You're Different, Just Like Everyone Else

How is it that in our search for individuality we all end up in the same place, chasing the same trends while drinking the same drink while staring at the same app on the same phone.

What's the Latest Development?


Why do we strive to be unique, to be distinctly not like everybody else? Two sociologists recently asked themselves this question and came to some surprising conclusions. They designed an experiment requiring college students to write about a time they felt "distinct" and "separate from the group". Compared to the control group who wrote about an unrelated topic, those prompted to think about their own distinctiveness were later willing to go to further lengths (walk further, pay more) for the things they desired. 

What's the Big Idea?

How does our drive for distinctiveness compare to our other base needs for food, sex and love? It turns out they are intimately intertwined but perhaps not in ways that we would expect. Individuals primed to think about sex, for example, desire distinctiveness. "We can [no] longer write off the 'drive for distinctiveness' as merely a habit of insecure teenagers. Instead, it appears to be a pretty essential component of Westerners—that’s why it's engaged in a deep psychological dialogue with rewards for food and sex."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

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Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

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Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Top Video Splash
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
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Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

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Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

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