Delayed gratification and the quest to bridge the person-situation debate

Are we born with self-control? Or does context change our behavior?

  • Are behaviors innate, or are they shaped by our surroundings?
  • David Epstein poses this question as he examines the person-situation debate through the lens of the famed marshmallow test, an experiment in the self-control of children.
  • Simple strategies can be taught to help delay gratification, which suggests our personality traits can undergo change depending on context.

Dehumanization has been trending for decades. Here’s how.

There is greater social distance between Americans than ever before.

Videos
  • There has been a trend toward dehumanization the past four or five decades. This dehumanization has made it easier for us to see others more as commodities than as co-citizens.
  • This dehumanization manifests in four different pillars: political polarization, income inequality, automation, and marketization.
  • Whether through political splits, or income differences, there is more social distance between us than ever before. This distance makes it easier for us, out of ignorance, to treat others in ways that are inhumane.
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A lack of sleep makes your brain eat itself, new research suggests

New study suggests chronic sleep-deprivation causes overactivity in the brain’s self-cleaning mechanism, leading to the destruction of healthy cells.

(ADRIAN SAMPSON)
Surprising Science
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Italy to require schools to teach climate change, in world first

Should other nations start requiring schools to teach climate science, too?


Barbara Alper
/ Getty
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Starting September 2020, public schools in Italy will have to incorporate 33 hours of climate-related lessons into their annual curriculum.
  • Italy's education minister said it's part of an effort to place "the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school."
  • In the U.S., not all states have implemented teaching standards that call for lessons on climate science, but about 80 percent of parents said they support such standards.
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