Success! Why Expectations Beat Fantasies Are you building castles in the sky? Psychologists have found that fantasising about future success can be dangerous. We all have fantasies about the future. We often hear from self-help gurus that just this type of happy dreaming is a good source of motivation. Loosely speaking there is some truth to this: positive thinking about the future is broadly beneficial. Fantasy versus expectation The researchers wanted to see how people cope with four different challenges that life throws at us: getting a job, finding a partner, doing well in an exam and undergoing surgery (hopefully not all at the same time). Across four studies the researchers examined how people thought about each of these challenges. The difference might sound relatively trivial, but it’s not. Fantasies, though, involve imagining something you hope will happen in the future, but experiencing it right now. Take those looking for a job. Why positive fantasies are dangerous I expect. Image credit: balt-arts
10 Simple Postures That Boost Performance Psychological research suggests simple actions can project power, persuade others, increase empathy, boost cognitive performance and more… We tend to think of body language as something that expresses our internal states to the outside world. But it also works the other way around: the position of our body also influences our mind. As the following psychological research shows, how we move can drive both thoughts and feelings and this can boost performance. 1. If you want to feel more powerful then adopt a powerful posture. 2. Tensing up your muscles can help increase your willpower. 3. If you’re stuck on a problem which needs persistence then try crossing your arms. 4. If crossing your arms doesn’t work then try lying down. 5. While you’re lying down, why not have a nap? Brooks & Lack (2005) compared 5, 10, 20 and 30 minute naps to find the best length. 6. The way people’s hands cut through the air while they talk is fascinating. 7. 8. 9. 10. Embodied cognition Image credit: Hector
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. An intriguing result, and one that raises a more fundamental question: how, exactly, does the brain carry out this remarkable feat? Researcher David Eagleman has tackled his very issue in a very clever way . Was it scary enough to generate a sense of time dilation?
Incompetent People Too Ignorant to Know It A growing body of psychology research shows that incompetence deprives people of the ability to recognize their own incompetence. To put it bluntly, dumb people are too dumb to know it. Similarly, unfunny people don't have a good enough sense of humor to tell. This disconnect may be responsible for many of society's problems. With more than a decade's worth of research, David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, has demonstrated that humans find it "intrinsically difficult to get a sense of what we don't know." Dunning and his colleague, Justin Kruger, formerly of Cornell and now at New York University, "have done a number of studies where we will give people a test of some area of knowledge like logical reasoning, knowledge about STDs and how to avoid them, emotional intelligence, etcetera. It's not merely optimism, but rather that their total lack of expertise renders them unable to recognize their deficiency. If only we knew ourselves better.
Body Language Signals: Eye Directions, Pupils Warning! Reading body language is like listening to someone. Listed here are the possible meanings of many different body language signs. To avoid getting it wrong, please start with the short section “How Can You Read What People Think?” The Eyes (Part II) - Squint during a conversation –> showing interest - Looking away –> possibly shy –> curious about the surroundings (some people naturally observe their environment more than others) –> showing interest in your other movements. Otherwise, it may be a sign that this person is attracted to you… Basically, looking at other parts of your body is part of the unconscious assessment people make about how suitable you are as a mate… Whether you like it or not, we all do this. How To Read Eye Directions Without going too deep into neuroscience, let’s look at how a person’s eye directions can tell you what they are actually thinking. You have probably heard that there are two main parts to the brain: - the right side: the emotional side, and Why?
Top 10 Most Famous Thought Experiments Thought experiments are mental concepts or hypotheses, often resembling riddles, which are used by philosophers and scientists as simple ways of illuminating what are usually very dense ideas. Most often, they’re used in more abstract fields like philosophy and theoretical physics, where physical experiments aren’t possible. They serve as some hearty food for thought, but given their complex subject matter, it’s not unusual for even the thought experiment itself to be nearly incomprehensible. 10. One of the most well known thought experiments in the field of ethics is the “Trolley Problem,” which goes something like this: a madman has tied five innocent people to a trolley track. What it Means: 9. One of the major thought experiments in epistemology (the field of philosophy that deals with knowledge) is what is known as “The Cow in the Field.” 8. 7. In truth, no one really knows for sure. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. If you’re thinking this all sounds a bit like The Matrix, you’re right.
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. The answer quite often is because of other people – something social psychologists have comprehensively shown. Over the past few months I’ve been describing 10 of the most influential social psychology experiments. Each one tells a unique, insightful story relevant to all our lives, every day. 1. The ‘halo effect’ is a classic social psychology experiment. » Read on about the halo effect -» 2. » Read on about cognitive dissonance -» 3. » Read on about Sherif’s Robbers Cave experiment -» 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Identify a Lie with 6 Simple Questions post written by: Marc Chernoff Email We all fall victim to at least a few lies during the course of our lifetime. A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.- Mark Twain How do you know this? If you enjoyed this article, check out our new best-selling book. And get inspiring life tips and quotes in your inbox (it's free)... 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. After admission, the pseudopatients acted normally and told staff that they felt fine and had no longer experienced any additional hallucinations. All were forced to admit to having a mental illness and agree to take antipsychotic drugs as a condition of their release. The average time that the patients spent in the hospital was 19 days. The second part of his study involved an offended hospital administration challenging Rosenhan to send pseudopatients to its facility, whom its staff would then detect. The pseudopatient experiment The non-existent impostor experiment
Top Ten Psychology Studies Ten studies that have changed psychology and the way we see humanity. After being told about these psychology studies, generations of psychology students have wandered out into the world seeing themselves and other people in a new light. In this series of posts I look at ten studies that have changed psychology and the way we see humanity: “What do babies understand about the world and how can you possibly find out, given that babies are not so hot on answering complex questions about their perceptual abilities?” “It’s not just Miller who was persecuted by this number though, it’s all of us. What this magical number represents – 7 plus or minus 2 – is the number of items we can hold in our short-term memory.” “It seems incredible that a successful form of psychological therapy could be based on telling people their thoughts are mistaken. “Imagine it’s the 1960s and you’re a first year psychology student at the University of Minnesota. » Also, check out the top ten social psychology studies.
Tips…to make a good first impression Every Wednesday is Tip Day. This Wednesday: Tips…to make a good first impression. n smile and lean toward others as they talk n if standing, keep your body fully facing the people you’re speaking with n ask questions and follow up on people’s remarks; and in doing so, focus on opinions and feelings, not just facts n don’t interrupt n compliment others n try to find common experiences or interests n mention some vulnerabilities and laugh at yourself n draw others out and encourage people to join the conversation n put energy in your voice n at least at the start, focus on positive comments, not criticisms or complaints n offer a variety of topics n share observations about everyday life n share your passions and interests n don’t dwell on the minutiae of your life, especially annoyances n remember: people give more weight to their early information (were you engaged, warm, distracted, pompous?)
Ten Psychology Studies from 2009 Worth Knowing About - David DiSalvo - Brainspin Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife Several great psychology and neuroscience studies were published in 2009. Below I’ve chosen 10 that I think are among the most noteworthy, not just because they’re interesting, but useful as well. 1. If you have to choose between buying something or spending the money on a memorable experience, go with the experience. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. How Long to Form a Habit? shareshareshareshare Research reveals a curved relationship between practice and automaticity. Say you want to create a new habit, whether it’s taking more exercise, eating more healthily or writing a blog post every day, how often does it need to be performed before it no longer requires Herculean self-control? Clearly it’s going to depend on the type of habit you’re trying to form and how single-minded you are in pursuing your goal. Ask Google and you’ll get a figure of somewhere between 21 and 28 days. Unless you’re in the habit of sawing off your own arm, this is not particularly relevant. Doing without thinking Now, however, there is some psychological research on this question in a paper recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. When the researchers examined the different habits, many of the participants showed a curved relationship between practice and automaticity of the form depicted below (solid line). No small change
8 Things Everybody Ought to Know About Concentrating “Music helps me concentrate,” Mike said to me glancing briefly over his shoulder. Mike was in his room writing a paper for his U.S. History class. On his desk next to his computer sat crunched Red Bulls, empty Gatorade bottles, some extra pocket change and scattered pieces of paper. Mike made a shift about every thirty seconds between all of the above. Do you know a person like this? The Science Behind Concentration In the above account, Mike’s obviously stuck in a routine that many of us may have found ourselves in, yet in the moment we feel it’s almost an impossible routine to get out of. When we constantly multitask to get things done, we’re not multitasking, we’re rapidly shifting our attention. Phase 1: Blood Rush Alert When Mike decides to start writing his History essay, blood rushes to his anterior prefrontal cortex. Phase 2: Find and Execute Phase 3: Disengagement While in this state, Mike then hears an email notification. The process repeats itself sequentially. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.