What Our Online Expressions of Grief Reveal About Us

By mourning celebrity deaths online, we seek to display our specialness by association, say psychologists. The act also performs the important social function of building solidarity. 

What's the Latest Development?

With the passing of celebrities like Adam Yauch, Maurice Sendak and Dona Summer, the public's grieving process has increasingly taken place in plain view, particularly on social media sites like Twitter. The 140-letter dirge, however, typically conveys a more important statement about ourselves than those we are supposedly commemorating. "In psychology, the behavior is linked to the concept of 'basking in reflected glory'—the impulse to share in or take credit for the triumphs of loved ones—the ones we actually know, such as siblings, and the ones we don’t, such as celebrities."

What's the Big Idea?

Spee Kosloff, an experimental psychologist at California State University at Fresno, says that celebrities are symbols which we often use to convey our own specialness by association. The inverse of this phenomenon is called 'cutting off reflected failure', which explains our need to criticize the flaws of Charlie Sheen and John Edwards as though they were personal friends. On the other hand, sharing something that is important to us--perhaps a celebrity death--is how individuals build social solidarity. Though many of us are not as devastated about a celebrity's death as our tweets let on, we indulge ourselves so that we have something to discuss together. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Archaeologists unearth dozens of mummified cats in Egypt

Dozens of mummified cats were dug up this week. This isn't as shocking as you might think.

Culture & Religion
  • Archaeologists in Egypt have found dozens of mummified cats in the tomb of a royal offical.
  • The cats will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of previously discovered ancient kitties.
  • While the cats are nothing special, the tomb also held well preserved beetles.
Keep reading Show less

Men obsessed with building muscle mass have higher mental health risks

They're at a higher risk for depression, weekend binge drinking, and unnecessary dieting.

Palestinian participants flex their muscles during a bodybuilding competition in Gaza city on October 28, 2016. / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Mind & Brain
  • Body dysmorphia is not limited to women, a new study from Norway and Cambridge shows.
  • Young men that focus on building muscle are at risk for a host of mental and physical health problems.
  • Selfie culture is not helping the growing number of teens that are anxious and depressed.
Keep reading Show less

A.I. turns 57 million crop fields into stunning abstract art

Detailed (and beautiful) information on 57 million crop fields across the U.S. and Europe are now available online.

Image: OneSoil
Strange Maps
  • Using satellite images and artificial intelligence, OneSoil wants to make 'precision farming' available to the world.
  • The start-up from Belarus has already processed the U.S. and Europe, and aims for global coverage by 2020.
  • The map is practical, and more — browse 'Random Beautiful Fields' at the touch of a button.
Keep reading Show less