∙ Self-knowledge vs other knowledge
o Pantyhose study: 4 of the exact same product placed on a table, subjects told to choose which is the best – tendency to choose the most-right one. When asked why, gave a reason (softer, better color…) which shows self-directed mind reading and confabulation (why did they actually take it? Making up reasons after the fact)
o Self-perception studies:
▪ Head nodding increases belief in a message, shaking decreases – if you look at someone nodding their head, you assume they are agreeing, people project that observation onto themselves We also discuss several other topics like Why did humans start to write?
▪ People expressed greater confidence in statements written with their dominant hand over non-dominant – shaky writing leads to shaky belief, & third parties make the same conclusions
o Joint-control study: 2 people “in control” of computer mouse (1 experimenter 1 subject), told to move mouse then stop and decide whether they decided the stop point/time or the other person. When subject actually had full control – avg score 56% in control. When subject actually had no control – avg score 45% in control. When subject had no control but a word was mentioned and the mouse was stopped on that object – avg score 62% in control = predicted by self-directed mind reading
∙ Affective misdirection
o Nickel in phone booth/generosity study: Nickel left in phone booth, then planned “need help” event right after person exits – those who had the nickel were more likely to help = one happiness affected their “happy” actions
o Sunny day/life satisfaction study: asked “overall how is your life going?” on sunny or dark days – influenced by the weather, yet when asked how the weather is before asking other question, not affected by the weather in giving response.
We also discuss several other topics like What are cellular membranes made of?
o Induced emotion/risk judgment: told to write something happy or sad, then told to judge the likelihood of a certain risk happening – affected by whichever type of comment they wrote, yet when asked about current stressors their judgment was not affected by the writing
o Subliminal smell study: sniff, detect?, rate likeability of a face – pleasant smell ???? higher likeability. Yet when smell was consciously noted, ratings were not affected by it o Subliminal face study: shown either happy/angry face for less than a second, then pour and drink a drink – people who saw the happy face poured and drank more and would be more willing to pay for more of the drink
∙ Affective misdirection – disgust
o Hypnotized morality study: hypnotized subjects read vingettes, told to “feel disgusted” when reading certain words (often, take) – hypnotized subjects gave higher overall disgust and immorality ratings. Later given a completely normal story, hypnotized still felt disgust, yet confabulated reasons why
o Induced disgust & moral judgment: asked moral questions (half while in normal surroundings, half while in an induced disgusting surrounding (bad smell, messy…)) – those in disgusting surroundings gave higher immorality ratings
∙ Ignorance of the causes of affect
o Mere-familiarity effect: words/tones/shapes/objects seen or heard before are more likeable, yet subjects never cite familiarity in reasoning why (confabulation) If you want to learn more check out How many were the civilian deaths during wwii?
o Symmetry & averageness effect: body/face symmetry is an indicator of genetic quality – “average” faces more likeable than distinctive ones, yet subjects never cite that in reasoning why
o Choice blindness: Shown two photos of somewhat similar people and asked to choose which is better. Then after a short time shown the picture they chose and asked to explain why they chose it. Sometimes the pictures were switched (shown the one they didn’t chose) but subjects usually did not realize and gave an explanation = readiness to confabulate/little access to factors that determine liking
∙ Reasoning can reduce decision quality
o The poster-choosing study: 2 groups got to choose a poster 1 had to report pros and cons then decide 1 had a filler task then chose. Reasoning subjects rated “funny” posters higher because easier to find a reason why, control subjects went with gut feelings. Weeks later asked about happiness with the poster – reasoning subjects less happy = people lack access to liking-determining properties ???? reasoning about the properties can lead to worse estimates of desirability (and worse choices) If you want to learn more check out What is the difference between speed and average speed?
o The couples study: steady couples rate goodness of relationship after (or not) listing reasons why, months later asked if they were still together – reasoning caused lower consistency between rating & outcome
o Distraction vs reasoning study: subjects select between types of an item (car, apartment..) given varying amounts of information (4 or 12 pieces), with a clear best and worst. Then given time to reason and then choose or solve a puzzle and then choose – in simple case not much difference, in complex case reasoning lead to worse decisions We also discuss several other topics like Before the darwinian theory, what were the prevailing beliefs about the diversity of organisms?
∙ Expectation influences affect
o The smells study: gave smells with misleading labels, subjects asked to rate pleasantness – the change in label changed activity in brain chemicals (expectation of what they were about to smell) and when given a worse label, subjects rated it less pleasant
o The wine study: given 5 wines to taste & rate pleasantness when only told price (2 wines given twice with different price labels) – higher price got higher rating = expecting it to be better based on price, actually made it taste better in their mind
o Blind choice studies: rating vacation destinations, forced to make decision between equally rated pairs. When asked to rate initial list again later, the one chosen to be slightly better from the pair, re-rated higher = “someone who choses A over B, prefers A to B” “having chosen A, I prefer A… if I prefer A, then A must be better”
∙ Placebo effects on pain
o Brain imaging study: used “analgesic cream” (the placebo) and an “ineffective” control cream before being subjected to a small amount of pain – the placebo caused reduced reported pain, correlated with lower activity in affective pain network
o Acupuncture test: patients with pain went to acupuncturists, who gave incorrectly placed acupuncture – reported decreased pain = acupuncture doesn’t work as a medicine but works as a strong placebo over standard care If you want to learn more check out What are the 4 plant tissues?
∙ Unconscious bias
o Implicit Attitude Test (IAT): reaction time measures degree of association (many different types of associations) ex: white/good black/bad & vice versa, subjects press left if white face or good word shown and press right if black face or bad word shown vs other way around (faster at clicking when the two you associate are together) – dissociates from explicit (what you say about yourself) race prejudice
o The employment study: exactly similar resumes given to different companies with only first name different (“white” name vs “black” name) – resumes with white names more likely to be called back
o The trust study: shown faces and told to report how trustworthy they are (people make swift trustworthiness ratings) – feminine face shapes are more trustworthy (male faces rated more competent)
o Shooter studies: shown situation with white or black person with or without gun, need to decide whether or not to shoot – quicker to decide not to shoot equal between races, more errors with shooting black. Police don’t show bias in errors but reaction-time difference shows = suppression of bias through training
▪ When non-trained subjects “primed” beforehand, if story read about a white criminal ???? stereotype is equalized, if story read about a black criminal ????
stereotype against black “shooters” is magnified