A regular spot to share some ideas about what’s good and what’s not on the interwebthingy. But, you know, it’s your life, so feel free to agree, disagree or ignore what follows.
What caught my attention last week
We’re Not That Shallow, Are We?
Ben Grosser must be a bit of a geek, because he built a little sub-program called The Facebook Demetricator to hide the number of likes and shares that show on posts on your Facebook feed. His thesis was that seeing the actual numbers was influencing people’s perceptions of the posts’ intrinsic value. Shirley Li reports on Fosser’s study which found that:
metrics changed user behavior by encouraging competition (the more likes, the better), emotional manipulation (deleting posts when there weren’t enough likes), reaction (liking more recent posts instead of older ones), and homogenization (liking because others liked).
Seeing What You Want To See
It must be Ned’s psychology week, because I also spotted Jesse Singal reporting on a Duke University study about the relationship between public policy problems and their solutions, specifically in relation to climate change. The study found that “people are less likely to believe that something’s a problem if they have ‘an aversion to the solutions associated with the problem'”.
Singal notes that the study “fits into a broader framework of what psychologists call ‘motivated reasoning’ — the human tendency to form beliefs not based on a strictly ‘objective’ reading of the facts, but in a way that offers some degree of psychological protection.”
“We think politicians have disagreements about the solutions because they have disagreements over the facts,” said Campbell in an email, “when in actuality it’s often the other way around: Partisans have disagreements over the facts because they disagree with solutions.”
When Prisoners Are Just Dads
I’m a sucker for redemption stories.
In a week when we followed a man to Brazil who has shown no remorse and no insight, it’s worth remembering that there are many men in prison who know what they are missing out on, and regret it deeply. Lynette Holloway reports from the Miami Federal Detention Center which organised a dance for inmates and their daughters.
“We want the focus not so much on what happened, what brought them here, but what kind of future they can have. Their daughters are their future.”
What I’m Trying To Ignore Next Week
J-Law, J-Lo and Brangelina – I keep seeing these names in headlines and they mean absolutely nothing to me, except for wondering why their parents couldn’t give them real names. Skip right past.