The more materialistic people are, the more they will go on shopping sprees when
exposed to trauma, according to researchers at the University of Haifa who
studied residents of the southern development town of Sderot when it was exposed
to rocket and missile fire from Gaza terrorists.
Prof. Eli Somer, who led
the study, along with researchers from Temple University in Philadelphia, found
that emotional stress and pressure is relieved in materialistic people by buying
things they don’t need but want to show off with.
“The problem is that
instead of reducing the stress, it actually intensifies it in materialistic
people. Long-term exposure to stress like what faced the people of Sderot causes
people to try to cope in various ways.
Recently, it was suggested that
one way is by making purchases. Some researchers thought this would relieve
stress, while others thought it would intensify it.”
Together with Dr.
Ayala Rubio of Temple University, Somer investigated the influence of traumatic
threats and how much people cared about property and goods.
139 residents of the southern town who had been exposed to the fire from Gaza
and a control group of 187 people from another Israeli city who had not been
exposed to danger. They were also asked about their shopping habits, stress
levels, materialism and other ways they used to relieve stress.
researchers found that continuous exposure to danger caused Sderot residents in
general to show a higher level of consumption.
They spent more of their
time ordering goods from stores and via the Internet, and they spent more on
In addition, materialistic people who try to cope with
danger had a higher level of purchasing when the rockets fell than did their
less-materialistic counterparts, who found more solace and help in people rather
While lower-income residents purchased somewhat more just to
“change the atmosphere” or “escape” reality, materialistic people spent
extravagantly to improve their mood – but the goods they purchased lowered their
morale rather than elevated it, the researchers found.
discovered that materialistic people exposed to continual stress avoid sharing
their problems with others and try to “control their destiny” by going out to
shop. The level of a person’s materialism is thus a predicting factor for their
ability to cope with trauma.
QUIET IS FOR THE BIRDS
Traffic noise upsets
not only people; it can also distress wildlife, especially birds. A firstof-
its-kind study by researchers at Boise State University in Idaho documents this
Biologists have known for some time that bird populations
decline near roads, but pinpointing noise as a cause has been a problem because
past studies were conducted in the presence of the other confounding effects of
roads. These include visual disturbances, collisions and chemical pollution,
“We present the first study to experimentally apply traffic
noise to a roadless area at a landscape scale, thus avoiding the other
confounding aspects of roads present in past studies,” said Dr. Christopher
McClure, of the department of biological sciences.
effects of road noise can help wildlife managers in the selection, conservation
and management of habitat for birds,” added Prof. Jesse Barber, who also
participated in the study.
Researchers created a phantom road on a ridge
southeast of Lucky Peak, near the Idaho Bird Observatory’s field site. Putting
speakers in trees, they played roadway sounds at intervals, alternating four
days of noise on with four days off during the autumn migratory period. The
researchers conducted daily bird surveys along their phantom road and at a
nearby control site.
“We documented more than a one-quarter decline in
bird abundance and almost complete avoidance by some species between noise-on
and noiseoff periods along the phantom road,” Barber said. “There were no such
effects at control sites. This suggests that traffic noise is a major driver of
the effects of roads on populations of animals.” The findings were recently
published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.HOLOGRAPHIC HEARTS
clinical study has demonstrated the feasibility of using an innovative, live 3-D
holographic visualization and interaction technology to guide minimally-invasive
structural heart disease procedures.
Royal Philips and RealView Imaging
said they have completed the pilot study on eight patients in
collaboration with the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah
In addition to viewing the patient’s heart on a 2-D screen,
doctors in the interventional team were able to view detailed, dynamic 3-D
holographic images of the heart “floating in free space” during a minimally-
invasive, structural heart disease procedure, without using special vision
The doctors were also able to manipulate the projected 3D
heart structures by literally touching the holographic volumes in front of them.
The study demonstrated the potential of the technology to enhance the context
and guidance of structural heart repairs.
“The holographic projections
enabled me to intuitively understand and interrogate the 3-D spatial anatomy of
the patient’s heart, as well as to navigate and appreciate the device-tissue
interaction during the procedure,” said Dr. Einat Birk, pediatric cardiologist
and director of the institute