What I’m Learning

Influence: I’ve started rereading the book INFLUENCE – The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini. There just isn’t enough time to read everything I want to. Don’t you feel the same way? I could read all day and never get to it all. In the first chapter, we learn about how animals are triggered to perform certain series of actions. Mother turkeys protect and care for anything that makes the right cheep cheep sound, even if it looks like an enemy. Robins will aggressively attack red breast feathers even if they are not attached to a bird. As humans, living in a complex world, we also have our triggers. We need them, because we don’t have the time to assess every tiny thing that comes our way. Some of it has to be automatic. But when those wishing to influence us use these triggers without our knowledge, we are vulnerable. This reminds me that many adults believed what they saw on television and now believe anything they see on a screen. Facebook, of course, claims to be a tech company, not a media company, so therefore has no requirement to screen postings for truth. We treat a Google search as though we will be delivered the truth, yet anyone can pay Google to elevate whatever lie they want to tell in response to your search. Society can be manipulated on a massive scale based on our use of these cognitive shortcuts. (May 26, 2019)

Autism: Facts and Misconceptions (April 30, 2019) – Thanks to the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador for publishing a fact sheet on autism. You can find it here.

For example:

“Don’t confuse not speaking with not having
something to say. While some people with
autism may not communicate with speech,
never assume they do not understand you.”

The Importance of Sleep – Educators are often sleep-deprived. They work very hard, planning and assessing student learning. They work when their children are sleeping, which means they are upgrading through courses between 4 am and 6 am, and often marking exams into the night. Schools are also notorious in ignoring what we know about sleep. We know that adolescents have a phase shift in circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep at night, and then tougher to get up in the morning. Yet, we still insist in some places that children get on buses before 7 a.m.! As adults, we need a better understanding of the critical importance of sleep in the learning and well-being process. For more on sleep, check out this video with Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Dr. Matthew Walker. For the full story on the importance of sleep, be sure to listen to this episode of the Found My Fitness podcast, including the video and show notes on the website. April 29, 2019

Lies and Hidden Agendas in Politics – The American Census as and Example. It’s easy to feel very powerless in a world where foreign powers interfere with democracy, and lies are commonplace among people we place our trust in. It’s challenging to find simple examples of this to help people understand how it works. In The Daily, from the New York Times, they tell the story of how the Republican agenda of getting a question about citizenship on the 2020 census – in spite of evidence that this will encourage people to refuse to fill out the census – will likely happen because top bureaucrats simply lie about what happened, and the Supreme Court votes not by what is right, but by what party they align with. It’s a simply-told, factual account of how things really work in America. The Daily Podcast, from The New York Times. April 29, 2019