For democracy to prosper in the long term, we need more people to reach higher levels of education.
- It's difficult to overstate the impact of technology and artificial intelligence. Smart machines are fundamentally reshaping the economy—indeed, society as a whole.
- Seemingly overnight, they have changed our roles in the workplace, our views of democracy—even our family and personal relationships.
- In my latest book, I argue that we can—and must—rise to this challenge by developing our capacity for "human work," the work that only humans can do: thinking critically, reasoning ethically, interacting interpersonally, and serving others with empathy.
People with higher levels of education are less inclined toward authoritarian political preferences.
Credit: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of data from the World Values Survey (WVS), 1994–2014.<p>When considering human work and the future of democracy, it's impossible to avoid the rise of authoritarianism throughout the world. According to <a href="https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/authoritarianism/" target="_blank">new research</a> from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the alarming increase of authoritarianism on a global scale can't be considered in isolation.</p><p>The postwar world order was based on the expectation in the West that democracy was spreading throughout the world, country by country, and would eventually become the preferred form of government everywhere. Foreign relations were based on the broad consensus that established democracies should be vigilant and unwavering in offering military and cultural support to emerging democracies. Democracy spread throughout Latin America and even appeared likely to take root in China. The end of the Cold War seemed to confirm the inevitability of democracy's spread, with only a few old-style authoritarian systems left in Cuba, North Korea, and other poor, isolated countries.</p><p>Today, the tide seems to be turning in the opposite direction. Authoritarianism—particularly in the form of populist nationalism—has returned to Russia and parts of Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. China appears resolute in maintaining state control over political and cultural expression. And we now understand clearly that not even the United States and Western Europe are immune from authoritarianism's allure.</p>
Did America's collective mental health get worse (and then better) after the first COVID-19 lockdown?
- According to a new study, there was an influx of internet searches for mental health symptoms during the beginning of the pandemic, and this has slowly trended downwards.
- Researchers looked at whether mitigation policies correlated with Google searches for terms associated with depression and anxiety between January and June of 2020. Additionally, they monitored search terms for in-home activities.
- While searches for antidepressants and suicide did rise when social distancing measures were being implemented, research shows the search terms exercise and cooking also rose.
Mental health internet searches throughout the COVID-19 pandemic<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTYxOTM3Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2ODAzNDUxN30.KY1F3g3HZf58zZvDIweCZlf4eJK57QZVQYj1s0Uvp8g/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C183%2C0%2C312&height=700" id="5da47" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e1dcdabb94dd518ad325750ecc847325" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="woman sitting inside looking outside concept of mental health depression anxiety sadness COVID-19" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
This is one of many studies that have examined the mental health impact of COVID-19 isolation orders.
Photo by Maridav on Adobe Stock<p>In this study, researchers looked at whether mitigation policies correlated with Google searches for terms associated with depression and anxiety. Additionally, they monitored search terms for in-home activities. Researchers covered the time span from January 2020 to June 2020.</p><p><strong>Two previous studies have examined the mental health effects of stay-at-home orders. </strong></p><p>The first study (<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X20302331?via%3Dihub#bib0155" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hamermesh, 2020</a>) used a simulation where time spent alone from the 2012-2013 American Time Use Survey forecasted negative impacts of the stay-at-home orders on happiness. </p><p>The second study (<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X20302331?via%3Dihub#bib0050" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Brodeur et al,. 2020</a>) examined the effects of the stay-at-home orders on mental health symptoms related to searches on Google. In this case, there were reported increases in searches relating to the following terms: </p><ul><li>"Boredom" </li><li>"Sadness" </li><li>"Loneliness"</li><li>"Worry"</li></ul><p><strong>In this study, limited social contact had people searching terms such as "isolation" and "worry." </strong></p><p>Findings from this study indicated that social limits (on restaurants and bars, for example) and stay-at-home orders correlated with immediate increases in searches for the terms "isolation" and "worry" - but the effects within a few weeks.</p><p><strong>The beginning of the pandemic showed significant spikes in mental health symptom searches.</strong></p><p>"At the outset of the pandemic, consistent with prior research, social distancing policies correlated with a spike in searches about how to deal with isolation and worry, which shouldn't be surprising," <a href="https://www.psychcongress.com/article/online-searches-related-mental-health-stabilized-after-spiking-early-pandemic" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said co-author Dolores Albarracín, Ph.D.</a> "Generally speaking, if you have a pandemic or an economic shock, that's going to produce its own level of anxiety, depression, and negative feelings, and we had both with COVID-19."</p><p>Within two to four weeks of peaking, however, such searches tapered off, the study showed.</p><p><strong>Experts weigh in: time spent at home could be beneficial. </strong></p><p>Why would mental health-related searches taper off when the pandemic was still raging on? This study found that more time spent with family (or working from home, taking up new hobbies due to isolation) because of the stay-at-home orders could have lead to improvements in health and may counteract any potential negative health effect of the isolation policies.</p><p>It's also important to note that not all changes in mental health searches could be in response to the isolation policies being enforced. Historically, infectious diseases have been responsible for the greatest human death tolls and function as a massive stressor on society as a whole. </p><p><strong>Both positive and negative Google searches rose during the pandemic. </strong></p><p>While searches for "antidepressants" and "suicide" did rise at times when social distancing measures were being implemented, research shows the search terms "exercise" and "cooking" also rose. This suggests that people were actively searching for ways to combat the negative feelings the isolation measures brought out. </p>
Cold hands and feet? Maybe it's your anxiety.
- 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.
Here's what you may not know about anxiety...<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0ed8bd7fb8626babd10933f7ce630f96"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w4jiLIzTAa0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><strong>There's a fine line between stress and anxiety - and many people don't know what the difference is.</strong></p><p>Both stress and anxiety are <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/stress-anxiety-difference" target="_blank">emotional responses</a>, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger and can be short-term (a looming deadline at work, for example). People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, insomnia, and headache. </p><p>Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined as a persistent, excessive worry. Even in the absence of the thing that triggered it, anxiety lingers. It can lead to a nearly identical set of symptoms, which is why they are often confused. Feelings of anxiety then differ from an anxiety disorder - an anxiety disorder means your anxiety typically persists for months and negatively impacts your daily functioning. </p><p><strong>There are five major types of anxiety disorders:</strong></p><ol><li>Generalized anxiety (GAD) is characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry, and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it. </li><li>Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (or obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). </li><li>Panic disorder is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and/or abdominal distress. </li><li>Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is also an anxiety disorder, and it can develop after exposure to a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include things like personal assaults, natural and/or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat. </li><li>Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as 'social phobia') is characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. </li></ol><p><strong>Anxiety disorders can impact 31 percent of Americans at some point in their life. </strong></p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/stress-anxiety-difference" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">American Psychological Association</a>, 19 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have had an anxiety disorder in the past year and 31 percent of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. </p><p><strong>Anxiety may be genetic. </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/is-anxiety-genetic#:~:text=Most%20researchers%20conclude%20that%20anxiety,and%20more%20research%20is%20needed." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to HealthLine</a>, anxiety may be genetic but can also be influenced by environmental factors. It's possible to have anxiety without it running in your family, however, there is speculated to be some genetic component that makes anxiety more prevalent in some individuals. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573560/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Research</a> has indicated some link between genetics and anxiety, though much more research is required in this area. </p><p><strong>Anxiety often begins in childhood. </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html#:~:text=For%20children%20aged%203%2D17,also%20have%20depression%20(32.3%25).&text=For%20children%20aged%203%2D17%20years%20with%20behavior%20problems%2C%20more,also%20have%20depression%20(20.3%25)." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to the CDC</a>, 7.1 percent of children between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 4.4 million) have an anxiety diagnosis. Six in ten children (59.3 percent) between the ages of 3-17 have received anxiety therapy or treatment. </p><p><strong>Having an anxiety disorder can increase your risk of other physical health complications. </strong></p><p>According to research from <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/anxiety" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Harvard Medical School</a>, anxiety has been indicated in several chronic physical illnesses, including heart disease, chronic respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS, and more. </p><p><strong>Cold hands and feet? Anxiety may be the reason. </strong></p><p>If you're someone who constantly struggles with having cold hands or feet, it could be a result of your anxiety. When we feel anxious, the brain's <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response#:~:text=The%20autonomic%20nervous%20system%20has,can%20respond%20to%20perceived%20dangers." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">fight or flight instinct</a> kicks in, and the blood flow is redirected from your extremities towards the torso and vital organs. </p><p><strong>Anxiety can be related to anger issues and memory loss. </strong></p><p>A lesser-known side effect of anxiety is <a href="https://discoverymood.com/blog/anxiety-and-anger/#:~:text=Anxiety%20is%20often%20connected%20with,which%20can%20lead%20to%20anger." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">anger</a>. When you feel powerless over a situation, expressing anger is a natural way to feel as though you have some kind of control. With chronic sufferers of anxiety, depression is the most common issue to develop, but anger is close behind. As <a href="https://discoverymood.com/blog/anxiety-and-anger/#:~:text=Anxiety%20is%20often%20connected%20with,which%20can%20lead%20to%20anger." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Discovery Mood</a> explains, "anxiety is often connected with overstimulation from a stressful environment or threat, combined with the perceived inability to deal with that threat. In contrast, anger is often tied to frustration. When anxiety is left unacknowledged or unexpressed, it can turn into frustration which then easily leads to anger." </p><p><strong>Anxiety can also cause memory problems. </strong></p><p>According to <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046326#:~:text=Stress%2C%20anxiety%20or%20depression%20can,loss%20by%20interacting%20with%20medications." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a>, stress, anxiety, or depression can often cause forgetfulness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/anxiety-and-memory-1393133" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">VeryWellMind</a> explains further, "memories can be affected when you are under periods of stress or experience some sort of disturbance in mood. Having a significant anxiety disorder like GAD can create some of these problems routinely, leaving you operating below your normal level of memory functioning." </p><p><strong>Anxiety can even impact your sense of smell. </strong></p><p>People who struggle with anxiety may be more likely to label natural smells as bad smells, according to research published in the <a href="https://www.jneurosci.org/content/33/39/15324" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Journal of Neuroscience</a>. When processing smells, typically it's only the olfactory system that is activated. However, in people with high anxiety levels, the emotional system can become intertwined with the olfactory system, which can slightly alter our perception of smells.</p>
A new study shows that beauty standards affect whether or not accusers are believed.
- Sexual harassment is behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances.
- Results of a 2018 survey showed that 81% of women (and 43% of men) had experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime.
- According to a new study published by the American Psychological Association, women who do not fit female stereotypes for beauty are less likely to be seen as victims of sexual harassment, and if they claim they were harassed, they are less likely to be believed.
The study conducted a series of 11 multi-method experiments, involving over 4,000 participants.
Credit: Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/apa-shc011221.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">According to a new study</a> published by the American Psychological Association, women who do not fit female stereotypes for beauty are less likely to be seen as victims of sexual harassment, and if they claim they were harassed, they are less likely to be believed.</p><p>"Sexual harassment is pervasive and causes significant harm, yet far too many women cannot access fairness, justice, and legal protection, leaving them susceptible to further victimization and harm within the legal system," study co-author Cheryl Kaiser, Ph.D., of the University of Washington <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-01/apa-shc011221.php" target="_blank">said in a statement</a>. </p><p>According to Kaiser, sexual harassment claims were deemed less credible (and the harassment was perceived as less psychologically harmful) when it targeted a victim who was less attractive and/or did not act according to the stereotype of a typical woman. </p><p>The study conducted a series of 11 multi-method experiments, involving over 4,000 participants. It was designed to investigate the effects a victim's fit to the concept of a typical woman had on participants' view of sexual harassment (and the consequences of that mental association). In five experiments, participants read scenarios in which women either did or did not experience sexual harassment. Participants assessed the extent to which these women fit the idealized image of women, either by drawing what they thought the woman might look like or selecting from a series of photos. Across all experiments, participants perceived the targets of sexual harassment as more stereotypical than those who did not experience harassment.</p><p>In the next four experiments, participants were shown ambiguous sexual harassment scenarios which were then paired with descriptions or photos of women who were either stereotypical or not. The participants then rated the likelihood that the incident constituted sexual harassment. According to authors of the study, participants were less likely to label these ambiguous scenarios as sexual harassment when the targets were non-stereotypical women (compared with stereotypical women), despite the fact that, in some cases, the incident was the exact same.</p><p><strong>The final two experiments in this study found that sexual harassment claims were often viewed as less credible when the victim adhered less to the typical female stereotype.<br><br></strong>Even when a stereotypical woman and non-stereotypical woman submitted the same claim, it was deemed as less credible if the woman was perceived as less feminine. Additionally, the participants found the harassment to be deemed as less psychologically harmful when experienced by a non-stereotypical female.</p><p>"Our findings demonstrate that non-stereotypical women who are sexually harassed may be vulnerable to unjust and discriminatory treatment when they seek legal recourse," co-author Bryn Bandt-Law, a doctoral student at the University of Washington, explained in an interview. "If women's nonconformity to feminine stereotypes biases perceptions of their credibility and harm caused by harassment, as our results suggest, it could prevent non-stereotypical women who are sexually harassed from receiving the civil rights protections afforded to them by law."</p><p><strong>**If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault, contact the <a href="https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline" target="_blank">National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline</a> at 800-656-4673. You are not alone.**</strong></p>
First, recognize that our genes make us worrywarts.
After a year of toxic stress ignited by so much fear and uncertainty, now is a good time to reset, pay attention to your mental health and develop some healthy ways to manage the pressures going forward.