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Science in Society

In Case You Missed it April 28, 2017

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Each week, we recap featured posts from Character & Context and other blogs around the cyberspace, plus a few news stories and tweets that might be worth a look. If you have an item you'd like us to consider, use the hashtag #SPSPblog or tweet us directly @spspnews.

How Our Morals Might Politically Polarize Just About Anything

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By Randy Stein

When news breaks about wrongdoings of our favorite politician, the other side inevitably argues that we have a scandal on our hands. We like to think that our superior grasp of logic is what enables us to reason through and reject the other side’s concerns. The Conversation

Does Living in Crowded Places Drive People Crazy?

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You may be thinking: yes—living under crowded conditions surely drives people crazy. And the reason why may be traced back to some unfortunate rats.

Does being wealthy make you more charitable?

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By Ashley Whillans

Each year, the average American family donates approximately 3.4 percent of its discretionary income to charity. Most of these charitable contributions are made from October to December, known as the “giving season” in the nonprofit sector.

So what inspires individuals to donate to charity?

What is the Secret to Success?

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By Melissa J. Ferguson, Cornell University and Clayton R. Critcher, University of California, Berkeley

At hundreds of colleges and universities across the country, thousands of students are in the midst of the fall semester, trying to manage the academic tasks of studying, exams, papers and lectures. A lot is riding on their academic performance – earning (or just keeping) scholarships, landing summer internships, gaining employment and of course acquiring new skills and knowledge.

How Much Does China Smile?

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By Thomas Talhelm

Several years ago, I was traveling in Thailand. They call it “the land of smiles,” and that sure seemed true to me. I remember seeing a passenger on the back of a motorbike make eye contact with me and smile. I smiled back.

Two days later, I landed in Kunming, southwestern China. Thailand had gotten me into the habit of smiling at people, so as I walked in a local market, I smiled at anyone who made eye contact with me. What happened in response is what I’d call confusion, mild negativity, and sometimes a furrowed brow.

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