psychology

Change my name in NY, they don’t know where I be

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The first cluster, or factor, of psychopathy is Fearless Dominance, which is characterized by social and physical boldness, adventurousness, and immunity to stress. The second factor of psychopathy is Self-Centered Impulsivity, which is is characterized by a narcissistic, callous and impulsive lifestyle and a willingness to take advantage of others without experiencing guilt. Note that those who score high in psychopathy tend to score high on both factors. In fact, if you just score high in Fearless Dominance, that might be an indication of a healthy personality! It’s the combination of these traits in a single package that makes it psychopathy. […]

In general, people did not find psychopathic characteristics particularly attractive for any form of relationship — whether it was a date, a short-term relationship, or a long-term relationship. […]

[T]hose with higher levels of psychopathic characteristics were more attracted to those with psychopathic characteristics. […] It wasn’t just psychopathy that predicted attraction to psychopathy. Many personality disorder features– such as histronic, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, schizotypal, passive-aggressive, self-defeating, antisocial, paranoid, borderline, avoidant, dependent, and sadistic features– were correlated with a preference for psychopathic characteristics.

{ Scientific American | Continue reading }

formica and industrial paint on wood { Lygia Clark, Planes in Modulated Surface 4, 1957 }

‘Ne nous prenons pas au sérieux, il n’y aura aucun survivant.’ –Alphonse Allais

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Contrary to the belief that happiness is hard to explain, or that it depends on having great wealth, researchers have identified the core factors in a happy life. The primary components are number of friends, closeness of friends, closeness of family, and relationships with co-workers and neighbors. Together these features explain about 70 percent of personal happiness.

{ Murray & Peacock, A model-free approach to the study of subjective well-being, 1996 }

related {  Having Poor Quality Relationships Is Associated With Greater Distress Than Having Too Few }

photo { Janice Guy }

I’ll take a rusty nail, and scratch your initials in my arm

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Leveraging popular social networking sites, individuals undertake certain forms of behavior to attract as many likes and followers as they can. One platform that symbolizes people’s love for strategic self-presentation to the utmost degree is Instagram. […]

Narcissism is characterized by grandiose exhibition of one’s beauty and pursuit of others’ admiration. Posting selfies/groupies is associated with narcissism and need for popularity. […]

Instagram selfies and groupies symbolize social media users’ public display of narcissism. From an evolutionary psychological perspective on the renovated hierarchy of fundamental human motives and needs, this study examined the interaction effects of Instagram photo types (selfies, group selfies, long-shot photos taken by others, and neutral photos) and Instagram peer viewers’ individual difference factors (intrasexual competition [ISC] for mates, need for popularity [NfP], loneliness, and need to belong [NtB]) on intersexual attraction. […]

The findings confirmed the assumption that a potential mate who posts selfies and groupies is perceived by opposite-sex viewers to be more narcissistic compared to a potential mate who posts neutral photos.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | Continue reading }

photo { Thierry Mugler, Monster Show, Elle US, November 1991 }

This is very surprising and it is a really bad news for CoCos, specially for those that have low coupon for the first call

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Revising things makes people think they are better, absent objective improvement. We refer to this phenomenon as the revision bias. […]

We propose that the fact that revisions typically are intended to be improvements over their originals gives rise to an overgeneralized heuristic that revisions necessarily are improvements over their originals. Yet, as any author responding to editorial reviews knows, not every revision turns out better than before. […]

Things that are objectively unchanged (or even made worse) in the revision process may nonetheless be adopted, so long as observers believe they possess a “revised” version.

{ Harvard Business School | PDF }

images { Sculpture by Yoan Capote | Barbara Kruger-annotated photo of Eliot Spitzer for New York magazine, 2008 }

A word now against Kant as a moralist

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If a rat sees another rat drowning, for example, it will forgo a chunk of chocolate to save its imperiled friend. […]

Scientists at the University of Chicago […] found that a white rat raised among only white rats will do nothing to save a black rat from a trap. Rats, like humans, can be biased in how they act on, or don’t act on, their empathy.

In a variant of the experiment, a white rat raised among only black rats would save a black rat from a trap — but would fail to save other white rats.

And a white rat raised among black and white rats rescued rats of both colors. The researchers found that it is not the rat’s color that determines which type of rat it will show empathy for, but the social context in which it was raised.

{ Henry James Garrett/NY Times | Continue reading }

related { when given a choice, do people avoid empathy? And if so, why? }

linocut on transfer paper { Christian Waller, The spirit of light, 1932 }

Fuck your white horse and a carriage

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Advertising is ubiquitous in modern life. Yet might it be harmful to the happiness of nations? This paper blends longitudinal data on advertising with large-scale surveys on citizens’ well-being. The analysis uses information on approximately 1 million randomly sampled European citizens across 27 nations over 3 decades. We show that increases in national advertising expenditure are followed by significant declines in levels of life satisfaction.

{ University of Warwick | PDF }

photo { Joel Meyerowitz, New York City, 1968 }

you see the Benz on dubs

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if we asked our listeners […] what do you think you do on your face when you express anger? Everybody can give you something and it will be pretty much accurate. And the reason is because all of us have seen it. […] if you ask a blind person, “Hey, show me what you look like when you’re angry or when you’re sad,” you’ll get something that’s close but you don’t get the exact facial muscle movements that occur when those emotions occur spontaneously. However, when it occurs spontaneously, the exact facial muscle movements are exactly the same. So blind individuals produce them spontaneously but don’t produce exactly the same thing when you ask them to pose whereas sighted people do. 

{ David Matsumoto/APA | Continue reading }

photo { Audrey Hepburn photographed by Richard Avedon on the set of Funny Face, 1956 | Richard Avedon was hired as visual consultant for Funny Face, directed by Stanley Donen. Shot partly in France, the film is loosely based on Avedon’s career as a fashion photographer in Paris. }

‘And above all, away with the body, this wretched idée fixe of the senses.’ –Nietzsche

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We present a new tool that provides a means to measure the psychological and cultural distance between two societies and create a distance scale with any population as the point of comparison. Since psychological data is dominated by samples drawn from the United States or other WEIRD nations, this tool provides a “WEIRD scale.” […]

Decades of psychological research designed to uncover truths about human psychology may have instead uncovered truths about a thin slice of our species – those who live in Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic (WEIRD) nations. […]

Just how psychologically different are the nations of the world compared to each other and to the over-scrutinized United States? Many hard drives have been filled with the ways in which China and Japan differ from the United States and Canada, but just how psychologically distant is the culture of China from Japan, the United States from Canada, or Azerbaijan from Zambia? Here we introduce a robust method for quantifying this distance. […]

[We compared] the cultural differences between regions of the four largest populations—China, India, United States and European Union. These analyses reveal that the cultural differences between regions of the overscrutinized United States are considerably smaller than the European Union, China, or India. […]

The Far East has always held a certain exoticism, which may have driven a generation of cultural psychologists to document the many ways in which East Asian societies differ from the West. However, the most extensively researched East Asian nations aren’t anywhere near the extreme on the WEIRD scale and some are barely halfway. Moreover, there is considerable diversity within China, let alone between China, Japan, and Hong Kong. This diversity has been exploited by other researchers, for example, showing the role of agriculture on individualism and collectivism, but nowhere the levels performed within the United States, where we know state by state differences in psychological differences such as tightness-looseness. […]

Relatively little attention has been paid to the Middle East and Africa both by the World Values Survey and the psychological sciences. However, given the relative cultural distance to the United States and Africa’s large genetic, linguistic, and likely cultural variation, we have every reason to suspect the WEIRD scale will continue to stretch as we map out these psychological terra incognita. These regions, as well as other underrepresented regions, such as the South Pacific, may in fact hold a treasure trove of findings for the next wave of cultural psychologists.

{ SSRN | PDF }

How can you face your problem if your problem is your face

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From 1936-1972, approximately 50,000 lobotomies were performed in the US. The majority of these occurred during the “lobotomy boom” which occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Curiously, the lobotomy’s popularity coincided with a consensus within the medical community that it was ineffective. […]

Physician Walter Freeman performed approximately 10% of all US lobotomies during his medical career (El-Hai 2005). Although the procedure was widely used, it swiftly fell out of favor when the FDA approved the first antipsychotic drug in 1954. […]

In this paper, we propose the lobotomy’s popularity and longevity in the US was the result of the incentives generated by the institutional structure of mental health provision. Primarily, we note that funding for public mental hospitals and asylums were provided by state and federal governments on a very low per capita basis. This served to constrained revenues. Lobotomized patients were easier to manage (their brain damage often made them docile), and the procedure was comparatively cheaper than other treatment methods. These factors, in conjunction with little incentive to effectively treat patients provided by bureaucratic oversight, motivated physicians to perform cost and conflict minimizing treatment.


In contrast, physicians operating in private mental hospitals and asylums were funded by the patients, their caregivers, or through philanthropic donations. […] [L]obotomy was less used in private mental hospitals.

{ North Dakota State University Public Choice & Private Enterprise Research Paper Series | Continue reading }

acrylic, oil, oilstick and paper collage on three hinged wooden panels { Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait, 1981 }

“The Pleasure Principle” is an “independent woman” anthem about love gone wrong built around a dance beat

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Previous studies have shown that male attractiveness can be enhanced by manipulation of status through, for example, the medium of costume. The present study experimentally manipulated status by seating the same target model (male and female matched for attractiveness) expressing identical facial expressions and posture in either a ‘high status’ (Silver Bentley Continental GT) or a ‘neutral status’ (Red Ford Fiesta ST) motor-car. […]

Results showed that the male target model was rated as significantly more attractive on a rating scale of 1–10 when presented to female participants in the high compared to the neutral status context. Males were not influenced by status manipulation, as there was no significant difference between attractiveness ratings for the female seated in the high compared to the neutral condition.

{ The British Psychological Society | PDF }

unrelated { Sweden plans to make sex toys safer because so many people get them stuck in their rectum }

‘This is the curse of our age, even the strangest aberrations are no cure for boredom.’ –Stendhal

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Because more and more young people are constantly presented with the opportunity to access information and connect to others via their smartphones, they report to be in a state of permanent alertness. In the current study, we define such a state as smartphone vigilance, an awareness that one can always get connected to others in combination with a permanent readiness to respond to incoming smartphone notifications. We hypothesized that constantly resisting the urge to interact with their phones draws on response inhibition, and hence interferes with students’ ability to inhibit prepotent responses in a concurrent task. […]

Results show that the mere visibility of a smartphone is sufficient to experience vigilance and distraction, and that this is enhanced when students receive notifications. Curiously enough, these strong experiences were unrelated to stop-signal task performance. These findings raise new questions about when and how smartphones can impact performance.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

Empty space itself has a negative energy density

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Procrastination is a familiar and widely discussed proclivity: postponing tasks that can be done earlier. Precrastination is a lesser known and explored tendency: completing tasks quickly just to get them done sooner.

Recent research suggests that precrastination may represent an important penchant that can be observed in both people and animals.

{ Learning & Behavior | Continue reading }

art { Vogue, June 1972 | Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #9, 1973 }