Why the community that sings together stays together

Singing is universal. It is found in all cultures and, despite protestations of tone deafness, the vast majority of people can sing.

Richard Atrero de Guzman/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), the movie about the British band Queen, the scene that sticks in my mind depicts the Live Aid concert in London in 1985.

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Culture & Religion

Alcohol's secondhand effects are more serious than we think, study says

A new study highlights the secondhand effects of drinking, arguing that higher taxation could curb problems.

Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash
  • A new study reveals that 21 percent of females and 23 percent of males have suffered the consequences of someone else's drinking.
  • The secondhand effects of alcohol, including threats, vandalism, and financial problems, are underreported.
  • Experts in the field recommend higher taxation to curb excessive drinking.
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Surprising Science

Loneliness is a "disease", associated with an increased risk of death equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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Mind & Brain

Field Museum: Beer stabilizes society, keeps 'people together'

New research suggests that a healthy supply of locally-sourced beer helped maintain the unity of the widespread Wari civilization for about 500 years.

  • A new analysis of an ancient Wari brewery suggests chicha helped maintain the civilization's social capital for hundreds of years.
  • Civilizations throughout the ancient world used alcoholic drinks to signify kinship, hospitality, and social cohesion.
  • The researchers hope their findings will remind us of the importance in reaffirming social institutions and sharing cultural practices — even if over coffee or tea.
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Culture & Religion

Why are IQ scores rising? Industrialization rewired our minds.

300 years of industrialization have boosted our IQ scores in one very specific way.

  • Human intelligence is increasing by approximately 3 IQ points per decade, a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect.
  • The increases come from one area of intelligence in particular: abstract thinking, which can be tested using puzzles like Raven's Progressive Matrices. Watch this video to see two kinds of puzzles: One your modern mind is perfectly geared for, and another that might just fool you.
  • In this video, David Epstein recounts a natural experiment in the Soviet Union in the 1930s that tested the intelligence of isolated subsistence farmers compared to people who had been exposed to industrialization. The experiment revealed fascinating information about abstract thinking, intelligence transfer, and how modern life has changed the way we perceive the world.
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