The Psychology of…. Holidays!

Holidays are here again!

Holiday Time!
Holiday time

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?

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Better Influence book now out!

Better Influence book out this week!

Better Influence coverA 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!

Please tell me what you think of this post, and don’t forget to sign up for email updates or visit the bookshop if you enjoyed it! If you sign up now you can receive a FREE COPY OF THE JUDGEMENT AND DECISION MAKING EBOOK

Elaboration, persuasion and heurtistics in the Brexit campaigns

Brexit – you gotta hit’em emotionally. Elaboration , persuasion and heurtistics in the Brexit campaigns

EUFLAG One thought provoking aspect of the events surround Brexit was the claim that ‘people are sick of experts’. Indeed, Leave campaign leaders were told by US political strategists that ‘You can’t reason with people, you gotta hit ‘em emotionally’. Without elaborating too much, this had the effect of reducing the narrative of both campaigns to, in many people’s eyes, simple emotive arguments at the expense of more reasoned debate . Is the success of this strategy likely to be part of the reason that politicians like Farage (and in the US, Trump) to be and (and, for Trump at least) remain effective? Why may this be, and what do psychological models of persuasion say about it?

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Facebook Addiction?

Facebook and social networks – pastime or addiction?

mobile-phone-426559_640I am not really a heavy social network user. I have a twitter and Facebook account, and a (slightly outdated) Linkedin account. I mostly use mine to publicise my blog and keep in touch with distant friends. I maybe make about 6 posts a week max. For most, these networks are a great way to bring people together and share views. For others, though, social networks like Facebook can become problematic or even addictive. Can the science of psychology help predict who is at risk?

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Stereotypes: Confessions of a ‘Hippy Parent’

Holidays and stereotypes content: Confessions of a ‘Hippy Parent’.

stereotypeThis last week my family and I have been on holiday. I for one needed it – the end of the academic year is pretty busy and I usually come out of it pretty beat. For our holiday we went to a resort on the south coast. We rented a small apartment in a block of 4 in the resorts ‘holiday village’. We had a super time and have returned back to work and family life much refreshed. However, something happened which was a bit thought provoking. I was (in a fairly nice way – all things considered!) reduced to a stereotype.

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Free ‘Judgement’ ebook

Judgement:10 judgemental biases to avoid. 10 improvements to your decision making.

Judgement pocketbook cover

As you may know, about a month ago I released a short ‘PocketBook ‘ called Judgement: Judgement:10 judgemental biases to avoid.10 improvements to your decision making.’. This ebook outlines some key psychological principles which will help you improve your everyday judgements and decision making. Each principle is outlined in an accessible way, and comes with a number of clear improvements which you can action immediately.   These are all outlined in 600 words or less, making it easy to dip in and out of.

The great news is if you sign up for free email updates now you can receive a FREE COPY OF THE JUDGEMENT AND DECISION MAKING EBOOK 

To give you an idea of the contents, here is an excerpt!

 

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The psychology of magic in childhood

Is a little magic a good thing?

magicKids should have magic in their lives. The tooth fairy, Santa Claus, Imaginary friends, the Elf-on-the-shelf (although to be honest, that last US inspired tradition weirds me out a little, so we are skipping it!) are all day to day parts of our children’s reality. But is magic for children a ‘good’ thing or a morally dubious waste of time? And what do psychologists who have studied it argue?

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Do you want to take part in some research? (UK only)

I’m looking for people to take part in my research – can you help?

e-cigaretteAs you may know-  my ‘proper job’ is as an Associate Professor of Psychology at London South Bank University. Myself and a colleague (Dr Lynne Dawkins) are currently doing some work on smoking, e-cigarettes and the effects they have on health. Would you like to help? We are looking for people who have smoked very little in their lifetimes (fewer than 20 cigarettes), current tobacco smokers and also people who use e-cigarettes.  To take part you need to be UK resident and willing to provide a urine and saliva sample (by post, I won’t be coming to your house 😉  ). We’ll also ask you to fill in a few short questionnaires. In return, we’ll send you a £10 Amazon voucher, and you will get a sense of satisfaction from helping advance the cause of science :).

We’ll provide everything you need to take part. If you are interested, just email sasecig@lsbu.ac.uk to find out more!

 

This research is ethically approved by LSBU University Research Ethics Panel: UREC number 1577.

Procrastination psychology (and how to stop)

Procrastination, productivity killer!

procrastination
Procrastination leads to us putting off jobs we should be getting on with.

Procrastination, as we all know, is a productivity killer. I have a list of jobs (sometimes written down, and sometimes in my head) I need to do on a day to day basis. Some jobs – particularly ones I am worried about, or where a poor outcome has dire consequences- seem to sit on that list for a long time. This often makes them more difficult when I finally get to them! Why do we do this to ourselves? What is the psychology which underpins it, and how can we avoid getting bogged down in procrastination?

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I voted to stay and lost. What next Britain?

Where next for Brexit Britain?

This post has a bit less psychology and a bit more opinion on Brexit and our society.

questionmarkI voted to stay, and we lost. That is one side effect of democracy.  In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, half the population of the UK is surprised.  A good chunk of that half is also very angry (I was this morning for sure). Social media today is full of people berating Leave voters for being ‘stupid’, ‘selfish’ or ‘racist’. People need to blow off steam, but they also need to step back and consider what comes next, and who we want to be as a nation.

Many commentators have (and I am sure will continue to) split the in and out voters along broad lines – haves and have nots, urban vs. rural and young versus old. This is simplistic stereotyping at its very worst.  I bet you within a mile of me I can find a young urbinate who voted leave and an old farmer who voted stay.  I can also find bright and not-so-bright people in both camps, and those with strong (and absent) moral compasses too.  We know from social psychology categorising people in this way reduces them to a few basic attributes and removed individual difference. It also fosters negative interactions between groups which increases the likelihood of conflict and makes agreement harder. Be under no illusion we need to avoid this.

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