Donald Trump’s “Fake News Awards” for what he calls “the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media” have drawn mockery. However, behavioral science research suggests they are deadly serious. These awards create an institution for Trump’s relentless attacks on mainstream media and position Trump as the only voice who gets to determine truthful media. Unfortunately, the typical style of news coverage will perpetuate Trump’s agenda. However, a different style informed by behavioral science strategies would convey more accurate information… Read more

President Donald Trump called the recently-passed tax bill “an incredible Christmas gift” for middle-class Americans. In reality, the tax bill takes money from the pockets of middle-class Americans and gives it to corporations. Anyone who claims the tax bill primarily benefits the middle class is spreading falsehoods.   With the new bill, the tax rate for corporations is reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent. That makes a total reduction of 40 percent from what they were paying earlier. Other… Read more

It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with family members about politics. How can you deal with such conversations effectively? My aunt invited me to her holiday party recently, where I sat across the table from my distant cousin Mark. He proclaimed the benefits of the Democratic Party’s recent efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, arguing that it will be very good for the economy, and denouncing those who argued against it… Read more

Do you want your medical treatment to be based on science? The Trump administration disagrees. It apparently banned the top US public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from using 7 words, including “evidence-based” and “science-based.”   Prominent public health advocates have expressed outrage about these measures. For example, Sandro Galea, an epidemiologist and dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, tweeted “This is astonishing.  It would be a parody of a flailing effort… Read more

It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with friends and family who are truth deniers. For example, my close friend invited me to her holiday party recently, where I sat across the table from her brother Mike. We got to talking about Donald Trump’s recently-successful efforts to ban people from many majority-Muslim countries from entering the US and his retweeting of anti-Muslim videos.   Mike strongly supported Trump’s ban and rhetoric, and other anti-Muslim policies…. Read more

Caption: man and woman in a conflict (Gratisography/Pexels)   It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with friends and family who are science deniers, from people who believe the moon landing was faked to those who believe vaccines cause autism or who think that humans did not cause significant global climate change. How can you deal with such science deniers effectively?   My close friend invited me to her house for Thanksgiving, where I sat… Read more

  The front-runner candidate for Alabama Senate, Republican Roy Moore, called The Washington Post “fake news” after the newspaper published a thorough investigation reporting on sexual encounters between Moore and multiple teenage girls, one as young as 14. Moore’s attacks on this highly-reputable newspaper are part of a recent broader pattern of prominent public figures using the label of “fake news” to denounce quality investigative journalism. Research suggests such attacks pose an urgent and systemic danger to our democracy, as… Read more

  My family emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the US when I was 10, and our cultural heritage of ritual celebrations comes from that background. The most important Soviet celebration was New Year’s Eve, a combination of Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one. A few hours before midnight, close family and friends gathered together. There was always a big New Year’s tree with a bright red star on top, and a huge dinner table piled with delicious food…. Read more

__________________________________________________________________ In these dark days of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” it’s hard to trust any politicians. How can we tell apart the ones who spout bald-faced lies from those who actually tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Fortunately, we now have a science-based tool for telling which politicians are comfortable committing to the truth, and which are not: the Pro-Truth Pledge. Let’s get the myths out of the way: we can’t trust our gut on… Read more

By Joel Lehman   ______________________________________________________________ “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” -Shakespeare It happens every year. It’s the beginning round tryouts on the talent show American Idol, and a man confidently takes the stage, sparks in his eyes. He thinks he’s destined for greatness, this is his moment. The music starts, and with anticipation quaking, he smiles full of composure, and boldly unleashes — a cracked and cringe-worthy voice!… Read more

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