Posts Tagged "Psychology"

What psychopaths can teach us about problem solving


Anthropologist James Rilling of Emory University and his co-workers scanned the brains of those scoring high in psychopathy after these individuals experienced having their own attempts to cooperate unreciprocated. The scientists discovered that, compared with “nicer,” more equitable participants, the psychopaths exhibited significantly reduced activity in the brain’s emotion hub, the amygdala. This diminished activity, suggestive of a muted emotional reaction, could be considered a neural trademark of “turning the other cheek,” a response that can sometimes manifest itself in rather unusual ways.

This vintage stunt from a 1962 episode of Candid Camera makes for a good laugh. But it also captures something important about human psychology — something that social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, famous for hisStanford Prison Experiment, describes on a website related to his 2007 book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. He writes:

One of the most popular scenarios in the long history of Alan Funt’s ingenious Candid Camera programs is “Face The Rear.” An elevator is rigged so that after an unsuspecting person enters, four Candid Camera staff enter, and one by one they all face the rear. The doors close and then reopen; now revealing that the passenger had conformed and is now also facing the rear. Doors close and reopen, and everyone is facing sideways, and then face the other way. We laugh that these people are manipulated like puppets on invisible strings, but this scenario makes us aware of the number of situations in which we mindlessly follow the dictates of group norms and situational forces.

Open Culture

Why poor people support tax breaks for the rich? →

Why do lower middle-class and working class Americans support tax breaks for the rich? New research suggests it might not be about aspirations—i.e., “Maybe I could be rich someday.” Instead, says the Economist, people are more concerned with how social programs and wealth distribution might help people worse off than them become better off than them.

In other words: Nobody wants to be on the bottom and national economics looks a lot like a junior high locker room.

(via truejerseygirl)

Psychology Today Pulls Offensive Article on Black Women from Website - FishbowlNY →

Every now and then comes along an article so shockingly appalling that the only explanation is that all the editors at the publication have been taken hostage. This one might be the best example yet: on May 15th, Psychology Today posted an article by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa called “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”

(For more see above link)