• Just Explain It: Your Brain On Lying

    If we were all like Pinocchio, it would be easy to spot when someone was telling a lie.  Their noses would grow.  But we’re not like Pinocchio.   So for many years, scientists have been trying to pinpoint the telltale signs that someone is telling a tall tale.

    Besides intuition or visually observing a person’s behavior, the most common method of lie detection is the polygraph.  It’s been around since the early 1900s and measures things like your heart rate, respiration, perspiration and overall anxiety to determine if you're telling the truth.

    But some scientists aren’t satisfied with that.

    In this Just Explain It, we’ll look at how a new way of measuring brain activity may help researchers actually see when a person is lying.

    It’s called functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI.  I know, that's a mouthful, but one company, No Lie MRI, believes the technology can expose a lie using scans of the brain’s activity.  Here’s the theory.  When someone tells a lie, their brain has

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  • The Co-Worker Employees Trust Most

    If the office's administrative assistant — more than your boss — is the person you turn to first for help, you're not alone, new research shows.

    A study by the office supply retailer Staples revealed that the administrative assistant is the most trusted office employee, ahead of both the boss and human resources specialist. In addition, two-thirds of employees think the administrative assistant is the biggest team player in the officer, compared with less than 50 percent who feel the same about their supervisor. They are also nearly twice as better than the boss at boosting employee morale.

    “The majority of respondents described office administrators as the superhero who can ‘save the day,’” said Mike Edwards, Staples executive vice president for merchandising.

    [Hold the Flowers! What Your Assistant Really Wants]

    The research shows their loyalty is far reaching, with more than one-third of administrative professionals having "covered up" for their boss, and 20 percent

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  • 7 Ways to Trick Your Brain

    By some accounts, the human brain is the most complex object in the universe. But it is also surprisingly easy to trick.

    Mental shortcuts and shortcomings, which allow us to be tricked, also show us how the brain works, said Jerry Kolber, the head writer and executive producer of "Brain Games," a new show on the National Geographic Channel that debuts today (April 22) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

    Here are some simple games designed to trick your mind and teach you more about what's going on upstairs.

    1. Biblical question

    Here's a simple question to put your Biblical knowledge to the test. But don't worry, you don't have to go to church or temple every day of the week to get it right: How many of each kind of animal did Moses bring on his ark?

    If you answered "two," you're like most people … and you're incorrect. It was Noah who took animals on his craft. [Saint or Spiritual Slacker? Test Your Religious Knowledge]

    Most people get this question wrong because the brain is primed by the

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  • Just Explain It: Storm Surge

    Summer is coming and if you live in areas along the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, you know that means hurricane season is coming too. For most in the U.S., hurricane season begins on June 1 and ends November 30.

    The National Hurricane Center won't make its forecast for the coming season until May 23, but predictions from other organizations range from "very active" to a "nightmare."

    It’s not just wind and rain from hurricanes and tropical storms that threaten lives and property. Storm surge is now a major concern for forecasters and residents in cities along the coasts.

    So, what is storm surge? And why is it becoming a big concern?

    That’s the subject of today's Just Explain It.

    First, let’s start with a hurricane.

    A hurricane is defined by its wind speed. So, a tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 73 mph or less is a “tropical storm.” A tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74 mph or more is a “hurricane.” Hurricanes are categorized from one to five, with categories three or

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