Tag Archive: social psychology

Nov 06

The Secret Costs of Keeping Secrets


My first post for Nautilus’ blog, Facts so Romantic, is on new research by Clayton Critcher and Melissa Ferguson, about the costs of keeping secrets. The research, inspired by the now repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy in the U.S. military, suggests that keeping your identity secret can impair your cognitive abilities, your self-control, and even your physical strength.

Jun 12

Pay Now Consume Later

This is a re-post of my article from earlier today on my new blog at Big Think. As of this morning Random Assignment has a new home-away-from-home which you can visit here, but I’ll continue to post here as well. This is the second in a series of Psychology of Nothing posts that explore the social psychology of Seinfeld, so if you’re a Seinfeld fan be on the lookout for more where this came from, and I’m always open to ideas and suggestions. You can see the first Psychology of Nothing post, Phantom Symptoms, here.

May 21

Narrative Transportation

By Chordboard (Self, from material in my possession.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a draft of an article I submitted to Nautilus Magazine, a “new magazine on science, culture, and philosophy,” for their issue entitled In Transit. Nautilus already had plans to cover the topic of my story, narrative transportation, so they politely declined my submission, which I share here with you. Their magazine is off to a great start, I encourage you to check it out.

May 03

Paul Rozin on Music, Food, and Sex

I’m not sure how it’s possible that until yesterday I had never seen Paul Rozin speak. However it happened, I corrected a huge mistake by going to see him give an invited address at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago titled, The Aesthetics and Pleasures of Temporal Sequences. The talk spanned far more than that topic, but as Rozin’s research predicts, it was made extremely memorable by ending with a bang.

Dec 20

The Science of Gifts


Is it possible to get gifts down to a science? With gift giving season upon us, there has been a flood of advice for consumers on how to navigate their purchases scientifically. I even got in on the action myself, writing a piece for the Chicago Booth website on some new research by Yan Zhang and Nick Epley about when people appreciate a gift’s thoughtfulness. Reviewing the research – and the journalism – got me thinking about the strengths and the limitations of bringing a scientific approach to exchanging presents. There is a lot to be said for studying gift giving, as long as we remain mindful of its limitations.

Dec 11

It’s the Thought that Counts (sometimes)


My first post for the Chicago Booth website has just gone up and I wanted to share the link — it’s called Using Behavioral Science To Pick The Perfect Holiday Gift. It’s on research by Yan Zhang and Nick Epley on when thoughtful gifts are appreciated. In writing the post I found several recent articles and guides on …

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Nov 28

Choosing Poorly

One of the obstacles that keeps the poor from rising out of poverty is the tendency to make costly financial decisions – like buying lottery tickets, taking out high interest loans, and failing to enroll in assistance programs – that only make their situation worse. In the past, these poor decisions have been attributed either to low income individuals’ personalities or issues in their environment, such as poor education or substandard living conditions. New research published this month in Science by Booth Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science Anuj Shah points to a new answer: living with scarcity changes people’s psychology.

Jul 20

Just My Luck (or is it?)

Most people agree that success requires hard work and good fortune. Recent research suggests that people’s politics can be swayed depending on which of these ingredients they focus on when thinking about their own success. Thinking about the role of hard work in your success makes you more likely to support more conservative social policies, while thinking about the role of luck and the help of others makes you more likely to support liberal ones.

Jul 16

Psychology is Science

Some guy thinks psychology is not really a science. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Jul 13

The Public Benefits of Social Psychology

Two recent editorials by Dick Thaler and Tim Wilson make a strong case for the public benefits of social psychology.

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