Learning! Roundup: How to Help Your COVID-Fears, Understanding the Toilet Paper Bandwagon, and More!

A photo of a woman sitting on the top of a mountain, looking out at the view. We see her from behind. It's peaceful.
Photo by Milan Popovic.

A Little Mindfulness Goes a Long Way

Just one short week of mindfulness training can help reduce overall feelings of paranoia. So if you're feeling especially fearful these days, grab one of the many, many free online courses out there on mindfulness (or jump on a two-week free trial, you only need one, after all!) It will make a real difference. Also, here is a nice article from a psychologist on managing our fear during a pandemic.

Bandwagons and Toilet Paper

There are two articles up right now on Psychology Today that, together, may help you understand the whole toilet-paper-stockpiling thing that is going on and maybe show slightly less scorn towards it online. First, we need a basic understanding of the bandwagon effect and the basic psychology behind why we follow others' lead. (Short answer: our lizard brain thinks they might know something we don't.)  Second, we look at toilet paper, specifically, and the fact that, once we believe a resource is going to be scarce, even if it shouldn't be, it becomes entirely rational to stock up on it. So basically, once the media started sharing story after story about toilet paper shortages, even if we knew it was dumb to stock up on TP, we knew that there might legitimately become a problem because everyone else is stocking up, and so now it makes sense to get some extra and play it safe.

Just Say No to Seductive Details

Ever heard of seductive details? Me neither! Apparently, they are when you insert an interesting, but irrelevant detail into a lesson, like a joke or cute cat picture. Looks like students retain less when you put those fun little bits in. So keep your lessons dry and straightforward, folks!

Remember, Remember the... Sorry, What?

Researchers have identified a molecule that is a key factor in holding thoughts in our working memories, even through a distraction. This could be a major breakthrough in helping those with Alzheimer's and other dementia!

Invest in the Children

If governments invest financial support and resources in the well-being of low-income children, that cost will pay off big time! Those kids grow up to have better-paying jobs where they pay more in taxes and require less support from the government, paying off the money initially spent on them and contributing back into the economy. Invest in the children!

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