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NPR

A new study by MIT researchers provides evidence that babies and toddlers understand people have a close relationship if they are willing to share saliva via sharing food or kissing, reports Nell Greenfieldboyce for NPR. "From a really young age, without much experience at all with these things, infants are able to understand not only who is connected but how they are connected," says postdoc Ashley Thomas. "They are able to distinguish between different kinds of cooperative relationships."

Stat

MIT scientists have discovered that infants use saliva sharing as a cue in distinguishing close relationships, reports Andrew Joseph for STAT. “Saliva-sharing interactions provide externally observable cues of thick relationships, and young humans can use these cues to make predictions about subsequent social interactions,” the researchers explain.

Science

Science reporter Bridget Alex spotlights a new study by MIT researchers that finds children as young as 8-months-old can infer the social significance in swapping saliva with those they are closely bonded with. This is a “big step in this new science of what preverbal infants already know about human sociality,” explains Prof. Alan Fiske of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo reporter Shoshana Wodinsky spotlights a new study by MIT researchers that finds videos are not likely to sway public political opinion more than their textual counterparts. “It’s possible that as you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, video captures your attention more than text would,” says Prof. David Rand. “You might be more likely to look at it. This doesn’t mean that the video is inherently more persuasive than text – just that it has the potential to reach a wider audience.”

Forbes

Forbes contributor Bruce Y. Lee writes that MIT researchers have found that lack of sleep can affect a person’s gait and that catching up on sleep can improve gait control for those who are chronically sleep deprived. Lee writes that the findings demonstrate how, “lack of sleep may affect your ability to move your body and navigate in subtle ways.”

Boston Globe

A study by MIT researchers finds that crowdsourced fact-checking of news stories by laypeople tend to be just as effective as professional fact-checkers, writes David Scharfenberg for The Boston Globe. The researchers found that “even when pooling a relatively small number of laypeople’s evaluations, the correlation between laypeople’s and fact-checkers’ evaluations was about the same as the correlation among the fact-checkers’.”

Mashable

Mashable reporter Matt Binder writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that crowdsourced fact-checking of news stories can be as effective as using professional fact-checkers. “The study is positive news in the sense that everyday newsreaders appear to be able to, mostly, suss out misinformation,” writes Binder.

Fast Company

A new study by MIT economists finds that sleeping more may not improve performance or well-being, especially if night-time sleeping is often interrupted, reports Arianne Cohen for Fast Company. “The researchers say their findings suggest that sleep quality may be essential,” writes Cohen. “Participants experienced many nightly sleep interruptions, a saga familiar to anyone who lives with children.”

Salon

Salon reporter Amanda Marcotte spotlights a study by MIT researchers that finds correcting misinformation on social media platforms often leads to people sharing more misinformation. Research affiliate Mohsen Mosleh explains that after being corrected Twitter users " retweeted news that was significantly lower in quality and higher in partisan slant, and their retweets contained more toxic language." 

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Elizabeth Segran writes that a new study by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that mask wearing is more prevalent in communities in the U.S. with higher levels of collectivism. “It’s important to understand how culture fundamentally shapes how people respond not only to this pandemic, but to future crises as well,” says Lu.

U.S. News & World Report

A new study co-authored by MIT Prof. Jackson Lu finds that a community’s level of collectivism influences whether someone is willing to wear a mask, reports Cara Murez for U.S. News & World Report. “The role of collectivism could be studied in other crises, such as wildfires or hurricanes,” notes Murez, adding that the researchers “felt it would be important to study whether the pandemic itself has affected the sense of collectivism or individualism.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Arianne Cohen writes that a new study by MIT researchers explores how polite corrections to online misinformation can lead to further sharing of incorrect information. The researchers found that after being politely corrected for sharing inaccurate information, “tweeters’ accuracy declined further—and even more so when they were corrected by someone matching their political leanings.”

Boston Globe

A new study by MIT researchers finds that attempting to correct misinformation on social media can lead to users sharing even less accurate information, reports Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. “Being publicly corrected by another person makes them less attentive to what they retweet,” explains Prof. David Rand, “because it shifts their attention not to accuracy but toward social things like being embarrassed.”

GBH

Prof. Evan Lieberman speaks with Craig LeMoult of GBH about his new study, which finds there are mixed reactions when people are informed of the racial disparities in Covid-19 outcomes in the U.S. “We are so interconnected as a society - economically, socially, politically,” says Lieberman, “and [it’s important] to remind everyone that we are all potential vectors for this epidemic so it really behooves all of us to cooperate and to be able to end this pandemic as soon as possible.”

Fox News

A new study by MIT researchers finds that political beliefs can help bring people together on social media networks, reports Brooke Crothers for Fox News. On both sides, users were roughly three times more likely to form social ties with strangers who identify with the same party, compared to "counter-partisans.”