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42

There are two great TED talks that together help shed some light on your question: David Deutsch (2005) "A new way to explain explanation", and Richard Dawkins (2009) "Why the universe seems so strange" At a fundamental level, science is about explanation (and sometimes using that explanation to make predictions). Thus, to most people, science is useless ...


32

Introduction It is interesting and quite under-researched topic in psychology. What has been studied and definied extensively are different abnormal sexual behaviours, and exhibitionism is one of them. In the DSM-IV exhibitionism is defined as sexual arousal by revealing one's body or performing sexual acts in public and it's a form of paraphilia. ...


16

Yes. But why should it be so? One can approach the question from a number of directions. For instance, Cass Sunstein talks about how information cascades can create the path-dependent effects you describe: person A says something, which steers person B toward the same opinion, with the result that group decision-making heavily overvalues inputs of early ...


15

There are a few references to the scientific literature on trolling in the wikipedia article Some psychologists have suggested that flaming would be caused by deindividuation or decreased self-evaluation: the anonymity of online postings would lead to disinhibition amongst individuals (Kiesler et al, 1984). Others have suggested that although ...


13

From what I remember, the MBTI has been compared in some studies to the Big Five (or OCEAN) model of personality. If you've not heard of it, the Big Five is the primary theory of personality that is accepted by researchers who do this sort of thing. Here are some papers comparing the two approaches: Recent comparison and another. The main point is that a ...


13

There is a very large literature on this, and it features many subtle points, but I will try to summarize some general themes. In general, subjects are very consistent at ranking pictures of others for attractiveness (thus, eliminating the popular notion of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"). For instance Cunnigham et al. (1995) found a correlation of ...


12

Adding to what shanusmagnus said: What you refer to is indeed an established psychological phenomenon called Confirmation Bias. The bias consists of the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand (Nickerson, 1998). Confirmation Bias apparently is among the most studied ...


12

Since you mentioned that you want an evolutionary explanation, there is one available. In biology the effect of providing benefit towards potential non-kin based on an arbitrary marker is known as the green-beard or armpit effect. In a social human setting, if the marker is arbitrary social construct it is usually known as ethnocentrism. This sort of ...


12

This is a fascinating question. According to Donald Symons (1979) "The evolution of human sexuality", it is a species specific adaptation that seems to be universal across cultures. Symons argued that having sex in private underlines the exclusivity of the relationship between monogamous couples. This theory does assume that sexual exclusivity is a universal ...


12

What you describe is an illusion. (a) The human field of view is almost 180° when staring straight ahead and 270° with eyeball rotation (looking to the side without turning your head). If you look at someone from slightly behind and to the side, they will appear to be gazing forward, and you may feel unnoticed, but in fact you are within their field of ...


12

Smith and Kim's (2007) review article in the prestigious Psychological Bulletin titled "Comprehending Envy" might be a good starting point. They define envy as an unpleasant, often painful emotion characterized by feelings of inferiority, hostility, and resentment caused by an awareness of a desired attribute enjoyed by another person or group of ...


12

Perhaps you're referring to Naomi Eisenberger's work on the neural basis of social pain. Her seminal paper found that the neural correlates of distress from social rejection overlapped with those of physical pain, i.e., dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula. She's recently published a literature review on social pain in the brain ...


12

What is interesting about this phenomenon is that it runs counter to the scarcity principle. Countless research has shown that the more scarce a commodity is, the more desirable it becomes. This is often capitalized on in marketing ("limited edition" and so on). Thus, the last donut should actually be even more attractive than one of many donuts. So ...


11

Obedience The most famous paper dealing with this issue is Milgram's paper, called Behavioral study of obedience[1]. From the abstract: This article describes a procedure for the study of destructive obedience in the laboratory. It consists of ordering a naive subject to administer increasingly more severe punishment to a victim in the context of a ...


11

Rather than discuss limits of the human field of view, or extrasensory perception (I don't know anything about the first, and the second is a myth), I think we can look at this as a simple case of illusory correlation (wikipedia), which is both a psychological phenomenon, and something psychologists need to overcome to investigate other phenomena. In a ...


11

Brinol et al (2009) suggest that your intuitions generalize. From the abstract: Building on the notion of embodied attitudes, we examined how body postures can influence self-evaluations by affecting thought confidence, a meta-cognitive process. Specifically, participants were asked to think about and write down their best or worse qualities while ...


11

Besides the simple mechanics of it being easier to position actors and film the details of intercourse there is probably a supernormal stimulus effect. The term, coined by Tinbergen (1948) when he observed birds laying artificial eggs of ridiculous size, is used to describe the effect of a stimulus which elicits a response more strongly than the stimulus for ...


10

The IPIP may provide what you are looking for. This IPIP Website is intended to provide rapid access to measures of individual differences, all in the public domain, to be developed conjointly among scientists worldwide. In general, the scientific literature tends to focus more on a dimensional approach based on the Big 5 model of personality than ...


10

Here is an article explaining trolling based on Sperber and Mercier's "argumentative theory" of human reasoning. The latter is a fascinating paper in its own right. References Mercier, H. and Sperber, D. (2011). Why do humans reason? arguments for an argumentative theory. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 34(02):57-74. FREE PDF


10

I don't know of a study that tries to answer your specific question but you might want to have a look at illusory superiority, "a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others" (wikipedia). I can especially recommend the paper by Dunning and Kruger ...


10

Just a very brief note: in some cultures, sex does not appear to have been confined to private space. One article on the subject reads: In fact, it seems that much of Athenian love life took place in public places: many vases show how people are looking when two people are having intercourse. There is not a single written statement that people objected ...


10

Narrative psychology is probably the go-to domain of research and theory for questions about the power and popularity of stories. Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia page (with added emphasis): Narrative psychology is...concerned with the "storied nature of human conduct" [(Sarbin, 1986)] or...how human[s]...deal with experience by constructing stories ...


10

I don't think you need to resort to hormonal or neural explanations. Staring has social meaning. The meaning of staring varies across cultures and contexts. In some contexts it is normal (e.g., staring at a presenter, staring at the person you are talking to, staring at a sales assistant). In these contexts, staring has meaning such as indicating interest or ...


10

Funnily enough, there was a Science article published on this (see here). In their sample of university students, Mehl et al. had participants wear a specialized device that recorded audio samples from daily life (The EAR). They report that (emphasis mine): The data suggest that women spoke on average 16,215 (SD = 7301) words and men 15,669 (SD = 8633) ...


10

One way to measure love is to look at behaviors that people engage in to express love. Chapman (1995) theorized that there were five broad classes of behaviors that people would engage in to express love: (1) words of affirmation, (2) spending quality time, (3) giving gifts, (4) acts of service, and (5) physical touch. Goff, Goddard, Pointer, and Jackson ...


9

You may want to read up about "homophily". It is often summarised with the phrase "birds of a feather flock together". "Heterophily" relates to when people are attracted to those that are different to them. There was a review article by McPhereson et al (2001) which you might like to read. To quote the abstract: Similarity breeds connection. This ...


9

The easiest way to work forward from a well-cited article is to do a forward Google Search. My answer is almost completely based on such a search and concentrates on three brain regions: amygdala, insula cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex; note that all three regions are linked to emotion. Keep in mind: when you take any two groups of people that ...


9

From an article by the NY times. Trolling, defined as the act of posting inflammatory, derogatory or provocative messages in public forums, is a problem as old as the Internet itself, although its roots go much farther back. Even in the fourth century B.C., Plato touched upon the subject of anonymity and morality in his parable of the ring of ...



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