Archivo: The Conversation

Science, like any other field that attracts investment, is prone to bubbles. Overly optimistic investments in scientific fields, research methods and technologies generate episodes comparable to those experienced by financial markets prior to crashing.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Computer security relies on a great number of links, hardware, software and something else altogether: you. The greatest threat to information security is actually people. Why strive to defeat encrypted passwords stored in computers, when those computers’ human users will turn them over willingly?

When we make important social decisions – which political candidate to vote for, whether to trust someone with our money, whether a person is guilty of a crime – we’d like to think we do so rationally, and solely based on relevant pieces of information. After all, given the high stakes involved, we’d be foolish not to take these choices seriously.

And yet, a growing body of research suggests that even these crucial decisions may be significantly influenced by one of the most superficial and seemingly irrelevant factors we can imagine: facial appearance.