TIME: ‘This Is How Rats Work.’ Why Twitter’s Emphasis on Follower Counts Could Be Backfiring. “Online follower counts have become a fashionable form of currency, numbers people use as evidence of personal and professional clout. Media outlets treat it as news when celebrities amass big followings, and an entire industry has ascended around ‘influencers’ who endorse goods via popular feeds. It’s a metric increasingly ingrained in modern life. It’s also under the microscope at Twitter.”
Washington Post: Google researchers say the tech industry has contributed to an ‘attention crisis’. “Google released a new paper written by its own user experience researchers that delves into the reasons that we can’t put down our phones, and starts to explore what companies can do about it. It also calls on the technology industry to reexamine the way it ties engagement to success — noting that capturing people’s attention is not necessarily the best way to measure whether they’re satisfied with a product.”
The Atlantic: Online Bettors Can Sniff Out Weak Psychology Studies. “Consider the new results from the Social Sciences Replication Project, in which 24 researchers attempted to replicate social-science studies published between 2010 and 2015 in Nature and Science—the world’s top two scientific journals. The replicators ran much bigger versions of the original studies, recruiting around five times as many volunteers as before. They did all their work in the open, and ran their plans past the teams behind the original experiments. And ultimately, they could only reproduce the results of 13 out of 21 studies—62 percent. As it turned out, that finding was entirely predictable.” What a fascinating story.
The Next Web: Stingy with your Instagram likes? Us too. “Why are people so stingy with their likes on Instagram? I know I am. I hold onto likes tighter than a bottle of wine at a social gathering. But it makes no sense. Likes are unlimited. And they’re just nice. There’s not even any decision-making involved, as in the case of Facebook interactions. A quick double tap, and you’ve sent a little bit of digital love someone’s way.”
Wired: A Bot Panic Hits Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. “FOR THE PAST week, psychologists all over America have been freaking out. The cause of their agita was an observation by a psychology graduate student from the University of Minnesota named Max Hui Bai. Like many researchers, Bai uses Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform, where individuals sign up to complete simple tasks, such as taking surveys for academics or marketers, and earn a low fee. On Tuesday, August 7, he posed a simple question in a Facebook group for psychology researchers: ‘Have anyone used Mturk in the last few weeks and notice any quality drop?'”
EurekAlert: Artificial intelligence can predict your personality … simply by tracking your eyes . “It’s often been said that the eyes are the window to the soul, revealing what we think and how we feel. Now, new research reveals that your eyes may also be an indicator of your personality type, simply by the way they move. Developed by the University of South Australia in partnership with the University of Stuttgart, Flinders University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany, the research uses state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms to demonstrate a link between personality and eye movements.”
BBC: Social media apps are ‘deliberately’ addictive to users. “Social media companies are deliberately addicting users to their products for financial gain, Silicon Valley insiders have told the BBC’s Panorama programme. ‘It’s as if they’re taking behavioural cocaine and just sprinkling it all over your interface and that’s the thing that keeps you like coming back and back and back’, said former Mozilla and Jawbone employee Aza Raskin.”