Math explains polarization, and it's not just about politics

People often divide the world into "us" and "them" then forget about everybody else.

Credit: YE AUNG THU via Getty Images
  • A new study shows that our polarized "us" vs. "them" view of the world can be modeled mathematically.
  • Those who don't fit easily into either group tend to be disliked.
  • The model is not limited to politics and could be used to explain many aspects of society.
Keep reading Show less

Mindfulness may cause the human brain to transcend racial biases

The present-moment awareness that stems from mindfulness practices may be the cost-effective tool that our society needs.

Credit: David Ryder/Getty Images
  • Mindfulness practices may lead to the human brain's transcendence of previously established associations that lead to racial biases.
  • A mindfulness-based program, which has a myriad of benefits, may be more effective than a specific racial bias training program and may benefit BIPOC youth and police officers alike.
  • Professionally known as Director X, Julien Christian Lutz of the Toronto-based mindfulness organization Operation Prefrontal Cortex believes that many young people that identify as BIPOC lash out violently due to past traumas, the hopelessness that they experience in the face of systemic racism, and other stressors that mindfulness can alleviate.
Keep reading Show less

Skepticism: Why critical thinking makes you smarter

Being skeptical isn't just about being contrarian. It's about asking the right questions of ourselves and others to gain understanding.

  • It's not always easy to tell the difference between objective truth and what we believe to be true. Separating facts from opinions, according to skeptic Michael Shermer, theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, and others, requires research, self-reflection, and time.
  • Recognizing your own biases and those of others, avoiding echo chambers, actively seeking out opposing voices, and asking smart, testable questions are a few of the ways that skepticism can be a useful tool for learning and growth.
  • As Derren Brown points out, being "skeptical of skepticism" can also lead to interesting revelations and teach us new things about ourselves and our psychology.
Keep reading Show less

Cephalopod aces 'marshmallow test' designed for eager children

The famous cognition test was reworked for cuttlefish. They did better than expected.

Credit: Hans Hillewaert via Wikicommons
  • Scientists recently ran the Stanford marshmallow experiment on cuttlefish and found they were pretty good at it.
  • The test subjects could wait up to two minutes for a better tasting treat.
  • The study suggests cuttlefish are smarter than you think but isn't the final word on how bright they are.
Keep reading Show less

10 things you may not know about anxiety

Cold hands and feet? Maybe it's your anxiety.

Credit: Antonioguillem / Adobe Stock
  • When we feel anxious, the brain's fight or flight instinct kicks in, and the blood flow is redirected from your extremities towards the torso and vital organs.
  • According to the CDC, 7.1% of children between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 4.4 million) have an anxiety diagnosis.
  • Anxiety disorders will impact 31% of Americans at some point in their lives.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast