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36

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 ...


22

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

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 ...


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 ...


11

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 ...


11

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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


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

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 ...


10

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

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

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 ...


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 ...


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

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 ...


9

Mindfulness meditation can help reduce the intensity of emotional pain. This study explores this further. Even listening to music may help reduce the intensity of pain. Source Christopher A. Brown, Anthony K.P. Jones. Meditation experience predicts less negative appraisal of pain: Electrophysiological evidence for the involvement of anticipatory neural ...


8

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 ...


8

The classic reference for exactly what you are describing is Gilovich & Medvec, 1995 (LINK), the primary thesis of which is that "Actions, or errors of commission, generate more regret in the short term; but inactions, or errors of omission, produce more regret in the long run" (from the abstract). The authors explain that there are many factors that ...


8

The other answers cite minor effects related to your phenomena, but there's something more pervasive going on. In Carney et al's research report "Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance", it was found that "power posing" increases testosterone and cortisol levels which leads to, among other things, a greater ...


8

I think your intuition might be correct. According to Hal Pashler, there is no real evidence for learning styles. The authors do not state that one particular learning style is applicable to everyone. Instead, they conclude that a particular subject may have a preferred learning style. For example, essay writing would have a preferred "verbal" learning ...


8

BDSM relationships are generally very clear on the respective roles of the individuals. Thus, they provide a refuge from the "war of the sexes" that is being fought in most non-BDSM relationships. In non-BDSM relationships today, men and women are usually extremely confused about their roles. Men and women both have difficulties accepting women as ...



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