Why moral people tolerate immoral behavior

As morally sturdy as we may feel, it turns out that humans are natural hypocrites when it comes to passing moral judgment.

  • The problem with having a compass as the symbolic representation of morality is that due north is not a fixed point. Liane Young, Boston College associate professor and director of the Morality Lab, explains how context, bias, and tribal affiliation influence us enormously when we pass moral judgments.
  • Moral instinct is tainted by cognitive bias. Humans evolved to be more lenient to their in-groups—for example excusing a beloved politician who lines their pockets while lambasting a colleague for the exact same transgression—and to care more about harm done close to them than harm done farther away, for example, to people in another country.
  • The challenge for humans in a globalized and polarized world is to become aware of our moral biases and learn to apply morality more objectively. How can we be more rational and less hypocritical about our morals? "I think that clarifying the value that you are consulting for a particular problem is really critical," says Young.
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Study: These personality traits predict early career success

A new study found that personality growth in young adults predicted career benefits such as income, degree attainment, and job satisfaction.

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  • A 12-year longitudinal study found that personality changes in teens predicted important early career outcomes.
  • Growth in extroversion, conscientiousness, and emotional stability showed the strongest effects.
  • While personality traits have been shown to be relatively stable, they can also be developed throughout our lifetimes.
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    Should parents de-emphasize gender norms?

    The color of toys has a much deeper effect on children than some parents may realize.

    • The idea that blue is for boys and pink is for girls plays out in gender reveals and in the toy aisle, but where does it come from and what limits is it potentially placing on children?
    • Lisa Selin Davis traces the gendering of toys and other objects back to the 1920s and explains how, over time, these marketing strategies were falsely conflated with biological traits.
    • The "pink-blue divide" affects boys and girls on a psychological level. For example, psychologists discovered that when girls exit their intense 'pink princess' phase between ages 3-6 and move into a tomboy 'I hate pink' phase at age 6-8 "that is actually a moment of girls realizing that what's marked as feminine is devalued and so they're distancing themselves from it to prop themselves up higher on the ladder," says Selin Davis.
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    How four British migrations defined America

    They came from different places and with different ideas, which still resonate today.

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    • Early British settlement of the American colonies came in four distinct waves, from different places.
    • Puritans, Cavaliers, Quakers, and Borderers had their own ideas of what America should be.
    • Some of the cultural fault lines in today's America can be traced back to those differences.
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    Five weird thought experiments to break your brain

    Thought expriments are great tools, but do they always do what we want them to?

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    • Thought experiments are quite popular, though some get more time in the sun than others.
    • While they are supposed to help guide our intuition to help solve difficult problems, some are a bit removed from reality.
    • Can we trust the intuitions we have about problems set in sci-fi worlds or that postulate impossible monsters?
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