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The Psychology of Getting More Done In Less Time

Summary of not-so-new scholarship, but perhaps worth a look if you are curious about the psychology of motivation and procrastination. If I were to ask [you] to describe the practice regiments of world-class musicians, you’d probably envision a shut-in artist who plays all day long and then tucks in their instrument at night. Amazingly though, research by Anders Ericsson that examined the practice sessions of elite violinists clearly showed that…

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The New American Man Doesn’t Look Like His Father

NPR has a story that should probably have run last weekend, for Fathers’ Day. It’s still an interesting exploration of how the traditional definition of masculinity in culture has changed, as more men are not only studying and working alongside women (and seeing them as peers) but also playing a larger part in childcare. Noguera also has seen men become much more involved with raising their children and general housework. “But…

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Why Audiences Hate Hard News—And Love Pretending Otherwise

A reminder that polls that ask people to predict (or remember) their behavior are not as reliable as measurements that track what people actually do. (This is why usability testing — asking people to use something and measuring how well they perform — differs from simply gathering opinions.) The more attention-starved we feel, the more we thirst for stimuli that are familiar. We like ice cream when we’re sad, old…

No Money, No Time

We tend to assume that pressure makes us more efficient. I work fastest when I’m on deadline. I stretch my grocery budget the most when my funds are running low. But in reality, it’s not that you’re working better when you’re stressed. It’s that the opposite situation, overabundance, often makes us less efficient. It’s a fine balancing act: Overabundance makes us less efficient, but we need to reach a certain…

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Disruptive Decorations: Kids learned better in a sparesly-decorated CMU lab

Kids learned better in a sparse lab setting than they did in a decorated room. Of course, if they were familiar with the room, and the decorations came from their own artwork and class projects, perhaps the items would be reminders rather than distractions, but the study didn’t test that possibility. For the study, 24 kindergarten students were placed in laboratory classrooms for six introductory science lessons on topics they…

You Are Not a Digital Native: Privacy in the Age of the Internet

Cory Doctorow tries to wake young people up to the realities of an online world controlled by companies that are hungry for your personal data. Facebook is a company whose business model is based on the idea that if they spy on you enough and trick you into revealing enough about your life, they can sell you stuff through targeted ads. When they get called on this, they explain that…