VSL:SCIENCE // Great news for 98-lb. weaklings

Good news for the gym-averse: You may be weaker than your pumped-up friends, but you react more quickly to the danger signs in your immediate environment.

Scientists have a term for our tendency to perceive the sources of threatening sounds as being closer than they actually are – “auditory looming,” they call it. And while the tendency to misjudge warning signs is universal, a new study by evolutionary psychologist John Neuhoff indicates that it’s also proportional to the hearer’s ability to respond to those signs: The less fit you are, the closer the source of a threatening sound will appear. When it comes to fight or flight, nature seems to give the more cowardly a head start.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.

VSL:SCIENCE // Great news for 98-lb. weaklings