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Hannah’s blog

A psychologist wannabe with the moves like Jagger - It's all in the mind!

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My favourite biases! This is why Psychology is cool (Part 2)

So this is part 2 of me being super geeky. Some more of the REALLY COOL things you’ll learn on the course. If you haven’t yet, read my last blog post – part 1 -

It basically explains that as humans, we fall prey to a whole host of biases when we make decisions, and without even knowing we’re doing so! So here’s the second part to my list of favourite biases.

Reverse psychology – yep, it exists! In a nutshell, reverse psychology is when you ask someone to do something and they do the complete opposite to what you just asked them to do. A common example is that big red button with a sign above it saying People often joke about using this as a technique to get someone to do what they want. If you’ve used this technique yourself you may know that it doesn’t always work…but when it does, why does it? The reason why someone may not do what you ask is because they are resisting a perceived attempt to constrain their freedom of choice. In other words, people take a ‘you can’t tell me what to do’ attitude and so do the opposite of what you just asked.

Rhyme as Reason Effect – This one’s a bit of a weird one…statements that are written in such a way that they rhyme are believed to be more truthful than when written to not rhyme. For example, the statement “What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals” would be perceived to be more accurate than the statement “What sobriety conceals, alcohol unmasks” (McGlone & Tofighbakhsh, 2000). Why? It’s because the first statement possesses something called fluency – when written as a rhyme, we find it easier to process it in our cognition. Because it’s easier to understand (in a sense) we believe it to be a more accurate reflection of the truth.

Spill-over effect – This is one for all the eco-warriors out there. In economics, ‘spillover’ is term used to describe a secondary effect that has stemmed from a primary effect. The key to this effect, is that the context in which this secondary effect occurs tends to be seemingly unrelated to the first context. This term has been carried over into environmental psychology; spillover is a term that in this context refers to the likelihood that the encouragement of one environmental behaviour leads to the performance of another environmental behaviour. a.k.a. people bring their own carrier bags to the shop, and this encourages them to recycle. How do you do this? Get them to associate the reason they are performing this behaviour with the fact that they care about the environment. If they believe the reason they bring their own carrier bags to the shops is to save the environment, they will be much more likely to engage in recycling behaviour. In contrast, if people were bring their own carrier bags to the shops because it saves them money (in Wales there is a 5p charge for every carrier bag you use that wasn’t your own) then they are less likely to want to recycle as it is of no direct benefit to them.

So there you have it! My list of my favourite biases. Hopefully you’ll have found this interesting, and maybe you even go on to use this knowledge in your day to day lives.

As always, if you have any questions about the psychology course here at Cardiff – drop me a message, or leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap.

For now though, speak soon :)



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