What Can Science Tell Us About Dad Jokes?

Beyond making the audience cringe and, hopefully, bring a father a little closer to his son or daughter in a healthy manner, puns have given researchers insight into how the left side of the brain engages with the right side. Researchers showed that the brain’s left hemisphere processes the language of the pun first, while the right side takes a few beats to catch the ambiguous dual meaning in a 2016 study…

How to Create a Welcoming Culture for Autistic Students

An autistic undergraduate has tips for professors and administrators: The fact that my disability, and the accommodations that I require because of it, did not crush my higher-education dreams is a testament to the democratization of higher education. While college is still not accessible to everyone, more and more people are able to attend. Low-income, first-generation, mentally ill, and disabled students now frequently share classrooms with the middle- and upper-class…

My Student Calls Out a Mental Health Stigma in a Biased Headline — But Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Blame “The Media”

This morning a journalism student told me a friend in a different class was complaining that “the media” was stigmatizing mental illness in its coverage of yesterday’s mass shooting in California. My student told me she remembered I had mentioned that reporters often don’t write the headlines under which their stories are published, but she wondered what else she might have said. I pointed out that defending vague complaints about…

Jean M. Twenge: "Nearly all phone activities are linked to less happiness, and nearly all non-phone activities are linked to more happiness."

What Do Happy Teens Do? Hint: It doesn’t involve their phones.

I was surprised to see how closely happiness maps to non-phone activities, and unhappiness maps to phone-related activities. The author notes that this is a study of correlation, not causation. When I went through moody phases as a teen, I wrote, or worked, or did theater, or church youth group activities.  When I was busy, I had less time to write. When I didn’t feel like going out, and chose…

Russian trolls ‘spreading discord’ over vaccine safety online

The good news is that there are fewer Americans think vaccination is a government conspiracy than your social media stream makes it appear that there are. The bad news is that somewhere out there is an organization that believes it will benefit from you believing that more people doubt vaccinations than really do. “The vast majority of Americans believe vaccines are safe and effective, but looking at Twitter gives the…