5 Things We Learned About Ourselves on YouTube
With the sheer volume of information at our disposal these days, it can be hard to make sense of it all. Which news sources are to be trusted, and which ones aren't? Which research findings should we be concerned about, and which ones can we blow off?
In "Above the Noise," a new PBS Digital Studios webseries from KQED, hosts Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary cut through the cluttered informationscape to answer the questions we're asking. Here are some of our favorite episodes of the YouTube series so far:
1. Is your social status making you sick?
Social class is one of the most accurate predictors of health. But it's not only because people higher on the social ladder have more money to spend on health care. There's actually something called the "biological embedding of status"—people in lower social classes actually have less physical ability to stay healthy, likely because of the stress hormone cortisol.
2. Can virtual reality make you a better person?
We know mentally escaping into a video game can be an effective de-stressor. And labs are employing virtual reality to study the safety of cars and military equipment before they are produced. But did you know that using VR can effect how you interact with the world around you, even after you take off the goggles?
3. Can procrastination be a good thing?
Thank goodness for me, a little bit of worry can actually be good for you. What about procrastination? There are different types of procrastinators, but one study estimated that as many as 95 percent of college students put off doing their assignments. So if you're prone to procrastinating, you're actually very normal.
4. How do different social media platforms affect your mood?
Our generation says we're stressed out by social media. But we're increasingly tied to it—just glimpsing the Facebook logo is enough to evoke a social media craving. Many of us have a love-hate relationship with our phone's suite of social apps.
Despite social media being around for a relatively short time, there have been tons of studies done on its effect on the way people think and act. Lots of them suggest social media use makes you depressed. But is that really the case? As it turns out, not all social platforms have the same effect on our brains. Some actually make a positive impact.
5. Why do our brains love fake news?
People's inability to spot the now-infamous "fake news" has little to do with their intelligence and everything to do with what psychologists like to call "confirmation bias"—we're attracted to information that confirms what we already believe, regardless of its truth. How can you fight your own confirmation bias? Follow these three steps.