Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Counteracting doom & gloom with a little levity

After cruising thru all the doom-and-gloom items that Tom posted below — Libya, Ukraine, ISIS, etc. — I thought it might be time to add a little levity. So here it is, written by my son Ross for the Newton Blog on RealClearScience (with help from a YouTube video):

Why It's So Hard to Swap the Toilet Paper Roll

Posted by Ross Pomeroy September 2, 2014

WILL REID WAS getting tired of asking his teenage children to change the toilet paper roll, so he did what any enlightened father would do: call them out on YouTube. His "instructional video" on toilet roll changing has amassed over 700,000 views since being posted on August 29th.

Of course, laziness isn't endemic to teenagers. Countless others willingly neglect to empty the overflowing trash bin, clean the leaning tower of dirty dishes, or replace the toilet paper roll.

Why do millions of Americans persistently put off easy chores like these? The answer is tied to motivation, or rather, a lack thereof.

Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, a prolific duo of psychologists based out of Rochester University in New York are the preeminent researchers on the science of motivation. They've narrowed down the basis of human action to two main drivers: intrinsic and extrinsic. We either perform an activity out of interest or enjoyment for the activity itself -- intrinsic -- or we perform an activity to attain an external, separate outcome -- extrinsic. Intrinsic activities are inherently motivating. Extrinsic ones are not.

(Continued here.)

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