Posts tagged psychology

Why can’t more than four people have a conversation at once?

qz, psychology, conversation, group-size, 2018, research

There’s evidence that this four-person limit on conversations has been in place for about as long as humans have been having chatting with one another. Shakespeare rarely allowed more than four speaking characters in any scene; ensemble films rarely have more than four actors interacting at once. But why do we max out at four?

via https://qz.com/work/1388086/why-cant-more-than-four-people-have-a-conversation-at-once/

Are You a Jerk?

jerkitude, jerk, personality, dark-triad, psychology, nautilus, self-help

The scientifically recognized personality categories closest to “jerk” are the “dark triad” of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathic personality. Narcissists regard themselves as more important than the people around them, which jerks also implicitly or explicitly do. And yet narcissism is not quite jerkitude, since it also involves a desire to be the center of attention, a desire that jerks don’t always have. Machiavellian personalities tend to treat people as tools they can exploit for their own ends, which jerks also do. And yet this too is not quite jerkitude, since Machivellianism involves self-conscious cynicism, while jerks can often be ignorant of their self-serving tendencies. People with psychopathic personalities are selfish and callous, as is the jerk, but they also incline toward impulsive risk-taking, while jerks can be calculating and risk-averse.

via http://nautil.us/issue/54/the-unspoken/how-to-tell-if-youre-a-jerk-rp

Postmodernism and “post-truth”

Postmodernism, post-truth, facts, reality, psychology, Philosophy, Raven

The point of postmodernism is not and was never “there are no facts”, the denial of an objective reality. The point is that facts are unevenly distributed across a metamedium which distributes half-facts and falsehoods with equal facility. The point is that the whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth objective reality is by definition inaccessible to the subjective experience of individuals; there is far too much to know for any one individual to know it all. The point is that he who controls the distribution of stories controls the stories themselves.

via http://www.velcro-city.co.uk/postmodernism-and-post-truth/

Researchers use music and LSD to understand how we attribute meaning.

meaning, LSD, neuroscience, psychology, salience, psychedelics

Attribution of meaning and personal relevance is important for our everyday lives. In psychiatric disorders, the attribution of meaning is often altered, and the mechanisms causing this were unknown. LSD has also been shown to alter the attribution of meaning and personal relevance to the environment and our sense of self. However, the exact mechanism and brain structures had not been investigated yet. Therefore, LSD offered a unique opportunity to investigate these phenomena.

via https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/lsd-unlocks-how-our-brains-impart-meaningfulness

Story Thought and System Thought

Medium, system thinking, story thinking, narrative, psychology, design

Many disputes reflect differences in how people think as much as in what they think about a particular issue. We can’t always persuade one another simply by expressing our positions, introducing information, and counting “pros” and “cons.” Instead, our disagreements often start upstream, so to speak, as we and others diverge in which modes of thinking we consider legitimate. Frameworks for understanding these modes can help us to translate between them, the “story thought” vs. “system thought” framework.

via https://medium.com/quora-design/story-thought-and-system-thought–188dce7a87e6

John Keats and ‘negative capability’ - The British Library

psychology, Keats, negative-capability, uncertainty, unknown

What does Keats mean by ‘negative capability’? Clearly, he is using the word ‘negative’ not in a pejorative sense, but to convey the idea that a person’s potential can be defined by what he or she does not possess – in this case a need to be clever, a determination to work everything out. Essential to literary achievement, Keats argues, is a certain passivity, a willingness to let what is mysterious or doubtful remain just that. His fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he suggests, would do well to break off from his relentless search for knowledge, and instead contemplate something beautiful and true (‘a fine verisimilitude’) caught, as if by accident, from the most secret part (‘Penetralium’) of mystery. The experience and intuitive appreciation of the beautiful is, indeed, central to poetic talent, and renders irrelevant anything that is arrived at through reason. Keats ends his brief discussion of negative capability by concluding that ‘with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration’.

via http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/john-keats-and-negative-capability

Choosing to Be Happy Doesn’t Work, so Here’s What to Do Instead

Medium, happiness, positivity, negativity, reality, psychology, positive thinking, New Thought, New Age

The reason strategies to avoid negativity fail is because the internal struggle to control our thoughts and emotions actually amplifies them, leading to what psychologists call “leakage” in which the banned thought resurfaces unexpectedly — like at a key meeting with your boss or in a discussion with your spouse. You’re trying not to be angry about something, willing yourself to get over it and put on a happy face, and suddenly it’s all you can think about and you unwittingly say the very thing that you didn’t want to say — and now you’ve got a major drama on your hands. The tendency to use these types of avoidance strategies is associated with lower well-being, poorer problem solving, and less satisfying interpersonal relationships.
To be clear, I’m not “anti-happiness” and I am not suggesting that we should wallow in our darkest thoughts. But happiness is not something that comes about through focusing on it as a daily choice or goal. Study after study has shown that it is only when we stop struggling with how we think we should feel, and instead engage with, accept and embrace our true thoughts and emotions with curiosity, courage and compassion, that real joy, growth and creativity emerge.

via https://medium.com/galleys/choosing-to-be-happy-doesnt-work-here-s-what-to-do-instead–9285cab49a57

Why don’t we trust the experts?

psychology, trust, experts, post-factual, metaknowledge, context

So here we have a partial answer to why experts aren’t trusted. They aren’t trusted by people who feel alienated from them. My reading of this study would be that it isn’t that we live in a ‘post-fact’ political climate. Rather it is that attempts to take facts out of their social context won’t work. For me and my friends it seems incomprehensible to ignore the facts, whether about the science of vaccination, or the law and economics of leaving the EU. But me and my friends do very well from the status quo - the Treasury, the Bar, the University work well for us. We know who these people are, we know how they work, and we trust them because we feel they are working for us, in some wider sense. People who voted Leave do suffer from a lack of trust, and my best guess is that this is a reflection of a belief that most authorities aren’t on their side, not because they necessarily reject their status as experts.

via http://www.tomstafford.staff.shef.ac.uk/?p=447

This Man Wants Magic to Be a Branch of Psychology

Gustav-Kuhn, Nautilus, magic, psychology, technique, performance, suggestion

In one of these studies, two of Kuhn’s colleagues at Goldsmiths, Krissy Wilson and Christopher C. French, investigated how encountering magic can influence beliefs about the nature of reality. They had an alleged psychic—really, a magician—bend a key in his hand by pretending to use telekinesis. His apparent power over the key was effected, of course, through sleight-of-hand. But for one group of spectating subjects, the psychic attempts something more daring: He places the key on a table and vocally claims that he’s still bending it from afar. Of course, the key did not continue to bend on the table. Still, 33 percent of the subjects who heard the psychic’s suggestion reported that the key did continue to bend, compared to none in the control group who did not hear the suggestion. This percentage of credulous spectators almost doubled when the psychic’s confederate, posing as a spectator, validated the psychic’s suggestion by falsely claiming to see the key bending.

via http://nautil.us/blog/this-man-wants-magic-to-be-a-branch-of-psychology

What Happened After Zappos Got Rid of Workplace Hierarchy

The Atlantic, holocracy, heirarchy, work, organisation, research, psychology

recent research seems to indicate that flattening workplace hierarchy is not only much more complicated than it seems, but that people prefer a pecking order. One Stanford study found that egalitarian work structures were disorienting. Workers found hierarchical companies were more predictable, and therefore preferable, because it was easy to figure out who did what and how compensation should be doled out. Another Stanford paper, which looked at why hierarchical structures in the workplace have such staying power, concluded perhaps the obvious: Hierarchies work. They are practical and psychologically comforting.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/zappos-holacracy-hierarchy/424173/

Uncovering The Secret History Of Myers-Briggs

digg, MBTI, psychology, history, personality, Myers-Briggs

Yet though her creation is everywhere, Myers and the details of her life’s work are curiously absent from the public record. Not a single independent biography is in print today. Not one article details how Myers, an award-winning mystery writer who possessed no formal training in psychology or sociology, concocted a test routinely deployed by 89 of the Fortune 100 companies, the US government, hundreds of universities, and online dating sites like Perfect Match, Project Evolove and Type Tango. And not one expert in the field of psychometric testing, a $500 million industry with over 2,500 different tests on offer in the US alone, can explain why Myers-Briggs has so thoroughly surpassed its competition, emerging as a household name on par with the Atkins Diet or The Secret.

https://digg.com/2015/myers-briggs-secret-history

“Compared with the accuracy of various human judges reported in the meta-analysis, computer models need 10, 70, 150, and 300…

psychology, personality, AI, social media, technology, judgement, personality assessment, Big 5, data driven decisions

“Compared with the accuracy of various human judges reported in the meta-analysis, computer models need 10, 70, 150, and 300 Likes, respectively, to outperform an average work colleague, cohabitant or friend, family member, and spouse (graypoints) […]

Automated, accurate, and cheap personality assessment tools could affect society in many ways: marketing messages could be tailored to users’ personalities; recruiters could better match candidates with jobs based on their personality; products and services could adjust their behavior to best match their users’ characters and changing moods; and scientists could collect personality data without burdening participants with lengthy questionnaires. Furthermore, in the future, people might abandon their own psychological judgments and rely on computers when making important life decisions, such as choosing activities, career paths, or even romantic partners. It is possible that such data-driven decisions will improve people’s lives”

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/4/1036.full.pdf

Evidence from some wrongful-conviction cases suggests that suspects can be questioned in ways that lead them to falsely believe…

crime, psychology, memory, false memory, conviction, story telling

Evidence from some wrongful-conviction cases suggests that suspects can be questioned in ways that lead them to falsely believe in and confess to committing crimes they didn’t actually commit. New research provides lab-based evidence for this phenomenon, showing that innocent adult participants can be convinced, over the course of a few hours, that they had perpetrated crimes as serious as assault with a weapon in their teenage years.

The research, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicates that the participants came to internalize the stories they were told, providing rich and detailed descriptions of events that never actually took place.

“Our findings show that false memories of committing crime with police contact can be surprisingly easy to generate, and can have all the same kinds of complex details as real memories,”

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/people-can-be-convinced-they-committed-a-crime-they-dont-remember.html

Migram’s Cyranoids

mind, personality, psychology, telepresence, identity, projection

“Since 1977 I have been conducting research on cyranoids,” Milgram said. He quickly explained: “Cyranoids are people who do not speak thoughts originating in their own central nervous system: Rather, the words that they speak originate in the mind of another person who transmits these words to the cyranoid by means of a radio transmitter.” The term was inspired by the French play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which a brilliant but ugly man woos his beloved through love letters signed with the name of a handsome nobleman.

http://www.wired.com/2014/09/cyranoid-experiment/

Why we love repetition in music

psychology, music, repetition, research, ritual, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Aeon

In 2008, the psychologists Pascal Boyer and Pierre Liénard at Washington University in St Louis went so far as to claim that ritual creates a distinct attentional state in which we consider actions on a much more basic level than usual […] Ritual shifts attention from the overall pattern of events toward their component gestures. Instead of noting only that a bowl is being cleaned, the witness to a ritual might notice the acceleration of the hand across the bowl’s edge during each wiping gesture, or the way the cloth bunches and then opens as it is dragged forward and back across the surface. What’s more, the repetition of gestures makes it harder and harder to resist imaginatively modelling them, feeling how it might be to move your own hand in the same way. This is precisely the way that repetition in music works to make the nuanced, expressive elements of the sound increasingly available, and to make a participatory tendency – a tendency to move or sing along – more irresistible.

http://aeon.co/magazine/culture/why-we-love-repetition-in-music/

What does the Facebook experiment teach us?

danah boyd, facebook, research, ethics, IRB, peer review, psychology, sentiment manipulation, algori

For better or worse, people imagine Facebook is run by a benevolent dictator, that the site is there to enable people to better connect with others. In some senses, this is true. But Facebook is also a company […] it designs its algorithms not just to market to you directly but to convince you to keep coming back over and over again. People have an abstract notion of how that operates, but they don’t really know, or even want to know. They just want the hot dog to taste good. Whether it’s couched as research or operations, people don’t want to think they’re being manipulated. So when they find out what soylent green is made of, they’re outraged. This study isn’t really what’s at stake. What’s at stake is the underlying dynamic of how Facebook runs its business, operates its system, and makes decisions that have nothing to do with how its users want Facebook to operate. It’s not about research. It’s a question of power.

https://medium.com/message/what-does-the-facebook-experiment-teach-us-c858c08e287f

Creativity is rejected

creativity, psychology, cognitive bias, uncertainty

Even people who say they are looking for creativity react negatively to creative ideas, as demonstrated in a 2011 study from the University of Pennsylvania. Uncertainty is an inherent part of new ideas, and it’s also something that most people would do almost anything to avoid. People’s partiality toward certainty biases them against creative ideas and can interfere with their ability to even recognize creative ideas.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/12/creativity_is_rejected_teachers_and_bosses_don_t_value_out_of_the_box_thinking.html

Happyism

reductionism, pleasure, religion, GNH, economics, mccloskey, psychology, happiness

Then, in the eighteenth century, our earthly happiness became important to us, in high intellectual fashion. By 1776, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was an unoriginal formulation of what we all, of course, now admitted that we chiefly wanted. John Locke had taught, in 1677, that “the business of men [is] to be happy in this world by the enjoyment of the things of nature subservient to life, health, ease, and pleasure”—though he added piously, “and by the comfortable [that is, comforting] hopes of another life when this is ended.” By 1738, the Comte de Mirabeau wrote to a friend, recommending simply, “[W]hat should be our only goal: happiness.”

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/103952/happyism-deirdre-mccloskey-economics-happiness