For questions about the empirical and theoretical study of how perception, feelings, behavior, and cognition are affected by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. Questions are addressed both from the individual perspective (American school) and group perspective (European school).

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64
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5answers
10k views

Why do humans have sex in private?

Human couples usually have sex in private, hidden not only from predators, but also - other humans. It is unlike behavior of most species, including our relatives: bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas. ...
42
votes
3answers
3k views

What makes people easily subscribe to pseudoscientific theories?

There are many theories/disciplines that have been categorized as pseudoscience in the scientific community. The list includes many things that are regularly even quoted in media like graphology, ...
31
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the Myer Briggs Type indicator (MBTI) a reasonable scientific theory?

Background: MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It's a theory that suggests that people can be divided into 16 types, based on the way they percieve and analyse information (whether they make ...
24
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the psychology behind trolling?

For those new to the internet, trolling is an activity where one person intentionally tries to upset other members of the same community, presumably for entertainment. This has been informally ...
22
votes
2answers
495 views

Is there a causal connection between repressive sexual morality and antisocial behavior?

Wilhelm Reich believed that certain forms of deviant behavior result mostly or in part from the repressive sexual morality of a society (Reich, 1930). Reich believes that the majority of antisocial ...
20
votes
1answer
411 views

Evolutionary game theory in the cognitive sciences

Game theory models something very relevant to psychologists (in particular social psychologists): conflict and cooperation between decision-makers. Unfortunately, classical game theory demands that ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

Intelligence and marriage satisfaction

A recent letter by a Princeton alumni stated: Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of ...
17
votes
3answers
957 views

What is the term for human beings' tendency to obey without thinking?

I'm wanting to read more about a certain human behavior, but I am not sure what the proper term for it is, so some of the things I am finding aren't what I am looking for. I'm interested in how Humans ...
15
votes
5answers
25k views

Why do people laugh in serious situations?

I've seen people (including myself) that laugh for no apparent reason in really serious situations, such as in an argument or when receiving bad news. Although the other party is clearly very upset, ...
15
votes
8answers
1k views

Can we change our personalities?

In psychology, a difference is made between personality attributes as a state or as a trait. For example, a usually outgoing and sociable person might find himself uncommonly shy in the presence of a ...
15
votes
5answers
675 views

Why is storytelling an effective way to transmit information between people?

Parables, fables, myths, whatever you might call them, stories have always been part of human consciousness. Within recent decades, storytelling is recognized as a big component of advertising and ...
13
votes
4answers
560 views

Do people have a tendency to stick to one opinion after they formed it?

Scytale's assessment, from the science fiction novel "Dune Messiah" (1969) When a creature has developed into one thing, he will choose death rather than change into his opposite. While ...
13
votes
4answers
323 views

Does straightening your back increase confidence?

Background: I have always felt moderately socially insecure. Today I noticed that when I straighten my back from its normal crestfallen position, I feel a little more confident, and as if I were in ...
11
votes
3answers
332 views

Why do people avoid taking the last “donut”?

In many contexts (family, colleagues, etc), say there is a box of donuts for people to take (or any kind of treat or snack). A lot of the times we can observe that there will be only one left and ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do people talk fast in presentations when nervous?

I was at a professional development seminar today, and the presenter, while being interesting and knowing his subject admitted to being nervous and was speaking very fast. I know I do this when I am ...
11
votes
1answer
219 views

At what point does a complex become pathological?

I've a first question so I apologize if the format is completely awry. I'm reading Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature and I came across this passage by Edward C. ...
11
votes
2answers
233 views

Are introverts more talkative in written form than extroverts?

We all know that extroverts are in general more talkative than introverts in oral form. But how about written communication? After having talked with lots of people on the internet and met several of ...
11
votes
1answer
700 views

Why do humans like being touched?

I wonder why people like to be touched so much, why would it make sense from a evolutionary perspective. I know people enjoy hugs and company of opposite sex but even people from the same sex hug and ...
11
votes
1answer
163 views

Food sharing and mutual aid among the homeless

Since the time of Peter Kropotkin, it's been observed and theorized that cooperation and mutual aid are more common in austere environments. A classic biological example would be slime mold ...
10
votes
3answers
239 views

Are older people more likely to be politically conservative and why?

J.Campbell suggest that the difference between age groups on being politically conservative is small. But F.Glamsers article concludes: there was a significant positive correlation between age ...
10
votes
4answers
50 views

What are the key algorithms for learning optimal behavior of economic agents?

I'm playing around with social learning of near-optimal behavioral rules on a set of agents. The idea is roughly that given an income process (or technology process, depending on the question) an ...
10
votes
3answers
633 views

Is there a cognitive bias for ascribing agency to inanimate objects?

I am curious to know if any research might have been done on this topic or if it is any way even described in scientific literature. It's not uncommon for people to ascribe agency to inanimate ...
10
votes
1answer
202 views

Do people who lose their faith tend to replace it with other non-evidence-based reasoning?

I was watching this talk by Phil Plait given at TAM(The Amazing Meeting) 8. You can find a partial transcript here. It will help provide some context. In the talk he makes the following claim: ...
10
votes
2answers
226 views

What is the bias/thought process that results in distrust of “formal” knowledge in favor of “folk” knowledge?

An interesting effect I've noticed is that certain groups of people seem to accept "folk knowledge" and value it over significantly better founded "formal" or scientific knowledge. In particular this ...
10
votes
2answers
154 views

Measuring the adoption of norms

I'm trying to make a survey and I'm having trouble to find a scale to measure the adoption of norms. The people who fill in the survey have to think about a situation in which they were ashamed. For ...
10
votes
1answer
192 views

What is the effect of Social Proof on Conversion Rate?

I'm wondering to what extent Social Proof helps the Conversion Rate of websites and marketing. Specifically I'm wondering what effect Social Proof would have on Conversion Rate for a sample task in ...
10
votes
1answer
435 views

What types of sounds do young infants prefer?

I've learned through course lectures that infants can recognize faces shortly after birth (Slater & Quinn, 2001), and have a visual preference for human features as young as 1-month-old (Sanefuji ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How can we scientifically measure love?

I want to understand the psychology of love, and I found the Triangular Theory of Love on Wikipedia from this question, which I think is very believable. However, there is a big section on mixed ...
9
votes
3answers
416 views

Why do teenagers take the internet and cyberbullying so seriously?

Background: I saw this post on the daily Mirror: A girl committed suicide because some users bullied her on ask.fm. I signed up to see what that site is, and it was some Q&A site. So she committed ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the psychology behind male pornographic actors having larger than average penises?

There is a question What does scientific research say about the relationship between penis size and attractiveness? This answer and this link give the statistics of penis size. Given these ...
9
votes
1answer
342 views

Are there sex differences in inter-rater consistency of attractiveness ratings of opposite-sex faces?

Is there any research that assesses whether males or females judge faces of the opposite sex with a greater internal consistency? That is, is the standard deviation of attraction ratings for a ...
9
votes
2answers
188 views

Does self-rated performance predict objective performance over and above other-rated performance?

Context: I was at a talk today where data was presented where a group of sports people ranked their own performance and everyone else in the group. This enabled self-rated performance to be ...
9
votes
1answer
741 views

Are there emotions that only some people can feel?

Presumably, there are emotions that almost any person can feel, such as happiness, sadness, guilt, and embarrassment. But are there emotions that only a small fraction of the population can feel? ...
9
votes
3answers
419 views

Do measures of Big 5 personality have a positive bias towards extraverted, conscientious, emotionally stable, ageeable and open individuals?

Background: One free measures of the Big 5 is the IPIP. I have noticed that IPIP items seem to have a positive bias towards items loading on the extraversion (EX), emotional stability (ES), ...
9
votes
1answer
401 views

How to predict romantic attraction

Dating websites and psychological researchers attempt to find those factors that predict the fit between potential romantic partners. Examples for factors taken into consideration are the "big five" ...
9
votes
1answer
167 views

What psychological or sociological concepts form the basis of Principled Negotiation?

Although the various forwards mention that organizational behavior and social psychology are two of the fields that form the basis for the techniques taught at Harvard Law School's Negotiation and ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What were the long-term effects on the participants of the Stanford Prison Experiment?

It has been maintained by Dr. Philip Zimbardo that the experiment has had no long-term harm on the participants. However, one out of the 24 initial participants, who had suffered a breakdown within 36 ...
9
votes
3answers
373 views

Why do people feel the need to make changes to a solution presented by another person?

There is an interesting phenomenon I have come across several times when working with groups, and that is the need some people have to make changes to a solution that someone else created. The ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Is there an open-source / free official Myers-Briggs assessment I can adopt?

Background I've got an idea for a web site that uses one's Myers-Briggs type as part of the value. I've seen various web sites offer "quick quizzes" to assess one's MBTI, but I'm not sure how ...
8
votes
2answers
358 views

Is it possible to become totally envy free?

Can we develop a particular mind set for being totally envy free; to stop envying others?
8
votes
2answers
249 views

How to prevent insults from unconsciously causing negative emotions?

When someone is insulted, they can feel anxiety and shame, even though his/her conscious mind knows the insult isn't true and tries to be as logical and unemotional about it as possible. Positive ...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

At what age are women perceived to be most attractive?

Someone once quoted a research at me: Men were shown photographs of female body parts and asked to judge the attractiveness. The result was that men (of all ages) found 14 year old females the most ...
8
votes
1answer
173 views

Picture of eye promotes good behaviour

I remember a study about how a picture of an eye made people more well behaved. The experiment was in an unsupervised coffee room where there was a box where participants were expected to deposit ...
8
votes
2answers
524 views

What part of the brain locks up when a man is in the presence of an extremely attractive female?

This question is specifically about the male brain and its lack of cognition in the presence of a highly attractive female. This is in contrast to regaining cognitive ability in the presence of an ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What makes someone attractive psychologically?

What makes a person particularly attractive to another person, specifically the opposite sex? Why would the brain evolve this trait to target specific genes (that make someone look pretty), and ...
8
votes
2answers
541 views

What are the appraisals tendencies for fear and anger?

I understand the actions tendencies for fear and anger. For example: We might verbally insult someone when we are angry. We might feel like running away when we are afraid. According to appraisal ...
8
votes
1answer
172 views

What personality traits moderate the effects of trauma on empathy?

Logically there are three ways trauma can affect a person's propensity for empathy. increase decrease no change What are the key personality traits that can be used as predictors of this outcome?
8
votes
1answer
235 views

Theoretical grounding for Agile/Scrum methodologies in software development

Agile and Scrum methodologies are well known and often studied and written about in software development. But these methodologies are about managing the activities and the workplace itself. Are there ...
8
votes
1answer
653 views

What is the relationship between Big 5 personality and the theory of planned behaviour?

The theory of planned behaviour is a popular model of human behaviour. I.e., Broadly the model suggests that intentions to act are a function of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural ...
8
votes
1answer
233 views

Is there a “foreplay” equivalent, priming activity for thinking or conversation?

I've noticed the following phenomenon and am trying to find out if it is indeed true and if there is a scientific term for it: When I think about ideas, I notice that I can rarely jump straight into ...