First Evidence That Social Bots Play a Major Role in Spreading Fake News

Shad and co say bots play a particularly significant role in the spread of fake news soon after it is published. What’s more, these bots are programmed to direct their tweets at influential users. “Automated accounts are particularly active in the early spreading phases of viral claims, and tend to target influential users,” say Shao and co. That’s a clever strategy. Information is much more likely to become viral when…

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5 Characteristics of Successful Work Groups (at Google)

Google’s internal study of work groups found that successful teams are made of reliable, engaged workers who feel psychologically safe to take risks. Keeping this in mind the next time I introduce a group project. We learned that there are five key dynamics that set successful teams apart from other teams at Google: Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed? Dependability: Can we…

The Distracted Classroom: Transparency, Autonomy, and Pedagogy

I don’t ban technology in my classroom, even though I know some students can’t manage the potential distraction. (An early assignment in my freshman writing class demonstrates that multitasking is a lie — we can only pay attention to one thing at a time,,and though we can do something routine like fold laundry while also watching TV, we stop watching TV if we lose a sock, and we stop folding…

You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you

We’re culturally programmed to admire people who stick to their principles. We want strong leaders, not wishy-washy ones. It’s funny to think of scientists marching in a rally shouting, “What do we want? Evidence-based change! When do we want it? After peer review!” This comic carefully walks through the way the brain accepts or rejects new information. This is a comic about the backfire effect. —The Oatmeal

How cult leaders brainwash followers for total control

With each other as validation, we began to articulate the real, dismal and frightening story of life in The O, which had as its unlikely recruiting grounds the 1970s food co-ops of the US Midwest. After a dramatic exit, I wrote the memoir Inside Out (2002). The book was an effort to understand how I, an independent, curious and intelligent 26-year-old, could have been captured and held by such a…