The perks of nostalgia
Plus, how true are stereotypes about political parties?
“We have a great deal of knowledge about ourselves, but it certainly can go wrong.”
– psychologist Tim Wilson
A blast from the past. We’re told not to dwell on the past, but nostalgia might be good for us. In a new study, volunteers were asked to think about a past experience and reflect on how nostalgic they felt toward that experience; then they completed a questionnaire about their well-being. The more nostalgic people felt, the happier they reported feeling, too. Nostalgia, it seems, makes us feel closer to ourselves, and researchers think this is why reminiscing on the past makes us feel good. “Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for one’s past, predicts or augments psychological wellbeing,” the study concluded. “It does so—at least in part—via authenticity, a sense of alignment with one’s true self.”
Party on! It’s true – Democrats and Republicans think about and value things differently. But we tend to overestimate our differences, according to a study published in The Journal of Politics. The study looked at the stereotypes people have for opposing parties. “For instance, people think that 32% of Democrats are LGBT (vs. 6% in reality) and 38% of Republicans earn over $250,000 per year (vs. 2% in reality),” the study reported. In other data, Republicans estimated that 36 percent of Democrats were atheist or agnostic, when in reality only nine percent described themselves that way. The researchers pointed out that this effect is malleable, however. “When provided information about the out-party’s actual composition, partisans come to see its supporters as less extreme and feel less socially distant from them.”
Get smart. From the time we are schoolchildren, we are ranked and sorted based on how smart we are. But what if our assumptions about intelligence limit our potential? Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
Aug 8: Psychologist Tim Wilson has found that, despite our intuition that we can peer into our own minds, we're not actually very good at predicting how we will feel and what we will want in the future. This week, he explains how to notice that tendency – and how to override it.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Aug 9: After her little sister was badly injured, a stranger stepped in to comfort Dell Reistad. It was a simple gesture, but the kindness still impacts Dell to this day.
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.
What common English verb becomes its own past tense by rearranging its letters?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
Three men are lined up behind each other. The tallest is in the back – he can see the heads of the two men in front of him. The middle man can see the one man in front of him. The man in front can’t see anyone. All men are blindfolded and hats are placed on their heads, picked from three black hats and two white hats. The extra two hats are hidden and the blindfolds removed. The tallest man is asked if he knows what color hat he’s wearing; he doesn’t. The middle man is asked if he knows; he doesn’t. But the man in front, who can’t see anyone, says he knows. How does he know, and what color hat is he wearing?
The answer: Black. The man in front knew he was wearing a black hat because he knew the first man did not see two white hats and he knew that the second man did not see one white hat because if he saw a white hat, the second man would have known that his hat was black from hearing the first man's statement. [source]
FROM THE TWITTERATI…
A MOMENT OF JOY
A walking forest of 1,000 trees
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