Rebecca’s research roundup: organic dairy and awe

by Rebecca Harrington

Here's your roundup for the (half) week of research-related happenings at the University of Minnesota, compiled by the Minnesota Daily science and technology reporter.


$1.9 million USDA grant for organic dairy farming

Announced: Oct. 25

Timeframe: Four years

Principal Investigator: Brad Heins, assistant professor of animal science

          The University received a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase profits of organic dairy farms, according to a University press release.

While the project will be headquartered at the West Central Research and Outreach Center on the University of Minnesota-Morris campus, experts, farmers and scientists will work on it throughout the state. The University is one of two land-grant universities that produce their own certified organic dairy products. The University of New Hampshire's center is the other.

Heins explained in the release how they’ll help make organic dairy farms more profitable.

“We’ll be looking at best management practices for not only improving milk quality and quantity, but also in improving cow health and in making organic pasture land more productive,” he said.


U research says, slow down and experience awe

Journal: Psychological Science

Published: October issue

Lead author: Melanie Rudd, PhD student at Stanford University

Collaborators: Kathleen Vohs, Carlson School of Management professor; and Jennifer Aaker, marketing professor at Stanford University

Collaborative research from Stanford University and the University of Minnesota published in Psychological Science this month found that people need to experience more awe.

They define awe in the study as “the emotion that arises when one encounters something so strikingly vast that it provokes a need to update one’s mental [plans].” Almost half of Americans said they didn’t have enough time in their lives, and the study says experiencing more awe can fix that.

Vohs said in an article by The Washington Times that experiencing more awe can make people more generous.

“If you feel like you have more time, you are more willing to give your time away to help others,” she said.

Rudd also said in the article that the pace of daily life can make it hard to slow down for awe, but the feeling can enhance a person’s well-being.  

Scientific American featured the study in a recent article, and suggested people could experience awe by reading a book, reminiscing or watching TV.

The full text of the paper is available online.