A simple acronym to help guide you in being assertive and respectful

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One of my best friends is a clinical psychologist. She taught me a skill that changed my life.

I’m a freelance writer. Most of my work is from a small group of regular clients, so it’s crucial that I maintain a good working relationship with them. But it’s also critical that I set — and keep — boundaries. That includes treating me with respect.

Recently, I had an issue with one of my clients. I wrote an article for him. He provided some feedback that strayed a little too far from “constructive criticism” and wandered dangerously close to “insult” territory.

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This article is about the upcoming election in British Columbia, Canada.

I was a teaching assistant in the psychology department at Simon Fraser University in 2012 when the Teaching and Support Staff Union — my union — took job action.

The TSSU wanted, among other things, to give graduate students hiring priority over undergraduate and external applicants. They thought this would provide more financial stability for graduate students.

I agreed with the policy, even though it meant that I, as an undergraduate TA, would have lower priority.

As they escalated their job action, the TSSU sought to garner student support…

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I biked across Canada in the summer of 2017.

I had just finished my master’s degree, which was a very challenging experience — and not really in a good way. As I was finishing my thesis, I decided I needed to do something to recover. I wanted to do something difficult, but I didn’t want to think too hard. I didn’t want to rely on other people for my success. I wanted to get out of my head and into my body.

So I bought a bike and started pedalling.

Between June and September, I cycled 7,400 kilometres (about 4,600…

Optimize your pricing by including unattractive options

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In the late 2000s, psychologist and behavior economist Dan Ariely noticed something strange in the way that The Economist priced its subscription options. Its three options were:

1. A web-only subscription for $59.

2. A print-only subscription for $125.

3. The web and print subscription for $125.

You might be as confused as Ariely was: why would anyone buy the print-only subscription?

It turns out that they wouldn’t. Ariely conducted a study among students at MIT. He asked them which option they would prefer to purchase. No one chose the second option (proving that MIT students can read). …

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Social scientists have historically studied video games in terms of negatives.

They’ve looked at whether video game use can lead to reductions in academic performance, create cardiovascular risks, or even epilepsy. More recently, gaming disorder, which describes video game behaviour that resembles addiction, has been added by the World Health Organization into the International Classification of Diseases.

But are video games all bad?

Given that there are billions of players of digital games world-wide, it may also be worth asking: What are the possible benefits of video games? Are there any?

It turns out that some studies do find that…

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I knew the pandemic had a huge effect on our collective mental health, but I didn’t immediately recognize the effect it was having on me.

I didn’t notice feeling anxious or worried, but I noticed that my behaviour changed. I suddenly started pacing around the living room, I began to crave chocolate, and I found it difficult to go running, even though it’s something that I love.

The solution came by accident.

I started a book club years ago with a friend while she was away at grad school. We were bad at reading the books, but it eventually turned into a monthly accountability call…

Can video games make you better at your job? If you’re a surgeon, the answer appears to be “yes”

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Can video games make you better at your job? If you’re a surgeon, the answer appears to be “yes”.

Gaming Improves Hand-Eye Coordination

Several studies have found that playing video games can improve eye-hand coordination.

Tan Ying Li and his colleagues conducted a study designed to see if playing a video game could increase hand-eye coordination in a group of medical students from Melaka Manipal Medical College in Malaysia. The researchers split the medical students into two groups. In the experiment group, participants were asked to play the smartphone game “Make Them Jump“. The other group didn’t play the game.

The researchers tested hand-eye…

Slowly escalate your asks to let people affirm their connection with you

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The “foot-in-the-door” technique comes from the days of door-to-door salespeople. It describes a series of requests that aim to increase the number of people that agree to a request.

The idea is, as a door-to-door salesperson, you get your “foot in the door” by asking first for a small request. Then, when your audience agrees, you ask for a larger request — what you really want.

It’s the opposite of the “door-in-the-face” technique: you can increase compliance with the larger request by first asking for a more modest one.

Evidence for the Foot-in-the-Door Effect

Some of the original research on this effect was conducted by…

A complete plan for language acquisition that works

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I teach English and have learned Spanish, French, and Portuguese. I can’t tell you how many people say, “Man, I wish I followed through with (insert language here) when I was younger.”

And then people usually follow it up with, “But I was never much good with languages anyway.”

Well, learning a language is hard. But you can get fluent if you want to.

You don’t have to do boring grammar exercises or pay for expensive classes to do it. …

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The origin of this is a quick travel story: this one time in Dublin I accidentally lost my passport when I got a bit tipsy and made out vigorously with a stranger on a park bench. I had put my bag down. Then we left. My bag, and the passport inside of it, was gone by the time I realized what had happened.

So I was stuck in Ireland a little longer than I was planning to be. I decided to make the best of it and get some writing done at the public library.

This is my review of…

Ramsay Lewis

Ramsay is a researcher, educator, and writer (crisptext.ca) based in Brazil. When not writing, you can find him cycling or looking for his keys.

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