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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49
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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. ...
35
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, ...
28
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 ...
21
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
298 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
417 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
3answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
655 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
464 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
489 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
276 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 ...
13
votes
0answers
273 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k 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
144 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
171 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
442 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
169 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
271 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
301 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
309 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
5k 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
1answer
272 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
4answers
39 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
194 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
349 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
516 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
130 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
405 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
439 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
167 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
333 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
96 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
2answers
250 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
326 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
185 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
278 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
95 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
93 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: ...
8
votes
0answers
77 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
2k 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
192 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
153 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
217 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
3answers
2k 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 ...
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
72 views

How is history of psychology taught around the world, and if it is not, why not?

When you study medicine in Germany, lectures on the history and ethics of medicine are an integral part of your curriculum. Many universities have a separate Institute for the History and Ethics of ...
7
votes
2answers
133 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
312 views

What is the relationship between sociology and cognitive sciences?

I want to know what is the relationship between sociology and cognitive sciences. Let me start by short consideration of both: Sociology - well established discipline or a field of research ...
7
votes
1answer
87 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 ...