All Articles Tagged "psychology"
If you are looking into college soon or are planning your children’s college education, the decision of what to major in is a significant one. In today’s economy, deciding on a major could ultimately lead you to a high-paying career or lead to a profession that’s struggling.
According to a May interview between Payscale’s lead economist Katie Bardaro and Forbes, unless a candidate has attended a top-notch school, today’s employers are more concerned with relevant coursework and a potential employee’s major.
While you are preparing your research into colleges and universities, getting your SAT test scores together, or mapping out your child’s educational future, make sure you take a look at some of the most popular college majors and how they could benefit you or your child after graduation.
In the ’80s Chris Kleinke and colleagues analyzed the effectiveness of 100 pick-up lines across a number of different settings, including bars, supermarkets, restaurants, laundromats, and beaches. They found three main categories of openers:
- Direct gambits , which are honest and get right to the point ( e.g., “I’m sort of shy, but I’d like to get to know you”)
- Innocuous gambits , which hide a person’s true intentions ( e.g., “What do you think of this band?”)
- Cute/flippant gambits , which involve humor, but often in a cheesy, canned way ( e.g., “Do you have any raisins? No? Well then, how about a date?”)*
Both men and women agreed that cute/flippant pick-up lines were the least attractive. Women, however, preferred innocuous lines and had a greater aversion to cute/flippant lines than men, while men had a greater preference for direct opening gambits than women. This basic pattern has been found over and over again in a variety of settings, including singles bars . What’s going on?
Trait perception plays a crucial role. We don’t have direct access to a person’s characteristics, so we infer underlying traits from overt behaviors. One study found that people perceive those who use innocuous lines as smarter and sexierthan those who use cute/flippant lines. Another study found that while women perceived men who use silly pick-up lines as more sociable, confident, and funny, they also perceived them as less trustworthy and intelligent. While all these traits are certainly valued in a mate, research shows that low trustworthiness and low intelligence are deal breakers for a long-term relationship , overriding other “luxuries,” such as humor and confidence.
Women are rightfully skeptical of cute/flippant pick-up lines: Research shows that those with a long-term mating strategy tend to use supportive and honest pick-up strategies, whereas those with a short-term strategy tend to use manipulation and dishonesty. I should note that when a woman is looking for a short-term fling, it may be an entirely different story: One study conducted on college students found that women were willing to have a short-term fling with men they were attracted to, regardless of the content of his pick-up lines! More stable individual differences also play a role, with extraverts and those with a general orientation toward “hook-ups” vs. long-term committed relationships being more receptive to humor and sexually charged pick-up lines.
While all these findings are informative, they don’t address moment-to-moment mental fluctuations. We’re not machines, with a steady supply of cognitive resources on command. Receptivity to pick-up lines involves cognitive processing, which requires thought. A certain amount of mental energy is required to follow the conversation and cut through the bullhonkey to figure out a person’s true intentions. But your mental state at any given moment is influenced by a number of factors, including how much stress you’ve experienced that day, or even just before the current conversation. If you’ve already been hit by a barrage of cute/flippant lines, your brain may feel a bit fatigued.
Cognitive fatigue matters. When your mind is taxed, it is much more difficult to process information and regulate your emotions, thoughts, and actions . Like a muscle, self-control is a limited resource; when fatigued, it’s hard to flex it. This has important implications for interpersonal relationships: People in monogamous relationships whose brains are tired spend more time looking at attractive potential mates , are more likely to accept a coffee date from an attractive person, report more interest in an attractive person who is not their partner , and are more likely to actually cheat . Actually, in that last study, cognitively fatigued individuals were more likely to actually have sex with their current partner during the experiment!
But how does this relate to receptivity to pick-up lines? Does a person’s mental state affect how a pick-up line is perceived? In a recent study Gary Lewandowski and colleagues gave 99 undergraduates a five-minute writing task in which they were asked to describe a recent trip. In the “ego-depletion” condition, students were told they couldn’t use the letters A or N anywhere in the story, whereas in the “non-depletion” condition, they weren’t given this cognitively taxing instruction. After the writing task, participants looked at a picture of an attractive opposite-sex person and rated how they would respond if the person approached them, using one of three categories of openers: direct, innocuous, or cute/flippant. What did they find?
Those whose brains were cognitively taxed were less receptive to cute/flippant openers compared with those in the non-depletion condition. In the context of cute/flippant pick-up lines, those in the depleted group were more likely to “ask the initiator to leave them alone” and “ignore the initiator.” In contrast, for innocuous gambits, the depleted students were less likely to ignore the person and ask the person to leave them alone. Receptivity to direct gambits was unaffected by being cognitively depleted. There were also gender effects consistent with the prior research I mentioned earlier. Men were more receptive to direct openers, and females were more receptive to innocuous openers. Also, women were least receptive to cute/flippant openers.
What explains these effects? The researchers argue that when it comes to cute/flippant openers, less mental effort is required to figure out the persons’ intentions. Mix that in with the fact that a depleted, frazzled individual may have less tolerance for obvious pick-up attempts, and you have an enhanced aversion to cheesy lines. When it comes to innocuous pick-up lines, however, the person’s intentions are much more ambiguous. This requires much more cognitive resources to decipher intent, sometimes too much. As the researchers note, it’s less socially awkward for the brain-depleted individual to continue the conversation until the person’s intentions become more obvious.
There are obvious implications here. Pick-up lines are uttered in bars and clubs all across the globe, to people who probably aren’t using their full cognitive resources. I think it’s fair to say that if you want to accurately perceive a person’s intentions, don’t go overboard with the alcohol or enter a pick-up-line-rich environment when you’ve had a cognitively taxing day. And what about the other side of the coin? Well, if you have difficulty chatting with people without using corny jokes riddled with blatant sexual intent, you may want to work on toning it down or work on being more witty and contextually appropriate* — or else you may just make an excellent pick-up line researcher!
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Communication, or more specifically, social networking is changing rapidly. That’s no big secret. And since I began using Twitter more frequently last summer, I have decided that valid college courses (perhaps even whole degrees) could be dedicated to the psychology of social networking. It has opened up a whole new dimension to the study of human behavior. Everything is taking place online, from business networking to the forming/ending of friendships to flirting to dating and even to proposing marriage. With so much personal interaction happening from behind a laptop screen, especially where potential friendships/relationships are concerned, the question then becomes, “How do I know that the person on the other end is legit?”
The new age answer? Time and Twitter.
Let me explain. I interact with very few folks who don’t have Twitter or Facebook, the big kahunas of social networking. When forming new relationships, being aware of a person’s “online presence” is an important supplement to our in-person assessments of each other. I learned the interesting way that lots of young men tweet their true thoughts and feelings while holding up masks to please the ladies they want to impress. I wanted to yell in a Katt Williams-esque screech, “You big dummy! Did you know that I can SEE you?! The real you?!” We, women do it too but I’m not on that right now.
Of course, I have a personal example for y’all: Though this particular guy didn’t use his Twitter account much, he liked enough of my tweets to send me a direct message. Cool. I was testing out my newfound “openness” since my friends swear up and down that I’m too guarded. He led his pursuit with his admiration of my writing skills and my natural hair. Like a moth to a flame I was drawn. A dude who could rock with two of the things I love most? Hail yeah! But having dove in headfirst a time or two before, the 89.7% guardedness that still had a hold on me said to take it slowly. I heeded the warning and pumped the brakes.
For the first few months there was virtually no topic we couldn’t discuss and I can’t lie, I was analyzing his every move to see if this could become something more. He said all the right things. He was a gentleman when we met up for lunch or dinner. He was respectful of my values. I was swooning to my girls.
He started using Twitter more frequently and watching him get the hang of hashtags and the “@” was cute. Then, he started tweeting more often. For a while it was mostly his self-proclaimed authoritative sports analyses. But then, the other shoe dropped. Out of nowhere came a barrage of tweets outlining how to ‘quickly get the box’ from even the most jaded females. Then tweets about how ‘ugly and/or fat females have no room to be picky’ when it comes to finding a mate and so on and so forth, to the point that I didn’t even recognize him. Looking at his tweets and our conversations, you would think that there were two totally different people present or that he had one heck of a personality disorder. When tweeting/Instagraming/Facebooking with his boys he was vulgar, chauvinistic and downright mean. I understand men don’t speak the same way to their love interest/significant other as they do to their friends – and I’m actually GLAD that they don’t – but THIS bordered on bipolar schizophrenia. Then, one night he decided to “subtweet attack” me (passive aggressively tell me off via Twitter) for not wanting to come out to the city with him. Chile, no. Uh uh. Nope. I set him straight, blocked him and deleted his number with the quickness. I had learned all I needed to learn through my slow-paced six months of “introduction” to him and it was clear that this was NOT a match.
People call it “Twitter stalking.” I call it simply taking myself and my time seriously enough to be aware of a person from all angles – how they are with me, their family, on Facebook, at the club, etc. Just as much as I paid attention to what he said verbally and through body language in person, I paid that same amount of attention to who he was online. I’m not saying one should over-analyze every little deed, but for goodness’ sake, be aware. Social networking has allowed us to freely (and sometimes unknowingly) expose our true selves through a seemingly one-way glass of anonymity. It’s a gift to the genuine but a curse to the fake. Time and careful attention to the details will outlast the smoke and mirrors and give you an all-access pass behind the scenes. So be patient. Be open. Be aware. And get to know someone from all sides. The attention to detail is worth it.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries with Natural hair and lots to say. Her writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and positive change. Check out her thoughts/jokes/rants on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
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One of my favorite television shows is the Real Housewives series. Which season? Doesn’t matter. Pick one. What’s not to love about a drama filled show that follows middle aged women and their husbands, and their habit of spending thousands of dollars on clothing, birthday parties for their kids and gaudy furniture for their McMansions.
However, a quick Google search shatters whatever illusion we have about the lifestyles these women portray on television. The reality off the small screen is that many of the women are damn near broke; they are in foreclosure, having vehicles repossessed and facing thousands in IRS tax liens. Yet for me, the show provides valuable insight into our society’s values and aspirations.
It’s generally believed that poor people spend their money on material possessions while wealthy people spend their money on assets. But this idea goes far beyond the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ syndrome of the past since some of the biggest spenders appear to be the Joneses themselves. What else could explain purchasing a $60,000 Swarovski crystal bottle of nail polish, an $8 million dollar Maybach and a $2,600 bottle of water? Yeah you heard me.
Why would a bottle of water be sold for $2,600 might you ask? Well, because it’s covered in Swarovski crystal. Interestingly, Kevin Boyd, the owner of the bottled water company called Bling H2O, admits that the water is no different than the water sold at the Cracker Barrel for $2.50. But according to Boyd, he is selling more than just water—he is selling a lifestyle.
Boyd isn’t the only one capitalizing off our thirst for the good life. The Discover Channel will soon launch Velocity, a cable television channel aimed at an often overlooked demographic: wealthy men. I’m not trying to knock the hustle of Boyd, Discover Channel or any other purveyor of “the lifestyle.” However, there is a sort of melancholy feeling among people these days who find themselves transfixed by shiny, expensive stuff. It’s a fascinating phenomenon if you stop and think about it—people buying stuff they can’t afford with money they don’t have just to impress people they probably don’t like. This is one of the reasons why foreclosure rates are high and credit card debt has increased ten-fold.
Part of the appeal is the whole concept of exclusivity, which is a clever marketing device to persuade folks that somehow their purchases will make them unique and different from others in their social standing. Being human means that we are not perfectly rational nor sensible at all times. Many of our purchasing habits are influenced by a whole host of emotional reasons such as self-esteem and self-image.
To fully understand this, you might want to consider Abraham’s Maslow hierarchy of needs, a psychological theory that was created in 1943 to describe the behavioral models of motivation as a means of satisfying human desires. Maslow believed that there were five types of desires that need to be fulfilled if every human were to feel whole: physiological, safety, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization.
Do you ever wonder what an immensely talented, seemingly down to earth brotha like ?uestlove dreams about? No, you probably don’t but now that I’ve posed the question you’re thinking about it aren’t you? …No? Well I’m going to tell you anyway…or Black Voices will.
Turns out The Legendary Roots Crew drummer dreams about creating a new theme song for “Soul Train”. Now we knew ?uestlove has spoken in depth about the show and its impact on him and the African American community, but who knew it was profound enough to show up in his dreams decades later.
You can read what he had to say about this and his other dreams over at AOL’s Black Voices.
(Gant Daily) — Just as the constant pressure soldiers face on the battlefield can follow them home in the form of debilitating stress, African-Americans who face chronic exposure to racial discrimination may have an increased likelihood of suffering a race-based battle fatigue, according to Penn State researchers. African-Americans who reported in a survey that they experienced more instances of racial discrimination had significantly higher odds of suffering generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) some time during their lives, according to Jose Soto, assistant professor, psychology.
Generalized anxiety disorder has both psychological and physical symptoms that are so severe that they can significantly affect everyday tasks and job performance. People with the disorder may have chronic worrying, intrusive thoughts and difficulty concentrating. Physically, the disorder may manifest such symptoms as tension headaches, extreme fatigue and ulcers. Some of these symptoms are associated with “racial battle fatigue,” a term coined by William A. Smith, associate professor, University of Utah.
Easy credit rip-offs.
Scratchin’ and survivin’.
Hangin’ in the Chow line.
Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em
There has always been a running joke about the lyrics in the Good Times’ theme song. But, what was so great about black folks in the projects struggling to survive? If anything, those aforementioned situations sound downright like a miserable existence.
However, a new study, which appears in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology—a research journal published by the American Psychological Association—may be able to help shed some light on why being black and poor can mean good times. According to researchers at Michigan State University, African American people who identify more strongly with their racial identity are generally happier than those who don’t.
It has been a long-held belief that a person’s happiness depends upon a number of external factors, including making lots of money, having nice material things, being a parent, falling in love or achieving some heights in one’s own career. However, this new research suggest that those who are black-centered — or in other words, thought that being black was an important part of who they are — felt more fulfilled with their life as a whole.
This new research supports previous studies, including a Pew Research Center study, which suggests that material things like money are less of a factor in determining happiness for blacks than it is for whites. It’s also a conclusion that has been championed throughout black-nationalism and Afrocentric circles for years, extending back to the black pride movement of the 60s when black folks picked Afros and pumped black fist in the air as a sign of racial identity and solidarity.
Of course, racial pride should not to be confused with racial supremacy and superiority, which is mostly bred out of fear of the “others” and one’s own disempowerment. To the contrary, black pride is similar to what Italians feel when marching in parades and waving Italy’s flags on Columbus Day, or Irish Americans feel when discussing the trials and tribulations of Ireland. It’s about celebrating one’s own cultural, physical and sociopolitical contributions to society while relying on the emotional significance and personal empowerment that comes from being associated with said racial group.
That’s why it should come as little surprise that black secondary-aged students seem to succeed more in Afrocentric-focused educational environments and that the top eight colleges producing African-Americans who get PhDs. in science and engineering over the previous decade were Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
If anything, this new research gives weight to the idea that being black doesn’t necessarily have to be a burdensome experience and that there is hope, strength, fraternity – and yes, good times – for those who have yet to declare that they are black and proud.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Black people who identify more strongly with their racial identity are generally happier, according to a study led by psychology researchers at Michigan State University. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, appears in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, a research journal published by the American Psychological Association.
“This is the first empirical study we know of that shows a relationship between racial identity and happiness,” said Stevie C.Y. Yap, doctoral candidate in psychology at MSU and lead researcher on the project. Previous research has found a relationship between racial identity and favorable outcomes such as self-esteem, Yap said, but none has made the link with happiness.
For the study, the researchers surveyed black adults in Michigan. The results suggest the more the participants identified with being black – or the more being black was an important part of who they are – the more happy they were with life as a whole, Yap said.
The study also explored the reasons behind the connection. Yap said it may be fueled by a sense of belongingness – that is, blacks with a strong sense of racial identity may feel more connected to their racial group, which in turn makes them happy.
This sense of belongingness is especially important for happiness in women, Yap said. “For men, the potential fa tors relating identity to happiness is still an open question,” he said. Yap’s fellow researchers are Isis Settles, MSU associate professor of psychology, and Jennifer Pratt-Hyatt, assistant professor of psychology at Northwest Missouri State University.
Months ago, I was having dinner and conversation with a few male and female friends and acquaintances. We were discussing relationships and issues among black men and black women. And while the conversation was initially relatively low key, one of my guy friends decided that it would be a great idea to put on what he described as “ a really good movie.” The movie was “Diary of a Tired Black man.” And within the span of a few minutes and few scenes of the movie, he turned our discussion on relationships into an outright battle of the sexes.