3Using Her Right Arm to Cradle a Baby Might Mean She's Depressed
Having a baby is supposed to be the happiest occasion of a woman's life, but 1 in 10 mothers suffer from postnatal depression. Maybe that's not so surprising -- it's a lot of stress, both mentally and physically, plus you have this little goblin thing shrieking while you're trying to sleep at night.
"Let's make a deal: Two hours of quiet, and I'll avoid doing anything that might end in a statewide manhunt."
So if you have a friend or family member with a newborn and you wonder how they're doing, you can either ask them or just see which hand they use to hold the baby. No, really.
How It Works
Dig up some of your baby pictures. Which arm did your mom use to cradle you? Hell, just imagine holding a baby right now -- which arm would you employ? Chances are you'd use the left one. The vast majority of people do, regardless of their dominant hand. It's just one of those weird little bodily hiccups nearly all humans share.
"Every day, you teach me so many new things ..."
In fact, it's so widespread that when scientists realized that not everyone was doing this, they started digging in ... up until they actually identified it as a potential way to tell if the mother was suffering from depression. Stressed out and depressed mothers actually cradle their babies in their right arm a lot more often than healthy, happy moms. More than twice as often, in fact -- the ratio is 14 percent right-hand bias of the healthy mothers, compared to 32 percent of the depressed ones.
"... mostly, how to hate."
As for why, the scientists couldn't offer a guess. We're going to speculate that gestures made by stressed or annoyed people, such as the finger or that sarcastic "jerking off" motion, are more easily made with the left hand, so they instinctively need to keep it free. Prove us wrong, science.
2If He Looks Like a Bully, He's Probably a Team Player
Last time, we pointed out that people with wide cheekbones tend to be less trustworthy. That sounds like some unfair stereotype, but it's just a matter of body chemistry -- more testosterone equals a bigger face. And how much testosterone you have goes a long way toward determining your personality type.
"I'd trade these sick guns for free will any day of the week."
Likewise, the classic image of a beer-guzzling, wedgie-giving jock is pretty much carved in stone: a big, wide-faced dude with a toothy grin and rugged features. Faces like that are familiar from a thousand movies and a million school grounds. They are the guys with the varsity jackets, beer bongs, and stupid bro lingo, banging every chick in school while making you feel like the loser you'd have to wait for years to realize you never actually were. But in certain circumstances, that bully-faced guy is actually guaranteed to be nicer than everyone else ... as long as he perceives he's on your team.
"I WOULD DIE FOR YOU!"
How It Works
Those guys don't do what they do because they're mindlessly cruel; they do it because they're competitive.
To study this, researchers made male volunteers play a game in groups. Some of the groups were told that their scores would be compared to a rival school, while other groups were just playing for the hell of it. Surprisingly enough, men with classic bully faces were a lot more likely to risk their personal assets for the benefit of their group's overall results ... but only when they were told they were up against a rival school. They were willing to be altruistic as long as they thought it would help them win.
"I think I can stab two of 'em. They'll arrest me, but we'll still wind up ahead."
Other studies seem to support this. As long as there's a competitive situation of any kind going on, Jock Face Guy has a tendency to be more productive, driven, co-operative, and -- above all -- willing to sacrifice his own well-being for the benefit of the group he views as his own. This applies in even the highest walks of life, by the way -- from CEOs to presidential candidates, that stupid, rugged, wide jock face gives away these men's drive for achievement, and the time and dedication they pour into their close groups of friends and colleagues. All because of how much testosterone they were exposed to in the womb.
"I take estrogen pills, because I refuse to sit through any Little League games."
If it depresses you to think that so much of people's personal destinies are written before their birth, well, we have more bad news ...