Ep 221: The Facebook Experiment: Reaction from Psychologists

Facebook Experiment on Social Contagion

You may have heard that Facebook manipulated the content of user's New Feeds during January of 2012 so that some users saw more positive posts than others, which other Facebook users saw more negative posts. They interpret this as an indication of Social Contagion on a massive scale (almost 700,000 Facebook users were part of the study). How did this affect these users? Did those who say negative posts become more negative and vice versa? The answer is that the research indicates that some of them - though a very, very few of them - did subsequently write posts that were similar to the ones … [Read more...]

Ep 211: Is a Little Deception Okay? Paid Crowds and Native Advertising

crowds for hire

We face more moral "dilemmas" in everyday life than maybe we don't realize. How do we resolve them? In this episode I discuss two interesting moral dilemmas: a) should you employ for-hire crowds of actors to attend your event in order to make it look like you're more popular than you really are? and b) should you place your advertisements on web and print pages in such a way that they don't really look like ads at all? I discuss the moral questions involved in "native advertising". You'll find some unique examples of Kohlberg's stages of moral development. … [Read more...]

Episode 69: Personal Space Invasions – Ethical Implications of one of Psychology’s Strangest Studies

Famous Study Involving Watching Men at Urinals

Remember the psychological study conducted in a men's toilet? In the 1970s men were videotaped as they urinated - without their knowing it. Think this sounds weird? Unethical? What exactly were they looking to find out? We revisit this study and take a close look at what the critics say and what the authors themselves have to say in response. A fascinating look at the ethics, informed consent and research in psychology. Resources for this Episode Personal Space Invasions - this is episode 16 in which I first discussed this strange but memorable study. The article discussed in this … [Read more...]

Episode 50: Psychological Study Ripped Straight from….the Bible?

How many scientific studies find their inspiration from a parable in the bible? Well, this one does and for my 50th episode I'll go over a very interesting study based on the Good Samaritan parable. We'll take another look at the topic of bystander intervention by asking the question: are people more likely to help someone if they are thinking "pious" thoughts at the time? [adsenseyu2] After reviewing the study I'll take a look at a couple articles that cite the good Samaritan parable and ask the question: what does the results of this study imply about the value of character education, … [Read more...]

Episode 20: Conflict Resolution: A Classic Psychological Study

Conflict Resolution: what do gangs, asteroids, a giant octopus and little boys at a summer camp in Robber's Cave State Park in 1954 have in common? This study was carried out years ago by Henry Tajfel and led him to the very important concept called Social Identity theory. Find out this week as we take a look at a study which taught us a great deal about intergroup conflict and resolution. This well known study also helps shed light on one of the roots of racism. This week on The Psych Files. [adsenseyu2] Resources for this Episode The article on conflict resolution: Sherif, M., … [Read more...]

Episode 16: Personal Space Invasion: What Happens When Someone Invades Your Personal Space?

Do feel slightly uncomfortable in the bathroom? How does the presence of others in the bathroom affect you? What about places other than the bathroom? How close is too close? A psychological study was done in 1976 in which psychology researchers hid in men's bathrooms to observe...well, you'll find out. Learn more about personal space in this episode of The Psych Files. The article discussed in this episode: Middlemist, R. D., Knowles, E. S. & Matter, C.F. (1976). Personal Space Invasions in the Lavatory: Suggestive Evidence for Arousal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, … [Read more...]