Piaget’s concept of object permanence is essential to understand. But how did they study this idea among 1 year olds? Obviously children can’t tell you that they believe that something no longer exists when they can’t see it, so how do we know what is going on inside a child’s mind? How about this challenge: do animals also understand object permanence? If you’ve ever seen your cat or dog look under or around objects for a lost toy then yes – you’ve seen that they do understand object permanence.
In this first “Psych Files Brief” episode, we look at whether swearing actually reduces your sensation of pain (ever stub your toe?), whether or not vertical stripes actually do make you look thinner (no surprise – the answer is no), whether you’re more likely to run up that credit card when you’re feeling low, and why is it (and when is it) that yawns become contagious?
You’ve probably heard that the so called “Lie Detector” test (the polygraph ) doesn’t actually detect when you’ve lied, but rather just takes some physiological measures from your body and these have to be interpreted by experts. Sometimes those experts make mistakes. Join me as I describe a psychological study that tested a new kind of “Lie Detector” – drawings. This study involved Agents, Missions, an Interception, and a mysterious “package”. This is psychology? You better believe it.
I’ll bet you’ve heard of the expression, “Whatever doesn’t kill you…”, or “Suffering is good for the soul”. Could these expression represent another way that we deal with our own anxiety after we hear about someone else’s tragedy? Could they be another way of blaming the victim? In this episode I explore the Justice Motive.
Have you watched the TV show Walking Dead or ever seen a movie about Zombies (perhaps Zombieland or Dawn of the Dead)? What is so fascinating about the undead? Why do many of us get a strange pleasure out of seeing a zombie get killed? In this episode I explore that strange part of ourselves which for some reason seems to enjoy watching the undead get really dead.
Can science study love? Are we able to scientifically determine what romance is all about? There seem to be times, particularly when people hold strong beliefs, that we just don’t want to hear what scientists have to say. We talk a lot these days about the importance of objectivity, but are people – even scientists – capable of being objective? In this episode I’ll talk about the scientific impotence excuse. Another interesting cognitive bias we seem to carry around with us.
What do you think of hypnosis? Might you be surprised to hear that hypnosis has been accepted by the American Psychological Association? Hypnosis has a fascinating and controversial history but today it deserves some respect. Still, it’s not a cure-all. Take a trip with me through the history of this fascinating topic on The Psych Files.
f you’ve ever met a famous person you know how exciting that feels. But why? What is it about fame that draws so many people to it? In this episode I examine fame from two very perspectives: the Basking in Reflected Glory theory and Terror Management Theory. Along the way we’ll see what this all has to do with the rock band Queen, baseball and Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
Okay, admit it – you have some kind of lucky charm on you, in your car or in your house. And if you participate in any sport or performance activity you have some sort of ritual that you believe will help make you more successful. Well guess what – there is research to show that such charms and rituals really do help you perform better.
For some reason we believe that our memories are accurate. They are far from it. What we remember is a hodge-podge, a patchwork of images, stories, and bits and pieces from our past. In this episode I describe some of the very interesting research showing how our memories can be manipulated in surprising ways.