It's Normal To Think Most People Agree With You, But It Might Just Be In Your Head
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Let's pretend you love pizza with anchovies. Your family also loves anchovy pizza—growing up, that's all you ever ordered. When your best friends would come over to hang out, they also opted for pizza with anchovies. Who needs any other topping? Now you're a manager at a company. You want to celebrate your team's recent accomplishments, so you order something they'll surely love: anchovy pizza. Everyone politely takes a piece, but barely picks around the fish. What gives? This scenario is an example of the false-consensus effect. Because you and your loved ones share a preference in pizza, you falsely assumed that everyone did.
The No One Dies Alone Program Pairs Volunteers With Terminal Patients
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The fear of dying alone might plague humanity more than the fear of death itself. If you've ever had to visit a terminally ill loved one in the hospital, you've felt the importance of being with them in their final hours. But what about the patients who don't have anyone with whom to share their final moments? A nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, found the answer.In 1986, Sandra Clarke was working as a staff nurse at Sacred Heart when a frail, elderly man asked if she would stay with him. It was the end of Clarke's shift and she still had six more patients to check on, so she said she'd return later. When Clarke returned, the man had died, and he'd been alone when it happened. That's when Clarke vowed she would never have another patient die without someone by their side. Fifteen years later, the volunteer program No One Dies Alone (NODA) was born.
Despite Mean World Syndrome, The World Isn't As Dangerous As It's Portrayed
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Think about the last time you checked the news. Did you feel good afterward? Or, as is often the case these days, did you feel more afraid, angry, cynical, and hopeless? Broadcast news has developed over the years to compete with entertainment for TV ratings. As a result, they tend to sensationalize danger and wrongdoing, evoking fears of corruption and impending doom. The negative effects this has on society at large make up what communications specialist George Gerbner has called the Mean World Syndrome.The Mean World Syndrome is one of Gerbner's main points under his cultivation theory, which deals with the impact watching television has on how we see the world. The Mean World Syndrome goes one step further, describing the perception that the world is more dangerous than it really is based on what's shown in mass media. According to The Atlantic, there are 3,000 studies before 1971 alone that suggest "a strong connection between television watching and aggression." A lot has been done to shield children from violence on television, but Gerbner argues that we're missing the point. Instead of focusing on ways to hide the violence, he questions the ways in which the violence is portrayed.
There's No Such Thing As An Addictive Personality
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Whether it's your fourth cookie, shoe purchase, or cigarette, it's common to pass off a moment of weak willpower as being caused by an addictive personality. But according to research, there's no such thing. Sure, there are personality traits that are associated with addictive behavior: neuroticism, for example, or impulsiveness. But those are just traits. Just because scientific evidence shows that most people with addictions are neurotic doesn't mean that neuroticism makes you prone to addiction—there are plenty of neurotic people who aren't addicted to anything. Likewise, research shows that having one addiction makes you more likely to have another, but plenty of addicts stick to a single vice. Different vices also fulfill different personal needs for different people: we've all heard of the depressed alcoholic who drinks to numb the pain and the party-animal alcoholic who drinks to make life more exciting. Same drug, two different personalities.
Key Facts to Know
Some factors that can make you more likely to develop a problem with addiction and some personalities are more common among addicts, but those things don't combine to create an addictive personality. 0:42
In the 1980s, Dr. Alan Lang published a chapter on the personality factors that could contribute to addiction. The media misreported on it, and the idea of an addictive personality stuck. 4:47
Technically, the idea of an addictive personality disorder is wrong, but the way that personality and addiction come together is tricky. 6:47
Seasonal Affective Disorder Is The Clinical Name For The Winter Blues
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Unless you live in a tropical paradise, chances are that some months of the year are gloomier than others. As autumn and winter roll around, the tilt of the Earth pulls us out of sunlight's direct path, leading to colder temperatures, fewer daylight hours, and more time spent inside. For some people, this can also lead to a period of depression that physicians call seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The snappy acronym notwithstanding, SAD is no social media trend—it's a real psychological condition with real drawbacks. According to American Family Physician, about 5% of the U.S. population—as many as 1 in 20—experiences SAD in a given year, and in northern latitudes, that number can climb to 10%. SAD is a form of clinical depression, and its symptoms are similar with two differences: they only affect you seasonally (for 40% of the year, on average), and they can make you crave food more, especially carbohydrates.
Key Facts to Know
Season Affective Disorder is the beginning or worsening of the symptoms of depression which occurs with the changing of the seasons. 0:26
Studies have found that when people are exposed to bright light early in the morning, their production of melatonin happens earlier in the evening. 1:34
It's thought that this disorder is a biochemical evolutionary hangover from our mammalian ancestors who hibernated during the winter months. 2:08