We need to have a lot of difficult conversations in order to resolve the issues we are facing as a society, and the only way these conversations will be productive and enduring is if we all can agree on the facts. Right now, with Americans believing more than 40 percent of the news they see is fake, we aren’t quite there as a society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be. The internet is an amazing tool, but to use it most effectively we have to embrace its benefits while also understanding the ways in which it makes us vulnerable. If students are still learning dated practices such as cursive writing in school, shouldn’t they be learning how to navigate and consume the internet responsibly as well?

Much misinformation and many falsehoods related to politics circulate online. This paper investigates how youth judge the accuracy of truth claims tied to controversial public issues. In an experiment embedded within a nationally representative survey of youth ages 15-27 (N=2,101), we examined factors that influenced youth judgements regarding the accuracy of the content. Consistent with research on motivated reasoning, youth assessments depended on a) the alignment of the claim with their prior policy position and, to a lesser extent, on b) whether the post included an inaccurate statement. However, and most importantly, among those participants who reported the most media literacy learning experiences, there was a large, statistically significant difference in ratings of accuracy between those exposed to a post that employed misinformation and those who saw an evidence-based post. Implications for educators and policymakers are discussed.

Most people are familiar with white noise, that static sound of an air conditioner that lulls us to sleep by drowning out any background noise.

Except technically, the whirl of a fan or hum of the AC isn’t white noise at all. Many of the sounds we associate with white noise are actually pink noise, or brown, or green, or blue. In audio engineering, there’s a whole rainbow of noise colors, each with its own unique properties, that are used to produce music, help relaxation, and describe natural rhythms like the human heartbeat. If you know what to look for, you can start to notice the colors of the noise that make up the soundscape around us.

In contrast to previous assumptions, the learning process leads to a reorganization that extends to deep brain structures in the thalamus and the brainstem. The relatively young phenomenon of human writing, therefore, changes brain regions that are very old in evolutionary terms and already core parts of mice and other mammalian brains.

Researchers at Curtin University in Australia observed 20 participants working at standing desks for two hours.

They found discomfort “significantly” increased for the lower back and lower limb regions, which correlates with previous research suggesting standing desk is responsible for swelling of the veins, which can endanger the heart.

Mental reactiveness also slowed down after roughly an hour and a quarter, however “creative” decision making was shown to marginally improve.

"Leadership is hard; it needs discipline, concentration, and an ability to ignore what's irrelevant or needless or personal or silly," Pullum says. "There is no sign of it from Trump. This man talks honestly enough that you can see what he's like: He's an undisciplined narcissist who craves power but doesn't have the intellectual capacity to exercise it wisely."

That's the verdict of a comprehensive review of the science on the subject recently published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest. The team behind the research looked at decades of studies focused on all manner of techniques and apps that promise to help you devour words at an incredible clip. Sadly, what they found is that what looks too good to be true almost certainly is.

A large proportion of the public – over a quarter according to a Gallup survey in the US – believe that humans have psychic abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance, even though mainstream science says there is no evidence that these powers exist. It might be tempting for sceptics to put this down to a lack of intelligence or education on the part of the believers, but in fact past research has failed to support this interpretation.

Now a paper in Memory and Cognition has looked for differences between believers and sceptics in specific mental abilities, rather than in overall intelligence or education. Across three studies – this was one of the most comprehensive investigations of its kind – the researchers at the University of Chicago found that believers in psychic powers had memory abilities equal to the sceptics, but they underperformed on tests of their analytical thinking skills.

Surely one of the best ways to generate motivation in ourselves and others is by dangling rewards?

Yet psychologists have long known that rewards are overrated. The carrot, of carrot-and-stick fame, is not as effective as we’ve been led to believe. Rewards work under some circumstances but sometimes they backfire. Spectacularly.

Here is a story about preschool children with much to teach all ages about the strange effects that rewards have on our motivation.

An investigative reporter chronicles the progression of his own disease.

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