Psychology News Round-Up (May 2nd)
By Dave Nussbaum
- Liz Dunn and Mike Norton, who recently wrote Happy Money, take to the pages of the New York Times to discuss new research by Juliana Schroeder (a recent SPSP blog contributor) and Nick Epley about how, contrary to people’s expectations, chatting with strangers can make their commute more pleasant:
Individuals and governments pour money into making commutes slightly more bearable by investing in everything from noise-canceling headphones to more spacious seating. But what if the research showed that we would improve our commutes more by investing in social capital — interacting with the strangers sitting all around us? The great thing about strangers is that we tend to put on our happy face when we meet them, reserving our crankier side for the people we know and love.
- In the Atlantic Monthly, Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) explains the psychology behind why men are often reluctant to stand up for women, pointing to Rebecca Ratner and Dale Miller’s research on standing:
Research reveals that when women take the same actions to advocate for women, people respond less negatively. “These findings point to a novel account of people’s reluctance to act on behalf of causes for which they have sympathy,” Ratner and Miller explained. “Without a stake in a cause, people … perceive that it is not their place to act.”
- Speaking of Adam Grant, Marjorie Rhodes (@Marjorie_Rhodes) adds a caveat to his piece last week about raising moral children, explaining that:
Praising character can lead children to view the world as made up of kind people and unkind people. A more useful way to view the world may be to believe that there are kind things and unkind things, and that people can increase their moral goodness by striving to do as many kind things as they can.
- Tom Stafford (@tomstafford) weighs a lot of psychological evidence on whether you can use rational arguments to change people’s minds. Here’s his conclusion, are you convinced?
Are we a rational animal, or as Robert Heinlein said, merely a rationalising one? Sure, there’s no shortage of evidence that our intuitions, emotions, prejudices and motivations can push reason around. Good luck to you if you want to use only argument to persuade – unless you’ve got people who already like you or trust you (ideally both) you’re going to have a hard time, but amidst the storm and shouting of psychological factors, reason has a quiet power. People do change each other’s minds, and if you can demonstrate the truth of your point of view, or help someone come to realise the short-comings of theirs, maybe you can shift them along. But beware Singer’s warning – logic has its own dynamic. If you open yourself to sincerely engage in argument then it is as likely that your interlocutor will persuade you as the other way around, after all, none of us has sole claim on what it means to be rational.
- Finally, Sam Sommers (@samsommers) shares this great clip of “the psychology behind the booing sports fan in one simple video clip”
Denouncing Donald Sterling is easy. Tackling the real racism problem in America is much harder: http://t.co/fjP0JxtOHV— Matt! (@mattyglesias) April 30, 2014
Are we living in psychology's Reformation? http://t.co/ohzCAGmgCP Who gets to be Pope? Luther? Calvin?— Mark Brandt (@mjbsp) April 28, 2014
On privilege, luck, and how tiny random advantages can build into big success. http://t.co/iYRKHpwuDl— Ed Yong (@edyong209) April 29, 2014
What stereotype threat is, and how it might influence your students' performance: http://t.co/oJrZ0l5MV1— Meghan Duffy (@duffy_ma) April 28, 2014
Free will without metaphysics | Meaning Making | the InMind blog | In-Mind http://t.co/BCF65K7aB8— hansijzerman (@hansijzerman) April 29, 2014
Want to curb food cravings? Train yourself to avoid temptation: http://t.co/gAma2fOIZT— Sian Beilock (@sianbeilock) April 30, 2014
In Defense of Marshmallows http://t.co/sXNu0v6Oys— Talk Psych (@myersdewall) April 29, 2014
Why paper beats laptops when it comes to taking notes http://t.co/qTtQbWN9GN— john kenny (@johnxkenny) May 2, 2014
My blog highlighting a few specific talks & some broader themes from first meeting of Society for Affective Science http://t.co/ygvilyfPT0— Sarah Rose Cavanagh (@SaRoseCav) April 27, 2014
The problems with praising character: Marjorie Rhodes challenges @AdamMGrant NYT article on raising a #moral child |http://t.co/D9xScuHJ5J — Jay Van Bavel (@jayvanbavel) April 29, 2014
How the Mind Works: 10 Fascinating TED Talks http://t.co/aQzUqD7EJ8— Kelly Peters (@KellyBEworks) April 26, 2014
If you'd like your social and personality psychology-related tweets shared in the SPSP blog weekly round-up just add the hashtag #SPSPblog— Dave Nussbaum (@davenuss79) April 24, 2014