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Not enjoying your dinner out? Try putting the phone away

Smartphones might make people feel more connected, but they likely don’t belong at the dinner table, according to UBC Psychology research by PhD student Ryan Dwyer, the study’s lead author, and Dr. Elizabeth Dunn. The researchers looked at the effect of smartphones on face-to-face social interactions and they found that people who used their devices while out for dinner with friends and family enjoyed themselves less than those who did not.

Sit, Stay, Heal: Study finds therapy dogs help stressed university students

UBC Psychology research by undergraduate student Emma Ward-Griffin, the study’s lead author, Dr. Frances Chen and Dr. Stanley Coren confirms that therapy dogs help stressed university students. The researchers surveyed 246 students before and after they spent time in a drop-in therapy dog session. Students were free to pet, cuddle and chat with seven to 12 canine companions during the sessions.

Stressed out? Try smelling your partner’s shirt

Research by graduate student Marlise Hofer and Dr. Frances Chen found that the scent of a romantic partner can help lower stress levels. The authors speculate that evolutionary factors could influence why the stranger’s scent affected cortisol levels.

Using money to buy time linked to increased happiness

Former PhD student Ashley Whillans and Dr. Elizabeth Dunn’s research reveals that using money to buy free time is linked to happiness. The study shows that using money to buy free time— such as paying to delegate household chores like cleaning and cooking— is linked to greater life satisfaction.

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