Are humans cruel by nature?

Historian Rutger Bregman argues that the persistent theory that most people are monsters is just wrong.

  • How have humans managed to accomplish significantly more than any other species on the planet? Historian Rutger Bregman believes the quality that makes us special is that we "evolved to work together and to cooperate on a scale that no other species in the whole animal kingdom has been able to do."
  • Pushing back against the millennia-old idea that humans are inherently evil beneath their civilized surface, which is known as 'veneer theory', Bregman says that it's humanity's cooperative spirit and sense of brotherhood that leads us to do cruel deeds. "Most atrocities are committed in the name of loyalty, and in the name of friendship, and in the name of helping your people," he tells Big Think. "That is what's so disturbing."
  • The false assumption that people are evil or inherently selfish has an effect on the way we design various elements of our societies and structures. If we designed on the assumption that we are collaborative instead, we could avoid the "self-fulfilling prophecy" of selfishness.
Keep reading Show less

Teen popularity linked to increased depression in adolescence, decreased depression in adulthood

The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthood and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.

Credit: Dragana Gordic on Shutterstock
  • A 2020 Michigan State University study examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life.
  • This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
  • There are several ways you can attempt to stay active and socially connected while battling depression, according to experts.
Keep reading Show less

Screen time isn’t hurting kids socially, study finds

Despite being raised in a screen-lit world, today's children make and maintain friendships as well as past generations.

  • The dominate cultural assumption claims screen time devastates children's social skills.
  • A recent study in the American Journal of Sociology suggests today's children are as socially skilled as the preceding peers.
  • Parents need to set screen limits, but research shows they should set limits for themselves, too.
Keep reading Show less

Why savvy business people build relationship capital

Good relationship capital can change your business forever, explains Shark Tank investor Daymond John.

  • Relationship capital is one of the most overlooked facets of doing good business, says investor and entrepreneur Daymond John.
  • Savvy entrepreneurs know that digging into the relationships that they've nurtured for 5, 10, or 20 years is what pays the best dividends. That doesn't happen passively. You must build your reputation and take great care to be authentic in your interactions, says John.
  • Relationship capital is symbiotic and becomes a network. When two parties genuinely look after each other over the long term, that goodwill spreads across both their networks and brings tens or hundreds of new transactions instead of just one initial deal.
Keep reading Show less

Why the presumption of good faith can make our lives civil again

Taking time for thoughtful consideration has fallen out of fashion, writes Emily Chamlee-Wright. How can we restore good faith and good judgement to our increasingly polarized conversations?

  • The clamor of the crowd during a heated discussion can make it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. Adam Smith wrote that the loudness of blame can stupefy our good judgment.
  • Equally, when we're talking with just one other person, our previous assumptions and knee-jerk reactions can cloud our good judgment.
  • If you want to find clarity in moments like that, Emily Chamlee-Wright recommends practicing the presumption of good faith. That means that we should presume, unless we have good evidence to the contrary, that the other person's intent is not to deceive or to offend us, but to learn our point of view.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast