Posts tagged with "Trending"

If this optical illusion seems to be moving, you are stressed out

June 20, 2019

Many of us remember mood rings, which peaked in popularity in the 1970s. When worn, the rings purportedly revealed your state of mind by turning colors—from violet for happy and romantic, to blue for calm and relaxed, to yellow/amber for tense and excited, to brown/gray for nervous and anxious.

Now, an optical illusion that is trending on social media supposedly serves the same purpose.

Some say that the image was created by a Japanese neurologist; others claim that Ukranian artist Yurii Perepadia revealed the secret optical illusion and posted it on Instagram.

Whomever the progenitor may be, India Today made the image famous, and it also has appeared on MSN, as well as on the sites of thousands of obsessed social media fans.

If the image remains firmly fixed in place, you are calm; if it moves slightly, you are stressed—and it it moves like a carousel, you are very stressed.

Research contact: @yurrii_p

The top ten candy treats at Sweets & Snacks Expo

June 3, 2019

Millennials are being credited for some of the most talked about trends at Sweets & Snacks Expo, May 21-23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, The Chicago Tribune’s Louisa Chu reports.

She tells us that the buzziest products at the event—hosted by the National Confectioners Association and formerly known as the Candy Show—generated conversations ranging from multisensorial experiences, to better-for-you shareables, to Millennial pink chocolate.

The winner of the Best in Show Award for Innovation was the Trolli Sour Crunchy Crawlers by Ferrara Candy, made in Bellwood, west of Chicago.  Look for the colorful watermelon and strawberry, orange and raspberry, plus cherry and lemon flavor combinations in stores this December.

 “The Sour Crunchy Crawlers are a take on our traditional Sour Brite Crawlers, but we added a texture differential with the crunchy coating,” said Tessa Porter, director of Research and Development for the company. Translation? They’re crunchy coated candy shells on the outside and gummy on the inside, explained Porter.

Filling out the rest of the top ten, according to the Tribune’s Chu, are the following:

  • Ruby chocolate by Barry Callebaut: This pink chocolate tastes exactly like berries infused into white chocolate, but it’s not. Billed as the new fourth chocolate (after white, milk, and dark), ruby chocolate is made from ruby cocoa beans through processing created by Barry Callebaut of Zurich, Switzerland. It’s been available to professionals for a few years—and is, perhaps, best-known to consumers in the form of Kit Kats made in Asia. The product is launching widely soon.
  • Ketchup with mustard and pickle potato chips by Luke’s Organic: These are crunchy kettle chips with all the flavors of a McDonald’s hamburger. Inspired by Canadian ketchup potato chips, but thoroughly American, this snack was a sleeper hit at the show. Look for it in stores later this month.
  • Smokehouse sausage sticks by Bridgford Foods: These snappy, spicy meat snacks are available in three flavors: original, teriyaki, and hot ‘n’ spicy.
  • Cacao selection chocolate by Ritter Sport: The German chocolate company with a cult following has introduced single-origin chocolate bars, in this case each one made with cacao beans from one specific country: silky smooth dark milk from Ghana, a fine dark from Nicaragua, and an intense dark from Peru. Plus, new to this country, look for the lovely summer seasonal strawberry mousse and a year-round dark chocolate with almond and orange.
  • Extreme BeanBoozled jelly beans by Jelly Belly: Just the “bad” flavors in one box. Now, instead of wondering if you’re getting peach or barf, there’s just the latter; plus booger, canned dog food, dead fish, dirty dishwater, rotten egg, skunk spray, stinky socks, spoiled milk and stink bug.
  • Atomz by Toxic Waste Candy: Are Millennials killing sour candy? The character known as Professor Sauernoggin explained that the small crisp and chewy balls are less extreme than their so-called “hazardously sour” classic candies, packaged in cute little leaking toxic waste barrels. Possibly to appeal to an aging palate?
  • Crunchy Strawberry Pocky by Glico: Pocky fans should prepare for a new flavor this summer with these skinny biscuits dipped in tart and creamy strawberry coating and bits of real strawberry. What seems to be freeze-dried bits of fruit add a nice tart flavor and texture, that is if collectors can bear to open their boxes.
  • Root Beer Float Peeps by Just Born: Ice cream soda in a marshmallow. This flavor was available as a limited edition this Easter, but only at Kroger stores. Next year, you can find it everywhere.
  • Kit Kat Mint + Dark Chocolate Duos: In response to Kit Kat culture—primarily in Japan, where dozens of flavors, including green tea can be found year-round and seasonal flavors like cherry blossom sell out immediately—we’re finally getting one of our own. The pale, mint green cream over dark chocolate layers looks exciting, but tastes familiar.

Research contact: @louisachu

Tweets using moral-emotional messaging are more likely to go viral

February 27, 2018

Do you want your tweets to go viral? A team of researchers at New York University’s Department of Psychology has found that posts on Twitter are most likely to “trend” if they discuss political topics in the context of morality, using language that resonates emotionally with the reader.

The recent study, Emotion shapes the diffusion of moralized content in social networks—which examined Twitter messages related to gun control, climate change and same-sex marriage—examines both the potential and limits of communicating on social media.

“The content that spreads the most may have the biggest impact on social media, so individuals, community leaders, and even political elites could see their influence enhanced by emphasizing morality and emotion in their online messaging,” explains William Brady, the lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in NYU’s of Psychology. “However, while using this type of language may help content proliferate within your own social or ideological group, it may find little currency among those who have a different world view.”

The findings appear in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study involved the analysis of more than 560,000 tweets pertaining to an array of contentious political issues.  In reviewing each tweet, the research team separated posts containing words that were:

  • Both moral and emotional (e.g., “greed”),
  • Emotional only (e.g., “fear”), and
  • Moral only (e.g., “duty”).

They relied on previously established language dictionaries to identify them.

The researchers then examined how many times each category of messages was retweeted—as well as the political ideology of both the sender of the original messages and of the retweeted ones. Ideology was calculated using an algorithm—based on previous research that shows users tend to follow those with a similar ideology—that analyzed the follower network of each user.

They found that—across the topics of gun control, climate change and same-sex marriage— the presence of language defined as being both moral and emotional increased retweets by 20% per moral-emotional word.

By contrast, the impact of exclusively moral or exclusively emotional language was not as consistently associated with an increase in retweets. In addition, the uptick in retweets was limited to like-minded networks—a much smaller effect was established among accounts with an ideology conflicting with the sender’s.

There were also some differences among the three issues in the types of moral-emotional messages that were retweeted. For example, in contrast to same-sex marriage, in which people were more likely to retweet positive messages (e.g., tweets using the hashtag “#lovewins”), when discussing climate change people were more likely to retweet negative messages, such as those referring to environmental harms caused by climate change.

“In the context of moral and political discourse in online social networks, subtle features of the content of your posts are associated with how much your content spreads socially,” observes Jay Van Bavel, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and one of the study’s co-authors. “However, these results also highlight one process that may partly explain increased differences between liberals and conservatives—communications fusing morality and emotion are more likely to resemble echo chambers and may exacerbate ideological polarization.”

The study’s other authors were: Julian Wills, a doctoral candidate in NYU’s Department of Psychology, Joshua Tucker, a professor in NYU’s Department of Politics, and John Jost, a professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology.

The research was supported, in part, by grants from the National Science Foundation (1349089, SES-1248077, SES-1248077-001).

Research contact: williambrady@nyu.edu