What politicians going positive teaches us about human motivation.

Remember back in 2008 when Obama said he disagreed with John McCain, but would always honor his military service?

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.


That feeling of niceness was great ... but it seems to be short-lived in political campaigns. The closer it gets to Election Day, the meaner the candidates seem to get, especially when it comes to each other.

We know that mean language weakens people's faith in the system, which isn't great.

Previous studies have shown that going negative can also be dangerous for the candidates themselves. When you start slinging mud at your opponents, you might get splashed yourself.

But what would happen if, instead of criticizing your opponent, you complimented them?

Professor Nicoletta Cavazza at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy wanted to find out. To do this, the researchers asked 90 students to sit down and read fake political speeches. Some of the speeches had the typical mostly-negative political cadence you'd expect.

But half were tweaked to include a compliment toward the opposition. For example: "I believe that my competitor, who is an upright and smart person, will agree with me about the need to change this situation."

What did Cavazza find? In the end, the students rated the complimentary politician as being more trustworthy overall.

Unfortunately, we're not likely to see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump getting all buddy-buddy.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

But this research does show us something interesting about our brains.

Cavazza cautioned that the study did have limitations, such as the fact that the politicians were made up, which might limit how much we can apply this to real politics just yet. More research will need to be done to tease out more nuance in their findings as well.

But the study does teach us that we tend to trust people more if it looks like they're going against their own best interests and acting in someone else's best interest instead.

In the case of politics, this can look like being nice to your competition.

But in real life, it can also look like helping someone out randomly. Imagine going to a car mechanic for repair. Maybe there's been a weird thump when it turns on or a little jingle-jangle noise when you go over 40 miles an hour. You leave the car with them for a few hours and when you get back, they've not only fixed the problem but also changed your oil for free!

What a standup bloke. You'd trust him with your car next time, right?

One of the most interesting things about politics is how it lets us see human nature played out on a national stage.

Next time I watch politics, I'll keep an eye out for any flattery because it could be the trick to winning ... although this year, I may have to wait until after Nov. 8 for that.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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