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Share Your Goals — but Be Careful Whom You Tell

If you want to achieve a goal, make sure you share your objective with the right person. In a new set of studies, researchers found that people showed greater goal commitment and performance when they told their goal to someone they believed had higher status than themselves. It didn’t help people at all to tell...

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Empathy for Perpetrators Helps Explain Victim Blaming in Sexual Harassment

Men’s empathy for other men who sexually harass women may help explain why they are more likely to blame victims, new research suggests. The research, based on two studies, compared people’s reactions after reading about an incident of sexual harassment. In the first study, men and women showed equal levels of empathy for the female...

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Facts and Stories: Great Stories Undermine Strong Facts

Some research shows facts are better received when presented on their own. Other studies show facts are more accepted when interwoven with stories; stories can help bridge emotional connections. If someone is trying to persuade or influence others, should they use a story or stick to the facts? According to research from social psychologists at...

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Cooperation with High Status Individuals May Increase One’s Own Status

Seeking social status is a central human motivation. Whether it’s buying designer clothing, working the way up the job ladder, or making a conspicuous donation to charity, humans often seek and signal social status. Human cooperation and competition aren’t mutually exclusive, they are two sides of the same coin. Christopher von Rueden from the University...

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It Pays to Explore in Times of Uncertainty

When making choices, people tend either to go with what they know or try something new. We experience this trade-off every day, whether choosing a route to work or buying breakfast cereal. But does one strategy have an advantage over another? Researchers decided to examine this question by looking at fishing boat captains, who face...

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How the ‘Good Guy with a Gun’ Became a Deadly American Fantasy

At the end of May, it happened again. A mass shooter killed 12 people, this time at a municipal center in Virginia Beach. Employees had been forbidden to carry guns at work, and some lamented that this policy had prevented “good guys” from taking out the shooter. This trope – “the good guy with a...

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I’m an MLK Scholar – and I’ll Never Be Able to View King in the Same Light

David Garrow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Martin Luther King Jr., has unearthed information that may forever change King’s legacy. In an 8,000-word article published in the British periodical Standpoint Magazine on May 30, Garrow details the contents of FBI memos he discovered after spending weeks sifting through more than 54,000 documents located on the...

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Racism Has a Toxic Effect

A new study indicates that racism is toxic to humans. A team of USC and UCLA scientists found that racist experiences appear to increase inflammation in African American individuals, raising their risk of chronic illness, according to the study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology on April 18. “We know discrimination is linked to health outcomes, but no...

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What We Think We Know — but Might Not — Pushes us to Learn More

(Spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the “Game of Thrones” season finale) If you think you know the farm animal most closely related to T-Rex, or the American president who inspired the creation of blue jelly beans — but aren’t entirely sure — you’re more likely to bone up on the chicken-dinosaur connection or Ronald...