Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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New study discovers the trajectory of optimism throughout life

When are you most optimistic? A study found how optimism varies throughout life.

Still from Hugh Wilson's 1996 film "The First Wives Club."

  • Researchers studied more than 1,000 people during the course of 7 years.
  • They found that levels of optimism change throughout life.
  • Optimism grows through the 30s and 40s and peaks in mid-50s.

How do levels of optimism change throughout our life? Researchers at the University of California, Davis, figured out the answer.

They analyzed a relatively large sample of 1,169 Mexican-Americans between ages 26 and 71 who were surveyed over a period of seven years. At four different instances, the participants completed the Life Orientation Test, used to measure optimism.

The test has six questions:

  1. In uncertain times, I usually expect the best.
  2. If something can go wrong for me, it will.
  3. I'm always optimistic about my future.
  4. I hardly ever expect things to go my way.
  5. I rarely count on good things happening to me.
  6. Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad

Participants also answered 54 questions about a variety of positive and negatives experiences they've recently had. These included: "Over the past three months, you got laid off" as well as "In the past year, you were accepted into an educational program that is important to you" and "In the past year, you developed new friendships that are important to you."

The scientists found that optimism tends to be lower for people in their 20s, then goes up through the 30s and 40s until peaking in the 50s (with 55 being the age of peak optimism). After that it starts to gradually decline.

The authors called this pattern "an inverted U shape, with a peak in late midlife." Previous studies showed that a similar trend is followed by other positive personality traits such as self-esteem and satisfaction with life.

Interestingly, the researchers also discovered that being optimistic is not necessarily tied to the kinds of events that happen in your life. Subjects who had positive experiences did indicate higher trajectories of optimism. But the ones who had negative experiences were not necessarily less optimistic.

Check out the study published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

Videos
  • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
  • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
  • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.

Coronavirus
  • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
  • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation

Better reskilling can future-proof jobs in the age of automation. Enter SkillUp's new coalition.

Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.

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