61

There are two great TED talks that together help shed some light on your question: David Deutsch (2005) "A new way to explain explanation", and Richard Dawkins (2009) "Why the universe seems so strange" At a fundamental level, science is about explanation (and sometimes using that explanation to make predictions). Thus, to most people, science is useless ...


19

In short, no. Perry's essay is amusing and compelling, but incomplete. Procrastination is an epiphenomenon of motivation, an active area of research which has some models relevant to the study of procrastination, such as: Hyperbolic Discounting Temporal Motivation Theory Rational Choice Theory Expectancy Theory Perry emphasizes task importance as the ...


16

TL;DR: tons of support (and complications) at each level. One sequence can't fit all (it didn't claim to), but it makes sense in general, and so do the exceptions, and so do other motive models. Check out Kenrick and colleagues' (2010) recent article. Kenrick is a prominent evolutionary psychologist; he and his colleagues have "renovated" Maslow's motive ...


13

Obedience The most famous paper dealing with this issue is Milgram's paper, called Behavioral study of obedience[1]. From the abstract: This article describes a procedure for the study of destructive obedience in the laboratory. It consists of ordering a naive subject to administer increasingly more severe punishment to a victim in the context of a ...


13

It's an interesting phenomenon, and I think it can be seen in many other domains beyond lifts. At least where I live, pedestrian crossings have buttons, which I've seen people repeatedly press. You can see it often on computers and other digital devices when the system does not immediately respond to user input. Basic Bayesian Rational Actor My starting ...


12

There are now many full-length books that focus on this deep, complex question about human nature/psychology and note newer/ongoing/active research in the area, some of it cited in them. Why people believe weird things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time Shermer and Gould Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud Park ...


11

Probably the most striking evidence of "happiness homeostasis" is a now classic study by Brickman, Coates and Bulman (1978) which compared the self-reported happiness of lottery winners and accident victims with a control group. The following quote describes the part of the outcome you'd be interested in succinctly: Lottery winners and controls were not ...


11

This is more along the lines of novelty. As you mentioned, once you have it, you want something else you don't have and on and on and on it goes. Reason being, once a subject acquires the object longed and desired for, the novelty level within the subject is diminished and must be refilled. To be more specific, what needs to be refilled is dopamine. ...


11

If you take a look at games like minecraft, they have quite a lot of players who do not work (students, college students, etc). These people first mine thousands of blocks, then rearrange them in a creative way. There's absolutely no need to do so, it is entirely voluntary, yet people end up moving hundreds of thousands of blocks to do something creative or ...


10

Could you be talking about conformity: e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformity and/or groupthink http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink ? In addition to the famous Milgram studies which you may have already heard about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment There's quite a lengthy literature on these issues but those links should get ...


10

This was much longer than I expected! There's quite a bit of ground to cover, but I try to go over it quickly. So, there are two implicit theoretical assumptions in your question: We have an "affect program" for fear in our brain (e.g., Ekman & Cordaro, 2011). When the fear program is activated, a specific pattern of changes in experience, behavior, ...


9

This effect has been termed Overjustification effect and was originally reported by Lepper, Greene & Nisbett (1973) who studied the influence of rewards on intrinsic motivated behavior. Some theories hypothesize that the reward reduces the feeling of self-determination, which in turn reduces intrinsic motivation, because the reward induces the feeling ...


8

Perhaps people are attracted to these theories in part because of the inability for mainstream science to answer anomalies. The occasion of governmental lying, hiding of technology, and corruption, helps reinforce the idea that there exists real Science that is not known to the mainstream. In the absence of trust, people contemplate the ...


8

It's an interesting question, I imagine the desire is multifaceted and that it may reflect multiple desires and multiple activities. In particular, I'd distinguish between (a) the desire for a viewing experience and (b) the desire to get to the top and achieve goals. Desire to Climb There are many examples of people taking joy in climbing. This can be ...


8

Although it would be hard to experiment on dead peasants, I believe that the Status Quo Bias promotes the idea that laziness is a human trait. You can see the orignal research here, or just google the term. Samuelson, W., & Zeckhauser, R. (1988). Status quo bias in decision making. Journal of risk and uncertainty, 1(1), 7-59.


8

[This started as a comment but became really long, hence an answer.] The hostility is real but the premise that more than a small minority of people forgo “working” by laziness is in fact very questionable, in several ways. People might dream of winning the lottery but there is very little evidence that they generally avoid “work”. In fact, with the same ...


8

Increasing Concentration A method that is geared espeacially towards reading scientific texts is SQ3R. SQ3R is short for survey, question, read, recite and review. So instead of "just reading" a text, one is supposed to survey it first to grasp the basic outline by reading the abstract, introduction or table of contents formulate questions as to what it ...


8

Multiple causes of not reading instructions As @crash notes, there are likely many explanations for not reading instructions. It may be motivated by not caring about task performance. And such dispositions may be specific to the particular task or setting, or they might be partially related to some general disposition of the individual in terms of ...


7

Yes. See contra-freeloading or (for humans) ikea effect. Contrafreeloading: (verb) The behavior in which animals offered the choice between eating food provided to them for free or working to get that food would eat the most food from the source that required effort. This term was created in 1963 by animal psychologist Glen Jensen. Jensen ran a study on ...


7

Ethics of Feedback: The APA's code of ethics (2010) as well as the Advisory Group on Conducting Research on the Internet (AGCRI) report (2004) summarize ethical issues related to conducting offline and online psychological research. Feedback is normal in psychological experiments, and researchers are encouraged to debrief participants, before, immediately ...


7

Annoyingly, it depends what area of the research literature you happen to find yourself in. In the perception literature, the distinction lies between subliminal and supraliminal. In the memory and learning literature, the distinction lies between implicit and explicit. In dual-process decision-making theories, the distinction lies between automatic and ...


7

You might find Self Determination Theory interesting, which takes a detailed look the concept of motivation. Even if you don't explicitely mention it in your question, you seem to be refering to the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which is a distinction that is traditionally made with respect to motivation. In SDT this is taken a ...


7

A possible way to try to answer this, is to analyze usage of words such as lazy versus words such as diligent over the years. As a toy example, I used Google Ngram viewer to compare the frequency in which the words lazy, indolent and slothful are used in the main part of a sentence, to the frequency in which the words diligent, industrious, and laborious are ...


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