Archive for “February, 2015”

Egg in boiling water

#GeekReads: 4 Quick Reads + 1 Watch that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: the relationship between stress and empathy; making donation pitches to men; adrenaline’s impact on the heart; ignoring your FOMO; training your brain to block out pain.


Shredding stress. Decreasing stress – even through something as simple as a shared game of Rock Band – may increase your ability to empathize with a stranger’s pain. From Cell Press via PsyPost.

Generous gentlemen. While empathy-based appeals work well for women, research shows that appealing to men’s self-interest helps bring in their donation dollars. From Clinton B. Parker via Futurity.

Scared stiff. Can you really be scared to death? The AsapSCIENCE guys explore the question in a new animated video. From Melissa Dahl via The Science of Us.

Prepare to compare. Social media connections can become a measure of our own success, but does this comparison lead to more stress or appreciation for what we have? From Krystal D’Costa via Business Insider.

Train your brain for pain. Research suggests that people can teach their brains how to block out physical pain. From Jon Hamilton via NPR.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Robert McGoldrick, CC BY 2.0

frightened computer D.A.R.Y.L.

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: when good men and women do nothing; a healthy dose of wonder; how personality affects perceptions of time; the stress of social exclusion; safety in an age of fearful overreaction.


From anonymity to action. How often do bystanders take the opportunity to help a stranger? Do social norms pressure people to look the other way? From Dwyer Gun via Aeon.

What a wonderful world. Research suggests that feelings of awe and wonder may be correlated to good health. From Melissa Dahl via The Science of Us.

Time is relative. Personality helps explain why some individuals are more punctual than others. By Orion Jones via Big Think.

Longing to belong. Studies show that social exclusion can be especially stressful for people from individualistic cultures. From Eric W. Dolan via PsyPost.

Be not afraid. In a hyperalert society that anticipates danger, we distrust reports that we’re safer than ever. Are American perceptions distorted?  From Jonathan Rauch via The Atlantic.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Daniel Oines, CC BY 2.0

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

This week’s #GeekReads: communication victories in the Internet age; the chaotic origins of public consensus; controlling the brain’s reactionary prejudice; when science and politics clash; inspiration through storytelling. 


We need to talk.  Before the Internet, some foundations and nonprofits viewed external communications as secondary to the “real work.” In today’s sea of information, innovative digital strategies are essential to make your organization heard. From Andrew Sherry via Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The people have spoken! New research explores how popular consensus—on everything from public policy to baby names—can arise out of chaos. From Orion Jones via Big Think.

“You’re either in or you’re out.” We make snap judgments about strangers in a fraction of a second. Amygdala activation and the frontal cortices of the brain may be key to understanding (and controlling) our reactionary prejudice. From Caitlin Millett via Business Insider.

Ideology before science. Most Americans care about scientific opinion when it comes to public policy issues, but what happens when scientific findings clash with political world views?  From Tom Jacobs via Pacific Standard.

Living by the book. From Homer to Anne Frank, powerful stories trigger empathy and identification and can shape our thought processes as though we lived the experiences ourselves. From Elizabeth Svoboda via Aeon.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Rob McDonaldCC BY 2.0


#GeekReads: 4 Quick Reads + 1 Watch that Made Us Smarter

This week’s #GeekReads: the danger of the vaccination debate becoming politicized; our brain’s optimism bias and its downsides; why memory isn’t an automatic and needs to be turned on; the benefits of teaching kids empathy. Finally, can mindfulness help us to manage media-manufactured fear?


Political vaccinations. Why parents, not politicians, are the best messengers to make the case for vaccination – and the danger of turning this into a politicized debate. From Conor Friedersdorf via The Atlantic.

Good news brain. When it comes to thinking about our future, our brains deliberately choose to ignore information that we don’t want to hear, while embracing the good things. There’s a downside to optimism bias. Via Cognitive Lode.

“Turn on” our memories. Our memories are like a camcorder: We need to hit record to remember. From Victoria Indivero, Penn State via

Kindness curriculum. What if kids were taught kindness and empathy along with reading, writing and arithmetic? From Melissa Dahl via The Science of Us.

Attention Overload? Peter Baumann talks about how mindfulness can calm our over-stimulated minds distracted by everything from smart phone pings to 24-hour news cycles. Here’s our question: Can mindfulness calm media-manufactured fears – from the spread of Ebola to fear of our American Muslim neighbors? – Via

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.


Image: flickr/Robert Couse-BakerCC BY 2.0

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