A lot of what you know about psychology might be a lie. During the last several decades, popular psychology has resulted in the rise of dozens of myths which have given people a false sense of understanding about how their brains operate and how to interpret the behaviors of those around them.
Some erroneous psychological intuitions are especially widely believed among the public and so are stubbornly persistent.
This post is about 7 of these myths or misconceptions.
1. Smiling makes you happy
That one has been around since at the very least 1988, when a study reported that holding a pen between your teeth to force a smile (try it) caused visitors to find cartoons funnier than when they held a pen between their lips.
Regrettably, when 17 independent labs ran the make-me-smile test with just under 2, 000 volunteers, they found no effect of mouth position on how funny people found cartoons. This doesn’t mean no one feels happier if something forces him to smile; maybe if you force yourself to smile, minus the annoying pencil, you are feeling a little happier. However the replication failure does mean the effect, if any, is too weak to appear reliably in large numbers of people. Lesson: If a psychological effect that is taken as applying to humans as a species applies only to some people in some circumstances, it’s maybe not a legitimate human universal like confirmation bias and loss aversion.
2. Power posing increases your confidence hormones
In another of the most popular TED talks of all time, Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy shared her research that power posing-standing or sitting with your human body as expanded as you possibly can (think Superwoman pose) lowers your stress hormones, increases your testosterone (the power hormone) levels and makes you look and feel well informed. Her study went viral and power posing became finished . to do before essential meetings, interviews and presentations to ensure your success.
Based on research:
In 2015, several researchers replicated Amy Cuddy’s study using five times as much participants and could perhaps not find any indication that her email address details are valid. It’s suspected that Cuddy and her fellow researchers either made one in the study and/or they manipulated their data to yield a statistically significant result.
After hearing about Cuddy’s study, many people reported that power poses helped them feel well informed. Their feelings tend the result of the placebo effect from hearing a well-educated person tell them power posing works. However, no supporting research indicates power posing gets the biological effect Cuddy claims it has.
3. Crowds turn people stupid and dangerous.
After a mass emergency, it’s typical for reports to spell it out the crowd as “stampeding” in blind panic. There’s an implication that when we’re in a large group, we lose our senses and it’s every one for themselves.
This characterization is refuted by psychology research on crowd behavior that’s shown panic is rare and folks frequently stop to greatly help one another.
Cooperation is specially likely when people feel a shared sense of identity. Psychologist John Drury made this finding based partly on his interviews with people caught up in real-life emergencies, like the overcrowding that occurred at a Fatboy Slim concert on Brighton Beach in 2002.
Drury and his colleagues argue this has implications for the handling by authorities of emergency situations: “Crowds in emergencies can be trusted to behave in more social ways than previously expected by some involved with emergency planning, ” they wrote.
4. Finite will power
That is considered “one of the very most influential psychological theories of modern times, ” as the British Psychological Society put it. The idea is that should you draw on your limited store of will power to, say, resist the dessert cart at lunch, you have less to utilize when you walk past a store advertising exactly the shoes you’ve long admired. A large number of studies have found this effect, which is also known as “ego depletion, ” so it would seem to be robust.
Yet 23 labs studying not quite 2, 000 participants found that “draining” self-control in one task had “close to zero” effect on people’s capacity for self-control in a subsequent task. A separate analysis of 116 studies, in Journal of Experimental Psychology, similarly came away unimpressed. Lesson: If there’s an impact at all it’s small, it doesn’t apply to everyone, and may even be opposite the one usually claimed. That is, exerting self-control in one situation made some people better at it in the next one.
5. Opposites attract and make better partners
It’s a myth that when dating, you’re likely to be attracted to folks who are very different from you. A primary reason this myth is indeed popular is that folks believe the false logic that we are drawn to potential partners who have opposite characteristics than us because they’re more interesting and can create a balanced relationship.
Based on research:
A good amount of research shows that the contrary is true; we are attracted to potential partners that are similar to us. Not just that, but similarity can be an indicator of long-term relationship success because people who are similar typically agree on more things and share the same communication preferences.
6. Learning styles
Even though the majority of studies disprove the popular proven fact that students learn better if the pedagogic technique matches their supposed style, the myth persists. Which may be because when people make an effort to learn something in accordance with what they believe to be their learning style, they feel they have learned the material better-but haven’t, found a 2016 study in the British Journal of Psychology light emitting diode by psychologist Roger Van Horn of Central Michigan College. (Yes, I know each and every time I cite research I could be on thin ice. I try to include only findings with support from multiple, independent studies. )
Nevertheless the most effective pedagogic technique varies according to the kind of material, maybe not the student. Nobel-winning social psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman asked, “The question I’ve is: If your effect is so fragile that it can only be reproduced [under strictly controlled conditions], then why do you think it can be reproduced by schoolteachers? ”
7. Not to Express Our Anger Is Unhealthy
Stress dolls, punching bags, “just letting it out” – there’s an entire therapeutic industry built on the belief that expressing anger is healthy, also to do otherwise is profoundly, well, unhealthy. In this approach, the idea is that expressing anger is really a therapeutic form of catharsis, and, if you don’t manage your anger, you’ll eventually “explode” when you aren’t expecting it.
The thing is, though, actual research suggests otherwise. In fact, the study actually suggests that we are able to become addicted to the rush that expressing our anger brings, such that we actually get angry more regularly because we just like the feeling.