In August 2016, an ‘epidemic’ of scary clown sightings were reported, starting in the US. Scary clowns were then seen in the UK in October. What is the psychology of such scary clowns – why are they so darn creepy? And is it an ‘epidemic’?
Work long hours? Entrepreneur? ‘Sleep is an inconvenience?’ type attitude? Maybe the number of hours you are putting in are holding you back. Hard work is important, but what is the psychology of long hours and what is the psychological effect of a 24/7 lifestyle?
This last couple of weeks has been rather busy. I have a few deadlines and a lot of psychology research and teaching tasks coming up – some for things I really enjoy, others I have found really hard to settle down to. Many of these jobs have deadlines looming – what is the psychology underpinning this, and how can we make them work for us? Are they intrinsically helpful or not?
At this time of year students return to university. This is an exciting time as you get to catch up with last year’s student and see what they been up to over the summer. Of course, we also welcome a new cohort of students to the University and, for many of them, help them get used to a new way of life. For some of these new faces, the transition between their old lifestyle and becoming a student is easy. For others it is more difficult. What causes these differences and what does the study of psychology tell us about situations where our identities don’t really fit together, or are just plain incompatible? Read on to find out.
Do we think better in groups? Groupthink and group polarisation psychology in action.
Way back in my first post on cognitive biases I mentioned that a couple of the projects I am working on are quite high pressured, and involve a small, tight knit team. I love working in a small group, and currently our little band is on a roll, producing lots of good research and making some great contacts. For these particular projects, the team is made up of four people, each bringing their own strengths and differing areas of expertise. This sounds like a dream come true right? I’m very lucky, but also quite aware that our small, slightly insulated group brings its own risks, Indeed, the combination of a high pressure environment, a small team and high (in academic terms anyway!) stakes are all characteristics of situations which a psychologist named Janis1 suggest can encourage a phenomena called Groupthink.
A wave of bans across France of Muslim sportswear known as ‘burkinis’ has raised a furore both in France and the rest of the world, and a veritable storm of social media activity . How can we understand this burkini ban from a psychological point of view? And what is the likely result of such a burkini ban for the future?
Would you like to take part in a valuable research study and get paid?
I’m really excited to be leading a research project funded by Cancer Research UK looking at people’s attitudes towards e-cigarettes. If you smoke tobacco or vape e-cigarettes we’d be really keen to hear from you. The study is open to non-smokers too! If you took part in our earlier E-cig research (which is still open by the way) you can still take part in this one….
I have been thinking a lot this week about luck and circumstance. We sometimes feel we are generally lucky, sometimes unlucky and sometimes don’t consider the role luck plays in our lives as much as we should. Generally, we’re really bad at working out what is our own doing and what is down to the situation we are in, and even worse at estimating what will happen in the future. But what insights can the study of psychology offer?
At this time of year many of us are looking forward to a well deserved holiday. But will we experience blissful days of leisure, and can we be sure what we really got up to last time we went away? And what about that holiday weight gain? PsychologyItBetter.com finds out a bit about the psychology behind our holidays and vacations… and how to make the most of them?
A big part of my motivation in creating this blog is making Psychology accessible to a wide audience. As part of this I am also writing a series of ‘PocketBooks’. Each pocketbook outlines 10 key concepts in a particualar field of psychology. Each is communicated in 600 words or less, making it perfect to dip in and out of. In the spirit of psychologyitbetter.com, each also outlines a number of improvements you can employ in you day to day life.
I’m really pleased to announced that the second PocketBook in the series, ’Better Influence, 10 quick concepts you can use to persuade others more effectively’ is out in paperback and ebook formats this week! You can find out more at the Bookshop. I am really pleased by this volume and, with an introductory price of just £3.99 for the paperback and an amazing £1.99 for the ebook, I hope you check it out and enjoy it too!