How rude! The hidden cost of rudeness

Plus, a physics concept that will improve your life

“The conventional model is … the left hemisphere is logical and verbal, and the right hemisphere is kind of moody and possibly creative. But all of this turns out to be much more complicated, and some of it's plain wrong.” – Iain McGilchrist


  • How rude! A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology looked at how rudeness affects our behavior. Turns out, rude experiences can trigger the anchoring bias – our tendency to focus on one piece of information when making a decision, even if the information is irrelevant. After experiencing rudeness, doctors and medical residents were more likely to anchor to an incorrect diagnosis, for example. Rudeness made it harder to think clearly and make good decisions. “Rudeness narrows your perspective, and that narrowed perspective makes anchoring more likely,” said Trevor Foulk, one of the study’s authors. “We really need to rethink the way we treat people.” It can’t hurt to ask: What can I do to be a little bit kinder today?

  • A concept from physics can keep your house clean. Scientist and educator Dr. Alison Carr-Chellman makes the case for negentropy, or negative entropy. It’s a phenomenon in which a small amount of energy can give order to systems. For example, keeping up with car maintenance can save you from big repairs down the road. Carr-Chellman says this concept can help in many other domains, from household chores to work projects. “When people keep the idea of negentropy in mind and take actions that limit or reverse energy loss, social systems are more efficient and effective,” she says. “This might even make it easier for people to achieve larger goals.” She shares five steps for using negentropy to your advantage.

  • Does living with animals make us healthier? Why do we eat some animals and keep others as pets? Our relationships with animals are rife with contradictions and paradoxes. Listen to learn more.


May 3: Have you ever heard someone described as a left-brain or right-brain person? To what extent are these descriptions actually based in science? For centuries, people have puzzled over why the human brain has two hemispheres. This week, the mystery of the divided brain and what it tells us about how to live a fuller life.

May 10: Ever question your reality? Or how easy it is to surrender to another person’s idea of normal instead of your own? In this week’s episode, one woman asks herself these questions and more after becoming a reluctant character in someone else’s love story.


A puzzle for you…

Peter's father has five sons. The names of four sons are Fefe, Fifi, Fafa, and Fufu. What’s the name of the fifth son? 

Find out in next week’s newsletter.


The answer: 47. If the lily pads double in size each day, they would cover half the pond on the day before they fill the whole pond.



Happy (belated) Star Wars Day! C-3PO deserves more kindness:

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