Helping others improves your mood in two different ways

Want to feel better? Try helping others, but your motivation matters.

  • A meta-analysis of studies on altruism reveals that giving of any kind makes us feel good, but that our brain knows if we are being altruistic or are looking for a reward.
  • This is the first study to separate findings on the brain's response to giving based on motivation.
  • This has implications for how to best reward those who help you, as misjudging their motivations may have negative effects.
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The value of owning more books than you can read

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.

  • Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
  • Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
  • The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
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Cancer researcher says keto is not a fad diet

Anatomy and physiology professor David Harper claims a recent study in The Lancet is flawed.

  • The low-carbohydrate group in a recent Lancet study were typically middle-aged, obese, sedentary, diabetic smokers.
  • The study was not a randomized, controlled, double-blind experiment.
  • Harper has been in ketosis for six years, and says it has profound effects on cancer patients, among other chronic ailments.
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  • When it comes to educating, says Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, a brave failure is preferable to timid success.
  • Fostering an environment where one isn't afraid to fail is tantamount to learning.
  • Human beings are complicated and flawed. Working with those complications and flaws leads to true knowledge.
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Think you’re bad at math? There’s a reason for that.

People often say, "I'm just not a math person," but the truth is that no one's brain is hardwired for math.

  • "I'm just not a math person." This trite statement suggests some people don't have an innate ability to succeed at math.
  • But math ability is not genetically determined and this myth only strengthens America's growing math anxiety.
  • How do people get so good at math? In a word, practice.
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