For questions about the empirical and theoretical study of how perception, feelings, behavior, and cognition are effected 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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49
votes
5answers
6k 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. ...
32
votes
3answers
2k 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, ...
25
votes
3answers
973 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
265 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
366 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
8answers
558 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
226 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
465 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 ...
12
votes
0answers
240 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
367 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
142 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
163 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. ...
10
votes
1answer
375 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
280 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
3answers
3k 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, ...
9
votes
4answers
37 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
181 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
289 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
461 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
1answer
124 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
328 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
0answers
228 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
4answers
274 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
1answer
260 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
163 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
413 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
2answers
302 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
2answers
214 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), ...
8
votes
1answer
261 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
177 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
271 views

Is positive self-talk beneficial for those with low self-esteem?

According to the paper Positive Self-Statements: Power for Some, Peril for Others by Wood (2009) positive self-talk is beneficial when the person has a reasonable level of self-esteem in the ...
8
votes
1answer
94 views

What research gives insight into the terms “low status” and “high status”?

Folk explanations of human behaviour often refer to "high status" or "low status", and the phrase sometimes pops up in more formal contexts (e.g. this question). However, one of the most cited ...
7
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
181 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
149 views

What is the name of the effect whereby socialising in a group reinforces group beliefs?

Background: There's this effect when you have some idea, i.e. that eating other people is (probably) cool, you join the group of like minded people, you talk about how tasty people are, everyone ...
7
votes
2answers
214 views

Study on commitment and follow-through

I'm faced with a UX problem of looking for ways to position a website to increase attendance at future "real world" events, and I'm remembering a study once conducted along these lines (details a bit ...
7
votes
1answer
89 views

Does identifying a student's sensory learning style and exploiting it result in significantly better performance?

Do people tend to have one pronounced sense (i.e., there is high variability in how strong the auditory, visual, olfactory etc. perception is among people) and can this sense, once identified, be ...
7
votes
2answers
127 views

What is the name of the phenomenon whereby someone steps-up and others follow?

Example: In class, when a teacher proposes some unreasonable assignment, students hesitate to express their objection until someone steps-up and then others find courage to talk. I've tried searching ...
7
votes
1answer
86 views

Self-fulfilling stereotypes: Have researchers tried inventing new group stereotypes?

Studies on the stereotype threat have typically used stereotypes that that are common in contemporary culture, i.e. the canonical example being the study that showed African American SAT scores ...
7
votes
2answers
163 views

Relationship between cognitive load and self-indulgent behavior in simple task completion

Background A subject in an office-building setting is asked to memorize a list of numbers and to write them down on a whiteboard in another room on the opposite side of the building. The subject ...
7
votes
2answers
78 views

Differences in willingness to correct errors made between human and computer interactions

I have a design where I present participants with a series of decisions, and then ask them about some of these decisions later. Similar work has found that even when the particular decision was made ...
7
votes
1answer
174 views

What is the effect of Social Media consumption on self-esteem?

I have been seeing many conflicting studies saying that facebook usage increases or decreases self-esteem. What is the current consensus regarding the effect of facebook usage on self-esteem? Has ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

Is there evidence for a unique isolated internal representation of loved ones?

Some time ago, I've read that the most significant people in a person's life have their own internal representation/model of within the person's mind. For example: An internal representation of a ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

What research has been done on attachment types in other primates?

The most canonical experimental paradigm for studying human attachment styles is the Strange Situation leading to classifications such as Secure, Insecure-avoidant, and so on. What are the equivalent ...
7
votes
1answer
77 views

What is the correlation between objective indexes and aggregated self-report measures of life satisfaction?

The Better Life Index and other indices seek to overcome the limitations of GDP in assessing social progress. They provide a composite score with which to rank nations on a range of indicators such as ...
7
votes
0answers
73 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?