Fascism and conspiracy theories: The symptoms of broken communication

The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.

  • The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
  • Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
  • Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
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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.

  • 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.
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Surprising Science

Depression begins in the gut. More importantly, possible treatment emerges.

5-HTP could help both constipation and depression, but dosage matters.

Photo credit: Hailey Kean on Unsplash
  • New research at Columbia University Irving Medical Center points to a potential treatment for depression.
  • One-third of all sufferers of depression suffer from constipation, strengthening the connection between the mind-gut problem.
  • Slow release 5-HTP was shown to alleviate both constipation and depression in mice.
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Surprising Science

How power-hungry politicians divide and conquer

There's a reason people are "triggered" during voting time.

  • People seeking to win an election often use emotional words to trigger voters.
  • These emotional words tend to trigger people into four different groups: loyalists, riled-up resisters, mild moderates, and disenchanted drop-outs.
  • What we see today is people getting into power with less than a majority of people because they're able to divide this four-way voter split.
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Neurotic people have noisier, more chaotic minds, say researchers

Study finds that neurotic people deal with more "mental noise" than others.

Photo credit: Alex Iby on Unsplash
  • Neuroticism is characterized by emotional instability and lack of resilience.
  • People who score high on neuroticism are at an increased risk for mental health problems and relationship woes.
  • New research suggests that neurotic people deal with more mental noise.
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Mind & Brain