Social Science in the News

This page has links to social science research which has made the headlines.

Researchers have a great deal of flexibility in determining how to report data, which results to report or whether to report them at all.

Often, choices about what gets reported are driven by reasonable decisions, such as what researchers perceived to be the most theoretically relevant research design or appropriate method of analysis.

Read More (Washington Post)

On 18 September 1997, the Welsh people just about voted to create a National Assembly.

This narrowest of endorsements was delivered despite some highly favourable political winds for devolution.

Read More (New Statesman)

It is a political practice nearly as old as the United States - manipulating the boundaries of legislative districts to help one party tighten its grip on power in a move called partisan gerrymandering - and one the Supreme Court has never curbed.

That could soon change, with the nine justices making the legal fight over Republican-drawn electoral maps in Wisconsin one of the first cases they hear during their 2017-2018 term that begins next month.

Read More (Daily Mail)

Funding cuts and austerity measures are damaging young people’s access to mental health services, with potentially long-term consequences for their mental wellbeing, say researchers at the University of Cambridge.

In an article published today in the Journal of Public Mental Health, the team discuss the policy implications of their study published earlier in the year, which found that young people who have contact with mental health services in the community and in clinics are significantly less likely to suffer from clinical depression later in their adolescence than those with equivalent difficulties who do not receive treatment.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

For years the number of stay-at-home dads has been rising, as more men take on responsibility for looking after the home and family.

But now the trend appears to be reversing, with the number falling sharply to a three-year low - and experts say the novelty of being a "new man" could be wearing off.

Read More (The Telegraph)

Universities can stem the tide of polarisation between the higher education elite and the wider public by introducing “inclusive internationalisation” strategies that benefit the whole of society, according to a leading international relations scholar.

Alexander Betts, Leopold Muller professor of forced migration and international affairs at the University of Oxford, will tell the European Association for International Education annual conference that universities “must build bridges within our increasingly divided societies” in order for the internationalisation of higher education to be sustainable.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

People read science fiction and fantasy as a form of escapism.

They watch movies like “Star Wars” to get a break from real life. But not Dr. Eve Ewing.

Read More (The Lily)

Britain’s parks risk being left empty because of dog mess, broken glass and drugs paraphernalia.

Experts say people are being put off visiting neglected, litter-strewn parks which have been left to grow wild and covered with graffiti.

Read More (The Daily Mail)

STEM disciplines are a discrete set of methodologies, whereas the humanities and social sciences are a separate set of interpretative skills that are of equal value.

Social science skills, for example, are going to be needed to manage the challenges workplaces face in the future.

Read More (Financial Review)

The great Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter, writing in the 1940s, predicted the eventual demise of capitalism.

He did not want this to happen. But he envisaged that the “intellectual class” would eventually develop values which were hostile to free markets and private property.

Read More (City AM)

In the last two decades of the 19th century, a new word began to appear in the writings of biologists and zoologists across Europe, inspired by the work of Charles Darwin. “Degeneration” referred to a subset of the evolutionary story by which a species or subspecies began to lose ground in the evolutionary game

“Degeneration” referred to a subset of the evolutionary story by which a species or subspecies began to lose ground in the evolutionary game.

Read More (New Statesman)

As we get older, our thinking skills often deteriorate: we get slower, more forgetful, less good at learning new things.

Yet not everyone experiences these changes to the same degree.

Read More (The Conversation)

Four in five British adults are proud of the work they do, while two thirds enjoy going to work most days, research suggests.

The ComRes survey, conducted for BBC 5 Live, also suggested women are more likely than men to enjoy their work.

Read More (BBC)

People are astonishingly capable of making sense of language, even though it is often ambiguous.

Even a simple sentence of well-formed words has many different interpretations.

Read More (The Conversation)

Chew Jetty in Malaylsia’s George Town attracts tourists by the boatload. Historic homes are now commercial stalls branded with neon signs; one-time fishermen peddle T-shirts, magnets and postcards.

Tour buses deposit vacationers from early in the morning until well after sunset.

Read More (The Guardian)

Laws prohibiting blasphemy are “astonishingly widespread” worldwide, with many laying down disproportionate punishments ranging from prison sentences to lashings or the death penalty, the lead author of a report on blasphemy said.

Iran, Pakistan and Yemen score worst, topping a list of 71 countries with laws criminalising views deemed blasphemous, found in all regions, according to a comprehensive report issued this month by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Read More (The Independent)

Cities have always done a pretty good job of keeping track of property sales.

That's why those records have, for many decades, been the primary data set for studies of neighborhood change.

Read More (NPR)

To most people, an economist is the chap interviewed in newspapers or on the television uttering acronym-laced incantations about 0.3 per cent this or 10 per cent that.

He is usually a man, rarely stylish, mysteriously confident, and a bit dull.

Read More (Financial Times)

Ah, the last Bank Holiday of the summer:

a good chance to nip into the office while it’s empty to catch up on a bit of work before the back-to-school rush. Except, it isn’t, really.

Read More (The Telegraph)

Voter behaviour influenced by hot weather

Political rebellions and riots have been associated with warmer weather, but until now, there has been little research on its potential influence on peaceful and democratic political behavior. A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, has uncovered a connection between changes in temperature and voting behavior in the United States of America.

Read More (Science News Line)

People further apart on climate views are often the most educated

For attitudes on global warming, political identity is a more important signal than academic acumen or scientific literacy. It turns out that people who are the furthest apart in their views on a scientific issue are often the most educated and informed, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read More (Scientific American)

Doctors can't ignore politics. Our patients' lives are at stake. Our patients depend on us for their care – we must help them get it, whether that comes in the form of pill or policy

As German physician Rudolph Virchow noted in 1848: “Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale.”

Read More (The Guardian)

Suffering from the post-eclipse blues? Psychology explains why you feel sad after a big event

After big, exciting life events, we can often fall into small pits of depression. Periods of high-energy, high-emotion buzz give way to feelings of emptiness as we flounder to find something else to get fired up about. The next total solar eclipse isn’t until 2024, so what do we do now?

Read More (Quartz)

What led to the violence in Charlottesville? Here’s what social science says.

The disturbing events in Virginia last weekend turned a spotlight on U.S. white nationalism, racial antagonism and turmoil in President Trump’s White House.

Read More (The Washington Post)

Why the ‘March for Science’ was about the social sciences as well

Two responses to the ‘March for Science’ arbitrarily separate the role of the sciences and the social sciences in understanding the world. This is almost regressive.

Read More (The Wire)

Science doesn't explain tech's diversity problem - history does

In 2017, the idea that biological differences drive social inequality is considered fairly offensive. For the incurious, the taboo around this argument makes it exciting.

Read More (The Verge)

The internet is enabling scientists to understand how "collective memory" works

Current events can boost our collective memory of past events in predictable ways, a study has found.

Read More (The Independent)

We must rescue social science research from obscurity

The publication game that researchers are obliged to play has stripped the purpose out of social research. Time to change the rules, says Yiannis Gabriel

Read More (Times Higher Education)

The evolving conversation around fake news and potential solutions

Fake news isn’t new, but since 2016 it has become a much more pressing concern and the subject of much analysis.

Read More (LSE Media Policy Project Blog)

The unique challenges of making qualitative research more transparent

In the quest to make research more open, sharing qualitative data presents challenges and opportunities.

Read More (Inside Higher Ed)

The experts strike back! How economists are being proved right on Brexit

The Brexit debate is an endless source of mirth for anyone with a dark sense of humour. The only surprise is that the experts’ predicted economic consequences of Brexit took so long to materialise.

Read More (The Guardian)

Being into the arts improves wellbeing and makes us more generous

A study has uncovered a clear link between enjoying culture and subsequently donating to charity.

Read More (Daily Mail)

A decade on from the collapse of Northern Rock which heralded the financial crisis in the UK, the productivity trends are still alarming.

In fact there is no escaping it.

Read More (International Business Times)

The way politicians use language has always been of interest to linguists.

Speeches by great historical leaders show how language and action are inextricably linked, political discourses are useful illustrations of the complex relationship between language and reality (take Brexit discourse as an example).

Read More (University of Birmingham)

There’s a huge debate going on in social science right now.

The question is simple, and strikes near the heart of all research: What counts as solid evidence?

Read More (Vox)

Those working in the education profession, or associated with it, know that teachers have always had to wear many hats.

It’s not uncommon for us to be surrogate parents, social workers, counsellors and advisers to those we teach.

Read More (The Guardian)

Facilitating mobility from non-regular to regular employment is key to sustainable economic growth. This truth was recognized in the revitalization plan announced by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2014, which included specific measures to improve the working conditions of nonregular workers and help them shift into regular employment.

The costs of not doing so are enormous to this “precariat” (precarious proletariat) in terms of thwarted careers, social status, poverty — and isolation, as they have a much lower marriage rate.

Read More (The Japan Times)

Most social scientists in the ad world work in market and consumer research or strategy and collect and analyze qualitative, quantitative, demographic and psychographic data for their clients to target campaigns or find out what will appeal to certain people.

Similarly, academic anthropologists and sociologists use interviews, research, social theory, and participant observation to find patterns and formulate theories about a culture with the goal of answering basic questions like, “why do people act, speak, think, worship and govern the way they do?”

Read More (The Drum)

Ensuring that UK-based researchers can continue to work closely with European partners after Brexit has been described as a “very high priority” by the chief executive designate of the country’s new funding body, but he warned that it was “too early to speculate” about what the future framework for collaboration might look like.

In an interview with Times Higher Education, Sir Mark Walport, the inaugural head of UK Research and Innovation and the government’s chief scientific adviser, said that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union was an undeniable “external challenge” to the higher education sector.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

In his robust defence of the current fee regime on 20 July, universities minister Jo Johnson returned to the accelerated degrees which he last mentioned in February.

But universities have already warned him that his proposed model might not be workable – and nothing has changed since then.

Read More (The Guardian)

Our lives benefit from social networks: the contact and dialogue between family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

However these networks can also cost lives by transmitting infection or misinformation, particularly in developing nations.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

Pseudo-public spaces – large squares, parks and thoroughfares that appear to be public but are actually owned and controlled by developers and their private backers – are on the rise in London and many other British cities, as local authorities argue they cannot afford to create or maintain such spaces themselves.

Although they are seemingly accessible to members of the public and have the look and feel of public land, these sites – also known as privately owned public spaces or “Pops” – are not subject to ordinary local authority bylaws but rather governed by restrictions drawn up the landowner and usually enforced by private security companies.

Read More (The Guardian)

When it comes to health, a new study suggests that marriage no longer gives you much of an advantage.

Previous research has suggested that single people are more likely to die early, experience heart attacks, and struggle with depression than married people.

Read More (Metro)

For the first time ever the BBC has revealed just how much it pays its pool of celebrity talent.

The move, designed to show licence fee payers just where their money is going, has uncovered that Chris Evans is its biggest earner, pulling in £2.2m a year, and that only a third of women are classed as top earners.

Read More (The Drum)

British businesses must break their silence on the under-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) in key roles, according to new research from professional management body the CMI and the British Academy of Management.

Only six per cent of management jobs in the UK are held by minorities – less than half their proportion of the working-age population as a whole.

Read More (The London Economic)

Brits working for firms like Uber and Deliveroo in the so-called gig economy could soon be afforded some key employment benefits following the publication of a Government-ordered review on workers' rights.

Loopholes in current legislation that allow employers to get away without paying things like National Insurance, holiday and sick pay to workers with looser, more casual employment arrangements could soon be plugged following the 115 page dossier by Matthew Taylor, a former adviser to Tony Blair.

Read More (This Is Money)

Joy might appear to be my counsellor or my life coach, but the conversation I'm having is actually with a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track emotions and provide mental health support - all through Facebook Messenger.

Welcome to healthcare in the digital age, where smartphone owners have access to their very own doctors and therapists at the touch of a button.

Read More (BBC)

Scientists are increasingly recognizing a moral imperative to collaborate with the communities they study, and the practical benefits that result.

Autism researchers are joining this movement, partnering with people on the spectrum and their families to better address their priorities.

Read More (Spectrum News)

Sometimes we look at social change as a grand idea where we visualise change in global categories of climate and class.

Such a social science is often deceptive.

Read More (Daily Mail)

Imminent developments such as self-driving vehicles, 5G and virtual reality will require a radical shift in the way our networks perform and how they are maintained.

An ambitious £5 million research-business partnership led by BT, aims to create the next generation of converged digital infrastructure (NG-CDI) by developing the technologies and methods required for super-resilient, data-driven networks of the future.

Read More (University of Bristol)

Jack Grieve, a linguist at Birmingham University, uses Twitter to study regional patterns in English.

Those who think Twitter is only good for being rude about others are dead wrong

Read More (The Economist)

Britain’s recent general election has been the first step towards a long-overdue public debate on the social consequences of austerity and growing socio-economic inequality.

Social attitudes in the country appear to have shifted, and the longstanding dominance of the Conservative Party, in politics and public discourse, might be slowly coming to an end.

Read More (Social Science Space)

Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber are the authors of “The Enigma of Reason,” a new book from Harvard University Press.

Their arguments about human reasoning have potentially profound implications for how we understand the ways human beings think and argue, and for the social sciences.

Read More (Washington Post)

Previously, most social science was based on little more than informed guesswork given the messiness of the world and the imperfections of underlying data.

The dangers of confusing correlation and causation have been much discussed.

Read More (Financial Times)

The cost of higher education is rising perilously.

At the start of the last academic year, maintenance grants (for poorer students) were replaced with maintenance loans.

Read More (The Guardian)

Over the past decade, most researchers have trended away from climate doomsdayism.

They cite research suggesting that people respond better to hopeful messages, not fatalistic ones; and they meticulously fact-check public descriptions of global warming, as watchful for unsupported exaggeration as they are for climate-change denial.

Read More (The Atlantic)

The word "millennial" has become synonymous with the young - but evidence suggests that they are starting to reject it.

According to new research three quarters of under-30s say they do not feel the term represents them and more than a third say they don't even know what it means.

Read More (The Telegraph)

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and lobby group TheCityUK published a blueprint for transforming the UK's financial sector post-Brexit on Thursday.

The report recommends a combination of regulatory, industrial, and governmental changes to enable post-Brexit growth.

Read More (Business Insider)

With billions of users and hundreds of billions of tweets and posts every year, social media has brought big data to social science.

It has also opened an unprecedented opportunity to use artificial intelligence (AI) to glean meaning from the mass of human communications, psychologist Martin Seligman has recognized.

Read More (Sciencemag)

The surprising results of the 2017 election were strongly related to both age and education, with university students one of most heavily Labour-leaning groups.

According to YouGov’s national data, some 64% of students voted for the Labour party compared to only 19% for the Conservatives.

Read More (The Conversation)

On the fourth floor of London’s 1 Victoria Street, a science-based start-up is in the throes of being born. Under the watchful eye of Sir Mark Walport, its CEO-designate, and Rebecca Endean, its strategy director, a twenty-strong team of BEIS officials and secondees from existing funding agencies are hard at work translating part three of the freshly-minted Higher Education & Research Act into operational reality.

In April 2018, this high-stakes venture opens for business, and by 2020 it is projected to have a turnover of £8 billion a year. In return, it promises nothing less than a transformation in the UK’s research and innovation performance.

Read More (Wonkhe)

The June general election in the UK has put student finance squarely back on the political agenda. The Labour Party’s election promise to abolish tuition fees proved popular with young voters, presumably particularly with young students and graduates.

At a time when political debate is normally dominated by the concerns of older voters, Jeremy Corbyn is seeking to address issues that concern the younger electorate.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

A new research project led by academics at the University of Sheffield will examine potential sustainable solutions to the ongoing crisis within the UK’s social care system.

With an ageing population, shortages of staff in home and residential care, and growing reliance on unpaid carers, the question of how to resource and deliver social care is a critical issue facing society today.

Read More (Care Appointments)

Starting on July 1, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) will no longer give ministers and officials a sneak peek at its statistics before they are made public.

Known as “pre-release access”, this pernicious practice gives the government the chance to spin the numbers before anyone else has even seen them.

Read More (The Conversation)

Britain’s vote to leave the EU was the result of widespread anti-immigration sentiment, rather than a wider dissatisfaction with politics, according to a major survey of social attitudes in the UK.

Findings from the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey published on Wednesday show Brexit was the result of widespread concern over the numbers of people coming to the UK – millions of whom have done so under the EU’s freedom of movement rules in recent years.

Read More (The Independent)

Wacky job titles aren’t new.

Google has employed a Captain of Moonshots since around 2010. Astro Teller – his real name – currently holds the post and heads up research and development. In another universe, he’d just be “head of research and development”.

Read More (The Conversation)

You know those police dramas, where the detective stares at a clue for ages before suddenly realising he was looking in the wrong place and missing the real story?

I experienced just such a moment while pondering those remarks by John McDonnell at Glastonbury.

Read More (The Times)

The need for decisive action to tackle online extremism is clear.

Four terrorist attacks in four months have been accompanied by a rapid growth of extremist content online, and the internet is now a major hub for radicalisation. Facebook’s initiative to support groups working to challenge extremist narratives is a welcome step (a whole-of-society approach to pushing extremists to the margins of cyberspace is important), but it is no substitute for effective governance.

Read More (City AM)

Social media can be an invaluable source of information for police when managing major disruptive events, new research from Cardiff University has shown.

An analysis of data taken from the London riots in 2011 showed that computer systems could automatically scan through Twitter and detect serious incidents, such as shops being broken in to and cars being set alight, before they were reported to the Metropolitan Police Service.

Read More (Science Daily)

About three million EU citizens living in the UK would be allowed to stay after Brexit, Theresa May has proposed.

A new "UK settled status" would grant EU migrants who had lived in the UK for five years rights to stay and access health, education and other benefits.

Read More (BBC)

The results of the 2017 teaching excellence framework (TEF) have been released, with more than 130 UK universities and other higher education institutions being awarded gold, silver or bronze ratings for the quality of their teaching.

The TEF is a government-backed assessment of undergraduate teaching quality across all higher education institutions in England, which also includes some institutions in Scotland and Wales (with others opting not to take part).

Read More (Times Higher Education)

In his forthcoming book, The Case Against Education, economist Bryan Caplan argues that most education does not really add human capital or skills commensurate with its time or cost.

It is instead a signalling mechanism where prospective employees must jump through hoops to advertise their innate intelligence and self–discipline to employers.

Read More (Spectator)

Whilst there has been much debate on the ethics of using social media posts in research, a comprehensive search of studies from around the globe only identified 11 that have explored the views of social media users on employing such research methods, and as few as six which considered the views of researchers.

Attitudes from social media users varied according to the studies, from people stating that such research is essential, to those strongly against their posts being used in this context.

Read More (University of York)

police commissioner has suggested that civilians with gun licences could be allowed to use private weapons to defend their community against terrorists, in comments that have been rejected by a senior officer.

Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, was at odds with her own force by saying "let's officially have a look at that" when a caller suggested the idea during a radio phone-in.

Read More (The Telegraph)

This has been a strange election. First, it was ruled out; then it was called.

There was meant to be a landslide for the Conservatives; instead, we will end up with fewer Conservative MPs. The campaign itself was supposed to prove Jeremy Corbyn was inept; yet he has done better than previous Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

Government talk about an economy that “works for all” skims over how that can be achieved. It rarely means “for all regions”, since the UK’s social and economic structure is not evenly spread across the country.

Neither is its distribution of research funding. The “invest in excellence” mantra is a logic that works better for researchers than for the regions. It is time for excellence to be tempered with merit.

Read More (The Guardian)

Alexander Peysakhovich is technically a behavioral economist, but he bristles a bit at being defined that narrowly.

He's a scientist in Facebook's artificial intelligence research lab, as well as a prolific scholar, having posted five papers in 2016 alone.

Read More (Pacific Standard)

A new pilot project, designed by a Cambridge researcher and supported by the Nature family of journals, will evaluate the value of sharing the code behind published research.

For years, scientists have discussed whether and how to share data from painstaking research and costly experiments.

Read More (University of Cambridge)

The cost of childcare can be crippling for families, with an average part-time nursery place now costing up to £6,000 a year.

So what can the next Westminster government, along with the devolved powers in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Stormont, do to solve the crisis?

Read More (BBC)

Universities should encourage their academics to patent rather than publish their research so that it has the greatest impact on society, according to a university vice-president.

Paul Feigin, vice-president for strategic projects at Technion Israel Institute of Technology, said that, while the “traditional model of disseminating knowledge is by publishing papers”, investors were not interested in innovations that were already in the public domain and that higher education institutions must instead “set up facilities on campus to encourage faculty to commercialise their research”.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

The Conservatives have used “sleight of hand” to justify grammar school expansion plans in their party manifesto, a senior academic has claimed. According to the election manifesto, credible research shows “slightly more children from ordinary working class families attend selective schools as a percentage of the school intake compared to non-selection schools”.

The statement has been called out as “false”, however, as the data cited itself is selective and does not fairly represent all socio-economic groups.

Read More (The Independent)

The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have all announced commitments for NHS spending in their manifestos.

However, the amounts, timing and periods covered by these pledges vary by party. How do their plans for health spending in England really compare and what are the implications once the costs of demographic change are accounted for?

Read More (IFS)

If you took Psychology 101 in college, you probably had to enroll in an experiment to fulfill a course requirement or to get extra credit. Students are the usual subjects in social science research — made to play games, fill out questionnaires, look at pictures and otherwise provide data points for their professors’ investigations into human behavior, cognition and perception.

But who gets to decide whether the experimental protocol — what subjects are asked to do and disclose — is appropriate and ethical

Read More (The New York Times)

New research shows how reducing carbon emissions can prevent billions of people from being exposed to unheard-of changes in climate in the coming decades.

The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, emphasises the human dimension of how unusual a warmer climate would appear to people living in different regions.

Read More (

UK scientists worried about how Brexit will affect their funding received a boost this week, when the country's three main national parties pledged long-term targets to raise research spending.

The announcements came in party manifestos unveiled ahead of national elections in June.

Read More (Nature)

Azerbaijan is undergoing a protracted economic crisis, which its authoritarian Aliyev regime is having difficulty tackling.

When entrenched cronyism, corruption and nepotism are business as usual, does hard work and hard study count for anything?

Read More (Open Democracy)

The spread of false information has always been with us, but it is something we face every day in the digital age.

At the core of the problem of misinformation is confirmation bias – we tend to seize on information that confirms our own view of the world, ignoring anything that doesn’t - and thus polarisation.

Read More (Eyewitness News)

Should PhD supervisors publish with their students? Should PhD students include their supervisors as co-authors on articles emanating from their PhD projects?

To many academics, the answer seems, self-evidently, yes. But some – especially, in our experience, in the social sciences – remain adamantly unconvinced.

Read More (Times Higher Education)

Measurements at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory showed that the concentration of heat-trapping CO2 in the atmosphere had exceeded 410 parts per million.

Some might be thinking this: Since rising levels of greenhouse gases are causing global warming, and myriad climate changes like melting ice sheets and glaciers, then this really was big news story.

Read More (Discover)

The sixth graders at Newton Bateman, a public elementary school here with a classic red brick facade, know the Google drill.

In a social-science class last year, the students each grabbed a Google-powered laptop.

Read More (The New York Times)

Table football, ping pong and hammocks are no substitute for job security or work satisfaction and actually annoy many staff, a leading academic has warned.

A new study by the storage and removals firm Kiwi Movers suggests a backlash against quirky office furniture, with a quarter of staff finding them annoying and only 14 per cent liking them.

Read More (iNews)

Is the selfie culture coming into serious academic research?

Or is it a valid way of using first-hand experience?

Read More (BBC)

New social science research shows a correlation between illegal gold mining and the spread of malaria.

We explore why this might be the case.

Read More (NPR)

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former research assistant of mine, would not strike most people as a revolutionary.

Yet in his new book “Everybody Lies,” he argues persuasively for a mutiny in social science.

Read More (Bloomberg)

Citizens receiving a basic monthly income as part of a radical Finnish pilot scheme have seen a reduction in their stress levels, an official leading the trial has said.

The first of its kind in Europe, the scheme sees 2,000 people receive 560 euros (£473) every month for two years.

Read More (The Independent)

In attempting to reduce human rights abuses, both academics and practitioners focus on two mechanisms that can, at least at times, lead to respect for human rights.

First, when social norms change, individuals may come to see themselves as human rights compliers or respecters and may come to view some government practices as improper. This is the logic of appropriateness. Second, legal rules, when enforced, can impose costly sanctions on those who violate human rights. This is the logic of consequences.

Read More (Open Democracy)

A person of true culture, with a steady vision of the ideal of the good society, would probably loathe the notion of spin, find himself appalled by the pressure exerted upon him by special interests, be nauseated by the corruption of his colleagues who enrich themselves while claiming to be wily for the public good.

Enmeshed in the everyday cut and thrust of contemporary politics, a cultured man or woman would likely spend a fair amount of his or her time squirming.

Read More (Weekly Standard)

In her first statement as Prime Minister, Theresa May sympathised with those ‘ordinary’ families who ‘just about manage’, with mortgages, the cost of living, and job insecurity, recognising these families’ struggle for control over their lives. In this way, the ‘jams’ became the new ‘squeezed middle’.

There is no doubt that ‘jams’ and ‘the squeezed middle’ are rhetorical devices, but this doesn’t mean we can dismiss them – or the experiences of the low-to-middle income families they represent.

Read More (Discover Society)

We all like to think we are in charge of the decisions we make.

Yet anyone who reads up on social science, or listens to the Hidden Brain podcast, knows there are subconscious factors influencing our decisions.

Read More (Forbes)

Studies show that people who spend more time on social media sites feel more socially isolated than those who don't.

This might be because of a disconnect between our online lives and our real ones.

Read More (NPR)