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Entries for 'myth'

Myth: physical proximity is crucial for a family

Myth: physical proximity is crucial for a family

Dutch migration laws in the nineteen-eighties included a rule that family members should not be separated for longer than two years. After such a period, the family connection was broken and migrants lost the right to family reunification. “This undoubtedly played a role in the reduction of the number of residence permits in those days,&rdquo...

Myth on Looted Art: what was stolen, remains stolen

Myth on Looted Art: what was stolen, remains stolen

You take something from me without my consent, so logically I want it back. Whether it is a piece of jewellery, a bicycle, a car or a pen. It is the same with art. Even if it was stolen eighty years ago or maybe even longer and I can prove that the object is mine. In reality, it appears not to be so black-and-white, says Lars van Vliet, Assistant ...

Myth: Being unhappy with your body encourages healthier behaviour

Myth: Being unhappy with your body encourages healthier behaviour

A picture of a fat baby, accompanied by the text ‘When you realize it’s almost summer, and your winter body has gotten out of control’. This is the introduction to one of the latest UM Sports newsletters, urging readers to get “beach body ready”. Nothing wrong with this message. Or is there? “I was disappointed ...

Myth: It’s easy to change the behaviour of a group

Myth: It’s easy to change the behaviour of a group

Making sure employees switch off the lights before they leave the office, convincing all youngsters to only have safe sex, and making people choose the healthiest products. Organisations and governments regularly feel that they should change the behaviour of a group. “They often approach this rather optimistically,” says Phil Brüll, app...

Myth: Transparency is an all-embracing cure

Myth: Transparency is an all-embracing cure

“Let me emphasise,” says Vigjilenca Abazi, assistant professor of European law. “Transparency is an important precondition for a good democratic society, for being able to hold people and institutions accountable, for public debates and for the free press to do its work. But that doesn’t mean it’s the sole fixer for ev...

Myth: Suspects are regularly set free on a technicality

Myth: Suspects are regularly set free on a technicality

“I remember a case in which the suspect lodged a complaint because his title – Doctor – was not present on the summons,” says Joep Simmelink, professor occupying the endowed chair of Criminal Law and Criminology at the Faculty of Law.  “He argued: the summons was not sent to me, so I do not need to appear. The jud...

Myth: hardly anyone understands the general theory of relativity

Myth: hardly anyone understands the general theory of relativity

It's 1916. Albert Einstein has just published the general theory of relativity, which describes the curvature of light influenced by mass. “Which means,” says theoretic physicist Gideon Koekoek, “that the light from a star is curved by the sun, and looking from earth is in a different place than you would think.” Even...

Myth: Investing in shares is a matter of buying cheaply and selling expensively

Myth: Investing in shares is a matter of buying cheaply and selling expensively

At parties, people often ask professor Jean-Jacques Herings for investment advice. One tip that Herings will not give them is: you have to buy cheaply and sell expensively. In theory, this is the best strategy, but in practice it is impossible to execute, he says. “It is an illusion to think that you can predict share prices. It is worthless ...

Myth: Fascism ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis in World War II

Myth: Fascism ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis in World War II

This weekend, thousands of neo-fascists demonstrated in Rome to “take back the streets from the intruders”. Right hands were raised and slogans like “Italy for Italians; stop immigration, stop illegals, throw out all intruders” were shouted. Still, many people think that the fascist ideology ceased to exist after World War I...

Myth: Evidence-based healthcare treatments are automatically transferable to specific situations

Myth: Evidence-based healthcare treatments are automatically transferable to specific situations

How to decide which treatment, prevention programme or health policy to choose? For many doctors and policymakers the answer seems simple. You look at high-quality scientific studies and take the intervention that has proven to be the most effective. “This has its origins in medicine”, says Tamara Schloemer, researcher at the Department...

Myth: Companies are only after maximizing their profits

Myth: Companies are only after maximizing their profits

Over a thousand deaths to regret and more than two thousand people injured. These were the sad consequences of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013. The day before, cracks were discovered in the walls of the eight-story building. Although the shops and bank at the lower floors were immediately closed, the garment workers in the va...

Double myth: The contraceptive pill is harmless / The contraceptive pill causes thrombosis

Double myth: The contraceptive pill is harmless / The contraceptive pill causes thrombosis

“I don't want to scare you,” says Hugo ten Cate, professor of Clinical Thrombosis and Haemostasis, every time he gives a lecture on the relation between the contraceptive pill and thrombosis to third-year medical students. “About 70 per cent of our students are female, the majority of whom are on the pill. It is not just ...

Myth: low interest rates can't last

Myth: low interest rates can't last

“When interest rates have been low for some time, people are likely to think that they can rise at any moment,” says Dennis Bams, professor of Risk Management at the School of Business and Economics. “That is of course not so strange; over the past hundred years, this has happened all the time. It is what all scientists have alway...

Myth: Lawyers make the difference during police interrogations

Myth: Lawyers make the difference during police interrogations

Crime suspects can bank on being invited by letter to come in for a chat at the local police station. In serious cases, suspects can even be picked up at any hour of the day or night. Fortunately, suspects are not on their own. Since 1 March 2016, lawyers are allowed to be present in the interrogation room. Or does their presence make no difference...

Myth: Illegal downloading is here to stay

Myth: Illegal downloading is here to stay

In 2012, the Dutch providers Ziggo and XS4All blocked The Pirate Bay, the website that epitomizes the download culture. The block lasted two years, but had very little effect: 70 per cent of the downloaders appeared to have found alternative routes to illegally obtain The Lego Movie or Taylor Swift's latest album. The Netherlands is in the t...

Myth: If children listen to Mozart, they become smarter

Myth: If children listen to Mozart, they become smarter

Available online at amazon.com: A Baby Einstein playpen with music by Mozart and Bach, a ‘self-discovery mobile’ to hang above the crib, with classical melodies and Baby 2 Be, a CD especially for unborn children, to listen to from the womb. The idea behind this merchandise is that children become smarter if they listen to classical musi...

Myth: Dyslexics have an imbalance between the left and right hemisphere

Myth: Dyslexics have an imbalance between the left and right hemisphere

Rope-skipping, practising motor skills, ‘reading’ plastic letters with your fingers, or ‘flashing’ letters and words in the left or right visual field. These are all methods of treatment that are regularly offered to children suffering from dyslexia. But they don't help. “The idea behind them is that the left and r...

Myth: As robots and computers become smarter, we will be released from our responsibility

Myth: As robots and computers become smarter, we will be released from our responsibility

Self-driving cars, drones used in war zones, robots used to carry out surgical operations. Examples of computers playing a major role, but what happens if something goes wrong? What if a self-driving car doesn't stop at a zebra crossing? Who is responsible? According to Merel Noorman, technology philosopher and postdoc at the Faculty of Arts a...

Myth: doctors can do a lot these days

Myth: doctors can do a lot these days

When prof. Harald Schmidt was a student, many lecturers and students raved about the holistic approach in medicine. Schmidt did not want to have anything to do with that “woolly babble”. He felt that if someone had a heart problem, you should look at his or her heart, and not at the person as a whole. In the meantime, he has change...

Myth: International organisations have too much power

Myth: International organisations have too much power

International organisations such as NATO and the United Nations were founded after the Second World War, just like the predecessor to the European Union, the European Coal and Steel Community. Some people feel that they are too powerful and that too much money is spent on them. But is that in fact the case? Yes, international organisations have be...

Myth: ME is a mental illness

Myth: ME is a mental illness

Patients are not just a little bit tired, but are permanently exhausted. Sleeping doesn't help much - if they can sleep properly at all - and they usually pay a high price for any physical exertion: remaining even more tired than they were, for days on end. According to the present medical state of affairs, patients suffering from the chroni...

Myth: older people work less hard

Myth: older people work less hard

You can't expect too much from older employees. Young ones are faster, more creative, and more intelligent. At least, that is the widespread idea. And with an ageing population and a retirement age that is constantly being pushed back, employers are the ones who will be left with the mess. “It is ridiculous to think that older people are...

Myth: COPD is an incurable disease

Myth: COPD is an incurable disease

“An incurable disease? We are inclined to think that it leads to death.” Nothing could be farther from the truth in the case of the lung disease COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), says Annemie Schols, professor of Nutrition and Metabolism in Chronic Diseases and director of research school Nutrim. Many COPD patients - whose l...

Myth: Sex is a natural urge

Myth: Sex is a natural urge

“Many people think that sex has to be spontaneous, that it is artificial if you agree on a time in your schedule. Nonsense,” says Marieke Dewitte, psychologist and sexologist at Maastricht University. In her own practice, she sees couples who have been having problems for years and who have doubts about their relationship and sex life. ...

Myth: We only use 10 per cent of our brain

Myth: We only use 10 per cent of our brain

Those among us who have a crappy ad blocker or has none at all on their computer sees them popping up now and again: ads for homeopathic substances that claim to help you use your brain capacity to the full. After all, we now only use 10 per cent of our brain. If you were to expand that, you would not only become smarter but you would also develop ...

Myth: Dieting makes you fat

Myth: Dieting makes you fat

Who believes in the myth that dieting makes you fat? Nobody, isn't it?  “There are frequent statements in international media that dieting encourages overeating and therefore makes you fatter. But that is an error of reasoning,” says Anita Jansen, professor of Experimental Clinical Psychology and dean of the Faculty of Psycholo...

Myth: A GP mainly treats common colds and has to refer more complex cases to the hospital

Myth: A GP mainly treats common colds and has to refer more complex cases to the hospital

It is not just the medical students who often see GPs as “middlemen”, says GP and researcher Jochen Cals. Many patients think the same.  Daily practice is completely different. “Research shows that we deal with almost 95 per cent of the complaints ourselves, even the complex cases. It is only the tip of the iceberg that en...

Myth: Dutch judges should punish more severely because that would make society safer

Myth: Dutch judges should punish more severely because that would make society safer

The following criminal case dates from a few years ago. While a woman from Venray (Limburg) is sitting on a bench in the park, she is hit hard on the head twice with a stick. The assailant then steals her mobile phone. In the appeal court, the judge sentenced the accused to nine years imprisonment – instead of half of that, as the initial cou...