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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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


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Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


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Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

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Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


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Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

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L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

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Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

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All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

If Bernie Sanders isn't the realest dude to ever serve in Congress, I don't know who is.

We got to witness Bernie's down-to-earth, let's-get-to-work, cut-the-crap personality in all its visual glory at Joe Biden's inauguration today. While pundits fawned over the sharp and colorful stylings of the attendees, Uncle Bernie sauntered looking like he was on his way to run some errands and decided to stop in for a sec to see the new president sworn in.

Clad in what is probably his one winter coat and a pair of hand-knitted mittens, he looked perfectly comfortable, even as he stood out from the crowd of formal, designer coats and gloves. Ah, Bernie. You're just so...Bernie. It's a big part of why the guy has such a dedicated fan base. What you see is what you get, and he makes no apologies for being exactly who he is at all times.

But today of all days, as the nation waited with bated breath to witness the transfer of power from President Trump to President Biden, especially in the wake of an attempted violent coup and under the specter of an ongoing pandemic, Bernie's Bernieness came as a particularly welcome delight. This event could not have been more serious or weighty in its significance, and yet along comes Bernie reminding us that we're all just human beings here, none of us more or less important than the other.

His look launched a thousand memes that provided some needed comic relief for the day. I mean, how could it not?

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.