I’m Sleeping with My Boss the Fitbit, Vetoed Bathroom Restrictions for Transgender Students, plus more weekly links


A selection of recent behavioral science news, articles, and resources of note:

  • Gadgets like Fitbit and apps like MyFitnessPal seem to be the perfect way to achieve your fitness goals. Watching every calorie burn and counting every step can only motivate you to keep going, right? Research, noting that these trackers can also act as a 24/7 boss, suggests otherwise. (The Atlantic)
  • Why does Donald Trump appeal to such a broad range of voters? In “The Rise of American Authoritarianism,” writer Amanda Taub looks for an answer in the research on authoritarianism—a psychological profile based on a “desire for order and a fear of outsiders.” (Vox)
  • Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota vetoed a bill aimed at restricting access to bathrooms for transgender students. (New York Times)
  • The Word Bank and ideas42 have teamed up to use insights from behavioral science to fight for health and hygiene in countries around the world, including nutrition in Madagascar, sexual health in South Africa, and sanitation in India. (The Guardian)
  • Anyone who doubted the intelligence of birds will be eating crow after they watch the video below. Ok, don’t actually eat any crows. Just check out the highlights of how they can use tools and find hidden treats in a shell game, a skill previously thought to be exclusive to primates. Maybe being called a bird-brain isn’t such a bad thing after all. (New York Times)


  • Apps like Spritz and BeeLine Reader promise to improve your reading speed and efficiency. Do they work? Research by Keith Rayner and colleagues suggests the claims are too good to be true. (APS Observer)
  • With the rapid advancement of AI technology, the question of whether or not a machine could become conscious is no longer restricted to the realm of science fiction. George Musser explores how machines could become self-aware…without humans even knowing it. (Aeon)
  • Loneliness is not just a miserable feeling, it’s a public health issue. In an interview with The Guardian, Psychologist John Cacioppo describes what loneliness is, how it weakens people physically and mentally, and ways to treat it. (The Guardian)


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