What Does Your Voice Say about You?

Everyone has at some point been charmed by the sound of a person’s voice: but can we believe our ears? What can a voice really reveal about our character? Now an international research team led by the University of Göttingen has shown that people seem to express at least some aspects of their personality with their voice. The researchers discovered that a lower pitched voice is associated with individuals who are more dominant, extrovert and higher in sociosexuality (more interested in casual sex). The findings were true for women as well as for men. The results were published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

The researchers analysed data from over 2,000 participants and included information from four different countries. Participants filled in questionnaires about themselves to measure personality and provided recordings of their voice so that the pitch could be measured using a computer programme. This is the first time that an objective digital measure of voice pitch has been used in a study of this kind, rather than subjective ratings of how “high” or “deep” a voice might sound. The researchers measured “sociosexuality” by collecting responses about sexual behaviour, attitude and desire. They also collected data to provide ratings of dominance and other character traits such as neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness. The number of participants helps to confirm the robustness of the findings: the study involves the largest number to date compared to similar research in this theme.

The researchers found that people with lower pitched voices were more dominant, extroverted and higher in sociosexuality (eg were more interested in sex outside a relationship). However, the relationship between voice pitch and other personality traits (such as agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness or openness) seems less clear. It is possible that these traits are not expressed in the pitch of voices. The researchers found no difference between men and women.

“People’s voices can make a huge and immediate impression on us,” explains Dr Julia Stern, at the University of Göttingen’s Biological Personality Psychology Group. “Even if we just hear someone’s voice without any visual clues – for instance on the phone – we know pretty soon whether we’re talking to a man, a woman, a child or an older person. We can pick up on whether the person sounds interested, friendly, sad, nervous, or whether they have an attractive voice. We also start to make assumptions about trust and dominance.” This led Stern to question whether these assumptions were justified. “The first step was to investigate whether voices are, indeed, related to people’s personality. And our results suggest that people do seem to express some aspects of their personality with their voice.”

Source: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Video: Is Dry-Aged Pork the Future of Steakhouses?

“Pork is generally undervalued,” says Brooklyn-based butcher Brent Young. “It deserves to be on the menu at a steakhouse right next to that New York Strip or your Ribeye.” Ben Turley, his partner at the Meat Hook butcher shop, is in full agreement. With their high opinion of pork, they decide to embark on a dry-aged pork experiment that they believe will result in a steakhouse-level dish.

The experiment involves around a four week dry-age process. “[At four weeks,] you don’t get the funk or umami from [longer] dry-aging, but you do get a really crisp and clear picture from the product you just got from the farm,” explains Ben.

They begin by butchering a half pig from Gibson Family Farms down the loin, and putting it in their aging fridge set between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and 75 to 80% humidity. After four weeks, the color and texture of the meat changes from bright pink to dark red, the loin weighs two pounds less due to a loss of moisture content, and the meat has also pulled away from the bone.

The two compare a fresh piece of pork tenderloin to the dry-aged one, cooking both in butter, garlic, and thyme. For both pieces, they render out the fat and fry it on both sides on medium high heat, and then crank it up to sear. When it comes time for the taste test, they both conclude that the fresh pork tastes simple and clean. When they taste the dry-aged one, they are amazed at how “porky,” it tastes, with fat that melts in their mouths.

“It’s really just a more intensified version of our control,” says Brent. “It’s supremely juicy and supremely tender just because of the dry age. We just gave the pork the time it needed to reach the apex of what it can be.”

Watch video at You Tube (11:47 minutes) . . . . .

Study: Lots of Sugary Drinks Doubles Younger Women’s Colon Cancer Risk

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Rates of colon cancer among young Americans are on the rise, and a new study suggests that drinking too many sugary beverages may be to blame — at least for women.

Women who drank two or more sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, fruity drinks or sports and energy drinks per day had double the risk of developing colon cancer before the age of 50, compared to women who consumed one or fewer sugary drinks per week.

“On top of the well-known adverse metabolic and health consequences of sugar-sweetened beverages, our findings have added another reason to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages,” said study author Yin Cao, an associate professor of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The study included more than 95,000 women from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study II. The nurses were aged 25 through 42 when the study began in 1989 and provided information on their diet every four years for nearly 25 years.

Of these, 41,272 reported on what, and how much, they drank in their teen years. During 24 years of follow-up, 109 women developed colon cancer before turning 50.

Having a higher intake of sugar-sweetened drinks in adulthood was associated with a higher risk of the disease, even after researchers controlled for other factors that may affect colon cancer risk such as a family history. This risk was even greater when women consumed sodas and other sugary drinks during their teen years.

Each daily serving in adulthood was associated with a 16% higher risk of colon cancer, but when women were aged 13 to 18, each drink was linked to a 32% increased risk of developing colon cancer before 50, the study found.

But substituting sugar-sweetened drinks with artificially sweetened beverages, coffee or milk was associated with a 17% to 36% lower risk of developing colon cancer before age of 50, the study found.

“Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage intake and/or replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with other healthier beverages would be a better and wiser choice for long-term health,” Cao said.

The new study was not designed to say how, or even if, drinking sugary beverages causes colon cancer risk to rise, but some theories exist. People who consume sugary beverages are more likely to be overweight or obese and have type 2 diabetes, all of which can up risk for early-onset colon cancer. The high-fructose corn syrup in these drinks may also promote the development of colon cancer in its own right, Cao said.

The research does have its share of limitations. Participants were predominantly white women, and as a result, the findings may not apply to men or women of other ethnicities.

The study was published online in the journal Gut.

Researchers not involved with the new study are quick to point out that only an association was seen, and that more data is needed to draw any definitive conclusions about the role that sugary drinks play in promoting early-onset colon cancer.

“Clearly more research is needed before we can give this a stamp of approval and say with confidence that this association is actually causation,” said Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, a Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based gastroenterologist. “No one thinks sugar-sweetened beverages are health-promoting [and] you should reduce your sugar-sweetened beverage intake as much as possible.”

Dr. Patricio Polanco, an assistant professor in the division of surgical oncology in the department of surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, agreed.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages cause a bunch of other conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and now we have more data that they could be related to colon cancer, too,” Polanco said.

Exactly why colon cancer is on the rise in younger people is not fully understood. Lifestyle factors such as higher rates of obesity and possibly greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may play a role. “We still believe there may be some genetic contribution that has not yet been characterized,” he said.

The best way to protect yourself from colon cancer is to undergo regular screening, Polanco stressed.

Due to the rise in colon cancer in young people, the American Cancer Society now recommends regular screening at age 45 for people at average risk for the disease.

Source: HealthDay

Coq au Vin


10 oz shallots
3 tablespoons flour
6 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz chopped bacon or pancetta
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup brandy
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 bottle dry fruity red wine, 750 ml
8 oz small button mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter, softened (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
creamy mashed potatoes or tagliatelle, to serve


  1. Cut the shallots into even-sized pieces, leaving the small ones whole and cutting the others in half or quarters.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons flour in a shallow dish and season it with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken breasts in the flour and coat both sides.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large lidded skillet or deep casserole, add the chicken breasts, and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned—you may have to do this in 2 batches.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan, discard the oil, and wipe the pan with paper towels.
  5. Return the pan to the heat and pour in the remaining oil. Add the chopped bacon or pancetta and the shallots and fry until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, then return the chicken to the pan.
  6. Put the brandy in a small saucepan and heat it until almost boiling. Set it alight with a long kitchen match and carefully pour it over the chicken. Let the flames die down, then add the thyme and bay leaf and pour in enough wine to just cover the chicken. Bring back to simmering point, then reduce the heat, half cover the pan, and simmer very gently for 45 minutes. (If you’re making this dish ahead of time, take the pan off the heat after 30 minutes, let cool, and refrigerate overnight.) Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside, and keep it warm.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the shallots, bacon pieces or pancetta cubes, and mushrooms out of the pan and keep them warm. Increase the heat under the pan and let the sauce simmer until it has reduced by half. If the sauce needs thickening, mash 1 tablespoon soft butter with 1 tablespoon flour to give a smooth paste, then add it bit by bit to the sauce, beating well after each addition, until the sauce is smooth and glossy.
  9. Return the shallots, pancetta, and mushrooms to the pan. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cut each chicken breast into 4 slices and arrange them on warm serving plates. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes or tagliatelle.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Cooking with Wine

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