Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of the Situationist news items of February 2009. (They are listed in alphabetical order by source.)
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From Boston Globe: “Aging has its benefits”
“In the 1973 film “The Way We Were,” Barbra Streisand sings a haunting ballad about memories and aging. “What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget,” the song goes. Now, research suggests that the song was essentially right, and illustrates just how the brain manages to dismiss negative memories but retain the positive ones as we get older.” Read more . . .
From Calgary Herald: “‘Guilt by association’ unlikely: Study”
“There’s good news for anyone still squirming over a friend’s bad dancing, excessive drinking or awkward conversation: There’s no egg on your face. A new Canadian study that claims to be the first to examine “guilt by association” reveals that while people writhe with embarrassment when a friend commits a social faux-pas, onlookers don’t hold their associate’s behaviour against them.” Read more . . .
From CNN Health: “Study: Experiences make us happier than possessions”
“Even in tough economic times, you may find yourself with a bit of cash to spare. You’ve been working hard, and you want to treat yourself. Should you spend it on an experience, such as a baseball game or concert, or a material object? Psychological research suggests that, in the long run, experiences make people happier than possessions.” Read more . . .
From Huffington Post: “Obama and the Science of Altruism”
“ Investigations in social psychology and neuroscience may support Obama’s ideas about people’s willingness to pitch in. By stirring the emotions of new voters while at the same time asking them for increased service to their country, he has tapped into a set of complementary ideas about human psychology: that empathy is a deeply ingrained human tendency, and that it leads naturally to a desire to help those we feel empathy for.” Read more . . .
From Live Science: “Study Reveals Why First Impressions Count”
“Getting off on the wrong foot can doom a relationship before it begins, as we all know. Now scientists have studied one reason why this is true. When a person makes a bad first impression, the negative feelings are harder to overcome than a betrayal that occurs after ties are established.” Read more . . .
From New York Times: “An Economist’s Mea Culpa”
“How could the economics profession have slept so soundly right into the middle of the economic mayhem all around us? Robert J. Shiller of Yale University, one of the sage prophets, addressed that question in an earlier commentary in this paper. Professor Shiller finds an explanation in groupthink, a term popularized by the social psychologist Irving L. Janis. In his book “Groupthink” (1972), the latter had theorized that most people, even professionals whose careers ostensibly thrive on originality, hesitate to deviate too much from the conventional wisdom, lest they be marginalized or even ostracized..” Read more . . .