Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Plants think?!

Well, they make decisions, they learn and they remember.  Is that thinking?

Garden Greenery is Brainier Than You Think

They learn. They remember. They make decisions.
By Marta Zaraska|Monday, April 10, 2017 | Discover Magazine, May 2017 Issue


December 9, 2017 Posted by | behaviour | , , | Leave a comment

One Simple Way to Make a New Healthy Habit Stick

Research says, do it right after you wake up in the morning.  Your cortisol levels, which are highest in the morning, seem to make the transition from “chore” to “habit” easier.  Details:

One Simple Way to Make a New Healthy Habit Stick

Amanda MacMillan | Oct 26, 2017 | Time

October 30, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, health | , , | Leave a comment

Your Smartphone Controls Your Mind

Apps are designed to maximize the amount of time you spend on them — even if that is wasting your precious time.  Tristan Harris explains in his TED talk:

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

And check out this article to see what he is planning to do about it:

Smartphones Are Weapons of Mass Manipulation, and This Guy Is Declaring War on Them

October 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Anger is Temporary Madness

Why it’s better to remain calm and how to do it.

Anger is Temporary Madness: the Stoics knew how to curb it

Massimo Pigliucci | October 13, 2017 | Aeon

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October 13, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, psychology | , | Leave a comment

Tips to skip junk food

Very useful. It didn’t mention the obvious — don’t have junk food at home where it becomes too easy to grab it — probably because it’s not an option for some.

Six strategies to help you say no to junk food

By CAITLIN DOW | MAY 3, 2017 |  Nutrition Action

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October 11, 2017 Posted by | diet, health | | Leave a comment

How our biases divide us

This article explains the cognitive biases that are at work to divide “us” and “them”.  Since meditation weakens the power of these biases, the hope is that the more we meditate the more we can unite.  Even if the meditation part seems a bit far fetched, the description of the biases is very useful.

How Mindfulness Meditation Can Save America

Robert Wright | 10.08.17 | Wired

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October 10, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why immoral actions seem impossible

It seems we are blind to the possibility of immoral actions — but that allows us the ability to trust people.

‘But you can’t do that!’ Why immoral actions seem impossible

Jonathan Phillips | 29 September 2017 | aeon

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October 1, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, psychology, sociology | , | Leave a comment

Preservatives are making you fat

It looks like the chemical BHT (often added to keep foods tasting fresher) interferes with your body’s signals of fullness after eating.  And then there is PFOA and TBT…

Study Shows How Food Preservatives May Disrupt Human Hormones and Promote Obesity

Innovative Stem Cell Testing System Demonstrates Potential for Evaluating Health Effects of Chemicals Used in Everyday Life

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September 26, 2017 Posted by | diet, health | , | Leave a comment

She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not

Did you know uncertainty leads to romantic attraction?  For more on that and other juicy psychological tidbits relating to texting read comedian Aziz Ansari’s funny article:

She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not

The science of waiting in modern courtship.


September 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Why People Can’t Agree on Basic Facts

Two related articles on how people end up with such divergent views from the same set of facts, and how the gap between the two sides keeps getting larger.

Why People Can’t Agree on Basic Facts

Tali Sharot | September 19, 2017 | Time Magazine

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September 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, emotions, information, psychology | , , | Leave a comment