What's this? Rich people more affected by inequality than poor people?

Yesterday I mentioned David Cameron's plan to introduce a national happiness index in the UK. This...

David Cameron To Introduce National Well-being Measure In The UK

This has been hitting the news a lot over here.  I'll probably write more about this as I...

Money And Pain

Some researchers have proposed that, because people can get through money certain things they can...

The impact of 9/11 on American character

Let's have some fun and pick apart a paper (try saying "pick apart a paper" 10 times fast!)The...

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Warren DaviesRSS Feed of this column.

I am Warren Davies, a freelance writer and former psychology student. I am male, and have been my whole life. I became interested in psychology many years ago, because I thought if I could understand... Read More »


Do you find it harder to recognise people of different races to your own?  Have you ever used the phrase "They all look the same to me!"  If so, you're not alone; it's a documented phenomenon called the "own-race bias".  Why it happens isn't completely clear, but some evidence indicates that own-race faces are perceived more holistically than other races.

Johnson and Fredrickson (2005) wondered, if that was true, would positive emotions reduce the own-race bias?  Fredrickson's broaden-and-build model proposes that so-called positive emotions (happiness, joy etc. - ones that are pleasant to experience) can broaden our thought-action repertoire, and in the case of visual perception, cause us to perceive things more globally.

These two dominant models of strengths are slightly different in concept.  Gallup's Strengthsfinder is more workplace-oriented, helping people to do better in their careers and organisations to work better.   Perhaps performance-oriented is a better term.  Values In Action (VIA), which we looked at in depth earlier, is character-oriented, helping people to achieve virtue.

Music has a remarkable ability to conjure up strong emotions in people.  It can cheer you up, bring you down, and in the case of boybands, cause severe anger and disgust.  And it’s old; some scientists believe music even predates language, this based on flute-like instruments dug up in France, believed to be over 50,000 years old.  But music is a bit of an evolutionary puzzle.  It’s hard to think of any survival value it may have brought us; a niche it filled better than any other human faculty.  So why do we love music so much?  What’s going in inside our skulls when we hear music we enjoy?  What music makes the best pick-me-up?

I saw a cool program on the Church of Scientology a few days ago, and I meant to post this review here but forgot until just now when a Google Ad unit linking to their site appeared on the sidebar.
This isn't a review of the show, it's a review of the Church and a little experience I had with it around three years ago.  The next words you read will be mine, written...holy crap, three years ago to the day, how about that!

My review of the Church of Scientology

I was walking down Tottenham Court Road today, unsuccessfully attempting to get a job, when I walked past none other than the Church of Scientology. A sign outside said "Free Stress Test". Out of curiosity, and for shits and giggles, I decide to take the test.

You are being manipulated by flowers.

'Flow', or the 'flow state', refers to what you might know as being 'in the zone'. It is that state where you are wrapped up in the activity that you are doing, so much so that you are 'one' with it (in the sense of being fully engaged that is; not a strange zen thing).

The main researcher of flow is the delightfully unpronounceable Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Chick-sent-me-high). Generally it is associated with more intrinsic motication for the activity in question, and although you lose sense of yourself and time while you are in flow, you are said to return with a stronger sense of self afterwards.

Conceptualisation of Flow