David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
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Psychology of feedback: How to give or receive valuable critique

How can you give and receive more productive feedback? Form a psychological contract with a trusted partner.

MELANIE KATZMAN: I encourage people to provide feedback to one another. It's a gift. It's also often part of your job. But, too often, we don't go far enough. So I suggest that we create psychological contracts. You don't do it with everybody, but it is an opportunity to agree to exchange extremely honest feedback by mutual consent in a safe and trusting way.

There's a number of different ways in which you can do that. One is in the immediate. I say to somebody who I trust, whose opinion matters to me, "I'm getting up on stage. Let me know afterwards: Was I clear? Did I give too much information, too little information? Did I move too much? Did I engage with the audience? Tell me the truth." That's an immediate request for honest feedback and we are creating a psychological contract. You're not going out of bounds if you tell me exactly what you think. I also tell people if they're going into a meeting, pick the person who's going to pull on their ear to let you know you're going off topic, whether your data is really not holding up in that room and getting an immediate sense from somebody the unvarnished truth about what's going on.

The other way in which we negotiate psychological contracts is to create a space within the group that you're working to say "We're going through big changes in our company right now. There's going to be a lot of noise in the hallways. Not everyone's going to like what we're doing but when we come into this room we're going to share what we're hearing, how we're feeling and we're going to work through that together." So it is creating a safe space; it's agreeing this is where we're going to bring that information and understand that not everything's going to be pretty, but we have mutually consented to having that sharing.

So, when we establish a psychological contract this is not a written agreement. This is an agreement between people, preferably, I look you in the eye or I speak to you directly and I ask permission and you give it to me. It doesn't exist, by the way, forever; you have to renew those contracts. You can negotiate them for the moment. You can negotiate them over a period of time. I say to you, "I know you're coming up for promotion. I'd really like to help you get to where you need to go. Would you like me to give you feedback on a more ongoing way?" I've asked you. You've given me permission. We've now contracted that, over a period of time, with a particular goal in mind we're going to have continual exchanges. You're going to expect that feedback from me and I'm going to take on the responsibility of delivering that to you regularly and clearly.

In the absence of negotiating that contract people can feel as if they have been impinged upon, that you are going beyond what is socially accepted or interpersonally comfortable. So be clear, be mutual, and then be extremely candid.

  • Feedback is a gift, says business psychologist Dr Melanie Katzman. Giving or receiving feedback can be a formal part of our jobs, but in Dr Katzman's assessment, we often don't go far enough with feedback.
  • Katzman suggests creating a psychological contract with a partner who you respect and trust. In that contract, you agree to exchange extremely honest feedback by mutual consent in a safe and trusting way.
  • In this video, she lays out the rules for such a contract and how you can embark on one. This kind of feedback is not advised without a clear contract as people can feel you are going out of bounds. So be clear, be mutual, and then be extremely candid.

Take your career to the next level by raising your EQ

Emotional intelligence is a skill sought by many employers. Here's how to raise yours.

  • Daniel Goleman's 1995 book Emotional Intelligence catapulted the term into widespread use in the business world.
  • One study found that EQ (emotional intelligence) is the top predictor of performance and accounts for 58% of success across all job types.
  • EQ has been found to increase annual pay by around $29,000 and be present in 90% of top performers.
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Can VR help us understand layers of oppression?

Researchers are using technology to make visual the complex concepts of racism, as well as its political and social consequences.

Future of Learning
  • Often thought of first as gaming tech, virtual reality has been increasingly used in research as a tool for mimicking real-life scenarios and experiences in a safe and controlled environment.
  • Focusing on issues of oppression and the ripple affect it has throughout America's political, educational, and social systems, Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn of Columbia University School of Social Work and her team developed a VR experience that gives users the opportunity to "walk a mile" in the shoes of a black man as he faces racism at three stages in his life: as a child, during adolescence, and as an adult.
  • Cogburn says that the goal is to show how these "interwoven oppressions" continue to shape the world beyond our individual experiences. "I think the most important and powerful human superpower is critical consciousness," she says. "And that is the ability to think, be aware and think critically about the world and people around's not so much about the interpersonal 'Do I feel bad, do I like you?'—it's more 'Do I see the world as it is? Am I thinking critically about it and engaging it?'"
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Russia claims world's first COVID-19 vaccine but skepticism abounds

President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.

Credit: Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
  • Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in Russia.
  • Scientists around the world are worried that the vaccine is unsafe and that Russia fast-tracked the vaccine without performing the necessary phase 3 trials.
  • To date, Russia has had nearly 900,000 registered cases of coronavirus.
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    Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

    Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

    Image source: Ernst Haeckel
    Surprising Science
    • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
    • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
    • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
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    Therapy app Talkspace mined user data for marketing insights, former employees allege

    A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.
    Technology & Innovation
    • In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
    • Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
    • It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
    Keep reading Show less