Posted on Leave a comment

10 Strange Facts About Psychology

The color red can increase a person’s appetite.

People who daydream more tend to have higher intelligence.

The average person has about 70,000 thoughts per day.

Music has been shown to reduce pain and anxiety, and improve mood.

People with higher levels of education are more likely to experience sleep paralysis.

The scent of lavender has been found to reduce stress and improve sleep quality.

Multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%.

The “bystander effect” refers to the tendency for individuals to be less likely to help someone in need when other people are present.

People who swear more tend to be more honest.

The brain’s hippocampus, responsible for memory, is larger in London taxi drivers due to their extensive knowledge of the city’s streets.

Smiling, even if forced, can actually improve your mood.

People are more likely to remember negative memories over positive ones, due to the brain’s negativity bias.

In order to help us successfully navigate life, the negativity bias keeps us aware of things that we may need to change or avoid. Positive events are unimportant in survival.

The “placebo effect” refers to the phenomenon where a person experiences a perceived improvement in symptoms after receiving a treatment with no therapeutic value.

Playing video games can improve hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.

The fear of public speaking, known as glossophobia, affects about 75% of people.

Humans are hardwired to remember faces more easily than names.

People who sleep on their left side have more vivid dreams.

A study found that people are more likely to take risks in a casino if they have to walk past a person smoking, due to the association of smoking with risk-taking behavior.

The brain releases dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical, when we receive social media notifications.

The “butterfly effect” suggests that small, seemingly insignificant events can have far-reaching consequences.

Listening to sad music can actually improve your mood by allowing you to process and regulate emotions.

People tend to overestimate their abilities in unfamiliar areas, a phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Nostalgia can counteract feelings of loneliness, boredom, and anxiety.

People are more likely to comply with a request if it is made in a quieter voice.

The smell of chocolate can increase theta brain waves, which are associated with relaxation.

People are more likely to remember information that is presented in a visually appealing format.

The “mere exposure effect” suggests that the more we are exposed to something, the more we tend to like it.

A study found that the anticipation of a vacation can bring more happiness than the vacation itself.

The brain can rewire itself through neuroplasticity, allowing for learning and adaptation throughout life.

Posted on Leave a comment

Psychologist Jokes

How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change.

Why did the psychologist become a gardener? Because he wanted to help people “grow.”

Why did the psychologist become a chef? Because he wanted to “analyze” food for thought.

Why did the psychologist bring a spoon to work? To help his patients “dig deep” into their issues.

What do you call a group of psychologists? A “psycho-babble” of psychologists.

Why did the psychologist always carry a mirror? To help his patients “reflect” on themselves.

How many psychologists does it take to screw in a light bulb? None, the light bulb will change when it’s ready.

Why did the psychologist become an artist? He wanted to paint people’s “emotional landscapes.”

What do you call a psychologist who also acts? A “psycho-dramatist.”

What do you call a psychologist who specializes in canine behavior? A “dogtor” of psychology.

Why did the psychologist bring a broom to work? To sweep away his patients’ “mental clutter.”

What’s a psychologist’s favorite dance move? The “Freudian slip.”

Why did the psychologist bring a telescope to work? To help his patients gain a “clearer” perspective.

Why did the psychologist become a magician? Because he loved making people’s issues “disappear.”

Why did the psychologist bring a stopwatch to work? To help his patients “track” their progress.

What’s a psychologist’s favorite dessert? “Sigmund Freud” cake — it’s layered with deep meaning.

Posted on Leave a comment

Three Crazy Words

Three very common words do not usually have the effect you’d expect.

When you say “don’t,” you are setting up a situation that is the opposite of what you literally say. For instance, if I tell you, “Don’t think about dragons,” what happens? Right, you immediately think about dragons. It seems that on some level, the mind understands that whatever follows “don’t” is important, but the “don’t” part itself is not emphasized. It’s as if parents who tell their children, “don’t put your milk so close to the edge of the table,” are asking for trouble. Teachers who tell their students “don’t run” are almost commanding them to run.

In NLP, you can use this aspect of “don’t,” to help people focus on new thoughts or behaviors. One of the most powerful uses is at the end of a session when you can offer a hypnotic suggestion such as this: “And, don’t be surprised if in the next few days, you’ll have wonderful revelations born out of our conversation today.”

“But” is a word that also has a special effect. Any part of a sentence before the word “but” is pretty much wiped out by whatever follows. For instance, if I tell someone, “I like what you wrote, but the last paragraph confuses me,” guess what happens? Right again! All the person hears is the critique. The entire complimentary part of the sentence is lost.

Another such word is “why.” When you ask “why” you get ‘story.’ Asking “why” is like an invitation or a challenge to defense – it puts the person who is asked in a space where they have to try to tell you “why,” on a conscious level, and this is often counter-productive. A better question is “How,” or something like, “What let you know to…” or “When…”

Posted on 1 Comment

How to Cinch a Job Interview

Using a combination of the techniques below, mostly borrowed from the techniques of NLP, you’ll be far more successful at a job interview. You don’t have to use them all. Pick the ones you like. The more you use, the better your chances.

1. Take a moment to imagine the interviewer’s perspective. It may be that this person is protecting her team from an ‘intruder’ or that this person is desperately looking for a new friend. You’ll be able to better identify the interviewer’s motives as the interview progresses. By understanding the interviewer’s needs, you may be able to present yourself as suiting those needs.

2. Build rapport through mirroring posture. When you see the interviewer take a certain position, copy that position as much as possible several seconds or a minute later. For instance, if the interviewer crosses his ankles, cross your ankles. Use mirror image, as opposed to using the same side of your body. So, if you’re facing the interviewer, and she puts her right hand on the table, and her left in her lap, then you can put your left hand on the table, and your right in your lap after perhaps seven seconds.

You would think that the person being mirrored would feel mocked. In fact, they almost never consciously notice, unless your gestures are overdone, or done immediately. And if they do notice, they feel complimented. You can try this with friends. Next time you are with friends, mirror them, and see what they do. Interestingly, the unconscious reaction is one of comfort, or rapport. The people being mirrored feels that you are like them in some fundamental way.

Another advantage of mirroring is that it puts you a bit on the interviewer’s map. This means you start to feel like the interviewer just a bit, and can better identify with their situation. Rapport works both ways.

3. You can also mirror gestures. This works best if done at least a few seconds after the interviewer’s gestures. Again, you’d be surprised how much this is not noticed, even with big, grand gestures, yet it can make the interviewer feel more comfortable with you. If there is not room to gesture as big as the interviewer, or if you feel that your gesture would be overdone if as big as the interviewer’s, you can make the same movement, but smaller.

Many times gestures point to specific areas relative to the interviewer’s body. The interviewer may be imagining an event in the past as over her shoulder, or a co-worker to her right or something heard is indicated by gesturing near the interviewer’s ears. When you mirror these gestures, indicating the same general position, it makes the interviewer feel ‘understood’, and in the case of a job interview, that’s a good thing!

You get bonus points if you can match a gesture with backtracking.

4. Backtracking is repeating key words or phrases. A recent popular trend called ‘active listening’ teaches that you can indicate that you understand a speaker by using your own words to state back what you heard. This may have a bit of merit, but backtracking works much better. You’re looking for words that stick out in the conversation a bit. They may be pronounced more loudly, slowly, consonants may be emphasized. A few seconds later, you want to incorporate these words or phrases in your conversation verbatim. For instance, you may notice the interviewer has said the word, “crazy” twice and rather loudly. You may not even know exactly what he means by ‘crazy.’ Still, if you use crazy in a sentence, ideally with the same inflection, the interviewer will unconsciously think you understand him perfectly.

5. If practical, ask for a tour. For the interviewer to have you in the work area, makes him comfortable with your presence, and starts him in a thinking process in which you are already included in the work area.

6. Turn the interview around. Most people in a hiring position have feelings about their work. They may be proud of the team, disappointed in the product, etc. Feel free to interview the interviewer. This gives them a chance to vent, show off, whatever they like, to you, their prospective new employee. You’ll get many points if you can cause them to digress into a long chat about their working life. You’ll become their friend. If you were hiring, who would you rather pick, a stranger, or a friend?

7. If you are asked a technical question to test your grasp of the work required, such as, “What color is ff0000,” and if you don’t know the answer, there is no need for panic. You can simply state, “I don’t know the answer off-hand, but I certainly know how to find out.”

8. Notice words or phrases that indicate the person’s primary mode of sensing the world. If the person says he likes the way something looks or ‘everything appears’ a certain way, then you can sprinkle similar visual ‘predicates’ into your replies. The speaker is likely to use visual, auditory, feeling or neutral predicates.

9. You might want to consider ‘meta-programs.’ Typical meta-programs are “away from / toward,” or “global / detail.” You may notice that the interviewer is always considering the big picture and his eyes glaze over when you talk about details. Or, the interviewer is always ‘moving forward,’ not ‘running away’ from a goal. You can modify your replies to work in the same meta-program, and/or an appropriate one. For instance, if the interviewer is looking to fill a detail-oriented job, such as one involving paperwork, you might want to use detail-based concepts in your conversation, instead of global ones, which would indicate to the interviewer that you are likely to be lost in the big picture and not able to complete the details properly.

10. Speak a bit with everyone around you, if you can, and practice these same techniques with them. They may be consulted by the interviewer after you’ve left, so you want them to be your friends also.

11. Enjoy the process. How often do you get to be interviewed? It may be a long time before you get this chance again, so you might as well have fun!

Posted on Leave a comment

The Dark Side of NLP

The NLP section of this website wouldn’t be complete without a look at the dark side of NLP. Oh yes, in the same way that a pickup truck can be used to carry food, or bombs, NLP is a toolkit that can be used nicely – or not.

The following is a list of the ways NLP can be used badly, the shortfalls, and everything else negative about NLP of which your editor is aware. After you read this page, you can consider yourself well-informed and make your own decisions. In my opinion, when NLP is used by well-meaning people, beautiful things can happen which make the world a better place, and that outweighs this stuff here.

* NLP can be used by salespeople who have only one goal – to sell their product to unsuspecting citizens. (On the other hand, when used by scrupulous salespeople, NLP can enhance the communication so the customer gets exactly what is wanted, and both parties win.)

* NLP is not a sufficient toolkit for people who have serious mental illness. Too often, NLP practitioners start to think of themselves as psychologists or even psychiatrists, and take on everything – with varying results.

* Regression may be dangerous, especially if attempted by an inexperienced programmer. Imagine getting a subject who has no conscious memory of incest at an early age. The programmer helps the subject remember that, but cannot guide the subject gracefully through the adjustment necessary to accommodate the new-found memory. I have never heard of this happening, but imagine it could be a possibility. Along the same lines, there is a concept called “faux memories,” in which the subject ‘remembers’ things that never actually happened, which can potentially damage family relations.

* NLP does not require a license or even certification. In America and many other countries, anyone can legally call themselves an NLP practitioner, even if all they did was read “NLP for Dummies.” Of course, I don’t think I’d actually want licensing. NLP is too wide a range of techniques, and too subject to individual interpretation to standardize. It also infringes on a basic freedom, imposing testing and paperwork. You may or may not agree with me, but I think you can see the potential for problems with total lack of regulation. If you haven’t seen the movie Mumford, check it out – I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s about a mental health practitioner of some sort… well, I won’t tell you the story.

* A programmer who doesn’t really have the spirit of NLP could make things worse instead of better. Some people might forget to honor the present state, the subject, the subject’s parents, and so on, resulting in all sorts of small damage to relationships.

* There is a minor stigma on NLP. Occasionally you’ll run into people who don’t want to have anything to do with NLP, having memories or having heard stories of an NLP session that went badly, or a practitioner with evil intentions.

* The “programming” part of the term Neuro-linguistic programming sounds like a dangerous cult thing to some people.

* Not all sessions are super-successful. Sometimes subjects may feel they didn’t get their money’s worth, or the programmer may feel ineffective.

* NLP is often critiqued for not being original. Although there have been many original additions, NLP started out as a compilation of what works from the various field of psychology and personal development. Isn’t it interesting that that’s a critique?