Tuesday, December 08, 2015

10 Psychological Effects of Nonsexual Touch

A simple (nonsexual) touch can increase compliance, helping behaviour, attraction, and signal power.
To get around in the world, we mainly rely on our eyes and ears.
Touch is a sense that’s often forgotten.
But touch is also vital in the way we understand and experience the world.
Even the lightest touch on the upper arm can influence the way we think.
To prove it, here are 10 psychological effects which show just how powerful nonsexual touch can be.

1. Touch for money

A well-timed touch can encourage other people to return a lost item.
In one experiment, users of a phone booth who were touched were more likely to return a lost dime to an experimenter (Kleinke, 1977).
The action was no more than a light touch on the arm.
People will do more than that though; people will give a bigger tip to a waitress who has touched them (Crusco & Wetzel, 1984).
(Stop giggling at the back there!)

2. Touch for help

People are also more likely to provide help when touched.
In one study, strangers who were touched lightly on the arm were more likely to help an experimenter pick up things they had dropped (Gueguen, 2003).
The percentage of people who helped went up from 63% to 90%.

3. Touch for compliance

The power of a light touch on the upper arm often extends more broadly to compliance.
In a study by Willis and Hamm (1980), participants were asked to sign a petition.
While 55% of those not touched agreed to sign it, this went up to 81% of those participants touched once on the upper arm.
A second study asked people to fill in a questionnaire.
The same touch increased compliance from 40% to 70%.

4. Touch twice for more compliance

And you can increase compliance with a second light touch on the arm.
Vaidis and Halimi-Falkowicz (2008) tried this out when asking people in the street to complete a questionnaire.
Those touched twice were more likely to complete the questionnaire than those touched once.
The effects were strongest when men were touched by a female surveyor.

5. Or, touch for a fight!

However, the acceptability of touch, especially between men, depends a lot on culture.
When Dolinski (2010) carried out a compliance experiment in Poland, he got quite different results for men and women.
In Poland men asked to do the experimenter a favour reacted badly to a light touch on the arm.
This seemed to be related to higher levels of homophobia. Women, however, still reacted positively to touch.

6. Touch to sell your car

Unlike Poland, France has a contact culture and touching is acceptable between two men.
So French researchers Erceau and Gueguen (2007) approached random men at a second-hand car market.
Half were touched lightly on the arm for 1 second, the other half weren’t.
Afterwards those who had been touched rated the seller as more sincere, friendly, honest, agreeable and kind.
Not bad for a 1-second touch.
We can safely assume the results would have been quite different in Poland!

7. Touch for a date

You won’t be surprised to hear that men show more interest in a woman who has lightly touched them.
But here’s the research anyway: Gueguen (2010) found men easily misinterpreted a light nonsexual touch on the arm as a show of sexual interest.
Perhaps more surprisingly women also responded well to a light touch on the arm when being asked for their phone number by a man in the street (Gueguen, 2007).
This may be because women associated a light 1 or 2-second touch with greater dominance.
(Bear in mind, though, that this research was in France again!)

8. Touch for power

Touch communicates something vital about power relationships. Henley (1973) observed people in a major city as they went about their daily business.
The people who tended to touch others (versus those being touched) were usually higher status.
Generally we regard people who touch others as having more power in society (Summerhayes & Suchner, 1978).

9. Touch to communicate

Touch comes in many different forms and can communicate a variety of different emotions.
Just how much can be communicated through touch alone is demonstrated by one remarkable study by Hertenstein et al. (2006).
Using only a touch on the forearm, participants in this study tried to communicate 12 separate emotions to another person.
The receiver, despite not being able to see the toucher, or the touch itself, were pretty accurate for anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude and sympathy.
Accuracy ranged from 48% to 83%.
To put it in context, that is as good as we can do when we can see someone’s face.

10. Massage for maths

So, if you can do all that with a touch, imagine what you could do with a massage!
Well, one study has found that it can boost your maths skills (Field, 1996).
Compared with a control group, participants who received massages twice a week for 5 weeks were not only more relaxed but also did better on a maths test.
Once again, witness the incredible power of touch.

Boring disclaimer

All of these studies rely on the touch being appropriate.
Being touched can have quite different meanings depending on situation, culture and gender.
Generally the touch referred to is a light touch on the upper arm—the safest place to touch someone you don’t know.
Also, research has identified a small proportion of people—both men and women—who don’t like to be touched at all during everyday social interactions.
These people are not likely to respond positively in any of these situations.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

13 Ultimate Facts About Your Brain

Did you know that your brain needs to make an effort when you laugh at a joke and 12 percent of our dreams are in black and white?

Let’s have a look at some amazing facts about the human brain: 

1. It’s not true that we only use 10% of their brains. Each part of the brain has a purpose.

2. Have a headache? It’s not your brain that hurts. There aren’t any pain receptors in your brain.

3. Your brain is the organ with the most amount of fat in your body – about 60 percent.

4. Wonder why you don’t act out your dreams? Your brain creates a hormone to stop you from doing this.

5. Most people have 4-7 dreams each night, 50% is forgotten five minutes after you wake up.

6. You are not dreaming if you snore.

7. They call it beauty sleep for a reason. This is when your brain files away all your memories during the day.

8. You can’t tickle yourself and laugh because your brain knows it’s your own touch – as opposed to someone else tickling you.

9. It takes some effort to laugh at a joke – five different areas in your brain are involved.

10. The brain is not the only place with brain cells, your heart and gut also have neurons – the phrase “Gut Feeling” .

11. Your brain makes up to 23 watts of power when you’re awake – enough for lightbulb.

12. You have around 70,000 thoughts per day.

13. The slowest speed information passes around your brain is approximately 260 m


Saturday, September 05, 2015

6 scary Brainwashing Techniques

The world is full of shady self-help gurus and workplace seminars telling us how we can turn our lives around just by using the right words ("Don't say the cheese is 'spoiled' -- say it's 'aged'!"), as if language is a form of magic that can alter reality.
But here's the thing: The human brain is an odd, glitchy machine that is influenced in all sorts of weird ways you never thought of. This is why politicians and salespeople can trick you into going along with them, just by toying with the words they use. Science is just now catching up to them, and has found that ...

#6. Repeating Your Opinion Makes People Believe It, No Matter How Stupid It Is

Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
This is one that, sadly, you could have guessed if you follow politics or talk radio: Say it enough, and people will believe it. For example, how many of you think Al Gore claims to have invented the Internet? He said no such thing -- but pundits and comedians repeated it enough that it became truth. It's the same reason anti-vaccination zealots stick to their guns, even while they cause diseases to spread like wildfire. They "heard" vaccines were dangerous, and that's literally all it takes -- hearing it over and over. Even if the source is a total stranger and/or an idiot.
Why It Works:
It's just the way human social behavior works -- if a message is repeated enough times, others will begin to accept it as a commonly held belief in the group. In fact, studies have found that if just one person repeats the same opinion three times, it has a whopping 90 percent chance of converting three different people in the group to have the same opinion. Holy shit, that's how both politics andconspiracy theories work, isn't it?
BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
And Internet forums!
Researchers at the University of Michigan have come to call the phenomenon memory distortion, and it's basically a brain glitch where the interplay of repetition and assumption makes us form our beliefs around whatever opinion is the most familiar to us.
But what makes it so treacherous is the fact that all it takes to sway people's beliefs is one crazy person. Hell, it doesn't even work all that well with multiple people: A study on the phenomenon exposed one group to an opinion repeated by three different people, another to that same opinion repeated by one person multiple times. Incredibly, the group subjected to one single guy repeating the opinion was three times more susceptible to changing their own opinions than the others. Even when we actively register that it's just one person spouting bullshit, we're still likely to believe it.
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
"If you look past the tinfoil hat, rambling incoherence, and trench coat covered in pigeon crap, he actually makes a lot of sense."
In other words, people who are obsessive or dickish enough to keep repeating a wrong idea have a natural advantage in human society, and probably always have. Yeah, that whole "Hitler" thing is starting to make a lot more sense, right?

#5. Imitating People Makes Them Give You Things

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If you work in a profession where tips make up a significant portion of your income, it's crucial that your customers see you as a pleasant enough person to, well, tip. It's good luck, then, that it's entirely possible to use a simple "repeated words" trick to sway people in your favor, to the point where they're way more likely to give you money.
All you need to do is repeat the last few words they said (well, that, and generally behave in a not-kicking-them-in-the-junk-because-they-asked-for-more-bread-sticks manner, but we're hoping that kind of goes without saying). And it's actually part of a broader set of techniques that every politician and con artist knows: You can bring people to your side -- and get them to do things for you -- just by imitating them.

Much of France was ruled by parrots until 1589, when peasants learned how to stick their fingers in their ears.
Why It Works:
It comes up in study after study -- the power of mimicry in social situations. Humans are social animals, and we all have a switch that flips in our brain that says, "This person is like me, therefore I should help them." In one study, they found that customers were more likely to buy from salespeople who repeated phrases they used, or their mannerisms. That's right, it doesn't even have to be verbal -- in another experiment cited in the link above, if the researcher mimicked the posture and body language of the subject, the subject was three times as likely to help him pick up a box of pens he'd dropped.
So in the Dutch study mentioned above that explored the relationship between mimicry and generous tips, they first went into a restaurant and calculated an average tip, then told the server to repeat what half of her customers said after ordering, exactly as they said it. With the other half, she would simply say what servers normally say ("We'll get that right out!" or something to that effect). The tips from mimicked customers were a whopping 68 percent more generous than those from the non-mimicked ones. Regardless of factors like the accuracy of the order and wait time, just hearing their words repeated back to them put them in a more positive, giving state of mind.
Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty
"Liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa, coming right up!"
Of course, there's presumably a limit to how much you should mimic a person. You can test it by following people around the office, parroting their every sentence, and log how much time passes before they finally turn around and stab you.

#4. Resist Temptation by Saying "Don't" Instead of "Can't"

Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images
One reason why successful dieting is borderline impossible is because there is a complicated psychology behind cravings that science barely understands. For example, one study found that, bizarrely, you can screw up somebody's diet just by telling them obesity is a disease.
ITStock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images
"And you, my friend, are my Ebola virus."
So for example, when you have a friend who's dieting, you can usually judge how successful they'll be based on a single word. When shown a doughnut or a deep-fried stick of butter, do they say, "I can't eat that?"
If so, they're probably screwed. What they should have said was "I don't eat that."
Mirko Vuckovic/iStock/Getty Images
Two letters, but all the difference in the world.
Why It Works:
Researchers did a study where participants were asked to respond with either statement when asked to consider whether they would like an unhealthy snack. They then reported how empowered they felt after and, in the true test, were offered a chocolate bar or a granola bar on the way out the door. Sure enough, 64 percent of the I-don'ts went with the granola bar, while only 39 percent of the I-can'ts took it.
Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Good choice ... yup ... no regrets."
It makes sense -- "don't" suggests that the desired item being spoken of is simply never part of the speaker's life; it's something they have actively eliminated themselves, a decision they arrived at personally. "I can't" means there's some external reason barring the speaker from what they truly want, and if this condition (i.e., a temporary diet) didn't exist, they'd be neck deep in chocolate-coated fried chicken. In other words, one phrase is empowering, while the other "inherently signifies deprivation."
These results were repeated in experiments dealing with exercise, too -- it's just easier to resist impulses when you frame it in your mind as "I'm choosing to do this" versus "My Nazi of a doctor is making me." Unless said doctor has a gun to your head, you're eventually going to rebel and do what you "really" want.
Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

From: www.cracked.com/article_21309_6-incredible-ways-you-can-use-words-to-brainwash-people.html

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fernando Pessoa

“To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.” 
― Fernando PessoaPoems of Fernando Pessoa

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why you need to stop waiting for life to get better

“How much of human life is lost in waiting?” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why to stop waiting for life to get better
So much of our lives are spent waiting.
We wait in lines, we wait for the perfect person, we can’t wait for our dreams to come true, we look forward to the day when we have a better body and a better life, we look for ways to make our goals become reality someday soon.
We wait. That good life is coming, and we’ll be there soon.
But what if we stopped waiting, stopped trying to make dreams and goals come true, stopped wishing and anticipating? What if that good life is already here, and the only way to live it is to stop looking forward and notice what we already have?
Why to stop waiting for life to get better
If you are waiting for good things to happen — or are actively trying to make something good come true — take a pause. Look at where you are right now, in life and physically in this moment. Where are you? Is it already great? If so, why are you looking towards the future, when you’re already there?
And if we don’t think where we are is already great, perhaps we’re not paying close enough attention.
Waiting in lines & traffic
Recently I had to drive a moving truck for six hours, and caught myself thinking, “I can’t wait until I’m there!” Of course, when I noticed that thought, I reminded myself: “You’re already there.”
Where I was — alone, in a truck, on a highway, in the middle of beautiful country — was already great. Perhaps my legs were tired, but that was an opportunity to feel my legs, when so many of us forget they’re there as we sit all day. It was a chance to remember that I’m alive, which we take for granted. We daily participate in the miracle of life, and to us it’s not only routine and dull, we often think it sucks.
My legs were tired, so I pulled over at a rest stop, stretched my legs, laid in the grass, stared up at the sky. My tired legs gave me this possibility, and so tired legs don’t suck, they are great.
The next time you find yourself waiting in traffic or in a line, and you’re thinking, “Can’t wait until I get there!” … remember that you are already in a place that’s great. Perhaps that’s in a car, alone, but what’s wrong with being alone? Can’t you listen to music, sing a tune you love, dance? Can’t you look outside at the sky and realize what greatness surrounds you? Can’t you talk to yourself and find out what great company you are?
If you’re in a line, aren’t you surrounded by fascinating human beings? What a great time to watch and listen and learn.
The tragedy of goals
We set goals, these little dreams of what the future will be like, and focus on them. Every day, we work on these goals, take a step closer to getting to that great future. When the goal is completed, yay! Now what? Next goal. And then the next. This kind of forward-looking thinking doesn’t end when you get to the goal, and never ends until you no longer have any life left, no future to look to.
But actually, it can end — right now. Stop looking to that goal, and look at where you are.
The goal might sound great: run a marathon, complete a project, get out of debt, get nice abs, make a million dollars. But it’s a fantasy, and when (if) that fantasy comes true, it won’t be what you imagined. It will feel like regular life, not some amazing new life that is different than the life you had. Life won’t be better, and never will be, until you stop wishing for this better life and realize that life is already incredible.
This life, right now, is already perfect! Enjoy it, and forget about those goals. Getting to them won’t be any better than the amazing life that’s right here, at this moment.
I get asked, “What do I do if I don’t have anything I want?”
Well, stop wishing for those things. They aren’t better than what you already have, which is a ridiculously unlikely event called life.
Waiting for my baby
So many people are waiting for their dream lover, that perfect person who is going to love them, make their life perfect.
That person may or may not show up, but the tragedy is not that you don’t have Mr or Mrs Dreamy…  it’s that you’re waiting for happiness.
You don’t need another person to love you, to complete you, to make you happy. That person is already there, with you right now. (Spoiler alert: it’s you.)
You are the best company, the person who will always be around, the unconditional love you’re looking for. You just need to stop waiting for Dreamy McDreamerson, and look at yourself. Really notice yourself. Accept yourself. Love yourself, as you are, without wishing you were different.
This might take few tries, but try it right now. You might find that you’re the dreamy love of your life you’ve been waiting for.
Three things to do today
How do you stop waiting for good things to come? Three things you can do right now, today:
  1. Slow down. Rushing means you miss what’s right here.
  2. Pay attention. Look at what’s around you right now. Look at yourself, and how great you are. If it doesn’t seem great, look closer.
  3. Applaud.
“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.” – Voltaire

Friday, May 15, 2015

Speaking multiple languages can give you multiple personalities

The idea that language affects the way we look at the world is hardly new. But could your personality actually change depending on which language you're speaking? That's the idea put forward by a new psychological study.
This study straddles the line between fascinating and utterly bonkers. Psychologists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University discovered that native Chinese students who were also fluent in English seemingly became "more assertive, extroverted, and open to new experiences" when using their second language. The researchers argue those are all traits more typical of English speakers than Cantonese, suggesting a link between language and personality traits.
This apparent link was strengthened further depending on who they were speaking to. If the students spoke English to a Caucasian interviewer as opposed to a Chinese interviewer, these "English-speaking" personality traits became even more pronounced. Based on all this, the researchers conclude that personalities are fluid and can be heavily affected by the language a person is speaking.
That person might take on the traits associated with that language's culture - not necessarily a reflection that English inherently makes people more assertive, but rather these particular Cantonese speakers tend to think of English speakers that way and adjusted their own personalities accordingly.
Full article at Scientific American. Image of Hong Kong Polytechnic University viaPanoramio.


Friday, April 03, 2015

Being Weird Makes Us Sexier, Science Says

Have you ever felt like you’re too strange or different for anyone to like you or take you seriously? Of course you have: you’re only human.
But, just as we’ve seen in the movies, nonconformists are sexy. They’re alluring, they like obscure things, and they don’t play by the rules. It’s why Claire fell for John Bender in “The Breakfast Club” and why Landon fell for Jamie in “A Walk To Remember.”
Now, an awesome new scientific study has proven that marching to the beat of your own drum doesn’t just make you a more fulfilled person on the inside — it also gives you more game in the dating world.
Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia asked 115 undergraduate students to read the online profiles of 20 people and then rate them on their attractiveness and decide if they’d date them IRL.
The catch is, researchers manipulated each of the profiles to either imply conformity with statements like “She is quite happy to go along with what others are doing,” or nonconformity with contrasting statements like “She often does her own thing rather than fit in with the group.” The results showed that both guys and girls preferred people who appeared to be freethinkers and who represented non-conformist attitudes.
In another twist, participants were also asked to guess which members of their own sex others would find most attractive — and women were the worst at correctly predicting guys’ preferences. The researchers point out that this is important info for women to know because it could help them realize that men don’t necessarily lean toward women who are submissive, agreeable, or non-independent. “Women overestimated how attracted men would be to the conformist women,” the researchers wrote. “People think that men prefer conformist women, but this impression is discrepant from reality.”
We know what you might be thinking: are these results exclusive to Australians? Are they possibly just more awesome, free-spirited people than the rest of the world? The researchers wondered the same things, so they repeated the same study on British, American, and Indian people. Much to our relief, they found that, despite cultural differences, the results were all the same: most participants preferred non-conformists of the opposite gender.
The takeaway here is that if you’ve ever been afraid to be yourself because you’re worried about what your crush might think, chances are they’ll find you even more attractive! So channel your inner Tris Prior or John Bender, embrace your uniqueness, and keep being your sexy self.

From: www.mtv.com/news/2121795/study-finds-nonconformity-is-attractive

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

X- The Keeper of Sheep, Fernando Pessoa

I never kept sheep, 
But it is as if I did keep them 
My soul is that of a shepherd, 
It knows the sun and the winds. 
And walks hand in hand through seasons 
To follow and to hear. 
All the peace of Nature without people 
Comes to sit beside me. 
But I get sad like a sunset 
In our imagination, 
When the cold falls on the plains 
And we feel the night coming 
Like a butterfly through a window. 

But my sadness is calming 
Because it is natural and just 
And is that should be in the soul 
When it knows it already exists 
And the hands pick flowers without the soul noticing it.