Tag Archives | Psychology

The Way People Think And Act Is Affected By Ceiling Height

ceilingIs your mental range of possibility being stifled by the ceiling above you? From a little while ago, via ScienceDaily:

Recent research by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height.

“When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly,” said Meyers-Levy. “They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics.”

The research demonstrates that a higher versus a lower ceiling can stimulate the concepts of freedom versus confinement, respectively. This causes people to engage in either more free-form, abstract thinking or more detail-specific thought. Depending on what the task at hand requires, the consequences of the ceiling could be positive or negative.

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‘Spirit Release Therapy’: When Psychologists Conduct Exorcisms

exorcismI would try spirit release therapy but I am afraid of what might come out. Via the Epoch Times:

“Every culture and religious belief system throughout human history has its traditional beliefs of spirit possession in some form or another with corresponding rituals for the release or exorcism of spirit entities,” wrote Dr. Terence Palmer, a psychologist and the first person in the U.K. to earn a Ph.D. in spirit release therapy.

Some psychologists are returning to the methods developed by our ancestors to help patients with symptoms of possession. Dr. William Baldwin (1939–2004) founded the practice of spirit release therapy and he also used past-life regression treatments.

Dr. Baldwin developed a method of helping people exorcise their demons so to speak. It is thought that traumatic experiences can especially cause a person’s consciousness to withdraw and give the body over to other forms of consciousness.

In spirit release therapy, the patient is hypnotized so it is easier to access the other consciousnesses in the person’s mind.

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Democrats, Republicans See Each Other as Mindless—Unless They Pose a Threat

PIC: Roanoke (CC)

PIC: Roanoke (CC)

Via Newswise:

We are less likely to humanize members of groups we don’t belong to—except, under some circumstances, when it comes to members of the opposite political party. A study by researchers at New York University and Harvard Business School suggests that we are more prone to view members of the opposite political party as human if we view those individuals as threatening.

“It’s hardly surprising that we dehumanize those who are not part of our groups,” says Jay Van Bavel, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and one of the study’s co-authors. “However, what is interesting is that we may be motivated to perceive the presence of a mind among political adversaries who threaten us.

“It’s possible that when we believe our political opponents are formidable we may humanize them in ways we don’t with members of other out-groups.”

The study appears in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

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Watch a ‘Lost Interview’ With Philosopher Michel Foucault on Madness and History

Courtesy of the always entertaining Open Culture blog (Bookmark it for more awesomeness.) comes what’s being billed as a “lost interview” with philosopher Michel Foucault. Lost or not, we’ve got it to watch.

Via Open Culture:

An introductory shot that might be an outtake from A Clockwork Orange opens this interview with Michel Foucault, “lost,” we’re told by Critical Theory, “for nearly 30 years” before it appeared on Youtube last week. In it, Foucault discusses madness and his interest in psychology and psychopathology, repeating in brief the argument he made in Madness and Civilization, his 1961 work in which—through impressive feats of archival research and leaps of the imagination—Foucault attempted, as he wrote in his preface, “to return, in history, to that zero point in the course of madness at which madness is an undifferentiated experience, a not yet divided experience of division itself.”

 

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Secrets of Success: Winners Wear Sweatpants

Pregnant woman smoking outside a London hospitalAccording to this Wall Street Journal report on a Harvard Business School study, people confident enough to take a nonconformist attitude to social dress codes are perceived as more successful, so keep your sweats on all day:

Anyone who has felt like the odd duck of the group can take heart from new research from Harvard Business School that says sticking out in distinct ways can lend you an air of presence or influence.

Standing out in certain circumstances, like wearing sweats in a luxury store, also appears to boost an individual’s standing.

One obvious way people signal what the researchers called “status” is through visible markers, like what they wear and what they buy. Previous research has largely examined why people buy or wear branded items.

Less work has focused on what others think of those who try to communicate that they are different or worthy of attention. Efforts to be different are interesting because humans are wired to conform and be part of a group.

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In Defense of Hypocrisy

PProg_19_p51_Hypocrisy

Pic: PD

We’re all a bunch of hypocrites. That’s okay, though: So is everyone else.

Adam Kingsmith writes at DeSmog Canada:

The way in which we think, act, feel and live is wrought with self-denial, contradiction and inconsistency. In a recent piece, I highlighted how various logical fallacies work as psychological flaws that twist and distort our decision-making abilities, making it virtually impossible for someone to make a truly unbiased and impartial choice about anything.
What’s more, because so much of our thought processes are subconscious, our internal contradictions and irregularities rarely register at a more conscious level. And thus our unwillingness to realize this means we tend to think everyone is a hypocrite but us.
According to Why Everyone (Else) Is A Hypocrite, by evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban, the reason we seem unwilling to make an effort to realize our inherent irrationalities is because in Western society, a flattering self-image is directly correlated with personal rewards such as greater senses of emotional stability, motivation and perseverance.

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Study Shows Children Can Be Better Than Adults at Figuring Out New Gadgets

Yasmin Anwar at UC Berkeley:

Preschoolers can be smarter than college students at figuring out how unusual toys and gadgets work because they’re more flexible and less biased than adults in their ideas about cause and effect, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh.

The findings suggest that technology and innovation can benefit from the exploratory learning and probabilistic reasoning skills that come naturally to young children, many of whom are learning to use smartphones even before they can tie their shoelaces. The findings also build upon the researchers’ efforts to use children’s cognitive smarts to teach machines to learn in more human ways.

“As far as we know, this is the first study examining whether children can learn abstract cause and effect relationships, and comparing them to adults,” said UC Berkeley developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik, senior author of the paper published online in the journal, Cognition.

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Facebook Strike as Self-Awareness Course

Pic: Rishibando (CC)

Pic: DKalo (CC)

More than once I’ve been struck with the desire to abandon Facebook, and at least one of those times I actually deactivated my account. The reasons for my frustration have varied over the last six years or so, from their sudden formatting changes to prioritize business interests, to the way they mine user data regardless of privacy settings. Other reasons have been more personal, like not having a sufficient method for determining who gets to see the more eccentric or extreme parts of my personality, or simply feeling like I waste too much time on the site.

At the end of 2013, a new kind of Facebook frustration began creeping over me. My attempts to explain it to people only seemed to make it worse, especially because – as I realized – I was creating a paradox by using Facebook to denounce Facebook. Then in late December, I simply stopped posting.… Read the rest

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People Are More Honest In The Morning

PIC: ENCMSTR (CC)

PIC: ENCMSTR (CC)

The next time you go shopping for a car you might want to start at the crack of dawn.  According to results published in the journal of Psychological Science, people appear to be more honest in the morning, but become less so as the day wears on.

Psychological Science:

…the normal, unremarkable experiences associated with everyday living can deplete one’s capacity to resist moral temptations. In a series of four experiments, both undergraduate students and a sample of U.S. adults engaged in less unethical behavior (e.g., less lying and cheating) on tasks performed in the morning than on the same tasks performed in the afternoon. This morning morality effect was mediated by decreases in moral awareness and self-control in the afternoon. Furthermore, the effect of time of day on unethical behavior was found to be stronger for people with a lower propensity to morally disengage. These findings highlight a simple yet pervasive factor (i.e., the time of day) that has important implications for moral behavior.

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Need a Smoke? Want a Drink? Grab a Game of Tetris Instead

PIC: Damian Yerrick (CC)

PIC: Damian Yerrick (CC)

If you’re trying to quit smoking or have problems with junk food cravings, you might want to go ahead and install the classic time-waster Tetris on your smart phone or tablet. According to a recent study, playing the game for three minutes may help you to quash those cravings.

Via PsyBlog:

One of the study’s authors, Professors Jackie Andrade, explained:

“Episodes of craving normally only last a few minutes, during which time an individual is visualising what they want and the reward it will bring. Often those feelings result in the person giving in and consuming the very thing they are trying to resist. But by playing Tetris, just in short bursts, you are preventing your brain creating those enticing images and without them the craving fades.”

In the study 119 people — whose natural cravings were measured beforehand– played the computer game Tetris or they were put into a control condition.

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