Archive | psychology

The Curious Case of Clever Hans

Long before Mr. Ed, the talking horse, Clever Hans was a horse who apparently could understand human language and answer mathematical questions. In the late 1800s, a German high school mathematics instructor named Wilhelm Von Osten believed humans had underestimated animal intelligence and that animals could learn to read or count. Von Osten’s initial attempts…

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The Parable of the Kid and the Barber

A few years ago I read psychologist Walter Mischel’s book, “The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control,” which provides recommendations on how to substantially increase your ability to control your impulses, including: Create good habits Visualize long-term consequences Disassociate from situations so they are less personal This strategy even managed to teach self-control to Sesame Street’s Cookie…

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How Bad Is Double-Dipping?

With a little more couch time than normal this flu season, I binge-watched some new TV series and rewatched some classics. After seeing George Costanza double-dip a chip during a wake, I started to wonder – is it really “like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!” Here’s the scene from a 1993 episode…

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The 90-Minute Rule

“Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.” – Tony Schwartz (source) In the late 1950’s, researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman documented that humans sleep in 90-minute cycles – from light to deep sleep and back to light sleep again. Professor Kleitman later discovered…

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The Myth of the Seven-Eleven Rule

Ever heard about the Seven-Eleven Rule? Neither had I. The seven-eleven rule is based on the belief that people make eleven decisions about a person in the first seven seconds after meeting them. Apparently, the eleven conclusions you make are the following: Education Level Economic Level Perceived Credibility, Believability, Competence and Honesty Trustworthiness Level of…

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Do mobile phones cause you to trust less?

If you use your smart phone frequently, you’re less likely to trust strangers. Kostadin Kushlev of the University of Virginia and Jason Proulx of the University of British Columbia came to this conclusion by analyzing data from the most recent World Values Survey. The World Values Survey is a U.S. nationally-representative poll in which participants…

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