Saturday, September 13, 2008

PsyBlog - How the Mind Reveals Itself in Everyday Activities

A cool article from PsyBlog on How the Mind Reveals Itself in Everyday Activities. This is really just a collection of links to other articles posted at the site, but it's a nice collection that will be added to, so be sure to bookmark the page.

How the Mind Reveals Itself in Everyday Activities

Many fascinating insights into the human mind are hidden in the most routine activities.

What is the most depressing day of the week? How do you deal with queue-jumpers? Do you have paranoid thoughts while travelling on an underground train?

The answers to these simple questions can speak volumes about complex psychological process. Because the queue is a small social system, our reaction to its disruption hints at what we will tolerate elsewhere; clues to how our memory and emotions work come from whether we're right about the most depressing day of the week; and paranoid thoughts on a train show how differently we can each interpret exactly the same environment.

Collected below are links to recent articles on the psychology of the everyday. Future articles in this series will be added below, so you may like to bookmark this page at

» Hell is other people » People's intuition is that learning more about a new acquaintance will lead to greater liking. In fact, on average, we like other people less the more we know about them. Read more on why familiarity breeds contempt.

» Dealing with line-jumpers » Queues are mini social systems, so when they are disrupted by queue-jumpers, how do people react? Quite meekly according to a study on the psychology of queuing.

» Superstitious? » Do you avoid opening umbrellas indoors? Do you hate to tempt fate? Despite knowing better, even the most rational of us seem to have some superstitious beliefs. That's because there are automatic psychological processes supporting superstition.

» The crowd myth » Crowds tend to get a bad rap - spontaneous, emotional and irrational - but has this image been exaggerated? Read more on the 7 myths of crowd psychology.

» Just ask for help » Everybody needs a little help from time-to-time, but it takes courage to ask for fear of rejection. However research suggests others are actually more likely to help than we might imagine.

» Dropping litter » When others drop litter or fail to clean up after their dogs, it can really get the blood boiling. Psychologists have begun to examine how these public incivilities can be reduced.

» Accidental friends » Selecting our friends is often a matter of pure chance: where we work, who lives next door or which club we happen to join. But the lottery of friendship could even depend on who we happen to meet first.

» Depressing Mondays » Are Mondays really the most depressing day of the week? It turns out that this common perception is out of line with reality (it's actually Wednesday). Find out why Monday is not as depressing as we think.

» Pet psychology » Are people's relationships with their pets beneficial? Studies of both cat psychology and dog psychology suggest they can be, but some of the research is barking mad (sorry).

» Paranoia on the train » Extremes of paranoid thinking are associated with mental illness, but we all have paranoid thoughts from time to time. This study of a virtual train journey reveals just how common paranoid thoughts really are.

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