Italo Calvino

Italo Calvino (Italian: [ˈiːtalo kalˈviːno];[1] 15 October 1923 – 19 September 1985) was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952–1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979).

Admired in Britain, Australia and the United States, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death, and a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.[2]

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Moral foundations theory is a social psychological theory intended to explain the origins of and variation in human moral reasoning on the basis of innate, modular foundations. At present, the theory proposes six such foundations: Care, Fairness, Liberty, Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity; however, its authors envision the possibility of including additional foundations. The theory was first proposed by the psychologists Jonathan Haidt and Craig Joseph, building on the work of cultural anthropologist Richard Shweder, subsequently developed by a diverse group of collaborators, and popularized in Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind.

Although the initial development of moral foundations theory focused on cultural differences, subsequent work with the theory has largely focused on political ideology. Various scholars have offered moral foundations theory as an explanation of differences among political progressives (liberals in the American sense), conservatives, and libertarians, and have suggested that it can explain variation in opinion on politically charged issues such as gay marriage and abortion. In particular, Haidt and fellow researchers have argued that progressives stress only two of the moral foundations (Care and Fairness) in their reasoning, and libertarians stress only two (Liberty and Fairness), while conservatives stress all six more equally.[1]

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we’re left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.

Questions of good and evil

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Paul W. Glimcher

Paul W. Glimcher is an American neuroscientist, psychologist and economist. He played a central role in developing the emerging field of neuroeconomics. He lives with his family in New York City.

Glimcher holds the Julius Silver, Rosyln S. Silver and Enid Silver Winslow Chair of Neural Science at New York University where he is Director of the New York University Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Decision Making.[1] At NYU he is a Professor of Economics, Psychology and Neural Science in the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Neuroscience and Physiology in the School of Medicine. He is the author of two books on Neuroeconomics: Neuroeconomics Decisions, Uncertainty and the Brain: The Science of Neuroeconomics and Foundations of Neuroeconomic Analysis. He is the lead editor of the textbook in Neuroeconomics,Neuroeconomics: Decision-Making and the Brain, now in its second edition.


The central goal of the laboratory for economics, psychology and neuroscience of decision is to develop and advance interdisciplinary models of human choice. Using methods ranging from cohort studies in experimental economics, to brain imaging to single neuron studies in non-human animals, the laboratory seeks to leverage multiple technologies and approaches to develop advanced models of human decision-making. These models themselves range from anatomical models to neural random utility theories. In sum, the laboratory uses a broad range of empirical and theoretical tools in its effort to better understand both how people and animals choose and how to develop policies to maximize the welfare of humans and animals everywhere.

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Miguel Nicolelis showing how a clever monkey in the US learned to control a robot arm in Japan

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Tefillin (Askhenazic: /ˈtfɪln/; Israeli Hebrew: [tfiˈlin], תפילין), also called phylacteries (/fɪˈlæktərz/ from Ancient Greek φυλακτήριον phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning “to guard, protect”), are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. They are worn by male observant Jews during weekday morning prayers.

Although “tefillin” is technically the plural form (the singular being “tefillah”), it is loosely used as a singular as well.[1] The arm-tefillin, or shel yad, is placed on the upper arm, and the strap wrapped around the arm/hand, hand and fingers; while the head-tefillin, or shel rosh, is placed above the forehead. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a “sign” and “remembrance” that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.

The scriptural texts for tefillin are obscure in literal meaning. For example, Deuteronomy 11:18 is one of the standard texts referenced as supporting the obligation, but does not designate what specifically to “bind upon your arm,” and the definition oftotafot between your eyes is not obvious. It is the Talmud, the authoritative oral tradition for Rabbinic Judaism, which explains what are to be bound to the body and the form of tefillin.[2]

From the Wilderness and LebanonAn Israeli soldier’s story of war and recovery (Hebrew: מן המדבר והלבנון‎‎) is the English translation of the first novel by Israeli author Dr. Asael Lubotzky. The book records his experiences when serving as an officer in the Israeli army during the Second Lebanon War and recounts autobiographically his long period of recovery from the wounds he sustained in battle. The book was originally published in Hebrew by Yedioth Books in 2008 and became a bestseller, and in English translation under this title in 2016. The army’s former chief of staff, General Moshe Ya’alon, wrote a laudatory Foreword.

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To Have or to Be?

To Have or to Be? is a 1976 book by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, in which he differentiates between having and being.

Fromm mentions how modern society has become materialistic and prefers “having” to “being”. He mentions the great promise of unlimited happiness, freedom, material abundance, and domination of nature. These hopes reached their highs when the industrial age began. One could feel that there would be unlimited production and hence unlimited consumption. Human beings aspired to be Gods of earth, but this wasn’t really the case. The great promise failed due to the unachievable aims of life, i.e. maximum pleasure and fulfillment of every desire (radical hedonism), and the egotism, selfishness and greed of people. In the industrial age, the development of this economic system was no longer determined by the question of what is good for man, but rather of what is good for the growth of the system. So, the economic system of society served people in such a way in which only their personal interests were intended to impart. The people having unlimited needs and desires like the Roman emperors, the English and Frenchnoblemen were the people who got the most out it.

Society nowadays has completely deviated from its actual path. The materialistic nature of people of “having” has been more developed than “being”. Modern industrialization has made great promises, but all these promises are developed to fulfill their interests and increase their possessions. In every mode of life, people should ponder more on “being” nature and not towards the “having” nature. This is the truth which people deny and thus people of the modern world have completely lost their inner selves. The point of being is more important as everyone is mortal, and thus having of possessions will become useless after their death, because the possessions which are transferred to the life after death, will be what the person actually was inside.

Published on Jun 28, 2013
Erich Fromm Interview about his book “To Have or to Be?”
“As always, Erich Fromm speaks with with wisdom, compassion, learning and insight into the problems of individuals trapped in a social world that is needlessly cruel and hostile” – Noam Chomsky.

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value judgments

Culture, Perception, & Reality

by GOOD SIGN on APRIL 21, 2015

When information passes through our knowledge filter, one of three things happens:

We decide that the information is not meaningful to us and the perception stops there; We do not immediately recognize the information, but believe it may be meaningful to us so we have some incentive to gain more information: The information is meaningful to us and therefore passes through the next filter, the valuing filter. When information passes through the valuing filter, we place one of three values on it:

  • If it is something we have learned and is needs-satisfying, we place a positive value on it.
  • If it is something we have learned and hinders our ability to meet our needs, we place a negative value on it.
  • If it neither helps us nor hinders us in meeting our needs, we may place little or no value on it; it remains neutral.

Because we all come to every situation with different knowledge and experience, and therefore different values, our perceptions of the real world are different. Thus, we don’t all live in the same “real world.”

Social constructionism or the social construction of reality (also social concept) is a theory of knowledge in sociology andcommunication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality. The theory centers on the notions that human beings rationalize their experience by creating models of the social world and share and reify these models through language.[1]


The Sustainability Liability: Potential Negative Effects of Ethicality on Product Preference

By: Michael G. Luchs, Rebecca Walker Naylor, Julie R. Irwin, and Rajagopal Raghunathan
Journal of Marketing

Executive Summary
Manufacturers are increasingly producing and promoting sustainable products (i.e., products that have a positive social and/or environmental impact). This increase mirrors public interest in sustainability, as evidenced by widespread coverage in the press and public opinion surveys suggesting strong consumer demand for these products. Despite the attention sustainability is receiving, actual sales of sustainable products still represent only a small fraction of overall consumer goods sales. However, note that though the market share of sustainable products has been relatively weak in many product categories (e.g., household cleaning products), it has been relatively strong in other categories (e.g., personal care products). This qualified success hints at a variable that is differentially affecting the influence of sustainability on preference. The current research shows that the effect of sustainability on consumers’ product preferences depends on the type of benefit valued in a given product category. In product categories for which strength-related attributes are the key determinant of purchase, such as automobile tires, sustainability can be a liability and actually decrease preference. In contrast, in product categories in which consumers seek gentleness-related attributes, such as baby shampoo, sustainability can enhance product preference. The authors uncover the reason for this difference. Consumers implicitly associate ethicality/sustainability with concepts such as “gentle,” “safe,” “healthy,” and “mild” and a lack of ethicality/sustainability with concepts such as “strength,” “power,” and “toughness.” These associations lead consumers to be reluctant to purchase sustainable products in product categories in which strength is valued. The authors also find that consumers are hesitant to admit that they would not actually buy a sustainable alternative; in these studies, it was necessary to use indirect “projective” techniques to uncover consumers’ true beliefs and preferences. Fortunately for marketers of sustainable brands in these product categories, the sustainability liability can be attenuated through marketing communications. For example, the findings show that without any explicit information about product strength, consumers prefer to purchase a standard automobile tire over an “eco” tire made with sustainable methods and materials. However, when both the standard and the “eco” tires are “guaranteed strong,” this apparent rejection of the sustainable tire no longer occurs. The findings lead to the following recommendations for marketers: Marketers of sustainable products for which gentleness-related attributes are valued can use advertising, packaging, and so forth, to emphasize sustainability. In this case, sustainability should not harm, and may even help, product sales. Conversely, marketers of sustainable products for which strength-related attributes are valued must actively counter the sustainability liability. Emphasizing sustainability in this context may actually harm product sales; the best way to avoid this potential negative impact is to provide explicit information about product strength. In summary, this research helps explain why sustainable products may not always prevail in the marketplace despite consumer interest in them. The findings should improve the odds of success for companies interested in developing and marketing sustainable products, as well as support many consumers’ desire to better align their values with their consumption behavior.

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Futurist Alvin Toffler describes three forms of power and shows how these have changed over time.


The most basic form of power is violence, or physical forms of power. ‘Might is right’ is their watchword and it is close to the law of the jungle in operation.

The basic promise is ‘do as you are told and you won’t get hurt’.

Those who gain the power of violence do so by controlling the mechanisms of physical domination, from armies and police forces to the ownership of specific weapons.


Money is a more flexible form of power than violence as it can be exchanged for pretty much anything you want, from goods to services of all kinds.

Money can be viewed as ‘stored time/action’: you work and are given money, then give the money to others to save time/action. The trick in acquiring wealth is to invest the money in ways that it provides a maximum return on investment.

Those who gain wealth do so largely through a superior ability (or sometimes luck) in investment, taking controlled risks and gaining disproportionate returns.


Knowledge is the ultimate form of power and can be used to acquire both wealth and violence, if applied in the right way. ‘Knowledge is power’ is a common saying that highlights this.

Further information on power:

In a notable study of power conducted by social psychologists John R. P. French and Bertram Raven in 1959, power is divided into five separate and distinct forms. In 1965 Raven revised this model to include a sixth form by separating the informational power base as distinct from the expert power base.[1]

Relating to social communication studies, power in social influence settings has introduced a large realm of research pertaining to persuasion tactics and leadership practices. Through social communication studies, it has been theorized that leadership and power are closely linked. It has been further presumed that different forms of power affect one’s leadership and success. This idea is used often in organizational communication and throughout the workforce. In a notable study of power conducted by social psychologists John R. P. French and Bertram Raven in 1959, power is divided into five separate and distinct forms.[1] They identified those five bases of power as coercive, reward, legitimate, referent, and expert. This was followed by Raven’s subsequent identification in 1965 of a sixth separate and distinct base of power: informational power.[2] Furthermore, French and Raven defined social influence as a change in the belief, attitude, or behavior of a person (the target of influence) which results from the action of another person (an influencing agent), and they defined social power as the potential for such influence, that is, the ability of the agent to bring about such a change using available resources.[3]

Though there have been many formal definitions of leadership that did not include social influence and power, any discussion of leadership must inevitably deal with the means by which a leader gets the members of a group or organization to act and move in a particular direction.[3]

Whereby, this is to be considered “power” in social influential situations.

The bases of social power have evolved over the years with benefits coming from advanced research and theoretical developments in related fields. On the basis of research and evidence, there have been many other developments and elaborations on the original theory.French and Raven developed an original model outlining the change dependencies and also further delineating each power basis.[4]

Table 1

Basis of Power Social Dependence of Change Importance of Surveillance
Coercion Socially Dependent Important
Reward Socially Dependent Important
Legitimacy Socially Dependent Unimportant
Expert Socially Dependent Unimportant
Reference Socially Dependent Unimportant
Informational Socially Independent Unimportant

Though it is a common understanding that most social influence can still be understood by the original six bases of power, the foundational bases have been elaborated and further differentiated. Further Differentiating the Bases of Social Power[4]

Table 2

Basis of Power Further Differentiation
Coercion Impersonal Coercion & Personal Coercion
Reward Impersonal Reward & Personal Reward
Legitimacy Formal Legitimacy (position power),Legitimacy of Reciprocity, Equity & Dependence (Powerlessness)
Expert Positive and Negative Expert
Referent Positive and Negative Referent
Informational Direct and Indirect Information

Bases of power

As mentioned above, there are now six main concepts of power strategies consistently studied in social communication research. They are described as Coercive, Reward, Legitimate, Referent, Expert, and Informational. Additionally, research has shown that source credibility has an explicit effect on the bases of power used in persuasion.[6]

Source credibility, the bases of power, and objective power, which is established based on variables such as position or title, are interrelated. The levels of each have a direct relationship in the manipulation and levels of one another.[3]

The bases of power differ according to the manner in which social changes are implemented, the permanence of such changes, and the ways in which each basis of power is established and maintained.[3]

It is very important to notate the effectiveness of power is very situational in manner. Being there are now six solid bases of power studied in the Communication field, it is very important to know the situational uses of each power, focusing on when each is most effective. According to French and Raven, “it is of particular practical interest to know what bases of power or which power strategies are most likely to be effective, but it is clear that there is no simple answer.[3]

For example, a power strategy that works immediately but relies on surveillance (for example, reward power or coercive power) may not last once surveillance ends. One organizational study found that reward power tended to lead to greater satisfaction on the part of employees, which means that it might increase influence in a broad range of situations. Coercive power was more effective in influencing a subordinate who jeopardized the success of the overall organization or threatened the leader’s authority, even though in the short term it also led to resentment on the part of the target. A power strategy that ultimately leads to private acceptance and long-lasting change (for example, information power) may be difficult to implement, and consume considerable time and energy. In the short term, complete reliance on information power might even be dangerous (for example, telling a small child not to run into the street unattended). A military officer leading his troops into combat might be severely handicapped if he had to give complete explanations for each move. Instead, he would want to rely on unquestioned legitimate position power, backed up by coercive power. Power resources, which may be effective for one leader, dealing with one target or follower, may not work for a different leader and follower. The manner in which the power strategy is utilized will also affect its success or failure. Where coercion is deemed necessary, a leader might soften its negative effects with a touch of humor. There have been studies indicating that cultural factors may determine the effectiveness of power strategies.”[3]

Power establishes itself in several forms. According to John French and Bertram Raven , expert power, reward power, legitimate power, referent power , and coercive power are among the five bases of social power.[7] Information power was added as the sixth base of power later by Bertram Raven.[2]

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Schwartz Culture Model

J Pers Assess. 2005 Oct;85(2):170-8.

Measuring values with the Short Schwartz’s Value Survey.


The reliability and validity of the Short Schwartz’s Value Survey (SSVS) was examined in 4 studies. In Study 1 (N = 670), we examined whether value scores obtained with the SSVS correlate with those obtained with Schwartz’s Value Survey (SVS; Schwartz, 1992, 1996) and the Portrait Values Questionnaire (Schwartz et al., 2001) and whether the quasi-circular structure of values can be found with the SSVS. In Study 2 (N = 3,261), we replicated the quasi-circular structure in a more heterogeneous sample and assessed whether the SSVS can differentiate appropriately between gender, religiosity, students from different fields, and supporters of left- and right-wing political parties. In Study 3 (N = 112), we examined the test-retest reliability of the SSVS and in Study 4 (N = 38), time saving gained by the SSVS compared to the SVS. The results show that the new scale had good reliability and validity and that the values measured by the SSVS were arrayed on a circle identical to the theoretical structure of values. We also provided equations that can be used in future studies to measure individuals’ scores on the 2 main value dimensions, Self-Transcendence and Conservation.

The World Values Survey ( is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life, led by an international team of scholars, with the WVS association and secretariat headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

Schwartz Value Survey

Shalom Schwartz (1992, 1994) used the ‘Schwartz Value Inventory‘ (SVI) with a wide survey of over 60,000 people to identify common values that acted as ‘guiding principles for one’s life’.

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Korean Christians

East Asia was one of the last areas to receive Christianity, beginning in about the seventeenth century. Today, Korea has the largest Christian population by percentage of all the countries in Asia. Beginning as a lay-movement among Silhak scholars who saw Christianity as an ideological catalyst for their egalitarian values, Christianity managed to assimilate, and be assimilated by, Korean culture. The church went through a period of persecution in the early nineteenth century and many missionaries and faithful were executed. During the Japanese occupation of Korea (1905-1945) many Korean Christians refused to participate in Japanese emperor-worship and suffered martyrdom, while those who complied suffered excommunication. As a result, the church became solidly identified with Korean nationalism and went on to dominate Korean society during the post-war years.

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