We know that tall people live longer than short people and this may be one reason why: short male babies run more than double the risk of a violent suicide attempt as an adult, showing that our genes count more than we’d like to think they do. But CULTURE counts too!

The suicide findings are based on a study of over 300,000 Swedish men, who were tracked from birth to the date of attempted suicide. Short babies were more likely to attempt suicide as adults, no matter what height they reached in adulthood, compared with normal length babies. Short birth length also more than doubled the risk of a violent suicide attempt as opposed to a non-violent one.

A team of researchers from Canada and Japan have discovered some remarkable things about how eastern and western cultures process emotions and assess situations differently. If you’re a non-Asian American who has ever found Asians “inscrutable,” this may explain why! The researchers had participants from both races look at images, each of which consisted of one center model and four background models. The researchers manipulated the facial emotion (happy, angry, sad) in the center or background models and asked the participants to determine the emotion of the center figure.

The majority of Japanese participants (72%) reported that their judgments of the center person’s emotions were influenced by the emotions of the background figures, while most North Americans (also 72%) reported they were not influenced by the background figures at all.

Psychologist Takahiko Masuda says, “People raised in the North American tradition often find it easy to isolate a person from its surroundings, while East Asians are accustom to read the air?of the situation through their cultural practices, and as a result, they think that even surrounding people’s facial expressions are an informative source to understand the particular person’s emotion.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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