psychology

No pain, no gain

2.jpg

In a mixed-gender group, when women talk 25% of the time or less, it’s seen as being “equally balanced”. If women talk 25–50% of the time, they’re seen as “dominating the conversation”

[…]

A Californian company called Skinny Mirror sells mirrors that make you look thinner. When installed in the changing rooms of clothes shops, they can increase sales by 18%.

[…]

Twitter has enough money in the bank to run for 412 years with current losses.

{ Fluxx | Continue reading }

photo { Blaise Cepis }

‘Falsity consists in the privation of knowledge, which inadequate, fragmentary, or confused ideas involve.’ –Spinoza

4.jpg

Most people strongly believe they are just, virtuous, and moral; yet regard the average person as distinctly less so. This invites accusations of irrationality in moral judgment and perception — but direct evidence of irrationality is absent. Here, we quantify this irrationality and compare it against the irrationality in other domains of positive self-evaluation. […]

Virtually all individuals irrationally inflated their moral qualities […] Irrational moral superiority was not associated with self-esteem. Taken together, these findings suggest that moral superiority is a uniquely strong and prevalent form of “positive illusion,” but the underlying function remains unknown.

{ Social Psychological and Personality Science | Continue reading }

photo { Weegee, Empire State Building Distortion, 1955 }

3 out of 4 people make up 75% of the population

25.jpg

The idea behind power poses, that if you stand in a “powerful” position, broad posture, hands on hips, shoulders high and pushed back, you will suddenly feel psychologically and physiologically stronger, is intuitively appealing, especially for people without much confidence. The problem is that it’s simply not true, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers. […]

“We did find that […] if you’re a loser and you take a winner or high power pose, your testosterone decreases.”

In other words, Smith said, “people might not be able to ‘fake it until they make it,’ and in fact it might be detrimental.”

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

‘History repeats itself. Historians repeat each other.’ –Max Beerbohm

31.jpg

The Dress photograph, first displayed on the internet in 2015, revealed stunning individual differences in color perception. The aim of this study was to investigate if lay-persons believed that the question about The Dress colors was answerable. Past research has found that optimism is related to judgments of how answerable knowledge questions with controversial answers are. Furthermore, familiarity with a question can create a feeling of knowing the answer.

Building on these findings, 186 participants saw the photo of The Dress and were asked about the correct answer to the question about The Dress’ colors (“blue and black,” “white and gold,” “other, namely…,” or “there is no correct answer”). Choice of the alternative “there is no correct answer” was interpreted as believing the question was not answerable. This answer was chosen more often by optimists and by people who reported they had not seen The Dress before.

{ Frontiers Psychology | Continue reading }

photo { Gregory Halpern }

‘Il se trouve autant de différence de nous à nous-mêmes que de nous à autrui.’ –Montaigne

32.jpg

{ Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments | PDF }

with his halluxes so splendid

3.jpg

Revisiting Depression Contagion […] A Speed-Dating Study.

After four minutes of interaction with partners with high levels of depressive symptoms, participants did not experience increased negative affect; instead, they experienced reduced positive affect, which led to the rejection of these partners.

{ Clinical Psychological Science | Continue reading }

‘To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.’ —Nietzsche

21.jpg

Many laboratory experiments show that people are often altruistic or care for fairness. We present data that reveal a darker side of human nature. We introduce the joy-of-destruction game. Two players each receive an endowment and simultaneously decide on how much of the other player’s endowment to destroy. Subjects play this game repeatedly. In one treatment, subjects can hide their destruction behind random destruction. In this treatment, money is destroyed in almost 40% of all decisions. We attribute this behavior to a visceral pleasure of being nasty. Under full information destruction is also observed, but rare. In this treatment, acts of destruction are followed by immediate retaliation.

{ Faculty of Economics and Management Magdeburg | PDF }

How the world appears to us in certain forms imposed by our brains

43.jpg

Is our perceptual experience a veridical representation of the world or is it a product of our beliefs and past experiences? Cognitive penetration describes the influence of higher level cognitive factors on perceptual experience and has been a debated topic in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

{ Consciousness and Cognition | Continue reading }

photo { Can you think a thought which isn’t yours? A remarkable new study suggests you can }

‘We may also attack simply to become aware of our own strength.’ —Nietzsche

34.jpg

We found that women experience more jealousy toward women with cosmetics, and view these women as more attractive to men and more promiscuous.

{ Perception | Continue reading }

photo { Bon Jane }

‘The first principle of all action is leisure.’ —Aristotle

33.jpg

The publication of Richard Krafft-Ebbing’s masterwork Psychopathia Sexualis in 1886 represented a landmark in thinking about human sexuality and the bizarre forms that it can take. In addition to describing different types of sexual expression that the author regarded as “perverse” (usually any form of sex that didn’t lead to procreation), it quickly became one of the most influential books on human sexuality ever written and introduced numerous new terms into common usage. One of these terms was “masochism,” which Krafft-Ebbing defined as the opposite of sadism (which he also coined). While the later is the desire to cause pain and use force, the former is the wish to suffer pain and be subjected to force.  

one person in particular who was less than pleased with the new term was the Austrian author, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Krafft-Ebbing justified naming this new sexual anomaly after the prominent author whom he described as “the poet of Masochism” due to his erotic writings and because of his own eccentric personal life. […]

Venus in Furs, the short novel for which Sacher-Masoch is best known, was published in 1870, and has become an erotic classic in its own right. In this book, the hero Severin asks to be treated as a slave and to be abused by Wanda (the “Venus in furs” of the story). The fact that Sacher-Masoch often acted out these fantasies in real-life with his wives and mistresses was not well-known. […]

It may be a coincidence that his health went into a decline shortly after Psychopathia Sexualis came out but by March of 1895, he was delusional and violent. After attempting to kill his then-wife Hulda, she arranged for him to be discreetly moved to an asylum in Lindheim, Hesse. Although his official obituary states that he died that year, there are claims that Sacher-Masoch lived on as an anonymous asylum inmate and actually died years later.

{ Providentia | Continue reading }

People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles

22.jpg

Most people in industrialized societies grow up in core (parents only) families with few if any siblings. Based on an evolutionary perspective, it may be argued that this environment reflects a mismatch, in that the tribal setting offered a larger number of close affiliates. The present project examined whether this mismatch may have a negative impact on mental health. […]

The number of household members correlated with scores on good mental health at all ages tested (3, 5 and 8 years). […] Living with a single mother did not make any difference compared to two parents. Girls were slightly more responsive to the presence of siblings than boys. Household pets did not have any appreciable impact.

{ BMC Psychology | Continue reading }

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road

310.jpg

A majority of people the world over eat meat, yet many of these same people experience discomfort when the meat on their plate is linked to the death of animals. We draw on this common form of moral conflict — the meat-paradox — to develop insights into the ways in which morally troublesome behaviors vanish into the commonplace and every day.

Drawing on a motivational analysis, we show how societies may be shaped by attempts to resolve dissonance, in turn protecting their citizens from discomfort associated with their own moral conflicts. To achieve this, we build links between dissonance reduction, habit formation, social influence, and the emergence of social norms and detail how our analysis has implications for understanding immoral behavior and motivations underpinning dehumanization and objectification.

{ Personality and Social Psychology Review }