Science Friday

COVID Questions, Introvert Origin. March 19, 2021, Part 1

March 19, 2021

Rise In Anti-Asian Violence Is At The Intersection Of Racism And Disease

Earlier this week, eight people were killed at three Atlanta-area massage parlors. Six of the victims were Asian-American women. In 2020, reported attacks on Asian-Americans increased by 150% over those reported the previous year in some of the country’s most populous cities, according to data compiled by California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism that was provided to the Voice of America. The attacks came in the midst of a pandemic that has been falsely blamed on China by some politicians, including former President Trump.

This isn’t the first time that the Asian-American community has been the victim of racist scapegoating connected to a disease, however. Maggie Koerth, senior science reporter for FiveThirtyEight, joins Ira to discuss some of the other instances, from SARS in 2003 back to the bubonic plague in 1899.

They also discuss other coronavirus news, including an update on a debate over the safety of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that is now taking place in the European Union, and talk about non-COVID news of the week, including the development of an artificial mouse uterus and research into water on Mars.

This Infectious Disease Specialist Is Answering Your COVID-19 Questions On Instagram

Last week marked one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. As the people all over the world struggled to wrap their head around terms like “flatten the curve,” many took their questions to scientists via their social media accounts.

Laurel Bristow is one of those scientists. Although you may know her better by her Instagram handle @kinggutterbaby, Bristow is an infectious disease specialist who started making informal videos  last March, explaining the science around the pandemic. One year later, she’s unwittingly fostered a fandom of over 360,000 followers hungry for simple, straightforward scientific information about COVID-19. 

Bristow joins Ira to answer listener questions about vaccine schedules, social distancing, and the slow return to normal life, sharing what it’s been like to be a “science influencer” on social media.

The False Personality Binary

Do you prefer one-on-one conversations, like to read books, and quake at the idea of a party? You probably call yourself an introvert. On the other hand, if you thrive in crowds and thrive in social settings, you may check the ‘extrovert’ box on personality tests.

But the idea of introversion, coined by self-described introvert and Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, started with a different definition—one centered on where you get your energy. Does it come from your own thoughts and inwardness? The term introvert comes from the Latin intro, or “inward,” and vertere, meaning “to turn.” Conversely, the word extrovert (“outward turning”) describes being energized by things happening outside of yourself.

Jung’s idea took off, and many of us eagerly categorize ourselves into personality “types.” But in recent decades, psychologists have developed an even more nuanced understanding of introversion—one that may make the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” irrelevant.

Introvert is the last word in this mind-focused season of the podcast Science Diction. Radio producer Christie Taylor talks to Science Diction producer and host Johanna Mayer about the origin of the term, and how our understanding of personality has matured in the 100 years since Jung’s inward-turning revelation. neither hosts nor alters podcast files. All content © its respective owners.