101 posts Posts by Pilar

The power of a smile

The power of a smile

Image: “The Sun” by Yue Minjun
If you put a baby monkey in front of two human beings that it doesn’t know, and one of them smiles at it and the other one doesn’t, the animal will always make for the person who is smiling. The reason is simple: smiling is a form of social glue. Smiling brings us closer to others (and to the whole family of mammals, one might add). Obviously, we are talking …

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Fragility makes us stronger

Fragility makes us stronger

The other day in a leadership training workshop, we did a role-play where one of the participants took on the role of a boss who has to give some bad news to a co-worker. The situation cried out for this person to start off by apologizing, but he didn’t. I have to admit that I’ve always been puzzled by people who act like this -and let it be said in passing that it’s very common- …

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What if stress weren’t such a bad thing in the end?

What if stress weren’t such a bad thing in the end?

Do you have a stressful job? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), you are just one of the 10% of the world’s adult population who suffer from this problem. What’s more, in industrialized countries the figure is considerably higher. In the United States, for example, 43% of workers are estimated to suffer the effects of stress, and a million employees miss work every day because of it, according to …

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Our brain is plastic

Our brain is plastic

Becoming a taxi driver in London isn’t easy. You have to pass an exam called ‘The Knowledge’, which involves memorizing over 25,000 streets and thousands of places of interest. Only half of the would-be cabbies are able to make the grade. It would seem like the perfect situation for a neuroscientist to study if our brain can change when we are immersed in an intense learning process. This, at any rate, is what Eleanor Maguire …

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Why uncertainty kills us

Why uncertainty kills us

Our brain doesn’t like uncertainty. We’d rather receive a bad piece of news as soon as possible than put up with not knowing whether it will turn out to be good or not. I imagine that we’ve all experienced this feeling. Medical science and psychology have set about researching this area, and have confirmed that we are indeed built this way.
The first piece of research that we’re going to look was carried out at the …

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