Questions tagged [social-psychology]

For questions about the empirical and theoretical study of how perception, feelings, behavior, and cognition are affected by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. Questions are addressed both from the individual perspective (American school) and group perspective (European school).

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95
votes
6answers
28k views

Why do humans have sex in private?

Human couples usually have sex in private, hidden not only from predators, but also - other humans. It is unlike behavior of most species, including our relatives: bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas. ...
68
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4answers
6k views

What makes people easily subscribe to pseudoscientific theories?

There are many theories/disciplines that have been categorized as pseudoscience in the scientific community. The list includes many things that are regularly even quoted in media like graphology, ...
43
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4answers
4k views

Is the Myer Briggs Type indicator (MBTI) a reasonable scientific theory?

Background: MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It's a theory that suggests that people can be divided into 16 types, based on the way they percieve and analyse information (whether they make ...
39
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5answers
4k views

What is the psychology behind trolling?

For those new to the internet, trolling is an activity where one person intentionally tries to upset other members of the same community, presumably for entertainment. This has been informally ...
24
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3answers
16k views

Intelligence and marriage satisfaction

A recent letter by a Princeton alumni stated: Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition,...
22
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2answers
2k views

Is there a causal connection between repressive sexual morality and antisocial behavior?

Wilhelm Reich believed that certain forms of deviant behavior result mostly or in part from the repressive sexual morality of a society (Reich, 1930). Reich believes that the majority of antisocial ...
20
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1answer
654 views

Evolutionary game theory in the cognitive sciences

Game theory models something very relevant to psychologists (in particular social psychologists): conflict and cooperation between decision-makers. Unfortunately, classical game theory demands that ...
19
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5answers
224k views

Why do people laugh in serious situations?

I've seen people (including myself) that laugh for no apparent reason in really serious situations, such as in an argument or when receiving bad news. Although the other party is clearly very upset, ...
19
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5answers
1k views

Why is storytelling an effective way to transmit information between people?

Parables, fables, myths, whatever you might call them, stories have always been part of human consciousness. Within recent decades, storytelling is recognized as a big component of advertising and ...
18
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2answers
6k views

Why do people avoid taking the last “donut”?

In many contexts (family, colleagues, etc), say there is a box of donuts for people to take (or any kind of treat or snack). A lot of the times we can observe that there will be only one left and ...
18
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3answers
6k views

What is the term for human beings' tendency to obey without thinking?

I'm wanting to read more about a certain human behavior, but I am not sure what the proper term for it is, so some of the things I am finding aren't what I am looking for. I'm interested in how Humans ...
18
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2answers
7k views

Is there a mental condition that makes people unconditionally gullible?

The last several years in my country there has been a string of fraud that involves people, claiming to be police, asking citizens to contribute large sums of money to aid "police investigation". The ...
17
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4answers
474 views

Does straightening your back increase confidence?

Background: I have always felt moderately socially insecure. Today I noticed that when I straighten my back from its normal crestfallen position, I feel a little more confident, and as if I were in ...
17
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9answers
3k views

Can we change our personalities?

In psychology, a difference is made between personality attributes as a state or as a trait. For example, a usually outgoing and sociable person might find himself uncommonly shy in the presence of a ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Why don't people listen to smart people?

Generally speaking, I feel like there are two things everyone can agree on when it comes to intellectuals: They don't know everything. They know more than me (at least about a particular topic). It'...
16
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3answers
11k views

Body Language: Why do we give each other the grumpy/frowning fake smile?

I've recently become aware of this - I kinda knew I was always doing it, but just now it got me self conscious and thinking about it: When crossing paths with a stranger, you are supposed to be ...
15
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4answers
1k views

Do people have a tendency to stick to one opinion after they formed it?

Scytale's assessment, from the science fiction novel "Dune Messiah" (1969) When a creature has developed into one thing, he will choose death rather than change into his opposite. While reading ...
15
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5answers
15k views

Is there an open-source / free official Myers-Briggs assessment I can adopt? [closed]

Background I've got an idea for a web site that uses one's Myers-Briggs type as part of the value. I've seen various web sites offer "quick quizzes" to assess one's MBTI, but I'm not sure how ...
15
votes
2answers
26k views

Why do people suddenly look back if you look at them for a while?

You possibly are familiar with the following situation, I do not know if this is a researched phenomena or not however. You look straight at somebody for some time and suddenly, even though he or she ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Is it true that acting can affect one's behavior?

Is it true that acting can affect one's behaviour? For example, if someone plays a protagonist, can this affect them to be a good person? Is there any solid evidence for this?
15
votes
6answers
29k views

Why do people want what they don't have now?

There are many examples of people wanting what they don't have. For example, a single man may want to have a girlfriend, but after some time of having a girlfriend, he may want to be single again. Or ...
15
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1answer
10k views

Why did Karl Popper criticize Freud's theories?

Why didn't Karl Popper accept Freud's psychological theories and believed that they are not scientific in essence?
14
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3answers
28k views

How can we scientifically measure love?

I want to understand the psychology of love, and I found the Triangular Theory of Love on Wikipedia from this question, which I think is very believable. However, there is a big section on mixed ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Do measures of Big 5 personality have a positive bias towards extraverted, conscientious, emotionally stable, ageeable and open individuals?

Background: One free measures of the Big 5 is the IPIP. I have noticed that IPIP items seem to have a positive bias towards items loading on the extraversion (EX), emotional stability (ES), ...
14
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3answers
1k views

How to predict romantic attraction

Dating websites and psychological researchers attempt to find those factors that predict the fit between potential romantic partners. Examples for factors taken into consideration are the "big five" ...
14
votes
1answer
743 views

At what point does a complex become pathological?

I've a first question so I apologize if the format is completely awry. I'm reading Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature and I came across this passage by Edward C. ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Why do humans like being touched?

Why do people like to be touched so much, why would it make sense from a evolutionary perspective. I know people enjoy hugs and company of opposite sex, but even people from the same sex hug and ...
13
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3answers
13k views

Why do people talk fast in presentations when nervous?

I was at a professional development seminar today, and the presenter, while being interesting and knowing his subject admitted to being nervous and was speaking very fast. I know I do this when I am ...
13
votes
2answers
800 views

Are introverts more talkative in written form than extroverts?

We all know that extroverts are in general more talkative than introverts in oral form. But how about written communication? After having talked with lots of people on the internet and met several of ...
13
votes
1answer
291 views

Food sharing and mutual aid among the homeless

Since the time of Peter Kropotkin, it's been observed and theorized that cooperation and mutual aid are more common in austere environments. A classic biological example would be slime mold spore-...
12
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3answers
5k views

What is the psychology behind male pornographic actors having larger than average penises?

There is a question What does scientific research say about the relationship between penis size and attractiveness? This answer and this link give the statistics of penis size. Given these ...
12
votes
4answers
825 views

What is the name of the bias when one expects you to possess his knowledge?

What is the name of bias or fallacy when, often while in argument, someone expects you to know the same things as he does. Usually, you just say "well, how should have I known that. I'm not inside of ...
12
votes
1answer
249 views

Is post-traumatic stress disorder preventable?

Victims of abuse, people exposed to violent situations repeatedly, and people in war zones can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result. PTSD is very common and has lifelong effects ...
12
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2answers
3k views

What makes someone attractive psychologically?

What makes a person particularly attractive to another person, specifically the opposite sex? Why would the brain evolve this trait to target specific genes (that make someone look pretty), and ...
12
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4answers
921 views

Why do humans cry?

People cry when they experience intense emotions. Crying seems to occur most frequently in intense episodes of sadness and fear, but sometimes also happens when people are very happy or angry. What is ...
12
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2answers
229 views

Measuring the adoption of norms

I'm trying to make a survey and I'm having trouble to find a scale to measure the adoption of norms. The people who fill in the survey have to think about a situation in which they were ashamed. For ...
12
votes
1answer
169 views

Psychology of brand names

Marketers use the fact that different letters are associated with different mental images and emotions when they create brand names. Studies show that letters and their combinations produce different ...
12
votes
1answer
424 views

How do cooperative vs. competitive activities impact the learning patterns of an individual?

To what extent does cooperative versus competitive learning influence personality development or even pathological behaviors? If these activities need to be narrowed down to a specific category, I'm ...
11
votes
1answer
173 views

Does our brain react as if we were physically hurt when we are lied to?

I think I've read somewhere that our brain acts as if we were physically hurt (as if we feel pain) when we catch someone lying to us. I couldn't find anything about it on google, and my memory is not ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What explains involuntary imitation of behavior such as shrugging?

Recently, I watched a discussion program on TV and one of the participants shrugged. I found that, not only did I do the same, but I seemed to do it in synchrony the speaker. I didn't want to do this, ...
11
votes
4answers
116 views

What are the key algorithms for learning optimal behavior of economic agents?

I'm playing around with social learning of near-optimal behavioral rules on a set of agents. The idea is roughly that given an income process (or technology process, depending on the question) an ...
11
votes
1answer
10k views

How is the Stanford Prison Experiment connected to Conformity?

I am still not very clear with what the Stanford Prison Experiment conducted by Zimbardo was trying to conclude about from the experiment. From Wikipedia, it says the conclusion was to: ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Can one “understand” emotions, yet not “feel” them?

Prometheus Viral Clip #3 - David is a good clip of a fictional character in a science-fiction movie that helps frame my question; but I am interested in the general question, not the specifics of this ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Are there emotions that only some people can feel?

Presumably, there are emotions that almost any person can feel, such as happiness, sadness, guilt, and embarrassment. But are there emotions that only a small fraction of the population can feel? ...
11
votes
2answers
431 views

What is the bias/thought process that results in distrust of “formal” knowledge in favor of “folk” knowledge?

An interesting effect I've noticed is that certain groups of people seem to accept "folk knowledge" and value it over significantly better founded "formal" or scientific knowledge. In particular this ...
11
votes
3answers
596 views

Why do people feel the need to make changes to a solution presented by another person?

There is an interesting phenomenon I have come across several times when working with groups, and that is the need some people have to make changes to a solution that someone else created. The ...
11
votes
1answer
245 views

Do readers consider the passive voice as more authoritative?

In the middle of the last century (roughly from the 20s-70s) the passive voice dominated scientific writing; or should it be said that scientific writing was dominated by the passive voice? Nowadays,...
11
votes
1answer
261 views

Do lonely people get addicted more easily than social counterparts?

The so-called "Rat Park" study conducted in the late 1970s indicated that lonely rats get drug addicted more easily than social ones. Does anyone know if there are more recent studies about the topic?...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do teenagers take the internet and cyberbullying so seriously?

Background: I saw this post on the daily Mirror: A girl committed suicide because some users bullied her on ask.fm. I signed up to see what that site is, and it was some Q&A site. So she committed ...
10
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2answers
517 views

Is it possible to become totally envy free?

Can we develop a particular mind set for being totally envy free; to stop envying others?

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