Archive for the Psychology Category

Quit the Multitasking!

Posted in Deep And Profound Brain Things, Psychology, Technology on January 28, 2008 by weirleader

I try not to simply post articles here, but felt this one worth it. Daniyel recommended it to me, and though I didn’t quite read the entire thing (I skimmed at parts, being on a very short lunch break) I can assure you that I attended to every word I did read with no other distractions. 🙂

Quirkology and lying

Posted in Psychology, Science on May 15, 2007 by weirleader

So I’m randomly visiting The Situationist again – I needed to relax and do some reading for enjoyment – and I stumbled across some info on the site quirkology.com.  You should check it out.  In fact, it appears to be quite popular on YouTube.  If you get a chance to view the color changing card trick, please do.  I found it pretty interesting… though I’m not sure what insight it is supposed to grant us.

The second thing I looked into got me more curious, though it gives no feedback (at least, as of yet).  It’s a lie-detection video experiment and I’m very curious as to why I made the decision I did.  Does it have to do with my own personal taste?  Or did I really see something in his delivery that gave me a clue?  This is especially interesting since I’m still in the middle of Social Intelligence, which discusses at length how we read faces to make decisions on someone’s inner thoughts and/or intentions.   I’d be curious if you guys give it a try and share your feedback.

There’s lots more to see, but I wanted to get my thoughts down while they were fresh.

Memetic Viruses

Posted in Meanderings, Psychology, Science on May 9, 2007 by weirleader

Currently reading (i.e., listening) to Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and just came across some really interesting concepts on the ride home today.

Firstly, he talks about how emotions can be contagious and the mechanism by which we can “infect” those around us.  It’s fascinating how the brain picks up on and even duplicates incredibly subtle, subconscious cues.  (It suddenly strikes me that the way a yawn is catchy probably has something to do with this)  And I was reminded of a fun book I read quite a while back by Neal Stephenson, entitled Snow Crash.  It’s so hard to sum up what makes the book so fun in just a few words, but the part that I’m reminded of is that a large part of the premise has to do with contagious memes, analagous to a computer virus, that run rampant.  There’s, of course, much more to it – and it’s hilariously creative.  I really enjoy Stephenson… in fact, if you haven’t read it yet, I’d strongly recommend Cryptonomicon, by him as well… (I liked it better than Snow Crash)

Secondly, Goleman is mentioning how when we are in tune with someone, mentally, we subconsciously mimic their actions and when a pair of individuals are having a moment of rapport it can be apparent to those watching.  And yet, when you consciously attempt to recall the same behavior and try to mimic someone’s behavior without that rapport, it feels forced and actually increases tension.  That, of course, is pretty obvious to most folks… who every likes to see someone copying them?  Even kids get irritated with it (though they frequently take it to the extreme).  But back to my point – I was reminded of a scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray falls for Andy MacDowell and they have a wonderful evening together, only to have it all go away the next day.  And then…. he spends the next several (or, I don’t know, hundreds???) of days trying to recreate that moment of rapport, only failing – because you can’t create it consciously, it only manifests when you really are in-tune with that other person.  You can’t force it.

Love that movie!  Could watch it again and again! (yep, I know)  😉

All this rapport and shared behavior also apparently influences spouses to a high degree – no surprise there.  But what was interesting was the connection between triggering muscle movements and the firing of neurons in the brain and the parallelism of thought patterns.  So this is an underlying cause of that statement you both make at the same time, or when one person thinks of the camera and the other stops mid-stride and turns around to go get it.  I absolutely love those moments – especially when they are completely random and off-topic to whatever we’ve been discussing.  🙂

Anyhow, very cool book.  I highly recommend it already, even though I’ve barely started it.  (Incidentally, I decided to read it after finishing Blink by Gladwell)

Well, back to work… adios for now!