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 you smoke or vape and live in London?
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….
Luck, Psychology and Judgements
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?
Holidays are here again!
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?
Brexit – you gotta hit’em emotionally. Elaboration , persuasion and heurtistics in the Brexit campaigns
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?
I’m looking for people to take part in my research – can you help?
As 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 email@example.com to find out more!
This research is ethically approved by LSBU University Research Ethics Panel: UREC number 1577.
It’s finally out!
I am thrilled to say that my new book, Psychology Squared: 100 Concepts in Psychology You Should Know is now out, published by Apple Press and available in physical form via Amazon and other channels. Written by myself and Dr. Christopher Sterling, this volume outlines 100 interesting ideas and concepts in psychology, each accompanied by a beautiful illustration or fantastically informative diagram. I’m really proud of what we have achieved, and writing it was really the inspiration for the blog. You can read more about it by visiting my little bookstore here.
The orchestra in my head.
In the three years since our daughters were born I think I have sung more notes than in the previous couple of decades. We sing in the car, at breakfast , to settle down for bed, at playgroups and sometimes just for no reason at all. And you know what? I am great at it. In my head. Pre-vocalisation I am in tune and often there is an orchestral accompaniment. Then it comes out my mouth and it sounds somewhat flat (or sharp) and a tad toneless. None-the-less I enjoy it – in particular I enjoy singing quietly to (or, I admit sometimes, at) my daughters in the wee hours when it is just us.
It turns out singing is good for you. Personally, I find it has a absorbing quality (much like gardening!) which de-stresses to the extent it makes you mindful of the present without worrying about everything else. If you really belt out a tune, the cardio effects can raise endorphin levels much like exercises such as running or swimming. I did consider trying this when singing to my daughter last night, but it was suggested to me that she only has small ears, I can probably project quite loudly, and the two may lead to less than positive parenting.
If you like what you have read on the blog, you may be interested to know my first ‘PocketBook’ ebook (on how to reduce cognitive biases and improve decision making) is available to borrow from the Kindle Unlimited Library and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – search for Daniel Frings! (you can also find out more about this PocketBook in the Bookshop, including how to get hold of it if you are not a ‘Kindler’)
Dilbert 4 Trump?
Interesting couple of blog entries by Scott Adams (he of Dilbert creator fame) this last couple of weeks. The first why is on why Trump may not be so bad a risk as president as he first seems. It made me chuckle at times, but I don’t buy it – arguing ‘Trump doesn’t mean it most of the time’ just doesn’t cut it for me (nor does the portrayal of Clinton as a drug addled alcoholic seem entirely fair!). But an interesting read none-the-less… What did get me thinking about this article was the notion that you can’t evaluate how well leaders (or decisions) have performed due to the fact you never get to see how the alternatives would have played out. Yet, we are often certain we are pretty good at it!
The second is a humorous take on why you should publicly endorse Clinton – presumably in all her wine-drug-addled glory. Basically, his reasoning is if you that if you don’t, half the US populace (and possibly a greater proportion of the world’s) will want to assassinate you if Trump wins. Not sure that is the best reasoning either, but there you go!