Children Care About Their Reputations - As Young as Five Years Old

Don't know about you.  But I find people fascinating.  As in, really? 

People do that? 

Sacre' merde, they do?

Who'd a thunk?

So now a study reveals that people as young as five years old are aware of having a reputation.  And caring about it.

I've always been an odd man out when it comes to reputation.  I simply am not aware of what people think of me, and never have. It's not that I don't care, I do care.  Quite a bit.  I just don't think about it.  Example:  My friends were surprised when I recently started shaving my head again. I had shaved my head for some years, but let it grow back in about three years ago.   I just shaved it because, and this is the truth, not because I was trying to change my image.  No, I was out of shampoo.  They laughed when I told them that, which surprised me.  I wasn't making a joke.  Understand the difference?  But normal people, which is a broad, ill-defined concept, tend to be aware of their reputations.

(I have no c…

Teenagers more likely to plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit

The implication here is quite clear: Law enforcement must be aware that teenagers are more likely to plead guilty to crimes, though it may not be clear to them why.  This research suggests what should be an obvious reason.  Immaturity and a lack of understanding of the consequences of a guilty plea.

For writers, this suggests both non-fiction and fiction stories, or at least it should.
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Teenagers more likely to plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit
Teenagers are more likely to plead guilty to crimes they did not commit because they are less able to make mature decisions, new research shows.  Experts have called for major changes to the criminal justice system after finding innocent younger people are far more likely admit to offences, even when innocent, than adults.
Those who carried out the study say teenagers should not be allowed to make deals where they face a lesser charge in return for pleading guilty. The study suggests young people are more likely to be enti…

Trade, Technology & Innovation Far Older Than Thought

The story of our development is fascinating.  How did an upright walking ape with a brain smaller than a ripe orange wandering around East Africa some 6.5 million years ago survive, let alone so dramatically and unpredictably?  There were times in the not too distant past only a few hundred humans existed, yet here we are, tremendously successfully while actively endangering our own survival by our very biological success. Every one of the eight billion are descended of two individuals, who might be described as  genetic Eve and genetic Adam*.
The full story of homo sapiens is far more dramatic and action filled than anything dreamt of by the most creative of writers.  Our history is the ultimate story arc that has yet to come to a denouement, though throughout history so many have predicted endings dire and disastrous.
There is no doubt that the Earth will continue to exist whether we survive as a species or not.  The current predictions of climatic doom are a challenge equal to any…

Does pursuing happiness make you unhappy?

This is a question I can get into.

Striving for happiness can make you unhappy.

Who'd a thunk?

Well, a number of philosophers.  And the odd religious leader.  And now the occasional scientist.

As Aristotle wrote, . . . no, this is something we each have to research and work out for ourselves.

Here's the story.  Something to apply to the characters in your fiction - and to use as a basic story line into which to dump a character or two.

Or perhaps apply to your own life?

Whatever makes you happy.
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Can pursuing happiness make you unhappy?
". . .the pursuit of happiness can ironically undermine well-being."
People generally like to feel happy, but achieving a state of happiness takes time and effort. Researchers have now found that people who pursue happiness often feel like they do not have enough time in the day, and this paradoxically makes them feel unhappy. 
Aekyoung Kim of Rutgers University in the US and Sam Maglio of the University of Toronto Scarboro…

Who plays music, paints or acts.

Why middle class people are more likely  to play music, paint and act revealed
The reason why middle class people are more likely to play music, paint and act has been revealed by research involving 78,000 people.  It was found that it was not wealth or social status that were strongly linked to people taking part in arts activities as amateurs or professionals, but rather, the level of education lies behind arts participation.
In an article in the journal Sociology,Dr Aaron Reeves, a sociologist at the University of Oxford, said that of the 78,011 surveyed,
18% had taken part in painting or photography, 9% in dance, 10% in music, 2% in drama or opera; 6% had written poetry, plays or fiction. 22% had not done any artistic activities. He found that having a higher income did not make arts participation more likely -- those earning over £30,000 a year were less likely to take part than those earning less.

Social status mattered little -- those in higher professional jobs were less likely t…

Stress and Emotions can be 'Contagious'

Can you remember feeling stressed simply by being around someone who has had a stressful experience?  It's really a common phenomena  Just as holding hands can synch two people's brain waves, just being around someone feeling stressed can cause you to feel stressed.

The implications for a writer should be obvious - and a useful tool for developing character and story arc.

Bon appetit, y'all.  The story follows.
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Is your stress changing my brain? Stress isn't just contagious; it alters the brain on a cellular level
"Recent studies indicate that stress and emotions can be 'contagious'."
Jaideep Bains, PhD, and his team at the Cumming School of Medicine's Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), at the University of Calgary have discovered that stress transmitted from others can change the brain in the same way as a real stress does. The study, in mice, also shows that the effects of stress on the brain are reversed in female mice following a social…

Humor as Survival

Humor Shown To Be Fundamental To Our Success As A Species
Humour is not about comedy it is about a fundamental cognitive function.
First universal theory of humour answers how and why we find things funny. The Pattern Recognition Theory of Humour by Alastair Clarke answers the centuries old question of what is humour. Clarke explains how and why we find things funny and identifies the reason humour is common to all human societies, its fundamental role in the evolution of homo sapiens and its continuing importance in the cognitive development of infants.
Clarke explains: “For some time now it’s been assumed that a global theory of humour is impossible. This theory changes thousands of years of incorrect analyses and mini-theories that have applied to only a small proportion of instances of humour. It offers a vital answer as to why humour exists in every human society.”

Previous theories from philosophers, literary critics and psychologists have focused on what we laugh at, on ‘getting t…