7 psychology researches that changed our thinking of what it is to be human.

by Komal Sharma, freelance contributor 

 

This article is a digest for everyone who thinks psychology is common sense and for wiser others too.

Today you will read about intriguing psychological studies (scientifically proven) showing our default mode of being which is interwoven thickly in our system. You will find most of them, if not all, resonate with your experiences and will also give meaning to them.

 

1) Forgetting is intelligent :

 

Our brain actively works to gather  and store information from our immediate surrounding beyond our awareness too, but it also functions to discard information to optimize decision-making. According to recent research at University of Toronto, forgetting helps us eradicate outdated information and helps in making better decisions in given circumstances by understanding bigger picture over specific details. This concept is called ‘regularization’ in Artificial Intelligence for building computer models. Now you can quote this research when you forget some General Trivia Question next time!

 

2) Warmth over competency: 

 

If you are one of those who worry to perfect your first impression by trying very hard not to do anything stupid? You can do something much simpler. Harvard research finds that 80% of our judgments about people come down to warmth and competence. And given in any situation your skills do not complement, the more important quality to focus on is warmth. To put it candidly, we all, all of us, will prefer a company of lovable moron over a competent jerk most of the time.

 

3) False Consensus:

 

Do you think most people have same belief and faith system as yours? To your (mis)fortune, I am going to prick your bubble! According to a 1977 – Stanford University psychology experiment showed that we can incorrectly infer that others think the same way they do, or form a “false consensus” about the beliefs and preferences of others. So the next time your girlfriend does not like your favorite food, cut her some slack!

 

4) Cognitive Dissonance:

 

Mount Everest is ‘not’ the tallest mountain. It is Mauna Kea if we measure area underwater! Did you feel little uncomfortable with this information? There will be a tacit shift how you see another tall mountain now. This concept of cognitive dissonance was studied by Leon Festinger, he addresses to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This conflict produces an innate sense of unsettlement and discomfort. It requires a change in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to mitigate or eliminate the discomfort and restore balance.

 

5) Bad Habits or choices?

 

You do not actively think for 50% of your day, as you have learnt it by repetitively doing it. Basketball coaches emphasize on learning the right arm-action to hoop a ball through net otherwise it will become a natural way of shooting impacting your overall game. A Duke study shows a full 40% of your daily choices aren’t choices — they’re habits. So if your habits are not building you, you’re simply a machine functioning around screwing your life up. You need to understand how bad habits work, how to snap out of the loop, and how to ‘replace’ it with better habits.

 
6) Halo Effect:

 

Do you think attractive people have it easy? Well, we let them have it easy by associating goodness with them. It is a University of Michigan study where The Halo Effect states that people generally assume that people who are physically attractive are more likely to be intelligent, friendly, and display good judgment. Halo Effect impacts personal logic, judgment, inferences and then produces more complex social behaviors (which we can talk about the next time).

 

7) Emotional Intelligence:

 

Were your exams screwed due to emotional turbulence during that phase? Yes, that’s most of us. Emotional intelligence often matters more than cognitive intelligence when it comes to acing in life. It is just not about your academic aptitude which will lead you to success; ability to channelize your emotions to work in your favor is far more a rare and important competency that contributes to your growth in personal and professional domains.

 

-If these were not enough for your psychological appetite, then use Boredom to your benefit – Research suggests that you will do a good job when you pursue creative tasks when bored. Is that a hack to your boredom?

 

Komal is a post-graduate in Psychology, an alumnus of Delhi University, with a number of academic research papers published. Her core interests lie in psychoanalysis, social psychology and understanding gender roles. She values the importance of an overall emphasis on the holistic fitness of mind and body. In her alternate world, she reads for profession and her passion. She is young, intense and aware of the gravity of the work she does.
Mail: komal7722@gmail.com

 

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7 recent mind bending technologies that are altering what it means to be human

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, Staff Writer

  1. DNA editing

A new technology called CRISPR lets geneticists edit the human or any other organism’s DNA (chemical which carries code for how we will turn out to be physically and mentally). Think of it as a genetic scissor. Its applications are endless, ranging from disease resistance crops to designer babies, yes, you heard it right, designer human babies.

 

  1. Artificial Olfaction

Research in the area of e-sensing or artificial replication of the human sense organs has been on for quite a few decades. E-nose a device that can detect odours and flavours is already used in some industries (for eg for quality control in the food industry) and is now being developed for medical applications. Ground-breaking.

 

  1. Super Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has been around for quite some time but did we ever think that it would get real to the point that it would outclass our actual existing reality. For an article in TechCrunch the writer experimented between standing at the edge of a tower in the VR Minecraft game and compared it to standing on the edge of an actual mountain in Norway. He reported greater feelings of dizziness and vertigo in the Virtual Reality game. Let that sink in.

 

  1. Emotional Surveillance

In China an “emotional surveillance” system is allowing supervisors to scrutinize employees’ brainwaves for signs of distress. Lightweight sensors embedded in workers’ hats or helmets wirelessly transmit the wearer’s brainwave data to a computer. Then, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms scan the data, looking for outliers that could indicate anxiety or rage. Wow.

 

  1. Digital Afterlife

This might sound right out a Black Mirror episode, but this is true. According to tech website futurism.com, a digital afterlife industry has cropped up, which can include online memorial services or even re-creation algorithms that attempt to write messages and posts in the dead person’s voice. Feel weirded out yet?

  1. Artificial Imagination

And you though artificial olfaction was weird. AI (Artificial Intelligence), till now was very good at identifying things, but not very good at creating things. Creation requires imagination. The solution came to a PhD student, Ian Goodfellow during an academic argument with his friend at a bar. As a result of that eureka moment, now two AI systems can spar with each other to create ultra-realistic original images or sounds, something machines have never been able to do before. Effectively creating non-human, artificial imagination. I need to start having better conversations while having a cold one.

 

  1. Iron Man Suit

British inventor Richard Browning recently set a Guinness World Record for flying a body-controlled jet-engine-powered suit that he built in his garage, over a lake in Reading, England, reaching a speed of 32.02 miles per hour. It is propelled by 6 micro gas turbines mounted on the arms and back. Iron man suit is here. I repeat. Iron man suit is here. Search him on YouTube to watch the super smooth video of Richard Browning, flying.

 

 

 

7 ways in which we delude ourselves

 

by Ridhi Murari, Freelance Contributor

 

Resistance stems from a deep and intense struggle between wanting to change and wanting to hold on to our habitual patterns of reacting, emoting and behaving; more often than not in a desperate attempt in protecting ourselves from facing our demons. When we actually confront a problem which is seen by us as unmanageable or difficult we fall into a pattern of deluding ourselves; here are 7 ways in which we do that:

 

 

  1. Publishing Odd Future GIF-downsized_largeREPRESSION When we forget things we find unpleasant, it is called repression. We all have incidents that shake our core from within, hitting us with the impact of a physical blow. This is where repression comes in. The thoughts that flow through our minds in this stage are typically, “Oh, I’m so mad at her that I can actually pick up a matchstick and burn her in hell, oh God, how did I become so violent? Let me not think of her this way. “

 

 

 

  1. sad love and hip hop GIF by VH1-downsized_large            SUPPRESSION- When one is aware that a particular feeling, thought, or want has made way into ones consciousness and yet they make a deliberate effort to not dwell on it―one, by not thinking about it (internally) and two, by not acting on it (externally). for eg a wife may be peeved about her husband’s behavior but because of some guests around her, she may control her reaction at that time. But one should also be aware of the possibility that these impulses and thoughts might make way again, and that they will need to be dealt with at the time that they do.

 

              

 

               

  1. world series no GIF by Brett Eldredge-downsized_large           DEPRIVATION- He has it and I don’t and the endless discourses on how the world is an unfair place to live in which follow; such comparison is inevitable, someone has the intangibles we want. This deprived state leads to complaining, resenting, and dwelling in a spiral of negativity and eventually, being exhausted by the process, seeking refuge in a sea of optimism through any means possible. PS- Beware of over-enthusiastic people, it’s often a reversal of the deprived state that makes them overjoyed.

 

 

 

  1. Brendan Fraser What GIF-downsized_large                   AMBIGUITY INTOLERANCE- “But you have to tell me what do I do next?” “If I knew what to do why would I come to you?”; to avoid those uncomfortable situations of awareness, reflection and introspection, we would do anything in the world for another being to dictate the steps of our life so I can later blame them for all of it. The degree to which an individual is comfortable with uncertainty, unpredictability, conflicting directions, and multiple demands. In essence, tolerance for ambiguity is manifest in a person’s ability to operate effectively in an uncertain environment.

 

                                                                                                                                                                              

  1. like GIF-downsized_large                                         INERTIA- “Okay, let’s do one thing since I’ve tried everything from my end, there is nothing more I can do so let it be. This is my fate and destiny, so what’s the point?”. This is the world of the inertia, of people who have given up and entered the realm of learned helplessness. The psychological meaning of the word “inertia” implies an indisposition to change – a certain “stuckness” due to human programming. It represents the inevitability of behaving in a certain way, to the extent that it may have been indelibly inscribed somewhere in the brain.
  2. routine GIF-downsized_largeROUTINE SEEKING- There are, among us, people who need to know what to do at each step. Bound by routine, they are beings who hate stepping out of their comfort zones. Change is uncomfortable for most of us, even if this resistance does not manifest itself in the form of an incessant need to stick to a staunch routine. Not that all routines are bad. We need routines, but the question is: who is the master? us or the routine.

 

 

 

7. hd GIF-downsized_largeENTITLEMENT– We all want things. But some people feel they are entitled to whatever it is they want, and they feel they deserve it all now. That can make for very difficult relationships, a lot of disappointment, and never receiving what is most important in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life

 

Kritika Joshi, Freelance Contributor

Stay positive, all other choices are pointless punishments to your psyche”  – Joe Peterson

The “positive psychology” field has been around for decades, but only in the recent years, thanks to some notable researches have we been able to recognize its profound impact on society. Fortunately, many of these studies point to specific ways of thinking and acting that can strongly impact our sense of happiness and peace of mind.

So here are 10 Positive Psychology concepts that’ll give you a different perspective on life.

  1. ENVIRONMENTAL MASTERY

 

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It is the degree to which you feel competent to meet the demands of your situation. It is the sense that we have an influence on the events in our lives. We can say it is the sense that we are capable of acting on our own behalf. In simple terms, environmental mastery is the ability to create environment suitable to satisfy one’s own psychological needs.

  1. FLOURISHING

 

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The ability to flourish is defined as the ability for a person to grow as a human being through good times and through life struggles. Flourishing is the product of pursuit and engagement of an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness. It is a state where people experience positive emotions, positive psychological functioning and positive social functioning most of the time.

 

  1. LEARNED OPTIMISM

 

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Coined by the famous positive psychologist Seligman, It is a mechanism where people systematically remove depressive thoughts by concentrating on the positive. Optimists have a belief that they have control over situations and because of this, the opportunity to influence the result they are highly motivated to achieve. It can be summed up as a pattern of persisting in the face of difficulty.

 

  1. FLOW

 

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The idea of flow is that “a person can make himself happy, or miserable, regardless of what is actually happening ‘outside’, just by changing the contents of consciousness. Happiness is about changing the contents of our consciousness and the way to do this is by putting ourselves in the state of optimal experience called flow. Flow is that state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

 

  1. UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD

 

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The concept of unconditional positive regard requires a person to suspend any form of personal judgement and accepts other human beings, regardless of the content of any disclosure they may have made or any behavior they may have displayed. It can help create better relationships with your spouse, friends, relatives and even strangers.

 

  1. CONGRUENCE

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Congruence is when the inner beliefs and concepts of a person match his experience of the external world. According to Carl Rogers, personality is like a triangle made up of ideal self, real self and perceived self. When there is a good fit between these three the person has congruence.

 

  1. CONDITIONS OF WORTH

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Conditions of Worth are the conditions we think we must meet in order for other people to accept us as worthy of their love or positive regard. Children raised in an environment of unconditional positive regard have the opportunity to fully actualize themselves. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard feel worthy only if they match conditions that have been laid down for them by others

 

  1. EUDAIMONIC WELL BEING

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Eudaimonic well being refers to effectiveness of an individual’s psychological functioning that helps them to realize their true potential. True happiness is found in expression of goodness. Eudaimonic  view of well being conceptualizes well being in terms of cultivation of personal strengths or acting in accordance with one’s inner nature and deeply held values.

 

  1. GOAL ORIENTATION

 

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It refers to the goals individuals implicitly pursue while attaining performance outcomes. It can be differentiated into two types – mastery and performance goals. Mastery goals involve learning and developing mastery as one approaches tasks. Performance goals involve approaching tasks with a focus on performance relative to others.

 

  1. TRANSCEDENCE

 

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It means ‘going beyond’ a prior state. It involves connection to something or someone larger than oneself, a theme that unites the character associated with it. In positive psychology, the virtue of transcendence is associated with the strengths of meaning that connects you with the larger world and helps you make sense of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 psychology terms that’ll help you make sense of the world

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, Staff Writer

1. Availability Heuristic

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It states that we tend to base our evaluations, judgments and perceptions of the world around us on the basis of the information that is easily available to us which means that more often than not, our conclusions are based on incomplete, or in some cases, irrelevant information just because it happened to be in front of us.

2. Mere-Exposure Effect

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It is a psychological principle which states that people tend to rate things, people or places positively when they are familiar with them, often disregarding actual qualities or drawbacks for familiarity. This is interesting because it has no basis in logic. In studies of interpersonal attraction, the more often a person is seen by someone, the more pleasing and likable that person appears to be.

3. Social Loafing

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In social psychology, social loafing is the phenomenon of a person exerting less effort to achieve a goal when they work in a group than when they work alone. This is seen as one of the main reasons groups are sometimes less productive than the combined performance of their members working as individuals.

4. Learned Helplessness

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It is a phenomena wherein repeated negative experiences of individuals lead to implanting of pervasive and enduring negative beliefs regarding their abilities within them. Research also shows that a single positive experience has the power of arresting this downward spiral.

5. Spiral of Silence

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This theory that draws from political science says that individuals have a fear of isolation, which results from the idea that a social group or the society in general might isolate, neglect, or exclude them due to their opinions. This fear of isolation consequently leads to remaining silent instead of voicing opinions.

6. Pluralistic Ignorance

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Pluralistic ignorance occurs where the majority of individuals in a group assume that most of the others are different in some way, whilst the truth is that they are more similar than they realize. They thus will conform with supposed beliefs of other individuals and the supposed beliefs will become the group norm rather than actual beliefs of that group.

7. Cognitive Dissonance

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Discomfort or tension that arises from holding two or more psychologically incompatible thoughts at the same time. Research posits that people are motivated to avoid or minimize cognitive dissonance whenever possible.

8. Conformation Bias

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A tendency to search for and weigh information that confirms one’s preconceptions more strongly than information that challenges them.

9. Counterfactual Thinking

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Imagining alternative scenarios and outcomes that might have happened, but didn’t.

10. Deindividuation

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A loss of self-awareness that occurs when people are not seen or paid attention to as individuals (for example, when they become absorbed in a role that reduces their sense of individuality or accountability, or when they become part of a crowd or a mob).

 

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