Extra Credit: Our pick of stories from around the web that bridge the gap between news and scholarship. Brought to you each Tuesday from the editors of JSTOR Daily.
What can brain maps really teach us? (Slate)
by Matthew Hutson
It’s easy to be fascinated by MRI maps of brain activity, like an interactive feature accompanying a paper recently published in Nature. But the insights gleaned from these models (cake activates reward centers of the brain!) often just put a scientific gloss on findings that aren’t particularly surprising.
Why we drown (Pacific Standard)
By James McWilliams
Drowning is an extremely common cause of death, particularly for young children. Maybe that’s the result of making swimming pools a common recreational option for a species that—evolutionary biology suggests—was never meant to swim.
The trouble with self-esteem (The Atlantic)
By Olga Khazan
Americans spend a lot of time worrying about boosting our (and our kids’) self-esteem. But a psychology professor finds this approach leads to bullying and narcissism. A better plan? Cultivate self-compassion, based on acting like a friend to yourself, not proving you’re better than anyone else.
Why you hate how your voice sounds (New York Magazine)
By Melissa Dahl
If you record yourself talking and then play it back, do you find yourself cringing? Most of us do. Research reveals why hearing your voice coming from outside your head feels oddly shameful.
Porn 101 (The Conversation)
By Emily Rothman
Sex and pornography are uncomfortable subjects for teenagers and parents, and for researchers. But the ubiquity of porn, combined with the absence of other ways for many young people to learn about sex, makes it a crucial area to study and teach.
Have you seen a story online that does a good job of bridging the gap between the news and scholarship? Or something that seems particularly well-researched? Let us know and we may include it in next week’s roundup. Email us at jstordaily_submissions (at) jstor (dot) org.