Why We Only Watch as Mute Spec...

  • bystander

    Why We Only Watch as Mute Spectators: Bystander Apathy

    Bystander Effect

    If we see someone in a crisis situation we would immediately rush to help them, isn’t that right? Well, not really. According to psychological theories, our helping behavior is deeply influenced by the number of witnesses (bystanders) present during the event.
    Basically, the bystander effect is a phenomenon wherein the greater the number of witnesses during an emergency, the lower the chances of people helping the distressed person.

    Why it occurs

    When a crisis occurs, observers have a greater likelihood of reacting to the situation if there are the number of observers is one to none. Being part of a large crowed tends to dilute the sense of responsibility needed to take action. An individual does not feel the urge to perform an action (or inaction), as the responsibility is thought to be shared among all in the observer group.
    The other reason that bystander apathy is said to occur is due to our innate need to behave in a fashion that is considered right and socially acceptable. When others around you do not react, it sends an instinctive signal to your brain that a reaction is not required or isn’t fitting of the situation.
    Research has also shown that crowds make us callous when a situation is vague. For example, if someone sitting on a thrilling ride in an amusement park starts to scream it is less likely that people will assume that it is a cry for help. During an emergency, things are often chaotic and people look to the behavior of others around to gauge the appropriate reaction required. If no one else reacts, the message is loud and clear, no response is needed.

    Beating the Bystander Effect

    Being aware of this aspect of social psychology is the first step in effecting overcoming it. If you come across a situation where you believe that someone needs your help, don’t wait for others and reach out to the other in crisis. Avoid social loafing by being observant of your surroundings; trust your gut instinct in understanding how to best handle a situation.

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  • heirarchyofneeds

    Workplace Motivation with Needs-Based Theories

    Motivation refers to an individual’s level of concern and approach to a task in hand. This approach could be positive or negative. At the workplace, there exist internal and external forces that affect employees and determine their behavior, sense of direction and effort.


    This article explores the need-based theories of employee behavior at the workplace. Such needs must be met to motivate employees to take up the organizational goals as their own. They include;


    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

    Motivation in workplace as outlined by Maslow argues that motivation stems from the fulfillment of basic needs such as safety, social interaction, physiological needs, self-esteem, and self-actualization.


    Physiological needs relate to survival essentials such as food, air, water, and shelter. A good period of sleep and clothing also fall under this category. Security can be defined as either financial, personal or workplace. Under social needs, all human beings have the need to be loved and feel a sense of belonging. All these requirements must be satisfied and guaranteed by the employer to keep their staff in high spirits.


    ERG Theories

    Unlike the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Clayton Alderfer formulated the ERG theories and gave flexibility betweens the interlocking needs. The theory starts with existence needs composed of safety and physiological needs. It then groups social relationships and esteems under the relatedness needs. Here, individuals exhibit the need to interact with their peers, family, colleagues and co-workers.


    The third category of growth needs covers self-actualization and internal esteem. Here, employees desire to increase their productivity and fulfill their potential.


    David McClelland’s Need Theory

    Need-based motivation can also be viewed from David’s perspective. He hypothesized three motivation needs that influence one’s disposition and that towards others. Authority motivation, for instance, makes individuals crave control, social and personal status. Team players value workplace and social relationships. They strive to build networks and work well in groups assisting their peers in the process. David classified them under affiliation motivation.


    The third category labeled achievement motivation needs covers persons with high accountability standards and who continually seek responsibilities. These people are performers, and they set attainable yet challenging goals.

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  • priming

    How Priming Can Be Linked to Obesity

    Obesity is a growing concern for the world, becoming a major cause of death and chronic illnesses, especially amongst the young population. Supporters of good health identified food advertising as a considerable contributor to the obesity epidemic. They suggested that constant food advertising triggers automatic snacking of any available food, as well as specific food awareness and preferences.


    What is priming?

    Priming is a non-conscious form of human memory involved with perceptual interpretation of objects. According to social cognitive theories, food advertising has a slight and possibly far-reaching effect on eating behaviors of individuals that may occur unconsciously. This indirect effect also known as priming, shows audiences of food adverts respond to various foods, related or unrelated to the advert content in various ways. To determine how it works, priming methods were to test for these reflex casual effects.


    The link between priming and obesity

    Priming research confirmed that, external cues (primes) have a major influence on food consumption behaviors. It was observed that exposure to sensory properties of appetizing food, increased desire and consumption even among fully satisfied adults. Considering that food advertisement greatly focuses on the immediate sensory gratification of consumption, it becomes difficult for individuals to develop a rational process of self-restraint. It was then proposed that appetizing food stimuli can elicit hedonic hunger or thoughts, feeling and urges relating to food.


    Industries claim that advertising only affects brand preference and not nutrition. Research findings however contradict this by showing that food advertisements promoted snacking regardless of one’s hunger as well as food choices. Most highly advertised foods are unhealthy and when individuals are repeatedly exposed to them, their taste preference strongly inclines towards them, and since these effects are thought to occur beyond one’s conscious awareness, they in a way or another contribute to the obesity problem.

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  • recency effect

    How Recency Effect Influences Shopping Behavior of Customers

    Recency effect means using recent experience and knowledge to determine future occurrences. People mostly remember the experience that has occurred recently or knowledge that has been generated recently. Recent knowledge and experience are, therefore, easily used to analyze future trends. Recency effect is applicable in business activities because it influences the shopping behavior of customers.


    Connection between primacy and recency effect

    The first and last information about a product or service is very important for marketers. The first information aims at illustrating the positive aspects of a product. Customers are attracted to products or services that have positive information; for example, water resistant smartphone or healthy food products.

    Primacy effect illustrates that customers are attracted to information that is positive or useful. Recency effect also aims at ensuring that the last information that a customer has about a product is positive. Marketers use the primacy and recency effect to influence the customers to purchase more quantities of the goods or services that they offer.


    Achieving recency effect

    There is a huge demand for products and services that have recent positive information. Business professionals can ensure recent positive information is achieved through effective advertising, packaging, customer care, and after sales service. Companies should invest a lot in mass media and social media advertising. This is because billions of people globally have access to at least one type or mass or social media. Advertising shows the benefits of using the product. The packaging should be attractive. The staff should ensure that all the needs of the customers are achieved.



    People are more likely to purchase a product if it has recent information. Customers are also likely to purchase a product or service that indicates a recent experience. Luxury shoppers place more orders for latest product designs. Customers prefer to purchase luxury items that are recent; for example, new car models or latest Rolex watch design.

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  • mood memory

    Mood Memory and How You Can Break the Cycle

    Psychological theories are important in understanding the concept of mood memory. People always have negative thoughts. Negative thoughts comprise bad or traumatic experiences in life such as the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. Many people also struggle to remember happy or positive experiences in their life. Continuously experiencing negative thoughts is harmful to people because it can result in negative mood memory and health results such as stress and depression. Depression is a negative emotion that negatively influences all life activities such as eating, social interaction, work, learning, and sleeping.


    First depression effect

    Depression affects memory in two major ways. The first effect of depression is causing mood dependent generation of negative mood memories. The connection between emotion and memory is based on the reciprocal feedback loop. The mood influences the memories within the mind, and the mind memories determine the mood state of the person. When a person is happy, he or she remembers nice autobiographical experiences which increase the positive feeling. However, individuals in depressed mood memory state have challenges. Depressed people recall experiences that are mostly negative. People who are not depressed recall less negative experiences. Remembering develops a cycle that ensures the existence of the negative emotional state as a mood memory.


    Second depression effect

    The second depression effect is that depressed individuals remember more general memories. People who are not depressed remember less general memories. Psychological theories show that general mood memories comprise repeated experiences. A depressed person can state that he works every day, instead of explaining the activities that his or her work entails. Depressed individuals have more general mood memories, and hence they have challenges when getting specific information from their memories.



    In accordance to psychological theories, people who are depressed are more likely to generate negative autobiographical events. This implies that they are slow towards retrieving happy memories. Mood memory affect depression and thus it can be effective in breaking the cycle. Mood memory regulation can be achieved positively through autobiographical memories that generate happy memories when a person is experiencing sadness.

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  • nocebo

    Why You Should Fear the Nocebo Effect

    Nocebo effect occurs when inert substances or the suggestions of the inert substances results in an actual negative effect on a patient. Some patients experience actual symptoms if they are informed about the potential side effect of a medication or medical procedure. The effect mostly occurs due to the reaction of the patient to the expectation.


    Nocebo and Mere Thought Effect

    Nocebo effect is closely related to the mere thought effect. They are both psychological theories. The mere though effect takes place when the thought of an issue, event or object, creates a perception of more significance. The increase in the significance of the issues, event or object, causes an increase in attitudes. Mere thought effect is reduced when individuals engage in critical thinking. Careful analysis of an issue reduces mere thought effect because it takes into consideration various alternatives.


    Managing nocebo and mere thought effect

    It is important to control the nocebo and mere thought effects experienced by people. The intention of proper control is to make people make sound decisions regarding their experiences or activities. Proper control is realized by enabling people to analyze alternatives adequately. In business, a customer can reduce mere thought effect by thinking about several substitutes to a product or service. This will enable him or her to choose the most appropriate product. In healthcare, the nocebo effect can be minimized through informing the patient about both positive and negative effects of medication. Patients will select a medication that has more health benefits than any side effects.



    Psychological theories are important because they enable experts in various professions to understand how to offer services to the customers or clients. Healthcare professionals can encourage a patient to use a specified medical procedure by continuously stating the importance or benefits. Business people also use advertisements to illustrate regularly the benefits of using their products or services.

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  • self image

    The Looking Glass Self: How Society Shapes Our Self Image

    Who are you? I’m sure you could rattle off your full names with absolutely no problem, but I’m asking a deeper question, not what’s on your driver’s license – who are you, really, essentially? It becomes a bit trickier to answer, doesn’t it? American sociologist Charles Cooley sought to explain why this is so with his aptly named Looking Glass concept.


    Smarter men than I have stated, and it has come to be accepted universally, that the human being is a social creature. Some go on to say that it is this characteristic that ultimately came to set us firmly at the pinnacle of creation, above all other creatures, big and small, on Earth. Social interaction allowed us to build upon our innate intelligence by allowing for the transmission of knowledge and know-how down through the Ages, culminating in our present superiority.


    Due to the fact that society by its very definition is a collection of various individuals working in collaboration with one another in order to further their shared goals and ambitions, there is a potential cost to be paid.


    This is where the concept of the Looking Glass Self comes in. In it, he suggests that that the perceptions of others and the nature of a person’s interactions with others within a society ultimately determine their own self-identity or sense of self. He pictures the people around us as playing the roles of mirrors, thus making apparent to us what we are. Ask yourself this, though; would you want to rely on a mirror with its own, independent mind, feelings, ambitions, and attitudes? What if the day of your big interview your mirror was feeling particularly spiteful? Perish the thought. These psychological theories offer an explanation for this conundrum.


    Three core components formulate the Looking Glass concept; that we tend to imagine how we appear in the eyes of others; we then react to this imagined judgment on their part; and we then develop our own self-image based upon this perceived judgment on the part of those around us.


    It’s all too easy to see how this may be a danger to the mental or emotional well-being of the members of such a society. The fact that this effect begins at a very young age makes it all the more likely to contribute to the development or exacerbate the harmful effects of a low self-esteem and self-worth. Of further note is the fact that this effect continues into one’s adult life unceasingly, unless all social interactions are stopped completely, which is a tall order, indeed.


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  • benjamin-franklin

    The Ben Franklin Effect Can Boost Your Love Life

    Is it possible to magically turn a rival into a supporter simply by inducing them to do you a favor? This sounds far-fetched but turns out it shares a lot with psychology of attitudes and worked for Ben Franklin. In his autobiography, Franklin narrates how he dealt with hostility of a contending legislator by requesting him to do him a favor (lending out his book). The next time Franklin met the legislator, he spoke to him for the first time with great graciousness and they even became friends.


    The Ben Franklin Effect

    Attitudes are thought to stem from actions that led to observations that they finally formed beliefs. This then concludes that what one does creates the things that they believe. To explain this is the psychological phenomenon dubbed the Ben Franklin Effect. From how Franklin dealt with his contender, he explains that a person who performs a favor for another is more likely to do so again for that same person than they would be if they had instead received a favor from that person.


    How the effect can boost your love life

    An experiment revealed that partners that go out of their way to perform acts of kindness are more attracted to their mates than those who don’t. This effect teaches couples the need to invest equally as much in a relationship other than having one partner on the receiving or giving end always. People adjust their attitudes and behaviors to dissolve tension, or conflict between their feelings, attitudes, and actions.

    So, when a person gets their partner to do them a favor, it resolves the feeling of dissonance as the partner feels that since they did the other a favor, they actually might like them more than they initially thought. The cliché that love is all about give and take is evident and proved with this effect.

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  • social-proof

    Even If a Zillion People Believe Something Silly, It’s Still Silly

    Often, when in a situation and uncertain of the correct way to behave, people tend to look at others for prompts concerning the appropriate behavior. This conformity occurs since many people believe that the majority’s interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more accurate than their own, and thus leads to more fitting course of action. This observation is simply referred to as informational social influence or social proof.


    What is social proof?

    Also known as ‘herd instinct’ in social psychology, social proof is a psychological phenomenon driven by the assumption that surrounding people in a social context have more and relevant knowledge about the situation. The effect is compliance to choices that are either correct or mistaken. While it reflects a lucid motive to take into consideration knowledge possessed by others, studies show that it makes people to converge too soon upon a single choice, such that decisions that even involve many people are grounded on very little information.


    Principles of social proof

    Social proof exists because of uncertainty. Not knowing how to react in a given context forces and individual to take cue from others. For instance, when evaluating a product, consumers are more likely to take into account the opinion others through social proof when their own experience of the product is vague.

    Social proof also occurs when people have more confidence to ideas stated by multiple sources. This is known as the multiple source effect and works on the policy that the majority rules and is always right.

    Additionally, similarity also promotes social proof. When someone considers themselves as similar to those around them, they tend to adopt the behavior of these people and even perceive it as being correct.



    Social proof is everywhere and is a vice behind many aspects of life. It exists in management tactics, religion, diets, and hobbies and sadly, even in schools. It can crumple cultures and results to intellectual laziness where people follow rules and adhere to behaviors without questions.

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  • cluster

    Why We Believe in Omens: Clustering Illusion

    The clustering illusion is the human tendency to see patterns where they do not exist. Basically, humans are pattern machines. That is why people tend to recognize things from their patterns compared to full details. While this is useful, it also means that humans can erroneously see patterns where they are none.


    When people encounter random clusters, they naturally impose a pattern. This is an instinctive response to help humans bring order to chaos. The illusion that random cluster are an indication of a pattern is very common in gambling. After losing out several times, gamblers are often convinced that the machine has been holding out long enough and payout is due which keeps them gambling.


    A simple approach to understand this concept is to imagine casting ten coins in a 1 foot square space. In normal circumstances, some pennies will fall close to each other compared to others. Such coins are likely to be perceived as forming a group or cluster from the random distribution.


    The Texas sharpshooter fallacy

    This is an informal fallacy which is committed when discrepancies in data are ignored while similarities are emphasized. When too much emphasis is placed on similarities while ignoring the differences, people make false conclusions.

    The fallacy’s name was derived from a joke about a Texan who shot at the barn and then drew a target around the holes claiming he was a sharpshooter. This is what happens when you find a cluster of things or events in a sea of randomness and draw your target around the cluster. You do this because the human brain expects to find cluster in the real world.


    Bad omens or coincidences

    Since humans are poor at understanding random events for what they are, they prefer to see coincidences as indicators of a cosmic errors (omens) for which they must suffer from. Your brain chemistry is such that it looks for patterns in your life to try and solve issues as well as prove that what you are experiencing is emanating from the outside and not from within.


    Apophenia and schizophrenia

    There is a common belief among basketball fans, players and coaches that players have cold or hot streaks. To demystify the concept, scientists studied the Philadelphia 76er’s and showed that their cold or hot shooting streaks were nothing more than what occurs randomly.

    This tendency to see connection even where they are none was referred as Apophenia by Klaus Conrad, a psychiatrist. Conrad sought to show that the tendency to see patterns in randomness is delusional thinking and may occur due to the onset of schizophrenia. Conrad’s psychological theories on the genesis of schizophrenia seek to show that a person suffering from that condition usually perceives delusions as revelations.

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