Are younger siblings more rebellious?
Plus, how do you like your feedback?
“I think it's easy for us to underestimate how much our trajectory in life is determined by the connections that we have in terms of friends and family.” – economist Matthew Jackson
Born to be mild. You might have heard of the “born to rebel” hypothesis. It suggests that later-born siblings are more likely than first-borns to develop personality traits that challenge the status quo. A new study aimed to test this hypothesis by looking at a longstanding symbol of rebelliousness: tattoos. From a sample of later-born folks in the UK and Poland, the researchers analyzed personality traits like openness, risk-taking, sensation-seeking, and need for uniqueness. They also asked those people if they had a tattoo. The researchers did find that “tattooed individuals had higher risk-taking, sensation-seeking, and need for uniqueness.” Birth order, however, was not a predictor of having tattoos. (Furthermore, later-born people had a lower need for uniqueness.) Overall, the study seemed to debunk the “born to rebel” hypothesis.
Feedback sandwich? I’m not hungry. If you’ve ever given feedback, you might have used the sandwich approach: say something nice, deliver the criticism, then say something nice again. But does it work? A study looked at this and other approaches for delivering feedback and criticism. It found that people don’t necessarily care how feedback is given, but other research suggests that they do pay attention to the interpersonal skills of the person offering that feedback. “People want input from someone who is genuine, engaging, kind, and clear,” said study author Summer Bottini.
What do you really want? We all have to make choices in life, such as where to live and how to earn a living. Parents and peers influence our major life choices, but they can also steer us in directions that leave us deeply unsatisfied. There are things we can do, though, to make sure our choices align with our deepest values.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
Jan 9: If you think about the people in your life, it's likely that they share a lot in common with you. Maybe they like the same kinds of food, or enjoy the same hobbies. But, if you dig a little deeper, you may find that they share much more: they might make the same amount of money as you, or share the same race. This week, we talk with economists Luigi Pistaferri and Matthew Jackson about why we often surround ourselves with people who are just like us — and how we can transform our lives by pushing back against this phenomenon.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Jan 11: Todd recalls the classmate in middle school who stepped up to offer support when no one else would.
Don’t forget to send us the story of your unsung hero! Record a voice memo on your phone and email it to email@example.com.
Sam's mother has four children:
April, May, June, and ...
What is the name of the fourth child?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
What is 3/7 chicken, 2/3 cat, and 2/4 goat?
The answer: Chicago
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A MOMENT OF JOY
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