10 Brilliant Social Psychology Studies Ten of the most influential social psychology experiments. “I have been primarily interested in how and why ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their natures.Why do good people sometimes act evil?Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?” –Philip Zimbardo Like eminent social psychologist Professor Philip Zimbardo (author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil), I’m also obsessed with why we do dumb or irrational things. Does the comfort of conformity ease thoughts of death? - life - 25 February 2011 AS THE light at the end of the tunnel approaches, the need to belong to a group and be near loved ones may be among your final thoughts. So say Markus Quirin and his colleagues at the University of Osnabrück in Germany. The team prompted thoughts of death in 17 young men with an average age of 23 by asking them whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements such as "I am afraid of dying a painful death". At the same time, the men's brain activity was monitored using a functional MRI scanner. To compare the brain activity associated with thoughts of death with that coupled to another unpleasant experience, the team also prompted thoughts of dental pain using statements like "I panic when I am sitting in the dentist's waiting room". Although the threat of dental pain is unpleasant, "it's not a threat of death", Quirin says.
How the Brain Stops Time One of the strangest side-effects of intense fear is time dilation, the apparent slowing-down of time. It's a common trope in movies and TV shows, like the memorable scene from The Matrix in which time slows down so dramatically that bullets fired at the hero seem to move at a walking pace. In real life, our perceptions aren't keyed up quite that dramatically, but survivors of life-and-death situations often report that things seem to take longer to happen, objects fall more slowly, and they're capable of complex thoughts in what would normally be the blink of an eye. Now a research team from Israel reports that not only does time slow down, but that it slows down more for some than for others. Anxious people, they found, experience greater time dilation in response to the same threat stimuli.
Cognitive Dissonance and learning Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation. It therefore occurs when there is a need to accommodate new ideas, and it may be necessary for it to develop so that we become "open" to them. Neighbour (1992) makes the generation of appropriate dissonance into a major feature of tutorial (and other) teaching: he shows how to drive this kind of intellectual wedge between learners' current beliefs and "reality". Beyond this benign if uncomfortable aspect, however, dissonance can go "over the top", leading to two interesting side-effects for learning: if someone is called upon to learn something which contradicts what they already think they know — particularly if they are committed to that prior knowledge — they are likely to resist the new learning. Even Carl Rogers recognised this.
Beautycheck - social perception Do attractive people have any advantages? Are they treated better than less attractive? Is it important to look good on an application photo? According to our investigations the answer to these questions is yes. Rosenhan experiment Rosenhan's study was done in two parts. The first part involved the use of healthy associates or "pseudopatients" (three women and five men, including Rosenhan himself) who briefly feigned auditory hallucinations in an attempt to gain admission to 12 different psychiatric hospitals in five different states in various locations in the United States. All were admitted and diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.
5 Ways To Hack Your Brain Into Awesomeness Much of the brain is still mysterious to modern science, possibly because modern science itself is using brains to analyze it. There are probably secrets the brain simply doesn't want us to know. But by no means should that stop us from tinkering around in there, using somewhat questionable and possibly dangerous techniques to make our brains do what we want. We can't vouch for any of these, either their effectiveness or safety. All we can say is that they sound awesome, since apparently you can make your brain... #5.
Intelligence: The Evolution of Night Owls IQs and Zs Night owls are smarter than other people, and now we may know why. The modern world contains many features our slow-to-evolve brains still find unfamiliar—cars, TVs, hot dogs on a stick. But the world has always thrown new stuff at us, and brighter humans may adapt more ably. Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at The London School of Economics and Political Science, argues that, while we have specialized mental modules for navigation, social interaction, and other age-old tasks, general intelligence is its own module handling only evolutionarily novel circumstances.
New neurons help us to remember fear Fear burns memories into our brain, and new research by University of California, Berkeley, neuroscientists explains how. Scientists have long known that fear and other highly emotional experiences lead to incredibly strong memories. In a study appearing online today (Tuesday, June 14) in advance of publication in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, UC Berkeley’s Daniela Kaufer and colleagues report a new way for emotions to affect memory: The brain’s emotional center, the amygdala, induces the hippocampus, a relay hub for memory, to generate new neurons.
Dunning–Kruger effect The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein relatively unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. The bias was first experimentally observed by David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University in 1999. Dunning and Kruger attributed the bias to the metacognitive inability of the unskilled to evaluate their own ability level accurately. Their research also suggests that conversely, highly skilled individuals may underestimate their relative competence, erroneously assuming that tasks that are easy for them also are easy for others. Dunning and Kruger have postulated that the effect is the result of internal illusion in the unskilled, and external misperception in the skilled: "The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.
The Top 10 Psychology Studies of 2010 The end of 2010 fast approaches, and I'm thrilled to have been asked by the editors of Psychology Today to write about the Top 10 psychology studies of the year. I've focused on studies that I personally feel stand out, not only as examples of great science, but even more importantly, as examples of how the science of psychology can improve our lives. Each study has a clear "take home" message, offering the reader an insight or a simple strategy they can use to reach their goals , strengthen their relationships, make better decisions, or become happier. If you extract the wisdom from these ten studies and apply them in your own life, 2011 just might be a very good year. 1) How to Break Bad Habits If you are trying to stop smoking , swearing, or chewing your nails, you have probably tried the strategy of distracting yourself - taking your mind off whatever it is you are trying not to do - to break the habit.
Top 10 Thinking Traps Exposed Our minds set up many traps for us. Unless we’re aware of them, these traps can seriously hinder our ability to think rationally, leading us to bad reasoning and making stupid decisions. Features of our minds that are meant to help us may, eventually, get us into trouble. Here are the first 5 of the most harmful of these traps and how to avoid each one of them. 1. Top 10 Strange Phenomena of the Mind - Top 10 Lists Humans The mind is a wonderful thing – there is so much about it which remains a mystery to this day. Science is able to describe strange phenomena, but can not account for their origins. While most of us are familiar with one or two on this list, many others are mostly unknown outside of the psychological realm.