Social Psychology

The Thoughtful Animal

Category archives for Social Psychology

My latest piece for LAist just went up: Retail therapy: It’s the answer for almost any problem. Girlfriend broke up with you? Didn’t get that promotion? Buy yourself something pretty. People like to shop, especially for high-status items, when they’re feeling down. Decades of research has indicated that when a key feature of one’s identity…

Welcome to the third installment of Animal Territoriality Week. See part 1 here, and part 2 here. In 1994, a disease called sarcoptic mange swept through Bristol’s fox population, severely crippling the population and killing most of the individuals. Professor Stephen Harris of the University of Bristol, who had been studying the movements and territories…

Welcome to Territoriality Week! Every day this week, I’ll have a post about some aspect of animal or human territoriality. How do animals mark and control their territories? What determines the size or shape of an animal’s territory? What can an animal’s territory tell us about neuroanatomy? Today, I begin by asking two questions: first,…

PsychBytes is an experiment: three recent findings in psychology, each explained in three paragraphs or less. Generally, these are papers that I wouldn’t have otherwise covered in this blog. Please share your thoughts on this model in the comments. What works, and what doesn’t? Would you like more PsychBytes in the future? What’s In A…

“At home, a young man should be dutiful towards his parents; going outside, he should be respectful towards his elders.” -Confucius (Chinese philosopher, 551-479 BCE) “Your real boss is the one who walks under your hat.” -Napoleon Hill (American author, 1883-1970) Those two quotations reflect a cultural difference in how people construct their own conceptions…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Painstaking scientific research has identified seven dating tips that could boost your chances on Valentine’s Day … including shouting in his right ear and scaring him witless. Whether or not you have a Valentine this year, head on over to check out to my latest piece in The Guardian: Valentine’s Day dating tips from lovestruck…

What’s the best way for a lonely guy to get a date? If you’re a Splendid Fairy-Wren (Malurus splendens, native to Australia), your best bet might be to frighten the object of your affection. You’ve learned all about the birds and the bees; now it’s time to learn from them. Lots of research has shown…

If there is one book that every human should read, it is The Invisible Gorilla, by Chris Chabris and Dan Simons. I suppose that’s a pretty bold statement to make. Let me explain. As a student of psychology, and as someone who studies and writes about the mind, I am overwhelmed with the general perception…

I’ve been watching with interest a recent kerfuffle involving a relatively new blog in the sciblogosphere, Academic Jungle, which is written by the pseudonymous blogger GeekMommyProf. Prof-Like Substance has already written a good summary of recent events, so I won’t duplicate his efforts. Instead, I’ll duplicate his text! (Bracketed bold text inserted by me): GeekMommyProf…

If you’re a regular reader of Peter and Travis’s blog, Obesity Panacea, you may have heard one of their semi-regular blogcasts. Well, since Peter is traveling the world (read about it here), Travis asked me to join him for a blogcast. While discussing topics that we could discuss, a sent a few links and papers…