Is Speech Really Free if the Government is Listening? May I Call You “They?” plus more weekly links


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

  • How free is your speech when there’s the potential your government is listening? A recent study by Elizabeth Stoycheff found that knowing the government might be listening is enough for people to censor their posts on the internet, even when they presumably have nothing to hide. (Journalism & Mass Communication QuarterlyWashington Post)


Photo: wiredforlego

  • How much of a person’s identity rests on a pronoun? Research suggests that pronouns play a large role in developing stereotypes of gender norms from a young age. With the expanding discussion surrounding gender identity, a catch-all singular “they” has been suggested to shorten the pronoun divide. However, does “they” provide a universal representation for everyone who does not conform to the traditional use of “he” or “she?” (New York Times)
  • What do Warby Parker, the Mona Lisa, and the “I Have a Dream” speech have in common? They were all created by procrastinators. According to Adam Grant, being a procrastinator is one the qualities shared by “originals”—his term for the creative nonconformists who change the world. In his recent TED Talk, Grant explains how originals don’t behave as you might expect. In fact, they’re likely late and full of doubt. Most importantly, however, they’re more afraid of failing to try than failure itself. (TED)


  • A research team lead by Seth Gershenson recently published a study which found that white teachers tend to expect significantly less of black students, than do black teachers, when they evaluate the same student. The researchers explore how these low expectations could impact a student’s academic experience and achievement. (Economics of Education Review)
  • Coexistence with out-groups has reached a critical point as foreign-born and migrant populations continue to increase in countries all across the world. As demographic changes persist, research suggests that previously considered majorities may show resistance to embracing diversity. (APS Observer)
  • Are taxidermists happier at work than lawyers? According to Amy Wrzesniewski, job satisfaction depends on what your work means to you, rather than the job itself. (Hidden Brain)


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