Molly Crockett (Ep. 45): The neuroscience of social media outrage

Molly Crockett (Ep. 45): The neuroscience of social media outrage

What’s happening in our brains as we mindlessly scroll social media? Or worse, when we angrily retweet posts from our tribe. Molly Crockett is an assistant psychology professor at Yale University, where she integrates classic social psychology with neuroscience. She explains how our brain’s reward system works and how this ties to digital moral outrage. Does outrage serve an evolutionary purpose? What are the social costs and incentives to the outraged individual? And what about the opposite, humble bragging and virtue signaling? Molly also shares how she applies her insights to lead a more focused and productive life.

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Molly’s approach to the to-do list

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I tend to be very overwhelmed and demoralized by what I have to do, so I created a system where I have a [two column] list of things that require a lot of mental bandwith and a list of things I can do at the end of the day when my energy is depleted. There’s an easy column and a hard one. My daily goal, which is ridiculously low, is one item from each category. On most days I will do well more than [that], but I find it useful to set the bar really low in order to not get demoralized.

If it’s before lunch time and I’ve already done one from each column, then I find that motivating and get more done. But if I set a less achievable goal of 3-4 from each column, I’d halfway through the day realize that this wouldn’t happen and then it’s like “well, I broke my diet, so I might as well have two beers and chocolate cake” type of situation.

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