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    #1

    Could you please help me understand this article?

    Hello,

    I understand most of the following article, but am not able to understand some parts. Could you please help me understand those parts? I have marked the parts for which I don't know the exact meaning in blue, with my questions in square brackets.

    Thank you.
    Smug mugs are dime-a-dozen

    IN A Dilbert cartoon, pointyhaired boss introduces a new colleague to the diminutive hero: “I’d like you to meet Ben, our newest fast-track manager.” The next frame has the boss saying, “Ben has no real experience. But he’s very tall. So we know he will go very far”. The final frame shows Ben declaiming to an obviously dismayed Dilbert: “I have executive-style hair” as the boss chimes in, “We think it will turn silver!”
    The caricature parodies a concept called self-enhancement from social psychology. This is defined as the tendency that distorts self-appraisals, to make them more flattering. Self-enhancers like Ben love to airbrush the warts and wrinkles out of their self-images. And they also tend to look for flattering evaluations from others concerning their achievements and talents.
    Recent research shows that an overwhelming majority of people indulge in self-enhancement: as many as 70% of the students who took SAT tests, for example, ranked themselves ‘above-average’ in leadership qualities. The teachers were even more biased — 94% of the faculty regarded their own teaching skills as being above-average!
    Similarly, psychiatrist Peter Kramer famously uncovered hyperbolic patients on Prozac who said they were feeling “better than well”. Then there were reports about estimates of Ritalin boosting kids’ SAT score more than 100 points!
    All this [does 'all this' refer to the previous paragraph, or does it include the one before the previous paragraph as well?] raises vexing questions about authenticity. How much mutation [can 'mutilation' be used instead of 'mutation'?] can it withstand? Recent research has shown that “people are less eager to boost abilities that they consider fundamental to our identities, such as empathy and social comfort, than skills they see as ancillary, like memory and concentration.” Thus, popping a pill to sharpen your memory is not regarded as being in the same league as turning a wilting wall flower [does 'wilting wall flower' refer to a depressed person?] into a chest-thumping extrovert (whether with medication or with a magical mask that Stanley Ipkiss uses in the eponymous film).
    What is more revealing, psychologists also found that the degree to which we’d like to legislate on other people’s ability to enhance a trait seems to be completely unrelated to our own resistance to enhancing it. Curiously, when it came to prospects such as enabling our ‘true’ selves, with or without pills, people seemed quite supportive, even blasé. The million-dollar question then is: which of the entities, before or after, is the real you?


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    #2

    Re: Could you please help me understand this article?

    Smug mugs = mug is a euphemism for face; smug = self-satisfied. The term means self-satisfied people.

    All this [does 'all this' refer to the previous paragraph, or does it include the one before the previous paragraph as well?] It refers to all the preceding points made

    How much mutation [can 'mutilation' be used instead of 'mutation'?] Absolutely no. Mutation = change; Mutilation = cut up or alter radically so as to makee something imperfect.

    a wilting wall flower [does 'wilting wall flower' refer to a depressed person?] It means someone without self-assurance, lacking in assertiveness.

    a magical mask that Stanley Ipkiss uses in the eponymous film). Reference to this: The Mask - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    #3

    Re: Could you please help me understand this article?

    Anglika, thank you for patiently answering all the questions!

    I looked at the link you included for The Mask. One of the sentences there is:
    "It was later adapted into the 1994 film The Mask, starring Jim Carrey, which has spin-offed a television cartoon series,"
    Should this be "spinned-off"?

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