If You can Tolerate Ambiguity Then You’re More Likely to Trust People

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The ability to tolerate ambiguity varies from person to person and that ability can impact how we interact with the world around us. The intolerance of uncertainty contributes to one’s anxiety and some researches think that individuals strive to make their lives more certain for comfort. Indeed, there has been research into views on uncertainty and political views. In these uncertain times it’s helpful to think about how people think about uncertainty.

Brown University just released a study on the connection between ambiguity and tolerance trust levels in relationships. People who can cope with vagueness demonstrate more prosocial behaviour in terms of trusting others.

Tolerance of ambiguity is distinct from tolerance of risk. With risk, the probability of each future outcome is known, said Oriel FeldmanHall, author of the study and an assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University. The many unknowns inherent in social situations make them inherently ambiguous, and the study finds that attitudes toward ambiguity are a predictor of one’s willingness to engage in potentially costly social behavior.

That incomplete knowledge, she said, means “social exchanges are rife with ambiguous — and not risky — uncertainty: we can’t apply specific probabilities to how a social exchange might unfold when we don’t have certainty about whether the person has trustworthy intentions.”

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Positively Trolling Racists on the Web

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Racists aren’t smart, and recently their stupidity has been taken advantage of to make the internet a little better. The popular online community Reddit has some parts of the site occupied by racists and the larger contingent of the community got sick of it. Some members started to infiltrate those hateful parts of the community and take over moderation and posting. They deleted the hateful posts and replaced them with a hilarious take on the community’s name.

One of the first big examples of this new, decidedly wholesome form of internet trolling occurred on /r/Stormfront, a subreddit originally named after the infamous neo-Nazi website and internet forum. Thanks to some cheeky Reddit users who took the subreddit over, /r/Stormfront is now dedicated to discussing the weather. Any kind of “disrespectful, hateful or discriminatory comments on race, religion, ideology, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and sexual orientation are not allowed,” according to the page’s new set of guidelines.

“I love that people coming to Reddit to read about racism instead find themselves exposed to trends in severe weather,” Reddit user awkwardtheturtle, who has reclaimed a number of these racist subreddits, told Mic via Reddit private message. “It’s just such a funny twist.”

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Millennials Don’t Want to Work for Jerks

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Generational distinctions are mostly meaningless, although sometime there is a glimpse into cultural trends based on age. One generational difference that is a good one to see (among many) is that “millennials” don’t want to work for jerks. Workplaces used to worship the leaders who pushed people around and were overly assertive; today the standard is changing to bosses who actually realize that humans work for them and they aren’t just disposable “human resources.” Sure, there aren’t as many jobs out there as before, but we must remember that millennials have grown up in an economy without care for them (serially underemployed with no job security, pension, or even a ‘normal’ 9-5 pay cheque), so a jerk boss has little sway to keep employees around since millennials don’t have much to loose by going elsewhere.

Let’s hope that the changing workplace to a friendly space can also make the economy a little more human too.

In some workplaces, making a colleague cry is considered a sadistic rite of passage. In the culture of commerce, behaviour that would be inexcusable in pretty much any other context is not only tolerated, but rewarded.

To what end? What real benefits are conferred on a business when its leaders are nasty? Abusive behaviour sure doesn’t spur productivity: A 2006 Florida State University study of 700 employees in a variety of different roles found that those with abusive bosses were five times more likely to purposefully slow down or make errors than their peers, and nearly six times more likely to call in sick when they actually felt fine. Nor does it do much for employee morale: As Stanford organizational behaviour professor Robert Sutton wrote in his 2007 bestseller, The No Asshole Rule, brutish managers “infuriate, demean and damage their peers, superiors, underlings and, at times, clients and customers, too.”

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Hitting Children Doesn’t Help

We now have solid evidence that spanking is more harmful than good for children. In the largest study of its kind researches have found that children who were spanked displayed more adverse socialization than others. They also conclude that spanking does not improve the behaviour of children when they are hit or afterwards.

Spanking is not a good behaviour, so you are probably wondering why this is mentioned here. We can use this knowledge that hitting kids (spanking) to change laws and the behaviour of adults. Let’s all go out and make the world a little better by not hitting people no matter their age.

Their study, which was published in the April edition of the Journal of Family Psychology, was based on five decades worth of research involving more than 160,000 children. They are calling it the most extensive scientific investigations into the spanking issue, and one of the few to look specifically at spanking rather than grouping it with other forms of physical discipline.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors. Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree,” explained Gershoff. “We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline.”

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Teaching ADHD Kids Outside

Students with ADHD have a hard time focusing in a standard classroom which leads to a difficult learning environment. It doesn’t have to be this way though. In Finland outdoor schools are familiar and effective, and now in the States they are experimenting with outdoor schools. Outside Online took a good look a SOAR to see what the future of outdoor education could be in America while examining the benefits of nature-based schooling for people with attention disorders.

Olmsted, looking back on his life, identified the problem as the stifling classroom, not troublesome boys. “A boy,” he wrote, “who would not in any weather & under all ordinary circumstances, rather take a walk of ten to twelve miles some time in the course of every day than stay quietly about a house all day, must be suffering from disease or a defective education.”

The Academy at SOAR—which became accredited three years ago—is determined to find a better way. The school has just 32 students, 26 of them boys, divided into four mixed-age houses. Each kid has an individualized curriculum, and the student-teacher ratio is five to one. Tuition is a steep $49,500 per year, on par with other boarding schools, although you won’t find a Hogwartsian dining hall or stacks of leather-bound books. The school still covers the required academics, as well as basic life skills like cooking, but finds that the kids pay more attention to a history lesson while standing in the middle of a battlefield or a geology lecture while camping on a monocline.

“We started from scratch,” says SOAR’s executive director John Willson, who began working there as a camp counselor in 1991. “We’re not reinventing the wheel—we threw out the wheel.” The school’s founders didn’t have any particular allegiance to adventure sports; they just found that climbing, backpacking, and canoeing were a magic fit for these kids, at these ages, when their neurons are exploding in a million directions. “When you’re on a rock ledge,” Willson says, “there’s a sweet spot of arousal and stress that opens you up for adaptive learning. You find new ways of solving problems.”

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