TIME psychology

How to Attract Good Luck: 4 Secrets Backed by Research

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Ever had a run of bad luck? It feels like the world is actively conspiring against you.

Ever wonder if you can improve your luck? And I don’t mean with voodoo or magic crystals.

Turns out somebody has done scientific research on luck. So I gave him a call.

Richard Wiseman is a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and the bestselling author of many books including: Luck Factor. (His excellent YouTube channel is here.)

Richard studied over 1000 people. And, yes, it turns out some people are very unlucky. Here’s Richard:

One woman reported having 8 car accidents in one 150 mile journey. She was also unlucky in love. After joining a dating agency, her first date fell off his motorcycle and broke his leg. The second date walked into a glass door and broke his nose. Eventually she met her future husband and the church they were going to get married in burned down the day before the wedding.

Ouch. Can you change your luck? Yes, you can. Here’s Richard:

What the work shows as a whole is that people can change their luck. Luck is not something paranormal in nature. It’s something that we are creating by our thoughts and behavior.

Richard ran a series of experiments he called “Luck School” and taught unlucky people how to act more like lucky people do. The result?

Via Luck Factor:

In total, 80 percent of people who attended Luck School said that their luck had increased. On average, these people estimated that their luck had increased by more than 40 percent.

And not only were they luckier afterward, tests results showed they were also happier.

Okay, so you don’t want the church to burn down before your wedding day. Want to go to “Luck School”? Here’s what Richard said about how you can get lucky…

 

1) Maximize Opportunities

It makes intuitive sense: if you lock yourself in your house, how many exciting, serendipitous things are going to happen to you? Not many.

In his book Luck Factor, Richard wrote: “Lucky people create, notice, and act upon the chance opportunities in their lives.” Here’s Richard:

Lucky people just try stuff. Unlucky people suffered from paralysis by analysis. They wouldn’t do anything until they walked through every single angle and by then the world had moved on. They don’t gain the benefits of learning through doing. I’m a big fan of starting small, trying lots of projects, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and iterating based on feedback.

Certain personality types are luckier because they tend to create scenarios that maximize opportunities and thereby increase luck. Who is more lucky?

  • People who are extroverted: More time with others, more interesting possibilities.
  • People who aren’t neurotic: Tense, anxious people are less likely to notice and take advantage of opportunities.
  • People who are open to new experiences: If you resist the new, you’re probably not going to have many interesting things happen.

And research shows that the old saying is true: “You regret most the things you did not do.” Over time, we tend to rationalize our failures. But we cannot rationalize away those things we never tried at all.

So keep trying new things. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always gotten.

(To learn how to make people like you, click here.)

Okay, so you’re doing more stuff. Great. But what about when it comes time to make decisions? What can we learn from lucky people?

 

2) Listen To Hunches

Lucky people act on their intuitions across many areas of their lives.

Via Luck Factor:

Almost 90 percent of lucky people said that they trusted their intuition when it came to personal relationships, and almost 80 percent said it played a vital role in their career choices… About 20 percent more lucky than unlucky people used their intuition when it came to making important financial decisions, and over 20 percent more used their intuition when thinking about their career choices.

And intuition isn’t magic. Research has shown it’s often valid. Here’s Richard:

What intuition seems to be most of the time is when you’ve got expertise in the area, that somehow the body and the brain have detected a pattern that you haven’t consciously seen… When we were talking to our lucky people they would often say, “If I get a gut feeling about something I stop and consider it.” Even when unlucky people got those feelings, they didn’t follow them because they didn’t know where they came from. They were anxious about the world.

Want to increase luck in your life? Go with your gut more often.

(To learn the secret to being happier and more successful, click here.)

So what mindset should you take toward life if you want a visit from Lady Luck?

 

3) Expect Good Fortune

Plain and simple — it’s optimism.

You’re more likely to try new things, follow through on opportunities and have them succeed if you believe they’ll work out well.

Via Luck Factor:

On average, lucky people thought that there was about a 90 percent chance of having a great time on their next holiday, (and) an 84 percent chance of achieving at least one of their lifetime ambitions…

And that optimism gives lucky people more “grit.” When you think things will work out, you persevere. And when you’re resilient, you give possibilities more time to work out in your favor.

Skeptics might be shaking their heads right now: But we all know people who aren’t just optimistic — they’re utterly deluded. Are you saying we should lie to ourselves?

Um… kinda. Turns out that while pessimists do see the world more accurately, optimists are more likely to be lucky because those delusions push them toward opportunities. Here’s Richard:

Lucky people are buying into positive superstitions. In studies we’ve seen that good luck charms do improve performance, whether it’s physical skills like playing golf or mental skills like memory tasks.

You heard that right: research shows that good luck charms work.

Via The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver:

The researchers found that by activating good luck beliefs, these objects were consistently able to boost people’s self-confidence and that this up-tick in self-assurance in turn affected a wide range of performance. Lucky thinking, it turned out in this study, positively affected people’s ability to solve puzzles and to remember the pictures depicted on thirty-six different cards, and it improved their putting performance in golf! In fact, people with a lucky charm performed significantly better than did the people who had none.

A number of studies have shown that being a little deluded does bring benefits:

The world can be hard. Sometimes life feels random. But research shows feeling you have some control — even if you don’t — is powerful.

(To learn how Navy SEALs develop grit and never give up, click here.)

But what happens when things still go wrong? What should you do when you’re acting like a lucky person but bad luck still whacks you in the face?

 

4) Turn Bad Luck Into Good

Lucky people aren’t always lucky — but they handle adversity differently than unlucky people.

Via Luck Factor:

  • Lucky people see the positive side of their bad luck.
  • Lucky people are convinced that any ill fortune in their lives will, in the long run, work out for the best.
  • Lucky people do not dwell on their ill fortune.
  • Lucky people take constructive steps to prevent more bad luck in the future.

How do you respond to disappointment?

Giving up, getting gloomy and locking yourself in the house won’t help the world offer you better opportunities. Here’s Richard:

When things get tough you’ve got two choices: you can either fold or you can keep going. Lucky people are very resilient. I remember talking to one lucky person that had fallen down some stairs and broken his leg. I said, “I bet you don’t consider yourself quite so lucky now.” He said the last time he went to a hospital he met a nurse and they fell in love. Now the two of them are happily married twenty-five years later. He said, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me… So, yeah, things can look bad now, but the long term effect of this might be very, very positive.” That’s a very resilient attitude. Lucky people tend to have that sort of approach.

Find the silver lining behind the cloud. And don’t assume there’s a cloud behind every silver lining.

(To learn how to overcome regret, click here.)

Let’s round this all up and learn the final (and most important) benefit of believing in luck.

 

Sum Up

Here’s what Richard had to say about how to attract good luck:

  1. Maximize Opportunities: Keep trying new things.
  2. Listen To Hunches: Especially if it’s an area where you have some experience, trust your intuition.
  3. Expect Good Fortune: Be an optimist. A little delusion can be good.
  4. Turn Bad Luck Into Good: Don’t dwell on the bad. Look at the big picture.

So maybe you’re still a skeptic. Even if luck is real, you don’t want to give in to delusion. Give it a shot anyway. There are other benefits. A little delusion can improve relationships.

People with positive illusions about their significant other are more satisfied, score higher on love and trust and have fewer problems. In fact, believing in luck might actually make you more fun.

Via The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane:

Magical thinking is also important for letting loose and having a good time. Brugger finds a positive correlation between magical ideation and the ability to find pleasure in life. More magic, more fun. (As long as reality stays within arm’s reach.) “Those students who are not magical are not typically those who enjoy going to parties,” he says. “To be totally unmagic is very unhealthy.”

In the relatively brief time Richard spent with his test subjects he experienced a similar thing first-hand.

People who feel they are lucky are more charismatic. It felt good to be around them. Here’s Richard:

Through doing countless interviews with lucky and unlucky people I found you could tell within seconds which type of person you were about to interview. The lucky people were more engaging and upbeat. And emotions are contagious. After some time with a lucky person you feel good about yourself and you start to see the world in a very positive way. You spend time with an unlucky person and you start to focus on that back pain you’d almost forgotten about but now appears to be ten times worse. We have some research coming out which shows that one of the major factors is not how you yourself feel, but how you can make other people feel. It’s very closely related to charisma.

So put a good luck charm in your pocket. It looks like science is telling us that believing in luck might not only be the best way to be deluded, it might also be the key to a better life.

And if you enjoyed this post, share it with friends. We could all use some good luck. :)

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME Research

Know-It-Alls More Likely To Accept Falsehoods as Fact, Study Shows

It's called "overclaiming"

People who consider themselves experts in a given topic are more likely to claim knowledge of made-up “facts” about that topic, a new study shows.

Researchers conducted a series of experiments to assess how likely people were to believe fictions presented as fact. In one of the experiments, for example, the researchers had 100 people rate their level of knowledge for personal finance by describing their familiarity with 15 different financial terms.

What the participants didn’t know was that some of the terms were fake. For instance, the researchers used made-up words like “pre-rated stocks”, “fixed-rate deduction”, and “annualized credit.” They found that the people who claimed they were personal finance experts were more likely to identify the fake words as genuine financial jargon. The researchers conducted similar tests for other topics and discovered similar results.

“The more people believed they knew about finances in general, the more likely they were to overclaim knowledge of the fictitious financial terms,” said study author Stav Atir, a psychological scientist at Cornell University in a statement. “The same pattern emerged for other domains, including biology, literature, philosophy, and geography.”

The researchers argue that the findings, which are published in the journal Psychological Science, indicate failures among people to acknowledge gaps in their own expertise. The authors suggest that people may be less willing to educate themselves about topics they think they know everything about, even when they should.

TIME Research

Alzheimer’s May Show Up in Saliva

Identifying Alzheimer’s well before symptoms appear may become easier with a saliva test

The latest advances in Alzheimer’s disease involve people who don’t appear to show any signs of cognitive decline yet. Experts now believe that the biological processes behind the neurodegenerative condition begin years, if not decades, before memory problems and confusion become noticeable.

At the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, researchers say they have found a series of substances in saliva that can distinguish between people who experience normal aging, those with mild cognitive dementia (MCI, which in some cases can lead to Alzheimer’s and in other cases not), and Alzheimer’s disease.

Presenting at the meeting, Shraddha Sapkota, a graduate student in neuroscience at University of Alberta, and her colleagues described how they carefully analyzed the saliva of a group of volunteers participating in an aging study. Some had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and some with MCI, while others did not have any neurological conditions. By comparing their saliva components, the scientists found that each of the three groups showed slightly different patterns of compounds, which could form the basis of a relatively easy and non-invasive way to determine which people are at higher risk of developing more serious degenerative brain conditions.

The results aren’t conclusive enough yet for doctors to start using them to distinguish people who are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, but that’s the goal, says Sapkota. Ideally, for example, isolating those with MCI might help doctors to focus in on a group of patients who might be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s and therefore might need more intensive and regular testing.

TIME Research

Your School Grades Affect Your Risk of Dementia

108036289
Katrina Wittkamp—Getty Images

Building up a dementia-resistant brain and protecting against Alzheimer’s begins a early as childhood, the latest research suggests

In a presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, scientists report that getting good grades in school is among the important factors that can protect against dementia later in life.

Experts have known that people with so-called cognitive reserve, or the ability to compensate for the failing parts of the brain in degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, can help to slow down or stave off some symptoms of memory loss, confusion and disorientation. But it wasn’t clear when the buildup of these reserves should begin.

MORE: New Research on Understanding Alzheimer’s

In a study involving 7,574 people who were at least 65 years old and followed for 21 years, Serhiy Dekhtyar, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Karolinska Institute, and his colleagues found that the chance of developing dementia was strongly linked to how well the people in the study did in school during childhood. Those with grades in the lowest 20% showed the highest risk of developing dementia later on, an effect that remained strong even if the volunteers went on to attain more education and had intellectually demanding jobs. In other words, says Dekhtyar, “Your early life baseline cognitive abilities play a role in later dementia risk, which we didn’t know before because we didn’t have data. Now we have the data that show there is a component of early cognitive abilities that seems to still [have an effect] 50 or 60 years later.”

Most studies focus on people who already have dementia and look at the effect that intellectual engagement in later life can have in slowing the progression of dementia or reducing some of its symptoms. The idea is that the more intellectual activities the brain has, the stronger and more robust its network of neurons. Someone with larger cognitive reserves, therefore, can function with fewer symptoms than someone with lesser reserves, even if both have the same amount of damage caused by degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

MORE: Mental and Social Activity Delays the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Those with the most protection in the study were people who had good grades during childhood and who ended up in demanding jobs; they lowered their risk of dementia by about 40%. While having a complex intellectual job lowered risk of dementia by 23%, it couldn’t completely negate the effects of not being a good student in school. “If you were in a group at higher risk, then it might be difficult to modulate that risk,” says Dekhtyar. “But it’s not deterministic. We can clearly see that risk can additionally be reduced, just not by as much as if you started with a lower baseline risk.”

For doctors and people concerned about their dementia risk, especially those in families in which several members are already affected by the condition, it’s important to understand that protection against dementia begins early. And even if it’s too late to become more engaged in school, continuing to build cognitive reserve with an intellectually demanding job, staying socially active and mentally engaged, can be helpful as well. “It’s a good message that I think has to be out there for patients,” says Dekhtyar.

TIME Research

5 Weird Ways Ovulation Can Affect Your Body

woman-balance-walk-fence
Getty Images

Your senses might seem heightened

Once a month, women of reproductive age go through ovulation—the process in which an egg is released from an ovary into the fallopian tubes, which can then be fertilized by sperm. At the same time, our hormones begin to fluctuate and our brain chemistry shifts, which may be an attempt to help the baby-making along. These changes are thought to increase chances of conception, with research in recent years revealing that ovulation may affect your brain, body, and behavior in surprising ways.

“Hormones affect the entire body, not just the reproductive organs, so it makes sense that our thinking, our behavior, even our appearance can change throughout our cycles,” says Carol Gnatuk, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Here are some of the more surprising, even mysterious, symptoms you may notice during your most fertile time of the month.

Your face may get (ever so slightly) redder

First, a new study published in the journal PLoS One found that women’s faces become slightly more flushed in the days leading up to and during ovulation. This makes sense, Dr. Gnatuk says, since hormones affect blood flow throughout the body. “Higher estrogen levels during ovulation can cause blood vessels to dilate, and when vessels dilate close to the skin you get more of a glow,” she says.

The study authors had assumed this affect might be noticeable to men, and might begin to solve the mystery of how and why men seem to find women who are ovulating more sexually attractive. But the slight increase in redness was only detectable via very sensitive cameras—not to the naked eye, which means the jury’s still out.

You might feel more frisky (and express it in interesting ways)

Evolutionarily, it makes sense that a woman’s libido goes up during the time of the month she’s most fertile. But ovulating women don’t just consciously think more about sex; it’s on their mind in sneakier ways as well. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Consumer Research, during ovulation women may be more likely to unconsciously buy and wear sexier clothing.

Research has also suggested that women dream more about sex in the first half of the menstrual cycle, when the body is gearing up for ovulation, compared to the second half, when your body prepares for your period. One small study found women may even have more erotic interpretations of abstract artwork (think Georgia O’Keeffe flower paintings) when they’re ovulating versus later in their menstrual cycles.

“Libido isn’t totally driven by hormones—if it were, sex would only be about when and not where or with who,” Dr. Gnatuk says. “But certainly, estrogen and testosterone, both of which are higher during ovulation, can increase a woman’s desire.”

You may be more attracted to a certain type of guy

Not only might you feel more “in the mood” during ovulation, but you may also be more interested in some guys over others. Studies have shown that women tend to prefer men with sterotypically masculine traits and pay more attention to traditionally attractive guys during fertile times of the month, especially if their current partners lack manly facial features, like a square jaw.

“When we’re in reproductive mode, we look for traits that we associate with good health,” Dr. Gnatuk explains—and that includes healthy testosterone levels, she says, which suggest that a man is well able to produce and protect offspring.

Another 2011 study from the journal Psychological Science suggests women are better at judging men’s sexual orientation when they are ovulating, perhaps since, from an evolutionary perspective, there’s no sense in going after a guy who isn’t interested.

Your senses might seem heightened

Ovulating women seem to be better able to detect musky odors and male pheromones than those taking oral contraceptives (which prevent ovulation), according to a small 2013 study in the journal Hormones and Behavior; another study that same year found that women may have a heightened sense of smell in general during ovulation than during other times of the month.

You may even be better at detecting potential threats to yourself and your future offspring: A preliminary 2012 study by Kyoto University researchers found that women in the luteal phase of their cycles (which begins with ovulation) were better at finding snakes hidden in photographs of flowers.

You could avoid male relatives

And finally, here’s perhaps one of the most bizarre side effects of ovulation found in the research: According to a 2010 UCLA study, women avoid talking to their fathers on the phone during their most fertile times of the month. (Those who were ovulating or about to ovulate were half as likely to chat with Dad, on average.)

The researchers speculated that historically, it was in a woman’s (and her offspring’s) best interest to avoid male relatives—and potentially incestuous couplings—while they were fertile. Dr. Gnatuk has an alternate interpretation: “You might also argue that you don’t want to talk to Dad right now because he always told you you couldn’t go out with guys, and now’s the time you want to do that.”

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME 2016 Election

Planned Parenthood Chief Defends Controversial Fetal-Tissue Donations

Strikes back at critics after disclosure of controversial video

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards delivered a stern reply on Thursday to a controversial undercover video that purports to show the reproductive health organization profits from selling tissue from aborted fetuses.

In her video response posted to YouTube, Richards said the “heavily edited” footage was intended to make “outrageous claims” about the nonprofit’s programs to help women donate fetal tissue for medical research.

“The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true. Our donation programs, like any other high-quality health care providers, follows all laws and ethical guidelines,” Richards said. “[Women and families’] commitment to life-saving research, developing treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s is important and compassionate. And it should be respected, not attacked.”

MORE Why Planned Parenthood Provides Fetal Cells to Scientists

Richards did apologize for the Planned Parenthood staff member who made remarks about fetal organs in the video, which several GOP presidential candidates have called “absolutely horrifying and disgusting.” The staff member had believed she was talking to buyers from a biological company, who were actually actors.

“Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion,” Richards said. “This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements.”

A congressional investigation of the allegations against Planned Parenthood is under way.

TIME Addiction

‘Very Light’ Smoking Is Increasing Among Young American Women

young woman smoking
Artem Furman / Getty Images A young woman smoking

But the habit isn't safe, the authors of a new study warn

For a large swath of young American women, light smoking is growing in popularity, according to a new study.

In new research published in Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin were intrigued by other studies that noted a spike in casual smoking in recent years. To find out more about very light smokers, they analyzed a sample of 9,789 women between ages 18 and 25 from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The researchers asked the women if they had smoked part or all of a cigarette in the past 30 days; those who said they had were classified as current smokers, while those who hadn’t, but had smoked previously, were considered “former” smokers.

While heavy smoking—a pack a day—has decreased in the U.S., the researchers found that 27% of all people in the study—and 62% of the current smokers—identified as very light smokers, a habit of five or fewer cigarettes a day. It also can mean skipping smoking some days, then picking up a cigarette every so often. In fact, this kind of casual smoking—what many people often refer to as “only smoking when drunk”—has become predominant, particularly because of its perceived lack of health effects, the study authors note. Many light smokers consider smoking “only once in a while” as not harmful; while they understood smoking to be risky, the authors write, they did not consider the risk as high as non-smokers.

Interestingly, a specific group of women emerged as “light” and “very light” smokers: 18- to 20-year-old single women with some college education.

The research team thinks young women entering adulthood are at particular risk for smoking, perhaps because young adulthood is a time of stress and anxiety and because smoking fewer cigarettes is cheaper than a heavier habit.

But even a very light habit isn’t safe, the authors warn. Research has indicated repeatedly that picking up even one cigarette puts a woman at increased risk for health problems. The fact that the women who are smoking lightly tend to be young and of childbearing age is especially worrisome, they note, since smoking can not only affect conceiving and fertility but can also put women at higher risk for disorders such as cancer of the cervix.

Beyond pregnancy effects, very light smokers are susceptible to the same issues that affect heavier smokers, including depression, psychological distress, and dependence on other controlled substances, the study found. And while the research team did not correlate smoking with binge drinking, they found that heavy and light smokers were similar in their patterns of past alcohol bingeing.

“Social features of college life, including weekend partying, may promote smoking at a very light level among college women,” the authors write. “Emotional distress and multiple substance misuse may serve to both initiate and maintain very light smoking.”

The authors write that anti-smoking campaigns—which tend to focus on heavier smokers—still haven’t yet reduced the “cool” factor associated with taking a drag, even an occasional one.

“Advertising aimed at women attempts to associate smoking with independence, attractiveness, and sophistication,” the study notes. “To meet the challenge of the tobacco industry, smoking intervention programs and policies directed at emerging-adult women need to be based on an understanding of the diverse characteristics…associated with very light smoking in this population.”

TIME Research

Scientists Now Know Why People Scream

scream
Hans Neleman / Getty Images

Your brain processes shrieks differently from speech, finds a new study

A baby wails upon an airplane’s liftoff, a person shrieks when he stumbles upon something shocking, a kid throws a tantrum because she wants to get her way—people scream in reaction to all kinds of situations.

But exactly why we scream has remained a mystery. Now, new research published in the journal Current Biology suggests that hearing a scream may activate the brain’s fear circuitry, acting as a cautionary signal.

Scream science is a new area of study, so David Poeppel, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University, and his co-authors collected an array of screams from YouTube, films and 19 volunteer screamers who screamed in a lab sound booth. (This last collection method, by the way, was a highlight for Poeppel, who said he found listening to and judging screams an amusing break from the monotony of lab work.)

The researchers first measured the sound properties of screams versus normal conversation. They measured the scream’s volume and looked at how volunteers responded behaviorally to screams. They then looked at brain images of people listening to screams and saw something they found fascinating—screams weren’t being interpreted by the brain the way normal sounds were.

Normally, your brain takes a sound you hear and delivers it to a section of your brain dedicated to making sense of these sounds: What is the gender of the speaker? Their age? Their tone?

Screams, however, don’t seem to follow that route. Instead, the team discovered that screams are sent from the ear to the amygdala, the brain’s fear processing warehouse, says Poeppel.

“In brain imaging parts of the experiment, screams activate the fear circuitry of the brain,” he says. “The amygdala is a nucleus in the brain especially sensitive to information about fear.” That means screams are inherently considered not just sound but a trigger for heightened awareness.

From these screams, Poeppel and his team mapped “roughness,” an acoustic description for how fast a sound changes in loudness. While normal speech modulates between 4 and 5 Hz in sound variation, screams spike between 30 and 150 Hz. The higher the sound variation, the more terrifying the scream is perceived.

Poeppel and his team had volunteers listen to different alarm sounds and found people responded to alarms with similar variations: The more the alarms varied at higher rates, the more terrifying they were judged to be.

That huge variation in scream roughness is a clue to how our brains process danger sounds, Poeppel says. Screaming serves not only to convey danger but also to induce fear in the listener and heighten awareness for both screamer and listener to respond to their environment.

TIME Food & Drink

Stop Everything: There’s a New Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon and Is Better for You Than Kale

Getty Images Dulse seaweed: a new variety, when cooked, reportedly tastes like bacon

The world's most perfect food may have just arrived

Researchers from Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center say they’ve created and patented a new type of seaweed that has the potential to be sold commercially as the next big superfood.

The reason? It tastes just like bacon, they claim.

The bizarre but tasty creation is actually a new strain of red marine algae called dulse that is packed full of minerals and protein and looks like red lettuce.

Dulse normally grows in the wild along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines and is harvested, dried and sold as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement.

“Dulse is a superfood, with twice the nutritional value of kale,” said Chuck Toombs, a faculty member in OSU’s College of Business and a member of the team working to develop the product into a foodstuff. “And OSU had developed this variety that can be farmed, with the potential for a new industry for Oregon.”

The team began researching ways of farming the new strain of dulse to feed abalone, but they quickly realized its potential to do well in the human-food market.

“There hasn’t been a lot of interest in using it in a fresh form. But this stuff is pretty amazing,” said chief researcher Chris Langdon. “When you fry it, which I have done, it tastes like bacon, not seaweed. And it’s a pretty strong bacon flavor.”

They’ve received a grant from the Oregon Department of Agriculture to explore dulse as a “special crop” and are working with the university’s Food Innovation Center in Portland and several chefs to find out ways dulse could be used as a main ingredient.

Though there is currently no commercial operation that grows dulse for human consumption in the U.S., the team is confident the seaweed superfood could make it big. If it really does taste like bacon, that would be no surprise at all.

Read next: The New Superfruit You’ve Never Heard of But Need to Try

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TIME Research

Why Planned Parenthood Provides Fetal Cells to Scientists

Planned Parenthood
Mario Tama—Getty Images A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America December 7, 2001 in New York City.

Donating cells from aborted fetuses for research has been practiced for decades

A video showing a Planned Parenthood doctor discussing the transfer of fetal tissue from abortions to researchers put the organization on the defensive this week after its release by undercover anti-abortion activists. The activists claim to have caught the organization perpetrating a federal crime by selling human body parts.

While the casual discussion about abortion procedures depicted in the video may upset people on both sides of the issue, donating cells from aborted fetuses for research has been practiced for decades and affirmed by leading medical organizations. Research using fetuses has also led to medical advances, including in Parkinson’s Disease and the development of a Polio vaccine.

Rush University neurosurgery professor Jeffrey Kordower said that he and his fellow researchers faced ethical questions when researching Parkinson’s Disease, but there was “very little discussion” about the ethics of using aborted fetuses.

The American Medical Association (AMA), for instance, separates a woman’s decision to have an abortion from the decision to donate fetal tissue and argues that fetal tissue has the potential to save lives. “Fetal tissue has intrinsic properties…that make it attractive for transplantation research,” the AMA said in a statement in 1991.

The 1991 statement also lays out a set of rules and procedures researchers and donors must follow to remain ethically sound. Among them is a rule prohibiting the sale of fetuses. The undercover video points to a moment in the video when Planned Parenthood Senior Director Deborah Nucatola says that receiving a fetus may cost $30-100 per specimen to allege that the organization violated AMA guidelines and federal law. But, as Planned Parenthood explained in a statement, the organization’s policy allows recipients of fetal donations to reimburse the organization for costs associated with the donations.

“There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood,” said spokesperson Eric Ferrero in a statement. “In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”

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