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Posts tagged psychology facts

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How to Start a Conversation

1. Comment on the location, occasion or event. For example, look around and see if there is anything you could talk about. Examples are something like: “Isn’t this such an incredible view!”, or “Isn’t that a really cute dog!”
2. Ask open-ended questions. Most people love to talk about themselves. An open question requires a more detailed response. That is, something more than of just a simple yes or no. Open questions tend to begin with who, when, what, why, where, and how.
3. Ask the person about their pets. This is a great way start a conversation as people are usually very fond of their pets.
4. Talk about some current events. You’ll need to read or watch the news to help you with this.
5. If you have met the person before, draw on any previous conversations you’ve had. This not only gives you something to talk about, but it also shows that you paid attention when you talked to them before.
6. Try and stick to questions that are easy to answer as that makes the conversation easier for the person. An example might be “what are you doing during the holiday?”
7. Be sensitive about the kinds of questions you ask. They mustn’t be too personal or sensitive in nature. Also, avoid touchy topics, and try to keep things light.

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Some Facts on a Wandering Mind

1. Research shows that our mind wanders about 30% of the time. It occurs regardless of what we are doing – sitting in a lecture, driving the car, cooking dinner, or talking to a friend.

2. Everybody’s mind wanders regularly. It takes concentrated effort to stay on task.

3. Having a wandering mind is different from daydreaming. Day dreaming involves having stray thoughts, random fantasies, or briefly indulges in wishes and “what if” scenarios. In contrast, a wandering mind is where we allow our mind to think about something specific, which is different from the task in front of us right now.

3. A wandering mind can actually be a good thing. It allows part of our brain to focus on one thing while freeing other parts to also think through other goals, responsibilities and tasks.

4. However, a wandering mind can be a bad thing, too. It can cause us to miss important facts and details, and to zone out when something really needs our full, and undivided, attention.

5. Research conducted by the UC, Santa Barbara shows that people whose minds tend to wander more are often more creative and better problem solvers.

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What your Favourite Icecream says about You

I’m not sure the experts would agree with this, but it’s fun to see if your favourite ice-cream provides insights into your personality.

1. Vanilla Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being colorful, adventurous, a risk taker, and an idealist – ironically with a tendency to be dependent upon others. Essentially, you’re a very private person who prefers to hang out with a few close friends. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes rocky road or vanilla ice-cream.
2. Double Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as someone who likes to be the centre of attention. You tend to be rather self-absorbed, and may be over-dramatic at times.  You’re also stylish, vivacious, charming, perhaps a bit flirtatious, and the life and soul of the party. You have a low boredom  threshold and are drawn to novel experiences. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes butter pecan or chocolate chip ice cream.
3.  Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being more withdrawn and introverted. You often find it hard to cope with pressure and stress, and these tend to leave you feeling worn out, overwhelmed and irritable. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes chocolate chip ice cream.
 4. Banana Cream Pie Ice Cream Lovers:  You are described as being balanced, laid back and empathic. You are rarely reactive and generally have a calming influence on people and situations.  Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes vanilla, double chocolate chunk, strawberries and cream, chocolate chip, butter pecan or another banana cream pie ice cream lover.
5.  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being driven, ambitious, organised, competitive, and proactive. You have excellent people skills, and know how to get what you need out of others. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes butter pecan or double chocolate chunk ice cream.
 6. Butter Pecan Ice Cream Lovers:  You are described as being a person of integrity. You like, and abide by, guidelines and rules. You are also smart, conscientious, dependable, reliable and a bit of a perfectionist. You can be competitive - but are also aware of your flaws, weaknesses and shortcomings. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes mint chocolate chip ice cream.
7.  Strawberry Ice Cream Lovers:  You are described as being more of a follower than a leader. You don’t seek, or particularly like, the limelight. However, you make a great team player. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes rocky road, vanilla, mint chocolate chip or strawberry ice cream.
8.  Coffee Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being the kind of person who lives life to the full. You are passionate, enthusiastic, dramatic – and may also be viewed as being seductive and flirtatious. You live in the moment, follow your heart, and tend to rush full steam ahead – and only think about the consequences later on. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes strawberry ice cream.
9.  Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as having a strong cynical streak. You like to know and weigh up all the facts. You are also an analytical thinker, have tendencies towards being contrary and argumentative, and are realistic when setting goals. You’re cautious and careful, especially when it comes to planning for the future. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who also likes mint chocolate chip ice cream.
10.  Rocky Road Ice Cream Lovers: You are warm, friendly, charming and engaging when you are in social situations. However, you’re focused, driven and goal-oriented at work. You also have a tendency to be impatient, and don’t always suffer fools gladly! Your personality is best suited to others who like rocky road ice cream.

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Playing your Colours Right

Blue: Makes the people around you feel at ease. Dark blues are great for interviews and lighter blues for parties and social events.

Red: The colour we associate with passion. Research conducted by the University of Rochester found that men were more attracted to, and turned on by, women who wearing ruby red clothing. Again, this is great for parties – but not always at work.

Purple: This brings out our creativity, and is associated with self confidence, independent thinking and class. Purple is appropriate on almost any occasion.

Black: Conveys authority, so that people see you as being powerful, confident and competent. It is the colour of choice of authority figures (like the police), or for stylists, trend setters and icons.

Orange: This luscious, exuberant colour sends the message that the wearer is friendly, sociable, relaxed, and approachable. It’s great for social events – but not for important business meetings.

Green: This is the colour of happiness and contentment. It can be an instant mood changer, putting others around you at their ease. It is great for all occasions, and can be worn in both the daytime and the evening.

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Some Random Findings from Psychology

1. Men use around 12,500 words a day whereas women use around 22,000 words a day.

2. Having a pet enhances your relationship skills.

3. Laughing reduces stress and helps to strengthen your immune system.

4. Laughter and smiling are contagious

5. Six foods that have been shown to improve your mood include oatmeal, cereal, salmon, milk, dark chocolate and bananas.

6. People who drink a moderate amount are happier than those who abstain from alcohol.

7. Using technology can increase stress and aggression levels.

8. Many animals mourn a loss in the same way as human beings do.

9. Our nose can identify over 50,000 different scents.

10. The human brain is move active in the night than in the daytime.

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Some Brain Facts

1. The brain feels similar to tofu, and contains enough fluid to fill a 1.5-2 litre soda bottle.

2. Archaeological evidence suggests that human brains may have shrunk over time. However, there is nothing to show that humans are less intelligent today compared to previous times.

3. The brain alone consumes about 20% of the oxygen in our blood, and 25% of the glucose. Thus it is a major energy consumer.

4. The human brain has more pronounced wrinkles than the brains of other species. This is linked to more sophisticated neural pathways and higher intellectual functioning.

5. Neurons only make up 10% of our brain cells. The rest is glue holding the neurons together. These other cells also mop up excess neurotransmitters, provide immune protection, and regulate synapse growth and functioning.

6. The brain doesn’t fully mature until we’re in our late teens. Multitasking, empathy and good decision-making are some of the last skills to develop.  

7. The brain never stops changing. It can adapt to damaged nerves, grow new neurons, and form new neural connections.

8. Male and female hormones lead to differences in male and female brain development. For example, brain imaging has revealed general differences in the way both sexes experience, make social decisions and manage stress. However, nurture and environment play an important role as well.

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Some interesting Facts on Personality

We each have our own personality – that unique part of us that makes us who we are. It affects every aspect of our lives - from who we date, to what we study, to what we like to do. So what do we know about personality?

1. Birth order can affect our personality: We discussed this a bit in a previous post. There are traits we associate with being a first born (being bossy, motivated, high achievers or more driven); with being a middle born (being friendly, people pleasers, and quite skilled negotiators); and being a last-born (being amusing, more laid back, and also less responsible). Empirical research supports these norms and trends.

2. There are Five Core Personality Traits: These are measures of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.

3. Personality remains stable through life: The research findings are less conclusive here. It may be that some core traits are less susceptible to change. However, traits which seem less fixed and less stable over time include anxiety levels, friendliness and eagerness for novel experiences.

4. Certain personalities are more prone to disease: There appears to be a link between one of the “big 5 traits” (neuroticism) and proneness to developing headaches, asthma, arthritis, peptic ulcers and heart disease. There is also a link between having a Type A personality (and, in particular, scoring high on the hostility levels) and developing cancer and heart disease.

5. Our personality affects our personal preferences: The impact here is surprisingly far reaching. It includes: our choice of friends and partner, our taste in music, our political preferences, our career choices, our preferred holiday destinations and so on.

6. People can tell your personality from your facebook profile: Interestingly, although you might expect people to project an ideal online identity, research indicates that facebook profiles actually tend to convey our real personality. Sam Gosling, a key psychologist and author, has explained this in the following way: “I think that being able to express personality accurately contributes to the popularity of online social networks in two ways …First, it allows profile owners to let others know who they are and, in doing so, satisfies a basic need to be known by others. Second, it means that profile viewers feel they can trust the information they glean from online social network profiles, building their confidence in the system as a whole.”

7. There are a number of factors that contribute to personality disorders: An estimated 10 to 15% of adults are diagnosed with at least one personality disorder in their lifetime.  Factors contributing to the onset of these include: Genetics, relationships with family and peers, inheriting high levels of sensitivity, childhood abuse and experiencing a trauma.

8. Your pet may reveal your personality: Many people consider themselves to be either a “dog person” or a “cat person”? Research into pet preference and personality indicates that dog lovers tend to be more extroverted and greater people pleasers, whereas cat lovers tend to be more introverted and curious.

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Random Facts on the Body and Mind

1. We learn, and retain new information, better after zoning out, and letting our minds wander briefly.

2. Engaging in physical exercise helps to strengthen our will power. It also lifts our spirits and brightens our mood.

3. Eating outside intensifies our senses so we’re more alert to the smell and taste of food.

4. Washing your hands while you’re thinking through decisions helps you think more clearly, and be more focused.

5. Helping and volunteering brightens our mood, and increases our energy and brain functioning.

6. Having conversations that are meaningful helps us to feel more connected and more fulfilled.

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Psychology and Friendships

The following psychological terms can be used to describe what happens in friendships.

1. Triangles – This is where 2 people strengthen the bond between them, or lessen insecurity and anxiety, by sharing complaints about a friend.

2. Emotional contagion - This is where we pick up the mood of those we are hanging out with. Thus, if they are feeling angry and negative, then we start to feel the same way, too.

3. The exposure effect - This is where people who spend time together find they start to like the same sorts of things (music, food, movies, clothes etc). They also rate each other more highly in terms of how nice or attractive the other person is.

4. The fundamental attribution error - This is where we overestimate the role of character traits and personality factors when someone we know does something wrong or stupid … But we overestimate the role of circumstances when it is us who has done something wrong or stupid!

5. Situation evocation - This refers to the fact that if we act is certain ways, people will respond or react in the same way, which then sets a cycle of “more of the same” in motion. For example, if I joke around, others will start being funny too, and then I’ll reply with something else light hearted and fun … and so on.

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What your favourite ice cream says about you

I’m not sure the experts would agree with this, but it’s fun to see if your favourite ice-cream provides insights into your personality.

1. Vanilla Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being colorful, adventurous, a risk taker, and an idealist – ironically with a tendency to be dependent upon others. Essentially, you’re a very private person who prefers to hang out with a few close friends. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes rocky road or vanilla ice-cream.
2. Double Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as someone who likes to be the centre of attention. You tend to be rather self-absorbed, and may be over-dramatic at times.  You’re also stylish, vivacious, charming, perhaps a bit flirtatious, and the life and soul of the party. You have a low boredom  threshold and are drawn to novel experiences. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes butter pecan or chocolate chip ice cream.
3.  Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being more withdrawn and introverted. You often find it hard to cope with pressure and stress, and these tend to leave you feeling worn out, overwhelmed and irritable. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes chocolate chip ice cream.
 4. Banana Cream Pie Ice Cream Lovers:  You are described as being balanced, laid back and empathic. You are rarely reactive and generally have a calming influence on people and situations.  Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes vanilla, double chocolate chunk, strawberries and cream, chocolate chip, butter pecan or another banana cream pie ice cream lover.
5.  Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being driven, ambitious, organised, competitive, and proactive. You have excellent people skills, and know how to get what you need out of others. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes butter pecan or double chocolate chunk ice cream.
 6. Butter Pecan Ice Cream Lovers:  You are described as being a person of integrity. You like, and abide by, guidelines and rules. You are also smart, conscientious, dependable, reliable and a bit of a perfectionist. You can be competitive - but are also aware of your flaws, weaknesses and shortcomings. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes mint chocolate chip ice cream.
7.  Strawberry Ice Cream Lovers:  You are described as being more of a follower than a leader. You don’t seek, or particularly like, the limelight. However, you make a great team player. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes rocky road, vanilla, mint chocolate chip or strawberry ice cream.
8.  Coffee Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as being the kind of person who lives life to the full. You are passionate, enthusiastic, dramatic – and may also be viewed as being seductive and flirtatious. You live in the moment, follow your heart, and tend to rush full steam ahead – and only think about the consequences later on. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who likes strawberry ice cream.
9.  Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Lovers: You are described as having a strong cynical streak. You like to know and weigh up all the facts. You are also an analytical thinker, have tendencies towards being contrary and argumentative, and are realistic when setting goals. You’re cautious and careful, especially when it comes to planning for the future. Your personality is best suited to the kind of person who also likes mint chocolate chip ice cream.
10.  Rocky Road Ice Cream Lovers: You are warm, friendly, charming and engaging when you are in social situations. However, you’re focused, driven and goal-oriented at work. You also have a tendency to be impatient, and don’t always suffer fools gladly! Your personality is best suited to others who like rocky road ice cream.

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More Brain Facts

1. Nerve impulses in the brain can travel at a speed of 170 miles per hour. Also information travels at different speeds in different types of neuron.

2, The brain generates approximately the same amount of energy as a 10watt light bulb (both when you’re awake and asleep).

3. The human brain is able to store more information than The National Archives of Britain (which contains over 900 years of history).

4. The brain makes up around 2% of body mass but uses 20% of the oxygen in the bloodstream.

5. The brain works harder during the night than during the day.

6. It isn’t possible to tickle yourself as the cerebellum warns other parts of the brain that you are about to tickle yourself. As a result, the brain ignores the sensation.

7. Those who like to ride on roller coasters have a greater risk of developing a blood clot in the brain.

8. Reading aloud to young children stimulates brain development.

9. If the brain releases too much dopamine it can result in the person being unable to experience pleasure.

10. Thinking of the person you’re passionately in love with, causes lights to go on all over the brain.

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Some facts on laughter

1. Laughter is universal. It occurs in every culture across the world.

2. Laughter is an unconscious behaviour. When we try to make ourselves laugh it sounds unnatural and fake. We just can’t force ourselves to laugh on command.

3. We may smile or giggle briefly on our own but, as a general principle, laughing is something we do with others. In fact, research indicates that we laugh 30 times more with others than alone.

4. Laughter is contagious. As soon as babies can smile and laugh, they copy the smiling and laughter of others. That trait continues throughout our lives.

5. Laughter is not actually about humour. It has more to do with social bonding. It is estimated that only 20% of laughter is due to hearing something funny.

6. We typically laugh at the end of a sentence rather than part way through.

7. Humans are not the only animals to laugh. There are even videos of rats laughing in response to being tickled.

8. In groups, the person who is speaking typically laughs twice as often those who are listening.

9. Women laugh twice as often as men.

10. Laughter is related to social status. The higher your position in a group, the less often you laugh.

For more information see: Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, by Robert Provine, 2001.

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