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Studies have found that half or more of grade-school children experience bullying. A European study in 2009 found that children who bullyat school are likely to also bully their siblings at home. That led a researcher involved in the study to speculate that bullying behavior often starts at home.
"It is not possible to tell from our study which behavior comes first, but it is likely that if children behave in a certain way at home, bullying a sibling for instance, if this behavior goes unchecked they may take this behavior into school," said Ersilia Menesini of the Universita’ degli Studi di Firenze, Italy.
But bullying is not just child's play. One study found that almost 30 percent of U.S. office workers experience bullyingby bosses or coworkers, from withholding of information critical to getting the job done to insulting rumors and other purposeful humiliation. And once it starts, it tends to get worse.
"Bullying, by definition, is escalatory. This is one of the reasons it’s so difficult to prevent it, because it usually starts in really small ways,” says Sarah Tracy, director of the Project for Wellness and Work-Life at Arizona State University.
Experts say to combat workplace bullies, respond rationally, specifically, and consistently.
Why do we do it? To gain status and power, psychologists say. And for some, it may be hard to resist the behavior. Researchers have seen bullying behavior in monkeys and speculate that the behavior may stretch way back in our evolutionary tree.
Nip, Tuck, Plump and Tattoo our Bodies
By 2015, 17 percent of U.S. residents will be getting cosmetic procedures, the industry predicts. Some would call it self-edification, of course, or art, or a way to kill time or perhaps rebel against authority. But in general, and given that people have died from cosmetic surgery procedures, what makes so many people so intent on artificially remaking themselves?
First, it's worth noting that while options at the body shop have never been more varied, the practice is ancient, often tied to cults and religions or power and status, and in fact much of the modern nip, tuck, paint, poke and plump procedures are benign compared with some ancient practices. People have reshaped their heads, elongated their necks, stretched their ears and lips, painted their bodies or affixed permanent jewelry for thousands of years.
Perhaps the strongest motivations nowadays are to be beautiful, however one might define that, or simply to fit in with a particular group.
The lure of beauty can't be denied as a prime motivator to nip and tuck. Studies have shown that shoppers buy more from attractive salespeople; attractive people capture our attention more quickly than others; and skinny people have an easier time getting hired and promoted.
"There's this idea that if you look better you'll be happier. You'll feel better about yourself," says psychologist Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women & Families. "And logically that makes so much sense, because we live in a society where people do care what you look like."
A sign of the times, as Baby Boomer age: While cosmetic surgery sales sagged during the recession, wrinkle-blasting laser treatments have skyrocketed.
Stress can be deadly, raising the risk for heart problems and even cancer. Stress can lead to depression, which can lead to suicide — yet another destructive behavior that's uniquely human (and glaringly not on this list).
But exactly why we stress is difficult to pin down. These truths will resonate with many, however: The modern workplace is a source of significant stress for many people, as are children.
More than 600 million people around the world put in 48-hour-plus workweeks, according to the International Labor Organization. And advances in technology — smartphones and broadband Internet — mean a blurring of the lines between work and free time. About half of Americans bring work home, according to a recent study.
The stress of being a parent while also working is borne out by a 2007 study that found older people feel less stress.
"Many older workers are empty-nesters," says researcher Gwenith Fisher, an organizational psychologist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research (ISR). "They don't have the same work-personal conflicts that younger and middle-aged workers deal with, juggling responsibilities to children along with their jobs and their personal needs."
Health experts suggest exercise and adequate sleep are two of the best ways to battle stress.
Gambling, too, seems to be in our genes and hard-wired into our brains, which might explain why such a potentially ruinous behavior is so common.
Even monkeys gamble. A study that measured monkeys' desire to gamble for juice rewards found that even as potential rewards diminished, the primates acted irrationally and gambled for the chance to get a wee bit more.
A study published in the journal Neuron last year found that almost winning activates win-related circuitry within the brain and enhances the motivation to gamble. "Gamblers often interpret near-misses as special events, which encourage them to continue to gamble," said Luke Clark of the University of Cambridge. "Our findings show that the brain responds to near-misses as if a win has been delivered, even though the result is technically a loss."
Other studies have also shown that losing causes gamblers to get carried away. When people plan in advance how much to gamble, they're coldly rational, a study last year found. But if they lose, rationality goes out the window, and they change the game plan and bet even more