Psychology: We Play Video Games to Chase Our ‘Ideal Selves’

first_imgTime: What exactly is it about video games that holds so much drawing power? Last year, a staggering 500 million video games were sold throughout the world, and, despite some recent slippage earlier in May, the industry as a whole remains one of the biggest, most lucrative markets out there.Now, a new study set to be published in a coming issue of Psychological Science seeks to uncover exactly what it is about video games that attracts such a passionate and dedicated fan base. According to a report out today in Science Daily, the answer lies somewhere beyond mere role playing; it’s actually a desire to find our “ideal selves.”“A game can be more fun when you get the chance to act and be like your ideal self,” says Dr. Andy Przybylski, a research fellow at the University of Essex who led the study. “The attraction to playing video games and what makes them fun is that it gives people the chance to think about a role they would ideally like to take and then get a chance to play that role.”Read the whole story: Timelast_img read more

How Psychology Solved A WWII Shipwreck Mystery

first_imgNPR:In November 1941, two ships crossed paths off the coast of Australia. One was the German raider HSK Kormoran. The other: an Australian warship called the HMAS Sydney. Guns were fired, the ships were damaged and both sank to the bottom of the ocean.The loss of the Sydney in World War II was a national tragedy for the Australians, particularly because none of the 645 men on board survived. In the years that followed, there was intense interest in finding the wrecks, particularly the wreck of the Sydney. The idea was that doing this might give the families of the lost sailors some measure of peace, a sense of closure and certainty.The problem was that the only witnesses to the battle and the sinking were about 300 German sailors who had abandoned their ship after it had been hit. They were eventually picked up by the Australian military.Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

The hotter the woman, the better men think chances are

first_imgmsnbc:Consider Howard Wolowitz and Rajesh Koothrappali.They may be fictional characters on a popular sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory,” but new research suggests there’s a lot of truth in how they interact with women.Wolowitz is a teeny guy with dorky hair and dorky clothes. He’s brilliant and gainfully employed, but on the attractiveness scale, he’s maybe a 2, possibly a 2 ½. Despite his physical shortcomings, though, he imagines every hot woman who glances his way wants to jump his bones. Of course, he’s always wrong.Read the full story: msnbc More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

On Facebook, Bad With the Good

first_imgThe New York Times: Like many women these days, Aran Hissam, 35, of Melbourne, Fla., posted the news that she was pregnant on Facebook. On the morning of an ultrasound last year, she debated on the site whether to learn the baby’s sex, musing “to peek or not to peek?”When she failed to post an update later that day, friends started to contact her. Ms. Hissam decided to return to Facebook to share the news that her unborn baby, a girl, had been found to have fetal hydrops and given no chance of survival.“I wanted to communicate the news to get people off my back,” Ms. Hissam said in a telephone interview recently. Although her husband was at first surprised that she would share such emotional news publicly, she said, Facebook seemed like one of the least difficult ways to get the word out.Read the whole story: The New York Times More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Fans of Losing Teams Are Less Healthy

first_imgDiscovery News:Find yourself heading to the fridge after your favorite NFL team suffers an overtime defeat to a rival?You’re not alone: Researchers found that fans in cities whose teams had lost games on Sunday ate 10 percent more calories the next day, including 16 percent more saturated fat. Fans in cities with a team that won actually ate less than usual: 5 percent fewer calories, and 9 percent less saturated fat, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science.Read the whole story: Discovery News More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

New Research: Rituals Make Us Value Things More

first_imgHarvard Business Review:Rituals in the workplace can reinforce the behaviors we want, create focus and a sense of belonging, and make change stick.  I have gone on and on in the past about the benefits of established rituals and routines for personal productivity – how they capitalize on our brains’ ability to direct our behavior on autopilot, allowing us to reach our goals even when we are distracted or preoccupied with other things. And there are plenty of companies who’ve been smart enough to harness this power. At Google, for example, new employees have a ritual now made famous by the Vince Vaughn/ Owen Wilson film The Internship­ – they wear beanie hats in the Google logo colors with propellers on top that say “Noogler.”  Far from feeling ridiculous, Google employees feel that the ritual of the Noogler hat marks them as part of an exclusive group.But new research demonstrates that the power of rituals goes even further – they can increase our perception of value, too.  In other words, if employees perform rituals as part of their jobs, they are likely to find their jobs more rewarding.  And if consumers use a ritual to experience your product, they are likely to enjoy it more and be willing to pay more for it.Kathleen Vohs and Yajin Wang of the Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota, along with Francesa Gino and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School, conducted a series of studies looking at how ritual changed the experience of consuming a variety of foods.Read the whole story: Harvard Business Review More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Meet the woman who can’t feel fear

first_imgThe Washington Post:Fear is one of our most basic evolutionary instincts, a sudden physical jolt to help us react to danger more quickly. In the modern world, fear often seems excessive — in the absence of wild animals to flee, we’re left screaming over roller coasters and scary movies. But for at least one woman, fear is unobtainable. And while she lives a normal life, her fearlessness is actually a handicap.The researchers who study her keep her closely guarded, using the code-name “SM” when publishing papers about her brave brainpower. And until this year, she’d never been interviewed.On this week’s episode of “Invisibilia,” a new podcast from NPR, that changed. But SM didn’t pop into the studio for her radio debut. This unprecedented access still came with the buffer of one of her doctors (University of Iowa neuroscientist Daniel Tranel), who conducted and recorded the interview before passing it along to “Invisibilia.”Read the whole story: The Washington Post More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Read—Don’t Just Talk—to Your Kids

first_imgPacific Standard:It’s no big surprise that young children first learn language by listening to adults talk to them. Nor is it a surprise that reading aloud to kids is important to their success, both in school and work. What might be a bit more surprising: Picture books have, on average, around 70 percent more unique words than conversations directed at kids, according to a new study, suggesting that reading to kids could help improve their vocabularies.“A large literature indicates that talk directed to the child—rather than adult-adult or background talk—is the core data on which early language learning depends,” Indiana University psychologists Jessica Montag, Michael Jones, and Linda Smith write in Psychological Science, and research on early language learning has focused much attention on conversations between parents and children. At the same time, a few studies have shown a link between parents reading to their children and early vocabulary learning, though no one seems to have investigated exactly why that is.Read the whole story: Pacific Standard More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more


first_imgBBC Radio 4:Professor Philip Tetlock explains why his newly discovered elite group of so-called Superforecasters are so good at predicting global events.Read the whole story: BBC Radio 4 More of our Members in the Media >last_img

The Cheater’s High And Other Reasons We Cheat

first_imgNPR:This week on Hidden Brain, we take on cheating.Lying and deception are part of being human. And it begins from a very young age. In fact, YouTube is filled with videos of imaginative children trying out little lies, usually to get out of trouble. We at Hidden Brain were taken with this brother/sister duo, Jackson and Reagan, as their mom interrogated them to find out who marked up the wall.…Professor Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School has found in her research that people tend to be more forgiving of unethical behavior if it is creative (or in this case, cute). This is something she’s also found in her own life as the mother of a 3-year-old.“I find myself looking at my son sometimes deceiving me, telling me the light on his alarm clock is on when I know that it’s not,” she says. “And I want to reward the creative excuses and descriptions of his behavior. But at the same time I feel like it’s deception and it should be punished.”Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more