention can help us learn how to navigate this tremendous amount of data each day. He argues that with a little effort, we can regain a sense of mastery in how we organize our lives in the age of information overload.Read the whole story: The Diane Rehm Show More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Psychological research shows how to make your New Year’s resolutions work

first_imgPinterest Share on Twitter LinkedIn Share The fresh start effectA series of recent studies supports the idea that the start of a new calendar year spurs initiation of activities related to self-improvement. They show Google searches for the term “diet”, gym attendance, and use of goal-support websites are highest in January and decline month by month over time.Researchers doing the studies call it the “fresh start effect” – the idea that particular days and dates serve as temporal landmarks, much like physical landmarks serve as demarcations of important places. In the case of temporal landmarks, the demarcation is between a past self, who has perhaps failed to meet goals, and the present self, who has goal pursuit at their fingertips.An additional set of studies, published recently in the journal Psychological Science by the same team, looked into this effect in more detail. In one experiment, participants asked to think about New Year’s Day as a meaningful day visited more websites related to goal-support (and spent more time browsing them) than those who were asked to think about it as an ordinary day.Directly speaking to the idea that a temporal landmark mentally separates people from their past selves, another experiment in the series established that framing a character in a short story as experiencing a new beginning led participants to perceive that character as different from who they’d been in the past.Importantly, that past/present differentiation statistically explained the effect of the new beginning on how much participants believed the character would pursue a previously unmet goal. In other words, the reason why goal pursuit flows from a new beginning is because of a perceived separation from past selves.Another reason why temporal landmarks may work to promote goal pursuit is that they spur a search for meaning in life. Research from 2014 shows people whose ages end in the digit 9 (29, for instance or 39, and so on) report more desire for having a sense of meaning in life.It’s not far-fetched to imagine that the end of the year (rather than a decade) might spur similar soul-searching. And that, in turn, can engender goals for self-improvement.Effective New Year’s resolutionsThere are several ways to set yourself up for success with your New Year’s resolution. Here are a few relatively easy, research-supported methods.Let the calendar be your guide: the “fresh start” research discussed above shows a similar goal-boosting effect for the start of the month (with activity peaking at the 1st of the month and declining towards the 30th or 31st). It even works for the start of the week (with activity peaking on Monday and declining through to Sunday). And there’s also a boost around birthdays and national holidays.Clearly, the calendar itself can help in re-committing to goals. From this view, “a case of the Mondays” could be the impetus to revisit the gym, shut off email in the evening, or trade spaghetti bolognese for salad.Don’t go it alone: setting a goal with friends can be the setup for success. One research study found signing up for a weight-loss program with friends and having that social support reinforced over time resulted in an increase from 75% to 95% in course completion. It even resulted in an increase from 24% to 66% in weight-loss maintenance, compared to signing up alone and receiving treatment not focused on social support.As you ring in the New Year, look around for those with whom you can set collective resolutions.Set a range: Many people are tempted (or even told) to set a specific goal. But research suggests that setting a range for a goal (planning to lose five to ten kilograms) rather than a specific target (aiming to lose eight kilos) will likely be more effective.In research where participants were given a bag of M&Ms and asked to eat as few as possible across 25 minutes, the average consumed five. But participants who set a range goal of how many M&Ms to eat (on average, between three and eight) rather than a specific number (on average, five) reported that their goal seemed simultaneously more challenging and more attainable.They also felt more accomplishment at the end of the 25 minutes as well as more interested in pursuing the goal again. The researchers who did that study found similar effects across a range of contexts, including weight loss and spending money.These tactics will help you leverage the “fresh start” of the New Year to get ahead. Let the rhythm of the calendar push you, find a buddy, and set a range for your resolution. Science will be on your side.This is the first article in our series about New Year’s resolutions, A Fresh Start. Look out for more articles on the topic in the coming days.By Lisa A Williams, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, UNSW AustraliaThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.center_img Email Share on Facebook New Year’s resolutions are set with the best of intentions. But they notoriously fail to translate into lasting behavioural changes.The new gym membership falls into disuse come February; items forbidden from the new diet sneak back into the pantry by March. Even goals to work less and spend more time with friends and family seem to fall by the wayside almost as soon as the holiday break is over and the brimming email inbox beckons.But recent psychological research highlights several reasons why these kinds of resolutions might actually work – as well as simple ways to set yourself up for success.last_img read more

It’s all in the eyes: Women and men really do see things differently

first_imgWomen and men look at faces and absorb visual information in different ways, which suggests there is a gender difference in understanding visual cues, according to a team of scientists that included psychologists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).The researchers used an eye tracking device on almost 500 participants at the Science Museum over a five-week period to monitor and judge how much eye contact they felt comfortable with while looking at a face on a computer screen.They found that women looked more at the left-hand side of faces and had a strong left eye bias, but that they also explored the face much more than men. The team observed that it was possible to tell the gender of the participant based on the scanning pattern of how they looked at the face with nearly 80 per cent accuracy. Given the very large sample size the researchers suggest this is not due to chance. Share Share on Twitter Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Share on Facebook Email Lead author Dr Antoine Coutrot from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said: “This study is the first demonstration of a clear gender difference in how men and women look at faces.“We are able to establish the gender of the participant based on how they scan the actors’ face, and can eliminate that it isn’t based on the culture of the participant as nearly 60 nationalities have been tested. We can also eliminate any other observable characteristics like perceived attractiveness or trustworthiness.”The participants were asked to judge how comfortable the amount of eye contact they made with the actor in a Skype-like scenario. Each participant saw the same actor (there were eight in total) during the testing period, which was around 15 minutes. At the end of the session the researchers collected personality information about the participants through questionnaires.Co-author Dr Isabelle Mareschal also from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences added: “There are numerous claims in popular culture that women and men look at things differently – this is the first demonstration, using eye tracking, to support this claim that they take in visual information in different ways.”The team describe their findings in the Journal of Vision and suggest the gender difference in scanning visual information might impact many research fields, such as autism diagnosis or even everyday behaviours like watching a movie or looking at the road while driving.last_img read more

H1N1 NEWS SCAN: Gaps in PPE, vaccine reactions, CFR in India, low Australian activity

first_imgMay 10, 2010Drills highlight gaps in H1N1 proceduresDuring the first weeks of the H1N1 pandemic last spring, drills to simulate resuscitation of pediatric patients showed that many healthcare workers failed to don proper protective equipment, according to Johns Hopkins research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting last week. Of 84 participants in simulations involving H1N1 and a cardiopulmonary event, only 51 used protective eyewear, 73 used gowns, and 68 used an N-95 or air-purifying respirator.http://gazette.jhu.edu/2010/05/10/h1n1-drills-expose-gaps-in-hospital-infection-protectionMay 10 JHU Gazette storyIreland reports 1,600 vaccine reactionsMore than 1,600 adverse reactions to the pandemic H1N1 vaccine were reported to the Irish Medicines Board, according to the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune. Two deaths were also reported, in people who had underlying conditions, but a link to the vaccine has not been proven. Fifteen people reported an “anaphylactic”-type reaction. Less serious reactions included injection-site problems, stomach upset, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, fainting, and limb weakness.http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2010/may/09/over-1600-suffered-ill-effects-from-swine-flu-jabMay 9 Sunday Tribune storyIndia region has almost 1% H1N1 case-fatality rateA study of pandemic H1N1 flu lab investigations, hospital admissions, outpatient data, and mortality figures in the Pune metropolitan region of India showed a case-fatality rate (CFR) of almost 1%. The researchers found that confirmed H1N1 patients had a significantly higher risk of hospitalization than seasonal flu patients did. Of 93 flu deaths, 84 were from novel H1N1 and 9 from seasonal flu. Pandemic CFR was 0.86%, significantly higher than that of other countries.http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0010540May 7 PLoS Med abstractFlu still fairly quiet in AustraliaAustralia so far this year has confirmed 492 cases of influenza, of which 13% have been subtyped as pandemic H1N1; another 73% were influenza A but not subtyped. Less than 1% were A/H3N2, and 11% were type B, according to the country’s Department of Health and Ageing (DHA). Two H1N1 patients were hospitalized. “Levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) in the community remain relatively low and reporting from laboratories indicates that little of this ILI is due to influenza,” the DHA said.http://www.healthemergency.gov.au/internet/healthemergency/publishing.nsf/Content/ozflucurrent.htmMay 10 DHA reportlast_img read more