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Archives for February, 2011

Consumer Behavior

Is the World Out to Get You?

When your car breaks down, do you think of it as being out to get you? When you’re eating Haagen-Dazs for dinner, does your oven seem to glower at you disapprovingly? When you get sick, do you imagine your immune system in hand-to-hand combat with a marauding army?

Social psychologists are interested in our tendency to anthropomorphize inanimate objects. Certainly advertisers are interested in...
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Developmental Psychology

Poor Li’l Narcissists

The narcissist is the modern day bogeyman and we sling around the characterization with impunity--baby boomers are narcissists, kids today are narcissists—assigning blame right and left--it’s the self-esteem movement, helicopter parenting, Facebook.

I don’t think we are a nation of narcissists, as some insist. But certainly narcissists walk among us, wreaking havoc with their impenetrable sense of entitlement, insensitive to others' feelings, failing in relationships...
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Brain Function

Tetris, Take Me Away!

I’m into Sock Dye these days, a Facebook game that gives you a certain number of clicks to turn a field of socks all the same color. I play a couplafew games of Sock Dye every few hours during the day, and at night I wind down with Sock Dye and Jon Stewart.

I’ve been through a Freecell phase, a Word Drop phase, and Tetris is a longtime favorite. My husband has called it “sorbet for...
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Parsing Denial: When We Know Better But Do It Anyway

Here’s a chilling news story, about a father who was texting while driving and rear-ended a pickup, killing one daughter and injuring the other.

This story makes me hyperventilate a little.

Then it makes me think about denial.

What is it that makes us do stupid things we know are dangerous? With all the information out there about the dangers of texting and driving, everything we...
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Brain Function

Carrying a Torch? Here Are Words That Should Douse It

Love is a beautiful thing except when it isn’t.

Most people, when they realize a relationship isn’t working, go through a period of mourning and move on. Then there are the torch carriers—people who pine long past the point of good sense. People who can’t let go even after they’ve been rejected. I know about them. I’ve been there and I've done some casual research on...
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Two Stereotypes: Fat and Happy, Fat and Sad

The Dieticians Association of Australia used new research published in the Australia Health Review to help promote its Healthy Weight Week, which was January 23 to 30th.

The research found that:

Compared with individuals of the same age who were normal weight or overweight, participants aged 45-54 who were obese were more likely to report that emotional problems had affected their work, social or...
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Brain Function

Babies Have to Get Their Way Somehow

New research indicates that babies understand social dominance related to size. Scientists discovered this by showing babies two cartoons in which two blocks with faces come face-to-face. In one cartoon, the smaller block defers to the larger block and steps aside, in the other the larger block steps aside. The babies looked longer at the cartoon in which the large block defers to the small, which indicates that they were surprised by this turn...
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