A team of psychologists led by graduate student Erica J. Boothby ’16PhD found that when two people ate chocolate together, they judged it “more likeable” than when only one was eating. (The subjects never communicated about the exercise.) The effect held, but for the worse, when the chocolate was bitter. “The mental space inhabited together is a place where good experiences get better and bad experiences get worse,” the researchers write in the October online edition of Psychological Science.


The mass extinction 66 million years ago, which claimed some three-quarters of the Earth’s plant and animal species, may have caused hardly an ecological ripple in the Pacific. An analysis of fossilized fish teeth and shark scales from the period showed a relative abundance. “The mass extinction did not cause a uniformly dead ocean,” notes Yale paleontologist Pincelli Hull in the September issue of Nature Geoscience.


Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas may affect human health. In a survey of 492 people living in an active gas-drilling region in Pennsylvania, Meredith H. Stowe ’94PhD, an associate research scientist at the School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that people less than a kilometer from a gas-well site reported twice the number of skin and breathing symptoms as those more than two kilometers away. The survey appeared in the September online issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

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