Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, has ten chapters in which the following topics are treated: food, sanitation, life expectancy, poverty, violence, the environment, literacy, freedom, equality, and children's rights and perspectives.
In his treatment of these topics Norberg uses vivid examples and a lot of objective data. Even if you have read some things about the great progress in the world, you will probably still come across some informative new material in this book. The book is interesting although I have a point of criticism.
September 22, 2016
September 21, 2016
see here). Cal Newport, professor of computer science and author of the book Deep work goes a step further. He argues that in nearly every profession a much better productivity and more satisfaction can be achieved by using an approach he calls deep work.
September 19, 2016
September 18, 2016
Negativity in conversations can put a strain on relationships and can make cooperation harder. Negativity, such as criticism and blame, can make people defensive. While they are in a defensive state of mind, their ability for nuanced and creative thinking is temporarily reduced. Instead, they may try to justify their own behavior or launch a counterattack. Whenever people feel they are approached negatively their reflex is to respond negatively. Both the content of what they say and the way they are saying it is likely to become more negative.
September 17, 2016
September 12, 2016
September 11, 2016
September 5, 2016
As you may have read, there is much ado in psychology about the correctness of previously found research findings. While some scientists have responded somewhat defensively to this, others are seriously trying to improve the quality of psychological research. Here are three ways in which they try to do that.
September 2, 2016
Latham & Seijts (2016) summarize the findings of goals-setting theory (GST; Locke & Latham, 1990; 2013), a well supported theory about how goals work. GST-research has shown that setting specific, challenging goals lead to higher performance than easy and abstract goals. The general rule is that higher goals lead to higher performance providing four conditions have been met: the individual is competent for the goals, has sufficient situational resources, is committed and receives objective feedback on goal progress.
August 27, 2016
Carol Dweck's mindset theory has now been fully tested by Smiley et a. (2016). To understand how they did this, I'll first try to summarize Dweck's theory (see picture below which is mine but was inspired by Smiley et al.'s paper).
What Dweck's theory predicts
August 26, 2016
Bad is stronger than good, Baumeister et al. (2001) documented research into the so-called negativity bias. The article cites research showing that negative events, emotions, and information impact us more strongly than positive ones do. They conclude their article by saying:
"In our review, we have found bad to be stronger than good in a disappointingly relentless pattern. We hope that this article may stimulate researchers to search for and identify exceptions; that is, spheres or circumstances in which good events outweigh bad ones. Given the large number of patterns in which bad outweighs good, however, any reversals are likely to remain as mere exceptions."
August 25, 2016
When we feel bad, it makes sense to search for things that may make us feel better, and rather sooner than later. But be careful. Some things which are practically sure to make us feel better in the short term may have detrimental effects in the longer term. One example might be the use of antidepressants. They might work in the short term but might have unpleasant side effects in the longer term. But there is another example which may be a little less obvious: fantasizing about something positive. The thought is logical: "When you feel down, fantasize about how your life might become wonderful. That will make you feel better!"
August 24, 2016
The more high school students think that success in science depends on extraordinary talent the less they will be inclined to choose and persist at science and math courses. Researchers Lin-Siegler et al. (2016) developed a practical intervention to correct such beliefs: stories which make clear that even the most successful scientists had to face struggles and setbacks.