|NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- People who tell fewer lies experience improved health, such as less stress and fewer headaches, according to research presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.
"Recent evidence indicates that Americans average about 11 lies per week. We wanted to find out if living more honestly can actually cause better health," lead author Anita Kelly, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, said in an APA news release Aug. 4.
"We found that the participants could purposefully and dramatically reduce their everyday lies, and that in turn was associated with significantly improved health," Kelly said.
The study, which has not yet undergone peer review, followed 110 people for 10 weeks. Sixty-six percent of the participants were college students, and 34 percent were adults in the community. About half of the participants were told to stop telling lies for the duration of the study, and the rest were given no special instructions.
Both groups reported to a lab each week to answer questions about their health and relationships and to take a lie detector test regarding the number of lies they had told that week.
Those who told fewer lies experienced fewer mental health complaints such as feeling tense or melancholy and fewer physical complaints such as sore throats and headaches, the study found. Participants also reported their personal relationships and social interactions went more smoothly when they told fewer lies.
Some said they realized they could simply tell the truth about their daily accomplishments rather than exaggerate, and others said they stopped making false excuses for being late or failing to complete tasks, Kelly said, according to the news release.
"When you don't lie, you have less stress. Being very conflicted adds an inordinate amount of stress to your life," Linda Stroh, professor emeritus of organizational behavior at Loyola University, told USA Today.
NEW LAW, CREATIVITY BLOCK WESTBORO PROTESTS -- The independent Westboro Baptist Church of military funeral protest fame is being blocked on more than one front in its radical demonstrations at solemn family gatherings.
In recent months, thousands of people have invoked creativity in stopping Westboro's protests, gathering in droves wearing colorful shirts or dressed as zombies to form a human blockade of the group's path.
This week, President Obama signed into law the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, which restricts protests at military funerals to at least two hours before or after the event, and at least 300 feet away from the venue. The law counters a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that Westboro's protests are protected under the First Amendment.
Last month, large crowds donned red shirts to prohibit Westboro from disrupting a funeral in Columbia, Mo., and a group of Texas A&M University students put on maroon T-shirts to protect a College Station, Texas, funeral from Westboro's onslaught. In Seattle, dozens of people dressed as zombies to block a Westboro protest at a military burial there.
The Kansas-based Westboro church frequently demonstrates at funerals to spread its extreme message that deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's punishment for the United States' tolerance of homosexuality.
Members of the group say they will not respect the Honoring America's Veterans Act limiting such protests, according to news reports. Violating the law would include the possibility of $50,000 in statutory damages, according to the Army Times.
CHINESE WOMAN RESCUED BABIES FROM TRASH -- Lou Xiaoying has been a one-person refutation of China's coercive "one-child" policy for decades.
Lou, 88 years of age and experiencing kidney failure, is being recognized as a hero after a report has surfaced of her 40 years of rescuing abandoned babies on the streets of Jinhua in the Zhejiang Province. Beginning in 1972, she saved more than 30 infants whom she found in the trash, The Daily Mail reported July 30.
Along with her late husband Li Zin, who died 17 years ago, she reared four of the children and gave the rest to family and friends. Her most recent rescue came when she was 82. She found her youngest son, Zhang Qilin, 7, in a garbage can.
Lou found the abandoned babies as she sought to make a living by recycling trash.
"The whole thing started when I found the first baby, a little girl back in 1972 when I was out collecting rubbish," she said, according to The Daily Mail. "She was just lying amongst the junk on the street, abandoned. She would have died had we not rescued her and taken her in.
"I realized if we had strength enough to collect garbage, how could we not recycle something as important as human lives?" Lou said. "These children need love and care. They are all precious human lives."
Of her youngest, Zhang, she said, "Even though I was already getting old, I could not simply ignore the baby and leave him to die in the trash. He looked so sweet and so needy. I had to take him home with me."
Her older children help care for Zhang, she said. Lou has one biological daughter, Zhang Caiying, 49.
China's compulsory population control program, implemented in 1979, generally limits couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two if the first is a girl. The policy has resulted in many reports of authorities carrying out forced abortions and sterilizations, as well as accounts of infanticide.
INCENTIVES PUSH CHINESE OFFICIALS TO ABORT BY FORCE -- Local family planning officials have vested interests in forcing abortions on Chinese women, an expert on China says.
Recent accounts of forced late-term abortions have brought China's coercive "one-child" population control policy to the world's attention in a way that is possibly unprecedented since it was instituted in 1979.
In a July 25 column for the South China Morning Post, Jackie Sheehan said such "oercion and violence are integral parts of the system."
"The people who track down pregnant women to carry out unwanted terminations do it not because they are evil or unfeeling," wrote Sheehan, senior fellow at the China Policy Institute and associate professor at the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies of the University of Nottingham in England. "They do it because of powerful incentives to meet family-planning targets." Continued...