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A single “Like” on Facebook can reveal a crucial aspect of your personality
The internet and social media have made persuasive appeals more powerful than ever before.
The Police song “Every Breath You Take” has been popular for decades. For a hit from the early ‘80s, it’s shown surprising longevity. In an interview during its hay day, Police front man Sting, said he was stupefied that people had turned, what he termed a “creepy” and “ugly” song, into a love ballad. “It's about jealousy and surveillance and ownership," he told the New Musical Express in 1983. Today, it’s played at weddings.
The song has much in common with our new era of ubiquitous social media. On the one hand, it gives us so much joy. We find social media a convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family, stay on top of the latest news, laugh at and share memes, and just enjoy the rich, bizarre pageantry of life—right at our fingertips.
The drawback, almost everything you do online, from the biggest purchase to the single, solitary “Like,” registers. It leaves a trail and builds a profile of you which companies and others can mine and develop strategies around. Much like the song, on the surface it seems all about love. Delve deeper and a more sinister picture arises.
What we click on, what we search for, and even ”Like" on social media reveals a lot about us, far more than we assume. And the more we use it, the more we reveal. What previous studies have shown is that, the music you listen to, the articles you read, and what you post, all lend insight into your motivations and behavior, patterns which collectively are called your digital footprint.
Previous studies have shown that persuasive appeals are more successful when coupled with an approach that matches a person’s personality traits. New research out of Columbia University goes one step farther. It shows how one simple “Like,” can reveal a key aspect of your personality, which can be used to influence your outlook and even behavior.
The more we use social media, the more data we generate that can be mined, for profit and perhaps even to move us in certain directions. Credit: Getty Images.
So besides social media sites, who else has access to your digital footprint? An amazing number of companies including: search engines, web browsers, the maker of your smart phone, and your internet service provider (ISP). And it isn’t only companies but governments, political parties, and even foreign agents who use this data, for good or ill. Consider that Russian operatives knew exactly who to place certain fake news stories in front of, during the last US presidential election. And all this data may be making organizations and agents more persuasive than before.
In a recent study, Columbia Business School researchers, led by Sandra Matz, wanted to see what effects psychological persuasion had in a social media setting. “Recent research…shows that people's psychological characteristics can be accurately predicted from their digital footprints,” researchers write, “such as their Facebook Likes or Tweets.”
Matz and colleagues tailored ads which employed persuasive appeals, according to a person’s social media activity, specifically on whether or not they liked something. The experiment included over 3.7 million users. Researchers evaluated how successful the efforts were on whether or not the participant clicked or purchased an item. They wrote in the study, “…with psychologically tailored advertising, we find that matching the content of persuasive appeals to individuals' psychological characteristics significantly altered their behavior as measured by clicks and purchases.”
We often forget the business model of social media companies is to turn your “Likes” into profit. Credit: Getty Images.
To select targets based on Facebook likes, researchers turned to the database myPersonality.org. It contains the Facebook likes of millions of users. These were correlated with a 100-item PIP questionnaire, which is considered an accurate personality assessment tool. Researchers’ isolated 10 likes in particular associated with either the highest or lowest levels of extroversion.
Most popular with extroverts was making people laugh or the music of Slightly Stoopid. For introverts, these were Stargate and computers. Researchers also looked at openness to new experiences. Those with a greatest openness liked philosophy and the docufiction movie Waking Life, while those who had the lowest levels liked Uncle Kracker and the video game Farm Town.
Facebook currently has rules against ads targeting users directly though psychological traits. However, marketers are allowed to do so indirectly, based on likes and other activity. Once they had a good handle on how to identify introverts and extroverts, Matz and colleagues created two makeup ads, one targeted toward each type. The one for extroverts had three smiling women dressed to the nines, grouped together in order to take a photo. The tagline said, “Love the spotlight and feel the moment.”
The other had one woman cheekily applying makeup with a tagline that said, “Beauty doesn’t have to shout.” A second ad series targeted those open to new experiences and those who weren’t. Persuasive appeals, matched to people’s extraversion level (or openness to-experiences), resulted in up to 40% more clicks and up to 50% more purchases, than mismatched counterparts. “This suggests that psychological targeting can influence large groups of people,” researchers wrote.
Such targeting, coupled with internet history and social media activity, has the potential to influence people to lead healthier lives, save more money, and even make better decisions. But it also allows for greater exploitation of weaknesses for profit, say targeting the highly impulsive with online gambling ads. Such powers should be more robustly studied and common sense regulations put into place, so that we all have the ability to make our decisions free of undue influence.
To learn more about this study, click here:
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Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.