All posts in “Altruism”

Nerd Treeson

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads: does science diminish nature’s wonder; empathizing with puppets; building trust between police and teens; expanding our concept of “cosmopolitanism”; reading as a form of creative osmosis.

Unweaving the rainbow. By demystifying the natural world, does science diminish our sense of awe? Two poets explore the subject. From Nina Martyris via Nautilus.

Sharing is caring. A study finds that children as young as three exhibit surprising levels of concern for others – even when those others are puppets. From Max Planck Gesellshaft via Psy Post.

Operation Conversation.  A new program brings New York City police and teenagers together to build mutual respect, trust, and empathy. From Katie Reilly via Business Insider.

The cosmopolitan pariah.  What does it mean to be a 21st century cosmopolitan? In examining political theorist Hannah Arendt’s complex legacy, James McAuley argues that her status as a pariah made her a citizen of many worlds. Via Aeon.

Stylistic osmosis. Reading provides creative fuel to inspire different writing styles and helps writers find their narrative voice. From Joe Fassier via The Atlantic.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/Nina Helmer, CC BY NC-ND 2.0

Panda hug

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

In this week’s #GeekReads: that warm and fuzzy feeling how social cues influence the risks we take; “professional discomfort producers”; putting emotions into words; practicing global compassion.

Warm and fuzzy. Has it ever warmed your heart to see a stranger do something kind for someone? Science helps explain the effects of niceness on the brain and body. From Melissa Dahl via Science of Us.

Follow the crowd. Observed behavior can lead us to make safer or riskier choices than we would make alone. From Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute via Psy Post.

Growing pains. One comic book writer shares her artistic process of confronting the uncomfortable in hopes of sparking conversations that lead to change. From Rachel Gillett via Business Insider.

Talk it out. Research has found that putting feelings into words releases stress and helps us feel less isolated as we process our emotions. From Monica Joshi via Big Think.

Global compassion. Looking to Buddhist practices, psychologist Paul Ekman explores compassion for total strangers and whether it can be taught. From Paul Ekman via Big Think.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/TaQPets, CC-ND BY 2.0

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

In this week’s #GeekReads: the exhilarating experience of the sublime; how human attention changes with social context; corporations with a conscience; toddler bystanders; instincts vs. second guesses.



Simply sublime. A BBC Radio 4 video explains Edmund Burke’s theory of the sublime, and why we find overwhelming experiences both terrifying and delightful. Via Aeon.

Look into my eyes. A new study challenges the popular belief that people predominantly focus their attention on other people’s faces. From Bournemouth University via PsyPost.

Noble edge. Corporate social goodwill can elevate a company’s profits by improving consumers’ perception of its products. Via Coglode.

Help wanted. The bystander effect has been well-documented with adults, but what happens when you test diffusion of responsibility amongst toddlers? From Jesse Singal via The Science of Us.

Trust your gut? We’re conservative in questioning our instincts because “losing feels worse than winning feels good.” From Robert Montenegro via Big Think.


Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.

Image: flickr/JD Hancock, CC BY 2.0

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter (Dec 19)

Among this week’s #GeekReads: Why worriers are so smart; how culture “kindles” the physical sensation of spirituality; a reason to (re)discover the joy of giving this holiday season.


The gift of giving. In spite of the stress and financial strain of holiday gift-giving, psychology research suggests that gift-givers experience more joy than gift-receivers.

Why worry warts are smart. New research suggests that there is a link between anxiety and intelligence.

If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t trust it. The smarties over at Cognitive Lode explain why words that are easier to say are more trustworthy – which they’ve dubbed the speak-easy effect.

Feeling spiritual. Culture shapes how a person physically experiences their faith. Thai Buddhists and evangelical Christians experience different spiritual sensations – what the folks at Futurity call “cultural kindling.”

A resolution for resolutions. Give up on resolutions this New Year. Instead, focus on optimizing what’s right rather fixing something wrong with your life.

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @w0nderlab.


Note: While we never stop geeking out, #GeekReads will be on vacation for the rest of December. We’ll be back the week of January 5th. Happy Holidays!

Image: flickr/JD Hancock, CC BY 2.0

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads, we learn that paying negative forward is easier than paying positive forward; why that video went viral; and how our brains trick us into thinking we’re greener than we are.


The secrets behind why that video went viral. This smart New Republic write-up shares some of the secrets behind videos that go viral, including intensity of emotion, the element of surprise and a desire to authenticate your identity by sharing the video.

Laughing at a funeral? We have all probably laughed at an inappropriate time – or experienced other mismatched emotions. New research shows that humans exhibit these conscious and unconscious behaviors to aid their emotional self-regulation.

When it isn’t paid forward. We’ve seen paying-it-forward stories – toll-booth chains where people pay for the driver behind them. Not to harsh your feel-good buzz, but new research shows that we are more likely to pay greed forward – especially if we feel cheated by a previous interaction. Good news: Creating a shared identity – or “groupiness” – will help keep greed in check.

The partisan Internet. Social media is increasingly becoming a main source of news for many. Since it is user-generated it is often politically polarized.

Our tricky environmental brains. How our minds convince us that we’re greener than we really are.

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @WonderForGood.


Image: flickr/János Csongor Kerekes, CC BY-ND 2.0

#GeekReads: 5 Quick Reads that Made Us Smarter

In this week’s #GeekReads, we learn how Facebook uses our competitive obsession with numbers to keep us coming back. New research also shows what’s really happening in the minds of those who deny climate change. Get ready to get your geek on!


The Fred & Ginger of Our Minds. Some argue that empathy is no substitute for reason. Rather than seeing them as polar opposites, we should understand how reason and empathy dance together.

Living for likes? The psychology behind getting Facebook ‘likes’ and the competitive – and addictive – nature that keeps us coming back.

The neuroscience of Harry Potter. Neuroscientists scanned people’s brains while they read passages from Harry Potter. What they learned could help us to understand how tension and conflict are key to eliciting empathy in the stories we tell.

The psychology of denying climate change. While it seems like the climate change debate is about science and facts, new research shows that we’re really disagreeing about something totally different – the proposed solutions to the problem.

Copying you…when no one is looking. When we are choosing between two products that we know nothing about, we tend to imitate the choices of others – but only when no one is watching us.

Tweet us your #GeekReads at @WonderForGood.


Image: flickr/Thomas Angermann, CC BY-SA 2.0

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