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 219: Mental Health Professionals: Why So Liberal?

Surveys find that psychologists tend to align themselves with a liberal political orientation. Why is that? Are liberal-minded people drawn to human service professions or is there something about working in human services that causes people to become more liberal in their political views? In this episode I propose a few ideas that I think explains why mental health professionals tend to be on the liberal side of the political spectrum. I invite your constructive feedback on these suggestions. … [Read more...]

Ep 204: The Psychology of Fundraising

How do you use psychology persuasion techniques to get people to contribute to your cause? That's what I discuss in this episode of The Psych Files - the psychology of fundraising. I'm trying to help my friend raise money and in doing so I employed a number of persuasion strategies to get people to help him out and I'm sure these ideas will be helpful to you as well. We'll look at how Robert Cialdini's ideas can be applied to fundraising and we'll look at other topics you may have studied in a psychology class: goal setting, bystander apathy, and the need to generate excitement in order to … [Read more...]

Ep 201: Mother Nature and Blaming the Victim

We know that many people have a tendency to blame victims even when something tragic and unexplainable happens to them. But did you know how easily this blaming can be triggered? If I were to describe a natural disaster and tell you about "mother nature's wrath" would you be more or less willing to help the victims? I'll also talk about two common occurrences in adolescence: the imaginary audience and the personal fable. Find out more in this episode of The Psych Files. … [Read more...]

Ep 196: What Men Need to Do to End Violence Against Others

Are jail time and new laws the only answers to men's violence against women, children, and other men? Or is there something every man can do to end these tragedies? In an earlier episode of The Psych Files in which I discussed Blaming the Victim, I talked about why there's a tendency to blame victims and to overlook the Optimism Bias that we all share (particularly younger folks). But podcast listener and psychotherapist Jackie Henry felt that I didn't go far enough in that episode, and she was right. We - especially men - need to think carefully about the way we talk about women in our … [Read more...]

Ep 194: What Do I/0 Psychologists Really Do?

What do I/0 psychologists do anyway? Are you interested in this subfield of psychology? Well, here are a few things they DON'T do: they don't do "therapy in the workplace" and they don't do "motivational speaking". It's not what you think. Industrial/Organizational psychology is practiced by professionals who's goal is to make sure that employees are productive and - and here's what I'll focus on in this episode - that job applicants are chosen based upon the skills and personality characteristics that are relevant to the jobs they are applying for. Find out more in this episode of The … [Read more...]

Ep 190: Why Do You Get So Absorbed in that Book (or Movie)?

Experience Taking

Have you ever become so immersed in a book or movie that you actually felt like the character? Or you felt the character's pain or joy? Why does this happen? When does this happen? What is it about the book or the movie and its characters that draws us in like this? It's amazing isn't it? To be so moved like this. Psychologists have studied this experience and we have some ideas regarding what factors have to be present in order for this to happen. And would you believe that this understand might help us to combat racism and bullying? Pretty amazing stuff. Join me as I explore what … [Read more...]

Ep 189: The Psych Files Brief #6 – Facebook Untagging, Money and Happiness, and Memory and Aging

We have some great articles covered in this episode so I hope you find them thought-provoking and leave your comments below! We cover four topics, all of which can be relevant to your everyday life.  Join me and my intern Madison for a fascinating discussion on some new research in psychology. First, a throwback to a previous episode on how to spend your money; experiences only beat out material possessions if they are spent with others. Social settings beat solitary settings every time. … [Read more...]