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They say each lie is easier than the last.

Let's try it out.

I had a bagel for breakfast this morning. I am completely happy with my diet. My loan and rent payments are — deep breath — entirely reasonable. I am totally fine with ... how this political season ... has ... gajsdfasdjfklsadf.


Photo from iStock.

Damn it. I can't do it.

But there is a well-known idea that little white lies can eventually snowball into giant ones. (For reference, consider any romantic comedy movie, ever.)

So scientists from University College London decided to see if lies really spin out of control like we think they do.

To test this, they made people play a lying game, and scientists watched their brains.

The game was pretty simple: The player's task was to look at a jar of pennies and try to tell a friend how many pennies there were. They'd each get a prize based on their guesses. Sometimes the prizes would be better if they cooperated, but sometimes the player would get better prizes if they lied to their friend.

While this was all happening, the scientists used a type of brain scan called an fMRI to watch the activity in the person's brain.

If the player lied, a region of their brain called the amygdala would light up on the scans.

The amygdala is kind of like an emotional control booth in our brains. It lights up whenever something makes us feel an intense emotion, such as learning your child bought an alligator.

Photo by iStock.

The scientists saw that same emotional center light up when a person told a lie.

But the amygdala didn't always stay lit up and that's the interesting part of this story.

Each time a person told a self-serving lie, their amygdala reacted a little less. And larger drops in activity predicted an increase in the size of the person's lies.

So if the amygdala controls emotion, and we see less activity after repeated lying, that means...

Repeated lies might blunt the brain's emotional response.

At least, that's what the scientists are speculating. (They're a little cautious about making a big statement just yet.) They think that the first time we lie, our amygdala produces a strong emotional response, such as shame or guilt. The more you lie, however, the less the amygdala protests. Basically, the more you lie, the easier it is for you to keep lying.

However, the scientists didn't see the same pattern when the lie actually benefited the player's friend — just when it screwed them over.

So those little white lies we tell to protect our friends? Those stay with us. But the lies we tell to serve ourselves? Those can get so easy, we don't even feel them.

Scientists think this could also teach us new things about decision-making in general too, but they need to do a bit more research on that line of thinking.

"We only tested dishonesty in this experiment, but the same principle may also apply to escalations in other actions such as risk taking or violent behavior," study author Neil Garrett said in a statement.

Let's try this lying thing again...

I did not eat pizza last night. I am definitely not currently bingeing my way through Luke Cage. The traffic in my city is — eye twitch — fine. Just fine. And I am definitely not freaking out about climate change. Nope. Not at all.

I did it! Take that, amygdala.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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