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Science needs myths to thrive

Science needs myths to thrive
Research is more profitable and productive than ever before, but it risks losing its sense of values and ethics.


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Commitment to the truth

Commitment to the truth

The drive to publish and measure outcomes may mean that researchers are under pressure to cut corners.

For scientific research to be successful in the long term, researchers need a strong set of values, including a commitment to the truth. The best way of instilling these values is through the stories and myths we tell ourselves.



The power of stories

One of the oldest stories of great deeds is the ancient Greek Iliad of Homer. The story explores the value of a warrior and leader and the consequences of pride and anger.

Scientists also have stories about remarkable people and significant events in science, such as the discovery of penicillin, and uncovering the structure of DNA. These stories help young scientists understand the benefits of research that go beyond personal advancement and success.


The future of science

Research has changed since the 20th century. Physiologists used to build their own equipment and had only a few people working in their teams.

Nowadays, to succeed, you must win big grants and build up a research team. Although the industrialization of science is necessary, we haven't adapted the way in which we instill the ethics and values of science and research into young researchers. With a commitment to the truth, scientists should also ensure accurate representations of reality that reflect the collective endeavor.



5 hours of sleep is enough

Habitual sleep deprivation is associated with diverse and far-reaching health effects and none of them is good.

Between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night are recommended. You can get used to l...

Watching Television before bed

Cellphones, tablets, and all kinds of personal electronics are not a good idea when you’re getting ready for bed.

Researchers have increasingly focused on “blue light” emitted by screens and its effect on sleep and negative sleep-related health outcomes.

It doesn’t matter when you sleep

Our bodies tend to follow a natural rhythm of wakefulness and sleep that is attuned to sunrise and sunset for a reason.

While some missed sleep here and there isn’t necessarily a big deal, shifting your sleep schedule long term isn’t healthy.

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We’re swayed by anecdotes

We’re swayed by anecdotes
Most of us are influenced more powerfully by personal testimony from a single person than by impersonal ratings or outcomes averaged across many people. This is the power of anecdote to dull our criti...

We’re overconfident

We overestimate our comprehension of the science. 

Part of the problem seems to be that we infer our understanding of scientific text based on how well we have comprehended the language used. This “fluency bias” can also apply to science lectures when it is delivered by an engaging speaker.

We’re seduced by graphs

It doesn’t take a lot to dazzle the average newspaper or magazine reader using the superficial props of science, be that formulas, graphics or jargon. 

One study found that participants were far more likely to support new evidence when it had a graphic visualisation of the correlational evidence than if they had read the same evidence without a graphic.

Purpose Is Essential

Purpose Is Essential

Purpose in life leads to greater well-being, hope and provides a sense of meaning in life.

The positive or negative experiences we have as children play an important role in our sense of pur...

Experiencing Adversity

Individuals who experience adversity at an early age have a decreased sense of purpose according to research.

For some, it works in the reverse, with adversity providing them with the 'kick' they need to pursue a particular calling in life.

Experiencing Conflict

Relationship issues with parents lead to a decreased sense of purpose as the young person grows older.

Frequently fighting or arguing with parents drains the child's energy and enthusiasm.