Month: May 2010

  • Predicting Our Behaviour

    Other people are far superior than us at predicting our behaviour as their predictions are based primarily on observation and are not tainted by our psychological narrative. After reading Timothy Wilson’s¬†Strangers to Ourselves, Nick Southgate–faculty member at London’s The School of Life–discusses this idea that¬†our friends and acquaintances are better than us at predicting our…

  • Conformity and Its Influences

    There are ten “timeless influencers” of conformity, suggests the literature on the topic, and by understanding what these influences are–and how to use and counteract them–we are provided with some insight into our and others’ behaviour in many situations. To that end, PsyBlog helpfully provides a summary of the ten core factors that influence conformity.…

  • User Experience Design Tips

    Inspired by Matthew Frederick’s enlightening book¬†101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, Shane Morris and Matt Morphett started¬†101 Things I Learned in Interaction Design School. After a promising start the site halted prematurely with a¬†measly nineteen entries to it’s name. Those that do exist are not all fantastic, but there are some gems that are…

  • The Effectiveness of Social Support on Exercise Goals

    Informing our friends and family of our resolutions in hope that the social support will encourage us is an effective tactic–as long as these people ‘check-in’ on our progress at semi-regular intervals. That’s the conclusion from a study where three groups of people had their exercise goals tracked under one of three conditions: a regular…

  • Perceived Freedom Threats and Our Reactions

    Perceived¬†threats to our behavioural freedom or autonomy–even inconsequential and trivial threats–provoke instinctive and often unusual reactions. This reactance, as it is known, must be considered in a business context (and is often completely ignored), argues Andrew O’Connell in¬†Harvard Business Review, noting the many unexpected ways we react to perceived freedom and autonomy threats. What’s amazing…

  • Nine Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Longevity

    By studying the world’s Blue Zones–“communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age”–Dan Buettner and team discovered a set of common behavioural traits in their subjects. In his TEDxTC talk Buettner discusses what he discovered to be the myths of living longer and the nine common diet and lifestyle habits of those…

  • More on the Cognitive Benefits of Moderate Exercise

    “There is overwhelming evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia”, says the Harvard University psychologist John Ratey, author of the 2008 book on the subject, Spark. While Ratey propounds the “very clear” link between exercise and mental acuity, saying that even moderate exercise pushes back cognitive decline by “anywhere from 10…

  • A History of the Climate Change Controversies

    After obtaining and analysing the documents and emails from the Climate Research Unit email controversy (the so-called¬†Climategate emails), Der Spiegel “reveals how the war between climate researchers and climate skeptics broke out, the tricks the two sides used to outmaneuver each other and how the conflict could be resolved”. The result is an exceptional and…

  • Task Perception (Serious vs. Fun) and Performance

    When a task is described as being a serious test of skill or proficiency, high achievers perform significantly better on the task than low achievers (as one would predict). When the same task is described as ‘fun’, however, the opposite is seen: low achievers outperform high achievers. Obviously, how we perceive tasks (or describe them…

  • Malcolm Gladwell’s Public Speaking Secrets

    After discovering that he was to share a double bill with the “famously good” public speaker Malcolm Gladwell, Gideon Rachman decided to use the experience to learn how to improve his own speaking abilities. In his¬†write-up¬†of the experience, Rachman discusses the lessons he learnt from Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘public speaking secrets’: The first lesson came from…