psychology

Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open, and in despite I’ll cram thee with more food!

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In a recent study, Mann and some colleagues induced a bad mood in 100 college students by making them watch clips from sad movies. They then fed half the students their favorite comfort food, while the other students ate food they enjoyed, but wouldn’t consider comfort food.

Once the students had finished eating, the researchers asked the students how they felt. It turns out all the students felt better, regardless of what they had eaten.

In another experiment, Mann had half the kids eat comfort food, and the other half eat nothing. After a few minutes, both groups felt equally better. The comfort food had no effect on mood.

{ NPR | Continue reading }

photo { Tania Oldyork }

They charged me 15 dollars. That’s how much it costs to only have 20 dollars.

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This research proposes that because rounded numbers are more fluently processed, rounded prices (e.g., $200.00) encourage reliance on feelings.

In contrast, because nonrounded numbers are disfluently processed, nonrounded prices (e.g., $198.76) encourage reliance on cognition.

Thus, rounded (nonrounded) prices lead to a subjective experience of “feeling right” when the purchase decision is driven by feelings (cognition).

Further, this sense of feeling right resulting from the fit between the roundedness of the price number and the nature of decision context can make positive reactions toward the target product more positive and negative reactions more negative, a phenomenon referred to as the rounded price effect in the current research.

Results from five studies provide converging evidence for the rounded price effect. Findings from the current research further show that merely priming participants with rounded (nonrounded) numbers in an unrelated context could also lead to the rounded price effect.

Finally, this research provides process support by showing that the rounded price effect is mediated by a sense of feeling right.

{ Journal of Consumer Research }

photo { Photo Frances McLaughlin-Gill, Woman wearing yellow coat, scarf, hat, gloves and skirt, 1947 }

Is a dream autobiography or fiction?

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10 of The Most Counter-intuitive Psychology Findings Ever Published

1. Self-help Mantras Can Do More Harm Than Good

[…]

3. Criminals Show Cooperation and Prosocial Behaviour in Economic Games

[…]

5. We Make Many Decisions Mindlessly

[…]

6. Opposites Don’t Attract

[…]

10. Sometimes a Pregnant Woman’s Depression is Advantageous For Her Baby

{ BPS | full story }

‘In yer face turbo rave.’ –808 State

{ Guilt and expected guilt in the door-in-the-face technique | PDF | via Improbable }

‘I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself.’ –Kant

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[P]eople who are depressed display some surprising advantages in their thinking skills. Depressed people:

1. process information more deeply.
2. are more accurate at complex tasks.
3. make better judgements on detail-oriented information.
4. make more accurate cost-benefit analyses.

The researchers developed a new questionnaire which measures ‘analytical rumination’, a mental process which is thought to be an ancient defence mechanism and the root of depression.

Analytical rumination is where people turn problems over in their heads to the exclusion of all else, trying to look for a solution.

They first examine the problem’s cause, then the things that need solving, any possible solutions plus the costs and benefits of each solution.

The symptoms of depression, which often include lethargy, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration and disinterest in other people or the external world, may actually be ways of saving energy while a person is focusing on the problem.

{ PsyBlog | Continue reading }

‘Truth is always strange—stranger than fiction.’ –Lord Byron

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We all resist changing our beliefs about the world, but what happens when some of those beliefs are based on misinformation? Is there a right way to correct someone when they believe something that’s wrong? […]

The first thing their review turned up is the importance of “backfire effects” — when telling people that they are wrong only strengthens their belief. […]

If you try and debunk a myth, you may end up reinforcing that belief, strengthening the misinformation in people’s mind without making the correct information take hold.

What you must do, they argue, is to start with the plausible alternative (that obviously you believe is correct). If you must mention a myth, you should mention this second, and only after clearly warning people that you’re about to discuss something that isn’t true.

{ Tom Stafford/BBC | Continue reading }

‘We should not be upset that others hide the truth from us, when we hide it so often from ourselves.’ –La Rochefoucauld

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Flattery—the art of offering pleasing compliments—is one of the oldest and most commonly used of persuasion methods. Research in this area provides a reason for the popularity of this tactic. Put simply, flattery works. Various studies have shown that the target of the flattery evaluates the flatterer positively because human beings have a basic desire to believe in good things about themselves.

What happens, however, in situations in which the flattery is “bogus”—that is, when the recipient knows that the flatterer is offering an insincere compliment, presumably driven by an ulterior motive? Instances of insincere flattery abound in the marketing context, such as the salesperson who offers prospective customers profuse compliments on how an expensive outfit makes them look. […]

In cases such as these, in which the prospective consumer is aware of a clear ulterior motive underlying the compliment, both research and intuition suggest that recipients will discount the flattering comments and correct their otherwise favorable reactions. Though in partial agreement with this premise, the current investigation proposes that despite such correction, a positive impact of flattery may still be observed. […]

The authors show that even when flattery by marketing agents is accompanied by an obvious ulterior motive that leads targets to discount the proffered compliments, the initial favorable reaction (the implicit attitude) continues to coexist with the dis- counted evaluation (the explicit attitude). Furthermore, the implicit attitude has more influential consequences than the explicit attitude, highlighting the possible subtle impact of flattery even when a person has consciously corrected for it.

{ Journal of Marketing Research | PDF }

Just boob it

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In a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing. […] The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion.

{ APA PsycNet | Continue reading }

‘Ce sceptre de Vénus, que tu vois sous tes yeux, Eugénie, est le premier agent des plaisirs en amour : on le nomme membre par excellence ; il n’est pas une seule partie du corps humain dans lequel il ne s’introduise.’ –Sade

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Based on a survey of heterosexual female college students in committed relationships, how often women experienced orgasm as a result of sexual intercourse was related to their partner’s family income, his self-confidence, and how attractive he was. […]

We also identified an ensemble of partner psychological traits (motivation, intelligence, focus, and determination) that predicted how often women initiated sexual intercourse. Their partner’s sense of humor not only predicted his self-confidence and family income, but it also predicted women’s propensity to initiate sex, how often they had sex, and it enhanced their orgasm frequency in comparison with other partners.

{ Evolution Psychology | PDF }

photo { William Eggleston }

related { Guy Ends Up In Hospital After Getting Girlfriend’s Strap-On Stuck Up His Bum }

The biggest bias of all is thinking you’re unbiased

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{ Why Women Buy Magazines that Promote Impossible Body Images }

photo { Guy Sargent }

‘Then they plunged a great needle into my butt and BAM! out I went for two whole days. When I woke up, wow! Rats all over the floor, wailing and screaming. We ate potatoes with spoons.’ –Edie Sedgwick

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Why do we dream? It’s still a scientific mystery. The “Threat Simulation Theory” proposes that we dream as a way to simulate real-life threats and prepare ourselves for dealing with them. “This simulation in an almost-real experiential world would train the brain to perceive dangers and rapidly face them within the safe condition of sleeping,” write the authors of a new paper that’s put the theory to the test. […]

The researchers contacted thousands of first-year students at the end of the day that they sat a very important exam. […] over 700 of the students agreed to participate and they completed a questionnaire about their dreams and sleep quality the previous evening, and any dreams they’d had about the exam over the course of the university term. […] The more exam dreams a student reported having during the term, the higher their grade tended to be.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

collage { Eugenia Loli }

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

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In the mirror we see our physical selves as we truly are, even though the image might not live up to what we want, or what we once were. But we recognize the image as “self.” In rare instances, however, this reality breaks down. […]

How can the recognition of self in a mirror break down?

There are at least seven main routes to dissolution or distortion of self-image:

1. psychotic disorders
2. dementia
3. right parietal-ish or otherwise right posterior cortical strokes and lesions
4. the ‘strange-face in the mirror’ illusion
5. hypnosis
6. dissociative disorders (e.g., depersonalization, dissociative identity disorder
7. body image issues (e.g., anorexia, body dysmorphic disorder)

{ The Neurocritic | Continue reading }

The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion […] a never-before-described visual illusion where your own reflection in the mirror seems to become distorted and shifts identity. […] To trigger the illusion you need to stare at your own reflection in a dimly lit room. […] The participant just has to gaze at his or her reflected face within the mirror and usually “after less than a minute, the observer began to perceive the strange-face illusion.”

{ Mind Hacks | Continue reading }