Why conspiratorial thinking is peaking in America

The internet has given us the opportunity to stay informed better than ever. It's also given us the ability to misinform ourselves — delude ourselves — beyond belief.

  • The internet has allowed fringe groups founded on paranoid thinking to merge in ways we've never seen before.
  • Part of modern political polarization in American is that we're becoming a people who believes in different realities, some of which are based on fears rather than facts. Many of these conspiracy theories are targeted on groups that we believe are plotting against us.
  • There is a romanticization that we're going to somehow solve all of life's unknowns, Da Vinci Code-style. However, this ironically may put us at a disadvantage in terms of breaking puzzles — we look for the familiar in vague stimuli, a pheonmenon known as pareidolia, which only further confounds us.
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Thinking about one’s birth is as uncanny as thinking of death

Do we suffer from birth anxiety like we suffer from death anxiety?

Christian Bowen / Unsplash

Many people feel anxious about the prospect of their death. Indeed, some philosophers have argued that death anxiety is universal and that this anxiety bounds and organises human existence.

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Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Imagine you're a lecturer teaching a celebrated novel that features violent scenes – say, F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925).

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The perks of being a bit neurotic

It's one of our five major personality traits, and arguably, it's the worst one. Why are some human beings neurotic?

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  • Scoring high in neuroticism is associated with a slew of negative outcomes for your physical and mental health.
  • However, it appears to be an inherited trait, one that has persisted through the many thousands of years of human evolution.
  • Some researchers argue that in the environment where humans first evolved, being a little neurotic may have been highly beneficial.
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Why we love big, blood-curdling screams

Among the variety of human screams, it is screams of terror that stand out most vividly.

John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Of all the sounds humans produce, nothing captures our attention quite like a good scream.

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