Blog: Wonderlab

Mural of people's faces

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

In this week’s #GeekReads: the surge of singlehood; hashtag activism; moral flip-flopping; universal story structure; irrational preferences.

Families of choice. There has been a shift in the traditional form of family, from marriage and nuclear families to more of an emphasis on individualism. From Bella DePaulo via Nautilus.

#Change. New research from American University’s Center for Media & Social Impact examines the power of hashtags to ignite movement in social change. From American University via PsyPost.

Moral flip-flopping. Research suggests that, for most individuals, moral character is very stable and not so likely to change. From Gerry Everding via Futurity.

From exposition to denouement. Professor Paul Zak discusses the effects of the classic dramatic arc on our brain chemistry, and ultimately on our decisions and actions. From Future of Storytelling via Aeon.

Rationalizing being irrational. A new study examines how our irrational choices go hand in hand with making better choices overall. From Nathan Collins via Pacific Standard.

 

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Image: flickr/Garry Knight CC BY 2.0

Books stacked

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

In this week’s #GeekReads: Chris Rock takes on Oscar diversity; fighting for public health; The Great Migration; taking a hard look at racial assumptions in publishing; how books can keep us on the edge of our seat.

Exclusion at the awards. Oscar host Chris Rock used comedy to address the reality that people of color are often underrepresented in film and television. From Eric Deggans via NPR.

Empowered by science. One team of researchers and scientists helped to educate and rally the people of Flint, Michigan. Via The Conversation.

The Great Migration. A short film shines light on the migration of six million African Americans from the rural South to the North over a hundred years ago. From Carlos Javier Ortiz via The Atlantic.

Disparities in publishing. New York Times Magazine editor Chris Jackson discusses how editors’ assumptions can shrink writers of color to a sliver of their identity. From Brandon Tensley via Pacific Standard.

“Not all was as it seemed.” A team of Stanford grad students examine where emotions like suspense come from when we read. From Clifton B. Parker via Futurity.

 

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Image: flickr/Moyan Brenn CC BY 2.0

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: brain size and extinction risk; chocolate on the brain; impulses towards retribution; the online spread of Ebola fears; the legacy of Harper Lee.

Extinction vulnerability. Surprisingly, animals with larger relative brain sizes may face greater risk of extinction. From Stanford University via Futurity

A chocolate a day. Regularly eating chocolate may help the brain retain mental sharpness. From Tom Jacobs via Pacific Standard.

Crime & Punishment. A philosopher offers a different vision for our country’s justice system, less based on punishment, and more on rehabilitation and empathy. From Neil Levy via Aeon.

Snowballing stress. With the help of the Internet, stress and fear have the ability to spread faster and further than other emotions. From Adrienne Berard via Nautilus.

Take a walk in someone else’s skin. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird reflects a respect not just for the arc of history, but for the hope that it does indeed bend toward justice. From Megan Garber via The Atlantic.

 

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Image: flickr/Ken Teegarden CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Viewmaster

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: replaying rewarding memories; writing the good and bad; cross-language brain interaction; animating the immigration debate; beyond “victimhood.”

Memory loop. Our brain replays memories of rewarding situations as we rest. From University of California, Davis via Psy Post.

Escaping “likability.” Author Tony Tulathimutte talks about getting away from writing “good,” morally upstanding protagonists. From Joe Fassier via The Atlantic.

Bilingual brains. Learning two languages reshapes the structure and networks in the brain. From Penn State via Psy Post.

Bordertown. A new animated show, set in the fictional Southwest, uses satire and comedy to explore opposing sides of the immigration debate. From Mandalit del Barco via NPR.

Transcending the “victimhood” narrative. One migrant shares his story of prolonged, painful initiation that shaped the man he is today. From Sarah Menkedick via Aeon.

 

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Image: flickr/Geof Wilson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Weighing the brain and heart on a scale

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: a new age of news; emotions vs. reason; how television can inspire altruism; extreme do-gooders; gender bias in the media.

Social media bubbles. Viral news sources, tailored to individual users’ likes and profile characteristics, are contributing to a growing news gap. From Angela Phillips via The Conversation.

Emotion-driven morality. Harvard psychology professor Joshua Greene examines the role of emotions in our moral decision-making. From Lauren Cassani Davis via The Atlantic.

Meaningful media. A recent study suggests people are willing to help others from different groups after watching meaningful, uplifting media. From Penn State via PsyPost.

Extreme altruists. Theoretically, the world would be a better place if we were all do-gooders all of the time, but one author studies the realistic implications. From Regan J. Penaluna via Nautilus.

Seen, not heard. New research finds that women are more often seen in media via pictures than heard through their stories or opinions. From Nathan Collins via Pacific Standard.

 

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Image: flickr/Ajari CC BY 2.0

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: the empowering potential of citizen-led science; color and emotion; teaching empathy through dance; uncovering unconscious bias; gender differences in fear behavior.

Citizen-led science. Citizens are taking a more hands-on approach in scientific research and policy decisions that affect their communities. From Andrew Maynard via The Conversation.

Seeing red. Scientists examine the conscious effects of color on our emotions and what behaviors each color evokes. From Danielle Levesque via Psy Post.

Schoolroom salsa. A New York nonprofit brings ballroom dancing to schools to teach kids emotional skills like respect, teamwork, and empathy. From Audrey Cleo Yap via The Atlantic.

Call it like I see it. Unconscious processes, such as a schemas and heuristics, allow us to interpret the physical world and shape our judgment as well as behavior. From Richard E. Nisbett via Nautilus.

Frozen with fear. A study of learned fear behavior in male and female rats may point to possibilities for better treatment for people with PTSD. From Thea Singer via Phys.

 

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Image: flickr/Charlie Marshall CC BY 2.0

Bellanger Gossip statue in Winnipeg

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: gossip as a social skill; the economics of immigration; the view from outer space; living a ‘brain-healthy’ life; political roadblocks.

Hardwired to gossip. Evolutionary psychologists explore the origin of gossip and its prevalence in human society. From The Conversation via Psy Post.

Chasing the American dream. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research compares waves of immigrants over time and how they fit into the American economy. From Gillian B. White via The Atlantic.

“How’s the view?” One researcher explores how seeing the Earth from space can promote a cognitive shift in awareness. From The Conversation via PHYS.

The brain that changes itself. The science of neuroplasticity has led some to believe that we’re not stuck with the brain we’re born with. From Will Storr via Pacific Standard.

Political gridlock. A political scientist argues that negative feelings, not ideological differences, do more to keep politicians from compromise. From Jim Patterson via Futurity.

 

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Image: flickr/Dano CC BY 2.0

Martin Luther King Jr mural in classroom

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: lessons on social justice; generational shifts in thinking; how experiencing pain can increase empathy; non-verbal communication; catching friendly germs.

More than “a Dream.” Educators and activists advocate a fresh, more comprehensive approach to teaching about the black civil-rights movement and Martin Luther Kings, Jr.’s life. From Melinda Anderson via The Atlantic.

Cultural psychology. A study of British Bangladeshi migrants finds that migrant thinking styles can shift toward non-migrant thinking styles after just one generation. From Alex Mesoudi and Kesson Magid via The Conversation.

I feel your pain. Experiencing personal pain makes us more likely to feel sympathetic and understanding towards others’ suffering. From Danielle Levesque via Psy Post.

Ugh. Our brains recognize emotions conveyed through non-verbal vocalizations faster than emotions conveyed through words. From McGill University via Psy Post.

Community microorganisms. A new study found that the more chimpanzees interacted socially, the more their gut bacteria resembled each other’s. From Nathan Collins via Pacific Standard.

 

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Joe Goldberg CC BY 2.0

Faces on the subway

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: how dogs process human faces; the queer legacy of Ziggy Stardust; a Fitbit for feelings; the production of vocal emotion; anti-Muslim bias in the media.

Written on your face. A study finds that dogs are able to recognize and categorize human emotional states. From University of Lincoln via Science Daily.

Defying labels. David Bowie lived a life that defied labels and influenced a generation of LGBT youth. From Catherine Kustanczy via Pacific Standard.

Fitbit for feelings. A new wristband gathers data from your body to graph a visualization of your emotion levels throughout the day. From Michele Debczak via Mental Floss.

Tone it down. By digitally altering the tone of a speaker’s voice, researchers uncover new insights about vocal emotional perception. From Lund University via Psy Post.

Muslims in the media. A study finds that exposure to negative media representations of Muslims may increase support for anti-Muslim public policies. From Jared Wadley via Futurity.

 

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Transformer18 CC BY 2.0

Scared cat

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: the benefits of anxiety; story motifs across time; healthy social networks; origins of phobias; links between the amygdala and kindness.

Detecting social threats. Anxious people may process social threats in a different region of the brain than less anxious people. From eLife via Science Daily.

Story skeletons. From perilous journeys to brave new worlds, the structure of storytelling remains much the same across time. From John Yorke via The Atlantic.

Healthy relationships. A recent study finds strong social relationships can help to reduce health risks throughout a person’s life. From University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill via PsyPost.

Pre-wired fear? A lack of understanding of how fear is acquired can lead us to believe that phobias are pre-wired when in fact they may be more of an adaptation. From Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D. via Psychology Today.

Monkeying around. By observing amygdala activity in rhesus macaques, researchers can predict when one monkey will behave charitably toward another. From Michele Berger via Futurity.

 

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Dat CC BY-ND 2.0

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