This is your brain on art If you think about it, having a great time at the theater defies logic in many ways. We’re surrounded by strangers, bombarded with unusual images and often faced with a wordless language of symbols. … Continue reading Entertained in a crowd
Most People Identify as Huggers, Rarely Hug “I think that—and I should be careful about how I say this, but—I do think using Facebook sometimes feels like using heroin,” Vivek Murthy, the recent-past U.S. Surgeon General, said yesterday. The comment … Continue reading Can loneliness cause addiction?
Facebook patents show multiple ways the network could harness our emotions Social media has been known to mess with our emotions and even affect our mental health — and that manipulation is sometimes by design. Facebook, in particular, has been … Continue reading Predicting emotions online
Our world outsmarts us When mulling over possible reasons for the alarming nastiness associated with the recent presidential election in the United States, I am reminded of my grade-school bully. Handsome, often charming, superbly athletic, the bully (let’s call him … Continue reading The complexity of social problems
How Loneliness Begets Loneliness “I’m clearly a textbook case of the silent majority of middle-aged men who won’t admit they’re starved for friendship, even if all signs point to the contrary,” wrote Billy Baker in his recent exploration of male … Continue reading Social isolation kills
The Role of Narratives in Economics In his recent 2017 American Economic Association (AEA) Presidential address, Nobel laureate Robert Shiller pointed out an interesting disconnect between economists and the real world. Of the thousands of papers in economics presented at … Continue reading Information is more than facts
The real name fallacy People often say that online behavior would improve if every comment system forced people to use their real names. It sounds like it should be true – surely nobody would say mean things if they faced … Continue reading The anonymity problem