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Greenlit: The Numbers Game, Nat Geo

The Numbers Game  – Take the index finger on your dominant hand and draw a capital letter “Q” on your forehead. Where did the tail on your Q land? Theorists believe that if it ended up over your right eyebrow, you’re presenting the letter as you would see it. You tend to lie less in life and you’re less likely to deceive others. If the tail is over your left eyebrow, you may want to consider becoming a con artist, because you’re probably a good liar. You’re presenting the letter how someone else would see it, meaning you’re also good at manipulating others’ opinions. One study has found that six out of every 10 people may lie during a 10-minute conversation, and in that conversation they’ll tell a lie every 30 seconds.

Host Jake Porway (@jakeporway) shows us that life is all about the numbers in this new series. Jake, a data scientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, reveals the surprising and fascinating statistical science at work behind everyday situations. The series explores the topics of toughness, superstition, skepticism, lying and desirability, among others, through mind-bending statistics, hilarious man-on-the-street experiments and interactive game play.

In each episode, Jake tackles an everyday question, such as how likely is it that you will be a hero in your lifetime (20 percent chance), by testing it through experiments, then dissecting the science behind it. So how does he test heroism? A mugger and a victim are planted in front of hidden cameras in a parking garage. As a person is walking down the stairs, the mugger pretends to steal the victim’s bag. How many people will step in and be the hero to the victim? The characteristics of these heroes may surprise you – volunteering being one of them. Research has found that if you volunteer your time for just over one hour a week, you’ll boost your chances of becoming a hero by 33 percent. And people who survived a disaster are 300 percent more likely to be a hero.

Risk-taking, however, does have a lot to do with genetics. Are you the youngest of your siblings? Were you born in the summer? Then you’re probably more likely to live on the edge. According to one study, as much as 60 percent of our appetite for risk may be genetic. Some scientists think the youngest in birth order may act like a daredevil to make up for the lack of attention they receive compared to their older siblings. Scientists have found that people who are born in the summer tend to take risks, which may be due to being born into a time of year bustling with activity.

Jake, along with top experts, will debunk these everyday mysteries. Mentalist Wayne Hoffman reveals the secrets behind the supernatural scams of the psychic industry. Acclaimed skeptic Dr. Michael Shermer exposes the ultimate secret regarding deception – sometimes being a sucker can actually be good for you. Renowned body language expert Chris Ulrich teaches us how to exude confidence and toughness. Through numbers and statistics, The Numbers Game will teach you how to get ahead in life, work and relationships.

Episodes include:

  • The Numbers Game: Could You Be a Hero? – Jake proves that heroes aren’t necessarily the biggest or strongest among us. They can be everyday people, and something as simple as volunteering can increase the chances of becoming a hero by 33 percent. According to statistics, 1 in 5 people will be a hero during their lifetime. You’ll learn what it takes to be a hero, how to hone two vital heroic skills and how to control your body’s hero chemical in order to be ready, whenever duty calls.
  • The Numbers Game: Are You a Sucker? – Just one type of fraud took in nearly $500 million in ill-gotten gains in a year in the United States. That same year, 125 million people planned to play April Fools pranks. But don’t worry, Jake has all the stats to teach you how to spare yourself the embarrassment of being a sucker just in time for April Fools’ Day. He’ll reveal how to dodge the double-crosses and spot the scams. Jake delves into the characteristics that make people gullible. But he’ll also reveal some top-secret ways that being a sucker can actually be good for your productivity and your happiness.
  • The Numbers Game: Are You Desirable? – There is a lot of science behind attraction and desirability, and in this episode, Jake is letting you in on all the key secrets to increasing your own physical hotness. For instance, there’s a single accessory that can make you appear more intelligent and there’s one grooming tip that can make you 45 percent more attractive to hiring managers. There’s one color in particular you can wear that makes you much more desirable to the opposite sex. Jake will show you how attractiveness can literally make you happier, healthier and wealthier. Then you’ll learn the tools to be more physically and socially desirable, giving you the ability to change your life – without changing your face.
  • The Numbers Game: Are You a Jerk? – Being a jerk could earn you nearly $10,000 more at work, and less-agreeable employees are more likely to be promoted than their nice-guy coworkers. This episode will show you how to tap into the benefits of being a jerk without making a long list of enemies. Jake breaks down what makes someone a grade-A jerk versus an average nice guy, and hammers out the pros and cons of each. Then he’ll reveal exactly when to be rude, and when not to be, to reap the best rewards in your life.
  • The Numbers Game: Are You a Big Liar? – Ninety-two percent of people have admitted to lying during their lifetime, and those other 8 percent … well, we’re not so sure about them. The truth is – we lie. But why? Jake demonstrates that lying isn’t always about getting what we want, nor is it necessarily mean-spirited. But lying is prevalent, so he’ll show you how to spot a lie to avoid getting duped.

Channel: National Geographic Channel

Producer:  National Geographic Television / Goodbye Pictures

TX: 24th March 2014

Source: Nat Geo press release (via The Futon Critic)

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