March 25, 2014

© 2014 Microsoft CorporationValue of Happiness
“For some individuals, happiness is not a supreme value,” psychologists from Victoria University of Wellington write. “In fact, some individuals across cultures are averse to various kinds of happiness for several different reasons.” Take people living in the Middle East, near Iran, for example. If things get too good for them, traditional superstitions state that the evil eye will be cast upon them, and they will fall into misfortune. Being happy—but not too happy—is therefore the safest route. (Rachel Nuwer, Smithsonian)

The Burden of Being the Favorite
Bradford Tuckfield: I’ve done some research with Berkeley Dietvorst, Katy Milkman, and Maurice Schweitzer at Wharton about a disadvantage that comes with being a favorite. This disadvantage comes from the asymmetric expectations people have for favorites and underdogs. Specifically, favorites are expected to win, so winning meets expectations and losing falls short of expectations, while underdogs are expected to lose, so losing meets expectations and winning exceeds expectations. In the face of loss, these different expectations can make a big difference. Favorites who are losing are desperate to avoid a complete loss, and may consider pursuing any strategy so that they don’t look like a loser. (Character & Context, Society for Personality and Social Psychology)

More on Violent Video Games and Aggression
Children who play violent video games may experience an increase in aggressive thoughts, which in turn, could boost their aggressive behavior, a controversial new study conducted in Singapore suggests. (Rachael Rettner, Live Science)

Special Report: Taxpayers Fund Creationism in the Classroom
Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly 1 billion dollars this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology, and cosmology is a web of lies. Now a major push to expand these voucher programs is under way from Alaska to New York, a development that seems certain to sharply increase the investment. (Stephanie Simon, POLITICO)

Q&A
Darren Aronofsky

He said the story of Noah illustrates a long tension between wickedness and forgiveness. “All of it’s a test,” he said. “We were trying to dramatize the decision God must have made when he decided to destroy all of humanity.” In an interview, Darren Aronofsky described where he got the idea for the film, how he plans to respond to critics, and why he focuses the film on themes of justice vs. mercy. (Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service)

Category: Field Notes

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