Tag: research (page 1 of 7)

Paying it forward

It’s worth clicking through to the Axios summary of some recent research showing that people underestimate the impact of small acts of kindness.

I notice this in my own life: when I’m driving, if another driver smiles and allows me to merge into the queue, I’m more likely to do it to others; if I check in on people and ask how they’re doing, they more likely to do it to me. And so on.

Small and simple, kind gestures have immense, underestimated power.

Source: The outsized power of small acts of kindness

Against ‘talkocracy’

Research. Build. Test. Repeat.

Not endless talking and pontification.

Everywhere I look, I see the rise of talkocracy — others have called it the dictatorship of the articulate. Talkers standing in the way of builders; offering we ponder, analyze, investigate, research, dissect, agonize endlessly over plans before we lay a single brick.


This endless pondering introduces years and years of unnecessary delays. But worse: it kills the will to build. There is nothing builders hate more than endless meetings with people who can’t even spell “CPU.”

You know you’ve lost when they’ve internalized the conservative voices, which can now stop them without even having to try. It’s when your intern has a neat idea for something he could hack together in a few hours — but then thinks, what’s the point?

Source: The Dictatorship of the Articulate | Florent Crivello

Criticism vs praise

Like most people, it would seem, I’m sensitive to criticism. Not just that, but even the absence of praise can be problematic. It’s something I’m working on, but this article pointing out that criticism being more connected to the person making the comments than the one receiving them, is helpful.

Whether it’s criticism calmly dispensed by a teacher at school, or a cruel comment hurled in the heat of an argument with a friend or lover, we tend to remember criticism far better than positive comments, due to a phenomenon called the negativity bias.


While a focus on the darker side of the world around us may sound like a depressing prospect, it has helped humans overcome everything from natural disasters to plagues and wars by being better prepared to deal with them (although there is evidence that optimism can also help to protect us from the stress of extreme situations). The human brain evolved to protect our bodies and keep us alive, and has three warning systems to deal with new dangers. There’s the ancient basal ganglia system that controls our fight or flight response, the limbic system which triggers emotions in response to threats to help us understand dangers, and the more modern pre-frontal cortex, which enables us to think logically in the face of threats.


In some cases, negative remarks from people we love can lead to long-lasting mental wounds and resentment that can cause relationships to break down. Researchers at the University of Kentucky in the US found relationships are seldom saved when partners ignore relationship problems to remain “passively loyal”. “It is not so much the good, constructive things that partners do or do not do for one another that determines whether a relationship works as it is the destructive things that they do or not do in reaction to problems,” they said.


“We are all sensitive to negative comments in the sense that there are no ‘stronger’ personality traits. Considering the fact that everyone receives negative comments can help us deal with them … and could be a good strategy to protect our own mental health,” she adds. “Another useful strategy could be to consider that comments are more connected to the person who’s making them than the one who’s receiving them.”

Source: Why criticism lasts longer than praise | BBC Future