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20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You

Toxic people such as malignant narcissists, psychopaths and those with antisocial traits engage in maladaptive behaviors in relationships that ultimately exploit, demean and hurt their intimate partners, family members and friends. They use a plethora of diversionary tactics that distort the reality of their victims and deflect responsibility. Although those who are not narcissistic can employ these tactics as well, abusive narcissists use these to an excessive extent in an effort to escape accountability for their actions.

Here are the 20 diversionary tactics toxic people use to silence and degrade you.

1. Gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: That didnt happen, You imagined it, and Are you crazy? Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment.

When a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath gaslights you, you may be prone to gaslighting yourself as a way to reconcile the cognitive dissonance that might arise. Two conflicting beliefs battle it out: is this person right or can I trust what I experienced? A manipulative person will convince you that the former is an inevitable truth while the latter is a sign of dysfunction on your end.

In order to resist gaslighting, its important to ground yourself in your own reality sometimes writing things down as they happened, telling a friend or reiterating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect. The power of having a validating community is that it can redirect you from the distorted reality of a malignant person and back to your own inner guidance.

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2. Projection.

One sure sign of toxicity is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his or her own shortcomings and uses everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for them. This is known as projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of ones negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. It ultimately acts as a digression that avoids ownership and accountability.

While we all engage in projection to some extent, according to Narcissistic Personality clinical expert Dr. Martinez-Lewi, the projections of a narcissist are often psychologically abusive. Rather than acknowledge their own flaws, imperfections and wrongdoings, malignant narcissists and sociopaths opt to dump their own traits on their unsuspecting suspects in a way that is painful and excessively cruel. Instead of admitting that self-improvement may be in order, they would prefer that their victims take responsibility for their behavior and feel ashamed of themselves. This is a way for a narcissist to project any toxic shame they have about themselves onto another.

For example, a person who engages in pathological lying may accuse their partner of fibbing; a needy spouse may call their husband clingy in an attempt to depict them as the one who is dependent; a rude employee may call their boss ineffective in an effort to escape the truth about their own productivity.

Narcissistic abusers love to play the blameshifting game. Objectives of the game: they win, you lose, and you or the world at large is blamed for everything thats wrong with . This way, you get to babysit their fragile ego while youre thrust into a sea of self-doubt. Fun, right?

Solution? Dont project your own sense of compassion or empathy onto a toxic person and dont own any of the toxic persons projections either. As manipulation expert and author Dr. George Simon (2010) notes in his book , projecting our own conscience and value system onto others has the potential consequence of being met with further exploitation.

Narcissists on the extreme end of the spectrum usually have no interest in self-insight or change. Its important to cut ties and end interactions with toxic people as soon as possible so you can get centered in your own reality and validate your own identity. You dont have to live in someone elses cesspool of dysfunction.

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3. Nonsensical conversations from hell.

If you think youre going to have a thoughtful discussion with someone who is toxic, be prepared for epic mindfuckery rather than conversational mindfulness.

Malignant narcissists and sociopaths use word salad, circular conversations, ad hominem arguments, projection and gaslighting to disorient you and get you off track should you ever disagree with them or challenge them in any way. They do this in order to discredit, confuse and frustrate you, distract you from the main problem and make you feel guilty for being a human being with actual thoughts and feelings that might differ from their own. In their eyes, are the problem if you happen to exist.

Spend even ten minutes arguing with a toxic narcissist and youll find yourself wondering how the argument even began at all. You simply disagreed with them about their absurd claim that the sky is red and now your entire childhood, family, friends, career and lifestyle choices have come under attack. That is because your disagreement picked at their false belief that they are omnipotent and omniscient, resulting in a narcissistic injury.

Remember: toxic people dont argue with you, they essentially argue with themselves and you become privy to their long, draining monologues. They thrive off the drama and they live for it. Each and every time you attempt to provide a point that counters their ridiculous assertions, you feed them supply. Dont feed the narcissists supply rather, supply yourself with the confirmation that their abusive behavior is the problem, not you. Cut the interaction short as soon as you anticipate it escalating and use your energy on some decadent self-care instead.

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4. Blanket statements and generalizations.

Malignant narcissists arent always intellectual masterminds many of them are intellectually lazy. Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, they generalize anything and everything you say, making blanket statements that dont acknowledge the nuances in your argument or take into account the multiple perspectives youve paid homage to. Better yet, why not put a label on you that dismisses your perspective altogether?

On a larger scale, generalizations and blanket statements invalidate experiences that dont fit in the unsupported assumptions, schemas and stereotypes of society; they are also used to maintain the status quo. This form of digression exaggerates one perspective to the point where a social justice issue can become completely obscured. For example, rape accusations against well-liked figures are often met with the reminder that there are false reports of rape that occur. While those do occur, they are rare, and in this case, the actions of one become labeled the behavior of the majority while the specific report itself remains unaddressed.

These everyday microaggressions also happen in toxic relationships. If you bring up to a narcissistic abuser that their behavior is unacceptable for example, they will often make blanket generalizations about your hypersensitivity or make a generalization such as, You are satisfied, or Youre too sensitive rather than addressing the real issues at hand. Its possible that you are oversensitive at times, but it is also possible that the abuser is also insensitive and cruel the majority of the time.

Hold onto your truth and resist generalizing statements by realizing that they are in fact forms of black and white illogical thinking. Toxic people wielding blanket statements do not represent the full richness of experience they represent the limited one of their singular experience and overinflated sense of self.

5. Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity.

In the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath, your differing opinions, legitimate emotions and lived experiences get translated into character flaws and evidence of your irrationality.

Narcissists weave tall tales to reframe what youre actually saying as a way to make your opinions look absurd or heinous. Lets say you bring up the fact that youre unhappy with the way a toxic friend is speaking to you. In response, he or she may put words in your mouth, saying, Oh, so now perfect? or So I am a bad person, huh? when youve done nothing but express your feelings. This enables them to invalidate your right to have thoughts and emotions about their inappropriate behavior and instills in you a sense of guilt when you attempt to establish boundaries.

This is also a popular form of diversion and cognitive distortion that is known as mind reading. Toxic people often presume they know what youre thinking and feeling. They chronically jump to conclusions based on their own triggers rather than stepping back to evaluate the situation mindfully. They act accordingly based on their own delusions and fallacies and make no apologies for the harm they cause as a result. Notorious for putting words in your mouth, they depict you as having an intention or outlandish viewpoint you didnt possess. They accuse you of thinking of them as toxic even before youve gotten the chance to call them out on their behavior and this also serves as a form of preemptive defense.

Simply stating, I never said that, and walking away should the person continue to accuse you of doing or saying something you didnt can help to set a firm boundary in this type of interaction. So long as the toxic person can blameshift and digress from their own behavior, they have succeeded in convincing you that you should be shamed for giving them any sort of realistic feedback.

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6. Nitpicking and moving the goal posts.

The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the presence of a personal attack and impossible standards. These so-called “critics” often don’t want to help you improve, they just want to nitpick, pull you down and scapegoat you in any way they can. Abusive narcissists and sociopaths employ a logical fallacy known as moving the goalposts in order to ensure that they have every reason to be perpetually dissatisfied with you. This is when, even after youve provided all the evidence in the world to validate your argument or taken an action to meet their request, they set up another expectation of you or demand more proof.

Do you have a successful career? The narcissist will then start to pick on why you arent a multi-millionaire yet. Did you already fulfill their need to be excessively catered to? Now its time to prove that you can also remain independent. The goal posts will perpetually change and may not even be related to each other; they dont have any other point besides making you vie for the narcissists approval and validation.

By raising the expectations higher and higher each time or switching them completely, highly manipulative and toxic people are able to instill in you a pervasive sense of unworthiness and of never feeling quite enough. By pointing out one irrelevant fact or one thing you did wrong and developing a hyperfocus on it, narcissists get to divert from your strengths and pull you into obsessing over any flaws or weaknesses instead. They get you thinking about the next expectation of theirs youre going to have to meet until eventually youve bent over backwards trying to fulfill their every need only to realize it didnt change the horrific way they treated you.

Dont get sucked into nitpicking and changing goal posts if someone chooses to rehash an irrelevant point over and over again to the point where they arent acknowledging the work youve done to validate your point or satisfy them, their motive isnt to better understand. Its to further provoke you into feeling as if you have to constantly prove yourself. Validate and approve of yourself. Know that you are enough and you dont have to be made to feel constantly deficient or unworthy in some way.

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7. Changing the subject to evade accountability.

This type of tactic is what I like to call the What about me? syndrome. It is a literal digression from the actual topic that works to redirect attention to a different issue altogether. Narcissists dont want you to be on the topic of holding them accountable for anything, so they will reroute discussions to benefit them. Complaining about their neglectful parenting? Theyll point out a mistake you committed seven years ago. This type of diversion has no limits in terms of time or subject content, and often begins with a sentence like What about the time when

On a macrolevel, these diversions work to derail discussions that challenge the status quo. A discussion about gay rights, for example, may be derailed quickly by someone who brings in another social justice issue just to distract people from the main argument.

As Tara Moss, author of , notes, specificity is needed in order to resolve and address issues appropriately that doesnt mean that the issues that are being brought up dont matter, it just means that the specific time and place may not be the best context to discuss them.

Dont be derailed if someone pulls a switcheroo on you, you can exercise what I call the broken record method and continue stating the facts without giving in to their distractions. Redirect their redirection by saying, Thats not what I am talking about. Lets stay focused on the real issue. If theyre not interested, disengage and spend your energy on something more constructive – like not having a debate with someone who has the mental age of a toddler.

8. Covert and overt threats.

Narcissistic abusers and otherwise toxic people feel very threatened when their excessive sense of entitlement, false sense of superiority and grandiose sense of self are challenged in any way. They are prone to making unreasonable demands on others while punishing you for not living up to their impossible to reach expectations.

Rather than tackle disagreements or compromises maturely, they set out to divert you from your right to have your own identity and perspective by attempting to instill fear in you about the consequences of disagreeing or complying with their demands. To them, any challenge results in an ultimatum and do this or Ill do that becomes their daily mantra.

If someones reaction to you setting boundaries or having a differing opinion from your own is to threaten you into submission, whether its a thinly veiled threat or an overt admission of what they plan to do, this is a red flag of someone who has a high degree of entitlement and has no plans of compromising. Take threats seriously and show the narcissist you mean business; document threats and report them whenever possible and legally feasible.

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9. Name-calling.

Narcissists preemptively blow anything they perceive as a threat to their superiority out of proportion. In their world, only they can ever be right and anyone who dares to say otherwise creates a narcissistic injury that results in narcissistic rage. As Mark Goulston, M.D. asserts, narcissistic rage does not result from low self-esteem but rather a high sense of entitlement and false sense of superiority.

The lowest of the low resort to narcissistic rage in the form of name-calling when they cant think of a better way to manipulate your opinion or micromanage your emotions. Name-calling is a quick and easy way to put you down, degrade you and insult your intelligence, appearance or behavior while invalidating your right to be a separate person with a right to his or her perspective.

Name-calling can also be used to criticize your beliefs, opinions and insights. A well-researched perspective or informed opinion suddenly becomes silly or idiotic in the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath who feels threatened by it and cannot make a respectful, convincing rebuttal. Rather than target your argument, they target you as a person and seek to undermine your credibility and intelligence in any way they possibly can. Its important to end any interaction that consists of name-calling and communicate that you wont tolerate it. Dont internalize it: realize that they are resorting to name-calling because they are deficient in higher level methods.

 

10. Destructive conditioning.

Toxic people condition you to associate your strengths, talents, and happy memories with abuse, frustration and disrespect. They do this by sneaking in covert and overt put-downs about the qualities and traits they once idealized as well as sabotaging your goals, ruining celebrations, vacations and holidays. They may even isolate you from your friends and family and make you financially dependent upon them. Like Pavlovs dogs, youre essentially trained over time to become afraid of doing the very things that once made your life fulfilling.

Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and otherwise toxic people do this because they wish to divert attention back to themselves and how youre going to please them. If there is anything outside of them that may threaten their control over your life, they seek to destroy it. They need to be the center of attention at all times. In the idealization phase, you were once the center of a narcissists world now the narcissist becomes the center of yours.

Narcissists are also naturally pathologically envious and dont want anything to come in between them and their influence over you. Your happiness represents everything they feel they cannot have in their emotionally shallow lives. After all, if you learn that you can get validation, respect and love from other sources besides the toxic person, whats to keep you from leaving them? To toxic people, a little conditioning can go a long way to keep you walking on eggshells and falling just short of your big dreams.

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11. Smear campaigns and stalking.

When toxic types cant control the way you see yourself, they start to control how others see you; they play the martyr while youre labeled the toxic one. A smear campaign is a preemptive strike to sabotage your reputation and slander your name so that you wont have a support network to fall back on lest you decide to detach and cut ties with this toxic person. They may even stalk and harass you or the people you know as a way to supposedly expose the truth about you; this exposure acts as a way to hide their own abusive behavior while projecting it onto you.

Some smear campaigns can even work to pit two people or two groups against each other. A victim in an abusive relationship with a narcissist often doesnt know whats being said about them during the relationship, but they eventually find out the falsehoods shortly after theyve been discarded.

Toxic people will gossip behind your back (and in front of your face), slander you to your loved ones or their loved ones, create stories that depict you as the aggressor while they play the victim, and claim that you engaged in the same behaviors that they are afraid you will accuse them of engaging in. They will also methodically, covertly and deliberately abuse you so they can use your reactions as a way to prove that they are the so-called victims of your abuse.

The best way to handle a smear campaign is to stay mindful of your reactions and stick to the facts. This is especially pertinent for high-conflict divorces with narcissists who may use your reactions to their provocations against you. Document any form of harassment, cyberbullying or stalking incidents and always speak to your narcissist through a lawyer whenever possible. You may wish to take legal action if you feel the stalking and harassment is getting out of control; finding a lawyer who is well-versed in Narcissistic Personality Disorder is crucial if thats the case. Your character and integrity will speak for itself when the narcissists false mask begins to slip.

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12. Love-bombing and devaluation.

Toxic people put you through an idealization phase until youre sufficiently hooked and invested in beginning a friendship or relationship with you. Then, they begin to devalue you while insulting the very things they admired in the first place. Another variation of this is when a toxic individual puts you on a pedestal while aggressively devaluing and attacking someone else who threatens their sense of superiority.

Narcissistic abusers do this all the time they devalue their exes to their new partners, and eventually the new partner starts to receive the same sort of mistreatment as the narcissists ex-partner. Ultimately what will happen is that you will also be on the receiving end of the same abuse. You will one day be the ex-partner they degrade to their new source of supply. You just dont know it yet. Thats why its important to stay mindful of the love-bombing technique whenever you witness behavior that doesnt align with the saccharine sweetness a narcissist subjects you to.

As life coach Wendy Powell suggests, slowing things down with people you suspect may be toxic is an important way of combating the love-bombing technique. Be wary of the fact that how a person treats or speaks about someone else could potentially translate into the way they will treat you in the future.

13. Preemptive defense.

When someone stresses the fact that they are a nice guy or girl, that you should trust them right away or emphasizes their credibility without any provocation from you whatsoever, be wary.

Toxic and abusive people overstate their ability to be kind and compassionate. They often tell you that you should trust them without first building a solid foundation of trust. They may perform a high level of sympathy and empathy at the beginning of your relationship to dupe you, only to unveil their false mask later on. When you see their false mask begins to slip periodically during the devaluation phase of the abuse cycle, the true self is revealed to be terrifyingly cold, callous and contemptuous.

Genuinely nice people rarely have to persistently show off their positive qualities they exude their warmth more than they talk about it and they know that actions speak volumes more than mere words. They know that trust and respect is a two-way street that requires reciprocity, not repetition.

To counter a preemptive defense, reevaluate why a person may be emphasizing their good qualities. Is it because they think you dont trust them, or because they know you shouldnt? Trust actions more than empty words and see how someones actions communicate who they are, not who they say they are.

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14. Triangulation.

Bringing in the opinion, perspective or suggested threat of another person into the dynamic of an interaction is known as triangulation. Often used to validate the toxic persons abuse while invalidating the victims reactions to abuse, triangulation can also work to manufacture love triangles that leave you feeling unhinged and insecure.

Malignant narcissists love to triangulate their significant other with strangers, co-workers, ex-partners, friends and even family members in order to evoke jealousy and uncertainty in you. They also use the opinions of others to validate their point of view.

This is a diversionary tactic meant to pull your attention away from their abusive behavior and into a false image of them as a desirable, sought after person. It also leaves you questioning yourself if Mary did agree with Tom, doesnt that mean that you must be wrong? The truth is, narcissists love to report back falsehoods about others say about you, when in fact, they are the ones smearing you.

To resist triangulation tactics, realize that whoever the narcissist is triangulating with is also being triangulated by your relationship with the narcissist as well. Everyone is essentially being played by this one person. Reverse triangulate the narcissist by gaining support from a third party that is not under the narcissists influence and also by seeking your own validation.

15. Bait and feign innocence.

Toxic individuals lure you into a false sense of security simply to have a platform to showcase their cruelty. Baiting you into a mindless, chaotic argument can escalate into a showdown rather quickly with someone who doesnt know the meaning of respect. A simple disagreement may bait you into responding politely initially, until it becomes clear that the person has a malicious motive of tearing you down.

By baiting you with a seemingly innocuous comment disguised as a rational one, they can then begin to play with you. Remember: narcissistic abusers have learned about your insecurities, the unsettling catchphrases that interrupt your confidence, and the disturbing topics that reenact your wounds and they use this knowledge maliciously to provoke you. After youve fallen for it, hook line and sinker, theyll stand back and innocently ask whether youre okay and talk about how they didnt mean to agitate you. This faux innocence works to catch you off guard and make you believe that they truly didnt intend to hurt you, until it happens so often you cant deny the reality of their malice any longer.

It helps to realize when youre being baited so you can avoid engaging altogether. Provocative statements, name-calling, hurtful accusations or unsupported generalizations, for example, are common baiting tactics. Your gut instinct can also tell you when youre being baited if you feel off about a certain comment and continue to feel this way even after it has been expanded on, thats a sign you may need to take some space to reevaluate the situation before choosing to respond.

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16. Boundary testing and hoovering.

Narcissists, sociopaths and otherwise toxic people continually try and test your boundaries to see which ones they can trespass. The more violations theyre able to commit without consequences, the more theyll push the envelope.
Thats why survivors of emotional as well as physical abuse often experience even more severe incidents of abuse each and every time they go back to their abusers.

Abusers tend to hoover their victims back in with sweet promises, fake remorse and empty words of how they are going to change, only to abuse their victims even more horrifically. In the abusers sick mind, this boundary testing serves as a punishment for standing up to the abuse and also for being going back to it. When narcissists try to press the emotional reset button, reinforce your boundaries even more strongly rather than backtracking on them.

17. Aggressive jabs disguised as jokes.

Covert narcissists enjoy making malicious remarks at your expense. These are usually dressed up as just jokes so that they can get away with saying appalling things while still maintaining an innocent, cool demeanor. Yet any time you are outraged at an insensitive, harsh remark, you are accused of having no sense of humor. This is a tactic frequently used in verbal abuse.

The contemptuous smirk and sadistic gleam in their eyes gives it away, however like a predator that plays with its food, a toxic person gains pleasure from hurting you and being able to get away with it. After all, its just a joke, right? Wrong. Its a way to gaslight you into thinking their abuse is a joke a way to divert from their cruelty and onto your perceived sensitivity. It is important that when this happens, you stand up for yourself and make it clear that you wont tolerate this type of behavior.

Calling out manipulative people on their covert put-downs may result in further gaslighting from the abuser but maintain your stance that their behavior is not okay and end the interaction immediately if you have to.

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18. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone.

Belittling and degrading a person is a toxic persons forte and their tone of voice is only one tool in their toolbox. Sarcasm can be a fun mode of communication when both parties are engaged, but narcissists use it chronically as a way to manipulate you and degrade you. If you in any way react to it, you must be too sensitive.

Forget that the toxic person constantly has temper tantrums every time their big bad ego is faced with realistic feedback the victim is the hypersensitive one, apparently. So long as youre treated like a child and constantly challenged for expressing yourself, youll start to develop a sense of hypervigilance about voicing your thoughts and opinions without reprimand. This self-censorship enables the abuser to put in less work in silencing you, because you begin to silence yourself.

Whenever you are met with a condescending demeanor or tone, call it out firmly and assertively. You dont deserve to be spoken down to like a child nor should you ever silence yourself to meet the expectation of someone elses superiority complex.

19. Shaming.

You should be ashamed of yourself is a favorite saying of toxic people. Though it can be used by someone who is non-toxic, in the realm of the narcissist or sociopath, shaming is an effective method that targets any behavior or belief that might challenge a toxic persons power. It can also be used to destroy and whittle away at a victims self-esteem: if a victim dares to be proud of something, shaming the victim for that specific trait, quality or accomplishment can serve to diminish their sense of self and stifle any pride they may have.

Malignant narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths enjoy using your own wounds against you so they will even shame you about any abuse or injustice youve suffered in your lifetime as a way to retraumatize you. Were you a childhood abuse survivor? A malignant narcissist or sociopath will claim that you mustve done something to deserve it, or brag about their own happy childhood as a way to make you feel deficient and unworthy. What better way to injure you, after all, than to pick at the original wound? As surgeons of madness, they seek to exacerbate wounds, not help heal them.

If you suspect youre dealing with a toxic person, avoid revealing any of your vulnerabilities or past traumas. Until theyve proven their character to you, there is no point disclosing information that could be potentially used against you.

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20. Control.

Most importantly, toxic abusers love to maintain control in whatever way they can. They isolate you, maintain control over your finances and social networks, and micromanage every facet of your life. Yet the most powerful mechanism they have for control is toying with your emotions.

Thats why abusive narcissists and sociopaths manufacture situations of conflict out of thin air to keep you feeling off center and off balanced. Thats why they chronically engage in disagreements about irrelevant things and rage over perceived slights. Thats why they emotionally withdraw, only to re-idealize you once they start to lose control. Thats why they vacillate between their false self and their true self, so you never get a sense of psychological safety or certainty about who your partner truly is.

The more power they have over your emotions, the less likely you’ll trust your own reality and the truth about the abuse you’re enduring. Knowing the manipulative tactics and how they work to erode your sense of self can arm you with the knowledge of what youre facing and at the very least, develop a plan to regain control over your own life and away from toxic people.

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Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/

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Marijuana Contains

It’s big news, set to shock, amaze, and entertain the world.

But unfortunately, it’s got nothing to do with extraterrestrial stoners melding with Earth’s plants.

However, since you’re now reading, you’ll almost certainly be interested in this research that looked into the clicking and sharing behaviors of social media users reading content (or not) and then sharing it on social media.

We here at IFLS noticed long ago that many of our followers will happily like, share and offer an opinion on an article – all without ever reading it. We’re not the only ones to notice this. Last April, NPR shared an article on their Facebook page which asked “Why doesn’t America read anymore?”. The joke, of course, is that there was no article. They waited to see if their followers would weigh in with an opinion without clicking the link, and they weren’t disappointed.

Screenshot courtesy of Gawker

We’ve been hoping for a chance to try it ourselves, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Yacklerhad some fun with the same article and managed to fool a bunch of people.

A group of computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute looked into a dataset of over 2.8 million online news articles that were shared via Twitter.The study found that up to 59 percent of links shared on Twitter have never actually been clicked by that persons followers, suggesting that social media users are more into sharing content than actually clicking on and reading it.

People are more willing to share an article than read it, the studys co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement, Washington Post reports. This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.

This study looks into the psychology behind what makes people want to share content. Research conducted byThe New York Times Customer Insight Group looked into what motivates people to share information. Just under half of the people asked in the survey said they share information on social media to inform people and to enrich those around them. Conversely, they found 68 percent share to reinforce and project a certain image of themselves in a sense, to define themselves.

In the words of one participant from the study: I try to share only information that will reinforce the image Id like to present: thoughtful, reasoned, kind, interested and passionate about certain things.

It also raises the question of whether online media is just a massiveecho chamber, where we all just like pages and viewpoints that reinforce our own beliefs and are not interested in information for the sake of information. Even the algorithms of social media sites meanthat individuals or pages that you tend to click on, like, or share which are most often the articles or viewpoints that you agree with will more frequently turn up on your News Feed.

As a user of online media, youre probably quite aware of this.

Take a look at any comment on social media pages, including those, of course, on the IFLScience Facebook page. Its particularly noticeable on the more emotive and controversial of subjects; think climate change, GMOs, vaccinations, aliens, and a lot of our articles on marijuana, where the top comments often repeat or question something that is fairly explicitly in the article, but not the headline.

Just this week, our article about capuchins monkeys entering the stone age was met with many of the top comments on the Facebook postpointing out theyve done this for hundreds of years, despite that beingthe first thing the article said if you read it.Although from our analytics it’s impossible to see which users did not click through to the article yet shared it, there is fairly often a slightly fine discrepancy between shares and page views which doesn’t quite add up, especially on those buzz subjects.

So, if you are one of the lucky few who managed to click and read this article, we congratulate you! Although we do apologize for the misleading headline. In the meanwhile, have fun sharing the article and seeing who manages to chair a discussion on marijuana genetics, without ever reading it.

 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/marijuana-contains-alien-dna-from-outside-of-our-solar-system-nasa-confirms/

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1 year later, the Ice Bucket Challenge funds this breakthrough in ALS research.

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Of course you do. It was that viral video campaign that took off last summer where you’d log into Facebook and see a steady stream of your friends dumping water on themselves in the name of awareness and research for the ALS Association.

For science! Brrrrrr. Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images.

Some brushed the movement off as an example of “slacktivism,” but it actually helped raise more than $100 million. When you compare it to the $2.8 million raised by the organization during the same period a year earlier, it’s clear that the Ice Bucket challenge paid off.

ALS, also known as amyotrophic laterals sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, affects an estimated 30,000 living people at any given time.

It’s a disorder that affects nerve and muscle function. Just 20% of those with the disease will live more than five years following diagnosis. It’s brutal.

But there’s good news due, in part, to the money raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge.

While that man doesn’t seem to be having such a great time, I really need to find out what kind of seemingly IBC-proof makeup the woman on the left is using. Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

During a reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, ALS researcher Jonathan Ling unveiled a major breakthrough in his work.

Ling wanted to do an “Ask Me Anything” to debunk some of the negative things being said by skeptics about the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

“I mainly wanted to do this [“Ask Me Anything”] because I remember reading a lot of stories about people complaining that the ice bucket challenge was a waste and that scientists weren’t using the money to do research, etc. I assure you that this is absolutely false,” Ling writes.

“All of your donations have been amazingly helpful and we have been working tirelessly to find a cure. With the amount of money that the ice bucket challenge raised, I feel that there’s a lot of hope and optimism now for real, meaningful therapies.”

So what’s the big breakthrough? Well, it has to do with protein or rather, one specific protein.

Ling’s research focuses on TDP-43, a protein in cells that’s he’s been able to link to ALS.

Ling breaks down the purpose of TDP-43 with an analogy involving a library that’s easy for us non-scientist types to understand:

“DNA is located in the nucleus of a cell. You can think of a nucleus as a library except that instead of having books neatly lined up on shelves, the books in a nucleus have all of their pages ripped out and thrown around randomly.

To sort through this mess, the cell has great librarians that go around collecting all these pages, collating them and neatly binding them together as books. These librarians then ship these ‘books’ out of the nucleus so that other workers in the cell can do their jobs. Think of these books as instruction manuals.

TDP-43 is a very special type of librarian. TDP-43’s job is to ensure that nucleus librarians don’t accidentally make a mistake and put a random nonsense page (usually filled with gibberish) into the books that they ship out. If one of these nonsense pages makes it into an ‘instruction manual,’ the workers in the cell get really confused and mess things up. For terminology, we call these nonsense pages ‘cryptic exons.'”

His team found that in 97% of ALS cases, TDP-43 wasn’t doing its job. And now that they know this, they’ve been able to begin work on new therapies to do TDP-43’s job for it. If successful, he believes this can slow down the progression of the disease.

How cool is that?

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Lou Gehrig became the face of ALS after he tearfully retired from baseball upon diagnosis. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

But what about the other 3%? Well, we don’t have all the answers just yet.

One redditor asked that question, and essentially, it boils down to the fact that ALS is still pretty unpredictable. While TDP-43 may play a large part in the disease’s progression, it’s not the whole picture. For those individuals for whom ALS runs in the family, that seems to be linked to a gene called SOD1, and not TDP-43.

That’s why research needs to continue.

“When you look at ALS from a genetics perspective, about 10% of the cases are called ‘familial’, [that is], lots of people in the family have ALS and it seems to be passed down. The other 90% of ALS appears to occur completely by unfortunate chance and we call that ‘sporadic.’

As researchers, we look to the genetics for clues to study the disease. One of the first family-linked genes discovered was a gene called SOD1 that is found in about 30% of familial cases. But it’s starting to seem like SOD1 is an outlier because TDP-43 doesn’t seem to be messed up. Instead, SOD1 seems to clump together due to the mutation. We get the 3% because 30% of 10% familial is 3%.” Ling

But yeah, this is pretty neat, exciting stuff!

Ling hopes to have therapies based on his research making their way to clinical trials within the next two-three years.

And from there, who knows? Maybe this is the breakthrough that sets up the next big step in finding a cure for this absolutely ruthless disorder. 76 years after it first entered the public consciousness with Lou Gehrig’s emotional farewell speech, a cure feels closer than ever before.

Last year, we shared a video by Anthony Carbajal, a man who had been recently diagnosed with ALS.

ALS runs in Carbajal’s family. His grandmother, his mother, and he have all been diagnosed with the disorder. His Ice Bucket Challenge video was powerful because it put a face to the research and the desperation for a cure.

GIF via Anthony Carbajal.

The research made possible by the Ice Bucket Challenge gives hope to people like Anthony. It’s just so important.

Saying that 30,000 people live with ALS doesn’t mean a whole lot until you see the pain it causes those living with it and watching their loved ones do battle. When you watch Anthony’s video, his tears welling up in his eyes, it’s clear just how much the world needed something like the Ice Bucket Challenge to fund the research we need to put an end to ALS once and for all.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/1-year-later-the-ice-bucket-challenge-funds-this-breakthrough-in-als-research?c=tpstream

Ever wonder “How to get my book reviewed”?

reading books
Book Reading/Image Source: Pixabay

So you’ve published your book. Its been edited and published, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get to your potential readers. While starting your marketing campaign usually happens well before your book is finished, getting your first reviews can’t begin until your book is done or in a final draft status.

Many stores won’t carry a small press or self-published book that doesn’t have reviews from a recognizable publication. So how do you get someone to pay attention to your book among all of the hundreds, if not thousands, of books they see every month?

City Book Review, publishers of the San Francisco Book Review, Manhattan Book Review and Kids’ BookBuzz all have programs to help you. Kids BookBuzz is only for kids, tweens and young adult books, but the other two will take almost any book you have (including children’s stories).

So how do you get your book reviewed by the San Francisco Book Review?

If your book is within 90 days of the publications date, you can submit it for general review (at no cost). The closer you are to the 90 days, the less of a chance it will have to be reviewed, but you can still begin there. The SFBR gets more than 1000 books a month, and only reviews 300 or less, so your chances of getting your book reviewed in this way is less than 33%. But you can give it a try and see if it gets reviewed.

General Submission Guidelineshttp://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/general-submission/

If your book is more than 90 days past its publication date, or you really want to have it reviewed and don’t want to just hope it’ll get picked up through the general review, you can go through the Sponsored Review program. While there is some controversy about paying for a review, SFBR is a respected publication like Kirkus or Foreward Reviews and doesn’t provide vanity reviews for payment. You can expect the same level of professionalism from their standard reviews. And they don’t mark sponsored reviews any different than the other reviews.

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Reviewhttp://sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/sponsored-review/

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Review

There are a lot of different options for getting your book reviewed, mostly around how long it takes to get your review back, and if you want more than one or an interview as well.

  • Standard Reviews Take 8-10 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at
  • Expedited Reviews Take 3-5 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at
  • Get more than one review for the same book you’ll get a discount on the normal cost of 2 or 3 reviews. Reviews range in price from $150 to $299.
  • Getting a podcast interview for Audible Authors to promote yourself and your book, and you can add an interview to a review package at a discount.

And if you really like your review, you can have it posted on the other publication’s website for $99, or get a new review from a different reviewer. Both can help with your marketing and search engine optimization.

So how do you get your book reviewed by the Manhattan Book Review?

The Manhattan Book Review uses the same format for the San Francisco Book Review. Different audience, so if you’re an East Coast author, you might be more interested in having the credit from MBR over SFBR. Personal taste is the only difference between the two for reviews. If you are a local SF or Manhattan author, they will also flag that in your review.

General Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Reviewhttp://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Reviewhttp://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/sponsored-reviews/

So how do you get your book reviewed by Kids’ BookBuzz?

First thing, all of the reviews for Kids’ BookBuzz are done by kids. They are select age appropriate books, but the kids read them and write the reviews themselves. The younger kids have some help from their parents, but the words are all theirs. Don’t expect any easy reviews either. These kids see a lot of books, so they know good books when they read them.

General Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzzhttp://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzzhttp://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/sponsored-reviews/

‘People are hungry for real bookstores': Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are growing

At 78, the multimillion-selling author has begun a new career, opening her own bookshop and joining a business sector thats flourishing again in the US

She might be a beloved and bestselling author of classic childrens books from Forever to Blubber, but Judy Blume says she wakes up every day and I look to the sky, and I say, whoevers up there, I thank you for not having to write today.

Blume doesnt have to write because, at 78, she has embarked on a new career: shes an independent bookseller. Together with her husband, George Cooper, she has opened a small, nonprofit bookshop in Key West, Florida, where shes working almost every day. And shes loving it. She had planned to take a gap year after she finished writing and promoting her last novel, In the Unlikely Event. I was going to relax and read and have this whole time with no pressure. And then bingo the chance comes along to open a bookshop, and there you go. I guess I like that in my life To learn something new like this, at 78, makes it all the more exciting.

Blume and Cooper had been urging Mitchell Kaplan, founder of independent book chain Books & Books, to open a bookshop in Key West for years. He told them that if they could find a space, he would partner with them. They found a corner store, part of a large deco building , and with help from Kaplan and his team, Books & Books @ the Studios of Key West opened in February.

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A very satisfying experience … Judy Blume behind the tills at Books & Books @ Key West. Photograph: Penguin Random House

Weve done better than anyone, including Mitch, thought we could do, says Blume, down the line from Florida. It has been a very satisfying experience Writing In the Unlikely Event took five years it was very long and difficult and complicated. This is just a great change for me, and I am enjoying it so much.

Customers, she says, sometimes recognise her an author who has sold more than 80m books around the world and theyre completely taken aback, especially if Im sitting there dusting the shelves. Im pretty good at recommendations Im good in the kids department for sure. I read all the picture books when they come in. And I can lead people to what they want, although Ive not read as many of our books as some of our volunteers [the store has two paid employees, as well as Cooper, Blume and a series of volunteers]. Im trying really hard to keep up. Its like Christmas every day, working here.

Business for independent bookstores in America in general, is going well, Blume believes. I just think people are so hungry for a real bookstore again. So many people live in places where there isnt one Its not just us doing well. A lot of independent booksellers are.

The figures back her up. At BookExpo America last week, the American Booksellers Association announced that for the seventh year in a row, its bookstore membership has gone up, to 1,775 members operating in 2,311 locations, up from 1,401 members operating in 1,651 locations in 2009. The lions share of these are independents, says the ABA: in 2015, sales for independent booksellers were up just over 10%, and are remaining strong in 2016. In the UK by contrast, the Booksellers Association recorded 894 independent bookshops in 2015, a decrease of 3% from 2014. A decade ago, there were more than 1,500.

Independent bookselling in the US is continuing not just to grow, but to thrive, says ABA chief executive Oren Teicher, who attributes the growth to various factors: the localism movement, which is exploding, and we are benefiting from that; booksellers getting smarter at using technology; publishers increasing acknowledgment that customers discover books in bricks and mortar locations [so] our colleagues in publishing have figured out that they need bricks and mortar stores as much as we need their books; and the growing role of the bookseller as curator, in a world flooded with new titles.

The resurgence of print has also helped, says Teicher. A recent report in the UK revealed that in 2015, sales of printed books were up by 0.4% to 2.76bn, while ebook sales fell for the first time in the seven years the Publishers Association has tracked them, down 1.6% to 554m in 2015. In the US, the Association of American Publishers reported last month that while overall sales for consumer books were up 0.8% to $7.2bn (4.9bn) in 2015, ebook sales declined, down 9.5% in adult books and 43.3% in children and young adult titles.

Five years ago in the American book business, there was a widespread panic that somehow digital reading was going to replace physical books and they would be a relic of some other time and place. Fast forward to today, and I think digital reading has levelled off and calmed down slightly. Its going to be a piece of our business, but print books arent going away. Were living in a hybrid world, says Teicher.

Added together, these ingredients make the recipe for our success, says Teicher. But there is still a very modest margin in books, and people have to work really hard. We have significant challenges before us, clouds on the horizon that could interfere with our success.

These range from pressure on wages and rents, he says, to the 1,000lb gorilla the continued growth of online shopping. But independents are extraordinarily resilient, he says. If I had a penny for every time weve been counted out, Id be a pretty rich guy today.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/20/people-are-hungry-for-real-bookstores-judy-blume-on-why-us-indie-booksellers-are-thriving

15+ Reading Nooks Perfect For When You Need To Escape This World

Although some people claim that they can read anywhere, anytime, we all know that a comfortable, well lit, soft spot is ideal. On a blanket in a park is one such perfect spot; on dry, spongy moss, under a tree, is another good location. But what happens if you’re a city dweller (or not even!), and outdoor reading spots are at a premium?

Bored Panda has collected this list of reading nooks for you, those indoor bookworms that maybe like to read outside, but who also need a comfortable place inside to get the pages turning. Which reading nook looks most comfortable to you? Vote, or submit a picture of your own reading nook below! (h/t)

 

#1 Cozy Reading Nook

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Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/cozy-reading-nooks-book-corner/