Disco Shorts

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Spring 2016

People who feel that work interferes with family often experience a discrepancy between what they hope to accomplish at work and what they actually do during work hours, according to recent studies by Carlson School of Management Professor Theresa Glomb and Assistant Professor Colleen Manchester.

Glomb, who has spent two decades studying workplace-related issues, teamed up with Manchester to study faculty members at a large public university. They found that while most people expressed a preference for spending time on meaningful, ongoing projects such as research, faculty who felt depleted by conflicting work/family demands were more likely to spend their time on small tasks that produced instant gratification.

To counter the effects of these self-sabotaging behaviors, which harm workers’ ability to meet goals and advance their careers, Glomb advises people to structure workdays so that energy goes toward key projects first. “Think about ways you can get ready for the day to avoid getting sucked into those tasks that aren’t at the top of your list,” she says.

The study was published in the May issue of Journal of Applied Psychology.

A study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota concludes that marijuana use does not lead to a decline in intellectual function in adolescents. The research, coauthored by professor of psychology William Iacono (Ph.D. '78) and postdoc Joshua Isen (currently a lecturer at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles), looked at two sets of data for 3,066 twins from southern California and Minnesota. Their baseline intelligence was measured at ages 9 to 12, prior to any marijuana use. They were then asked about marijuana use every two or three years through middle and high school, then took follow-up intelligence tests at ages 17 to 20.

Results showed that while adolescent marijuana users underperformed on some measures of IQ compared to nonusers, particularly vocabulary, marijuana use and lower IQ scores co-occurred due to other factors. The study was not designed to uncover those factors, but Isen speculates that it could be conditions related to delinquency, such as truancy or a lack of parental monitoring. In the strongest test for a direct causal effect on intellectual functioning, the researchers examined twin pairs in which one had used marijuana frequently and the other had never used. They found no significant differences in IQ between members of twin pairs.

The work is published online in the January 21 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Handling money makes young children work harder and give less, according to new research coauthored by Kathleen Vohs of the Carlson School of Management and colleagues at the University of Illinois in Chicago and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland.

The effect was observed in children who lacked concrete knowledge of money’s purpose and persisted regardless of the denomination of the money. Researchers conducted a series of experiments that observed the behaviors of 550 Polish children ages 3 through 6 who were asked to handle money, buttons, or candy in various situations. They measured both social behavior such as generosity and helpfulness and market behavior such as performance and effort. Results showed that handling money, compared with handling the other objects, increased laborious effort and impaired generosity and helpfulness. The study is the first to demonstrate that young children tacitly understand the market mode and also understand that money is a cue to shift into it.

The research was published January 19 in Psychological Science.

Using tanning beds at a young age significantly raises a woman’s risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, before age 50. That’s the conclusion of a study led by researcher DeAnn Lazovich at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

In the United States, melanoma incidence is rising more steeply among women than men younger than age 50. This is the first study to examine age- and gender-specific associations between indoor tanning and melanoma to determine if these trends could be due to greater indoor tanning use among younger women. The study found that all women who use indoor tanning are at risk of melanoma, but the strongest risk was among women who tanned in their 20s, who were about six times more likely to develop the disease than women who didn’t tan indoors. Researchers could not establish an association between indoor tanning and men.

The study was published in the January 27 JAMA Dermatology.


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