Why do we fear change?

“Fear of change is a natural impulse; the desire to pull up the drawbridge follows. But as we have repeatedly reported, that response is irrational and self-defeating” (New Scientist, 18 June 2016, volume 230(3078), 5). Why do human beings fear and resist change? Every day in our lives, more things change than stay the same. Change is the most stable and enduring condition of life…

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Preschool: the benefits for children and society

Over the years, research has shown that going to preschool can benefit children immediately in many ways–building and strengthening academic skills plus social and personal skills like self-control and listening. Other research makes a strong economic argument and ties quality preschool to significant impacts later in life: more employment, higher earnings, more home ownership, less crime. Despite these potential benefits, preschool education is not consistently…

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Using Facebook and Instagram: effects on well-being and mental health

Can using Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms be a genuine hazard to our well-being and mental health? Are the purported benefits of digital social media outweighed by the risks? What does the research say? Featured articles: *Brailovskaia, J., Margraf, J., Schillack, H., & Köllner, V. (2019). Comparing mental health of Facebook users and Facebook non-users in an inpatient sample in Germany. Journal of…

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The health benefits and risks of cannabis

People have promoted the health benefits of cannabis/marijuana for decades. That has been a factor in the loosening of marijuana use restrictions in the United States in recent years. And yet, restrictions at the Federal and some State levels remain intact. What does research actually say about the benefits and risks of medical cannabis? Is there actual evidence or are the reports largely anecdotal? Featured…

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Microplastics: impacts on the environment and human health

Hundreds of millions of tons of plastics are produced each year. Millions of those tons enter our air, soil, and water as waste. As waste, some of this material–still many millions of tons–breaks down into smaller particles, or microplastics (< 5 mm in size); microplastics come from many sources including the manufacture of industrial products and the physical, chemical, and biological breakdown of larger pieces…

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Ransomware: malware and cybercrime

What exactly is ransomware? And what happens in a ransomware attack? What does research say about ransomware and the pervasive and increasing threat and damage caused by cybercrime? Featured articles (these articles have been added to the Science Primary Literature database): *Bae, S. I., Gyu, B. L., & Im, E. G. (2020). Ransomware detection using machine learning algorithms. Concurrency and Computation, 32(18), e5422. [Cited by]…

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