Fighting Fake News, Working Mothers, and More – Boston News

Fighting Fake News

Let’s explore some of the most interesting stories that have emerged from Boston business schools this week.

Lazy Thinking, Not Political Bias, Drives Fake NewsMIT Sloan Newsroom

MIT Sloan Associate Professor David Rand and the University of Regina’s Gordon Pennycook recently published a new study that illuminates what actually perpetuates fake news—a “lack of analytical thinking.”

Professor Rand writes, “Our study suggests that falling for fake news is a symptom of cognitive laziness rather than motivated reasoning or self-deception. That is, contrary to popular belief, it is not the case that people are thinking too much about the wrong things. Rather, a little thinking might go a long way to fix the problem of fake news.”

In a study that surveyed “3,446 participants to rate the accuracy of headlines from actual news stories from Facebook,” the duo found that “people who engage in more analytic thinking, as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test, are better at discerning true from false—regardless of identified motivations or political biases.”

You can read more about the research here.

What’s Your Carbon Footprint? You Probably Have No Idea.D’Amore-McKim Blog

In a recently published study, D’Amore-McKim Professor Amir Grinstein surveyed 1,000 people to “guess the amount of CO2 emitted from burning one gallon of gasoline and the amount of calories in one gallon of whole milk.”

The goal was to “examine people’s knowledge of their own carbon footprint and how they can better educate themselves about the real impact they have on the environment.”

Grinstein believes that in order to change the public’s understanding of its own carbon footprints, they must have a “better understanding of how CO2 emissions play a role in everyday life allows people to decide if they’re willing to step up and change.”

Check out the full article here.

Kids of Working Moms Grow Into Happy AdultsWorking Knowledge

New research from Harvard Business School Professor Kathleen McGinn found that, despite the narrative, working mothers often lead to happier and more successful children.

McGinn, the Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, says, “People still have this belief that when moms are employed, it’s somehow detrimental to their children. So our finding that maternal employment doesn’t affect kids’ happiness in adulthood is really important.”

The preliminary results of McGinn’s work were originally published three years ago, specifically regarding the career success of daughters of working mothers, in contrast to stay-at-home mothers.. When the story reached The New York Times, however, there was some obvious blow-back. McGinn recalls:

“Many decried the research as another installment of the ‘mommy wars.’ But the most common response was from mothers who suffered guilt, self-doubt, and disapproval from others. They found our preliminary results to be welcome news.”

However, McGinn’s research, which was conducted alongside Mayra Ruiz Castro of Kingston University in the UK, and Elizabeth Long Lingo of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, found that the careers of sons of working mothers were not generally effected. Rather, their attitudes were different in contrast to stay-at-home-mothers.

“Sons are influenced in other ways when their moms work. The sons of employed mothers hold significantly more egalitarian gender attitudes—even more so than the daughters of stay-at-home moms, a finding that surprised McGinn because it shows that the influence of maternal employment may even outweigh well-documented sex differences when it comes to shaping people’s mindsets about appropriate roles for men and women.”

You can read more of the ground-breaking research here.


About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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