The Lowball Technique

Handshake

THE LOWBALL TECHNIQUE was named after, and first studied in 1978 by the US social psychologist Robert Cialdini, who found it while he was being trained as a car salesman. A technique of persuasion, it refers to a technique to elicit and raise compliance. It is mostly employed in commercial dealings. The technique is often brought to use to persuade a prospective buyer to accept a request. The proposal is so appealing that the buyer accepts it. Then just before the offer is being finalized, the salesman will change the original offer and reveal the hidden-cost making the original proposal less appealing. But as, the buyer has already committed to the offer, he or she will feel compelled to accept the second offer as well.

Cialdini and other researchers did a field experiment where researchers at first tried to persuade students to agree to volunteer to serve as experimental participants; 56 per cent students agreed to participate in the study. They then told the volunteers that the study was scheduled for 7 a.m., and volunteers were given the opportunity to withdraw. However, none of them did, and 95 per cent of them actually turned up at the appointed time. On the other hand, when a control group were asked to participate and were told the unsocial timing of the experiment up front, only 24 per cent agreed to participate.

Pseudobulbar Affect

Arthur Fleck's uncontrollable laughterThose of you who have watched Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning performance in Joker, would agree that one of the most striking traits of Arthur Fleck’s character is his uncontrollable laughter. Although the movie never names the specific conditions Fleck is diagnosed with, his fits of laughter are likely based on a real disorder called pseudobulbar affect.

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) or emotional incontinence is a condition characterized by episodes of uncontrollable laughing or crying or some other emotional displays. PBA may occur in people with neurologic disorder such as multiple sclerosis or brain injuries, or stroke. As the involuntary outbursts can last from seconds to several minutes at a time, PBA can feel extremely alienating for the person living with it. Patients may find themselves crying or laughing uncontrollably at something that is only moderately sad or funny, respectively. These laughing or crying periods not only land the patients up in uncomfortable situations, but are also exhausting and painful too. Severe symptoms of PBA can lead to embarrassment, social isolation, anxiety, and depression. The condition can be quite disruptive to the patient’s life but fortunately, it is treatable. As with any sharp shift in mood, the most important thing to do is consult a professional as soon as possible.

 

17 Interesting Psychological Facts About Love

1. Most of us tend to be attracted to people who are similar to ourselves.

2. We ignore the ones who adore us and pay attention to those who ignore us.

3. Looking into each other’s eyes can make strangers fall in love.

4. It only takes up to 4 minutes to decide whether you like someone or not.

5. Falling in love has a similar neurological effect as getting high on cocaine.

6. Butterflies in the stomach are real and they’re actually caused by adrenaline.

7. The longer you hide your feelings for someone, the harder you fall for that person.

8. 90% people text things they can’t say in person.

9. People at the same level of attractiveness are more likely to end up together.

10. Romantic love is biochemically indistinguishable from having a severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.

11. Feeling ignored causes the same chemical effect as that of an injury.

12. The very last person on your mind before you fall asleep and the first person on your mind when you wake up is either the reason for your happiness or your pain.

13. Looking at a picture of a loved one can help to relieve pain and stress.

14. The brain treats rejection like physical pain.

15. It is possible to die from a broken heart. It is called Stress Cardiomyopathy.

16. Once you fall in love, there is no going back to being friends again. So, you can’t be a friend with the person you loved after you broke up. If you can still stay as friends, you have never been in love with that person.

17. Hearts have nothing to do with the feeling of ‘being in love.’ It is only a chemical reaction happening in your brain.

human psychology

12 Interesting Psychological Facts

1. People tend to be happier when they are kept busy, as this prevents them from thinking about the negative things in life.

2. People with low self-esteem tend to humiliate others.

3. Intelligent people tend to have less friends than the average person. The smarter the person is, the more selective they become.

4. Optimistic beliefs about the future can protect people from physical and mental illness.

5. 68% of the people suffer from Phantom Vibration Syndrome, the feeling that one’s phone is vibrating when it’s not.

6. People are more honest when physically tired. This is why people confess things during late night conversations.

7. Happiness, anger, sadness, fear, disgust, and surprise are the six emotions that are universally expressed.

8. Religious practices, like prayer and attending services, is associated with lower levels of psychological distress.

9. Convincing yourself you slept well tricks your brain into thinking it did.

10. Creative people tend to get bored easily as they can’t work on a similar work type for a longer time.

11. Singing reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.

12. Being with positive and happy people keeps you happier.

Alien Hand Syndrome

Alien Hand Syndrome (AHS) is a condition that involves uncontrollable hand or limb movement. Named after the title character in the classic 1964 film, the syndrome is also called Dr Strangelove syndrome. The afflicted person experiences his or her limb acting involuntarily, i.e., without conscious control; and therefore, when one hand is engaged, the other hand would begin and do something counter to the former. The person with AHS may sometimes reach for objects and manipulate them without intending to do so, even to the point of having to use the other hand (normal one) to bring the alien hand under control. AHS may occur in cases of tumor, stroke, or surgery affecting the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain. It may also present in cases where a person has had the two hemispheres of their brain surgically separated—a procedure performed in extreme cases of epilepsy and epileptic psychosis to allay the symptoms. While damage to the left hemisphere of the brain affects the right hand, damage to the right hemisphere affects the left hand because each side of the brain controls movement on the body’s opposite side.

Pluralistic Ignorance

A herdd of sheepsPLURALISTIC IGNORANCE refers to a social-psychology phenomenon in which people in a group guess wrongly about the group’s beliefs and values. This term was created by Floyd H. Allport and Daniel Katz in the 1930s. Also described as “no one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes,” pluralistic ignorance is a bias about a social group, held by the members of that group. The members of the group mistakenly infer that they feel differently from other group members, even though they feel similarly. Therefore, in a certain situation, despite rejecting a norm personally, the individuals go along with it because they assume, erroneously, that most others accept it. This misconception of others’ values causes the group members to act in ways that differ from what they actually believe in. As an example, imagine yourself attending a difficult lecture in college. After finishing the lecture, the professor asks if there are any doubts or questions. But you, despite having questions, don’t raise your hand because no one else has, because you assume that all other students have comprehended the lecture well, which might be just a misconception. The bystander effect can also be explained on the basis of pluralistic ignorance.

Functional Fixedness

Functional fixedness HeartyPsychFunctional fixedness also called functional fixity or functional embeddedness is a type of cognitive bias, which causes an inability to solve a problem requiring the use of a specific object, the impairment being the result of recent use of an object for a different function, or by recent perception of the object performing a different function.

The phenomenon was first described in 1935 by the German-born US psychologist Karl Duncker, who experimented with five problems, including what he called the box problem in which three small-lighted candles were to be attached to a wooden door at eye level. The subjects were presented with many objects, including a matchbox containing matches, a similar-sized cardboard box containing small candles, and a third similar box containing thumbtacks. The solution was to empty the three boxes, to fix them to the door with thumbtacks, and to stand a lighted candle in each box. While only 43 per cent of Duncker’s subjects solved the box problem in that form, 100 per cent of a control group solved it when presented with the same objects but with the three boxes empty, thus avoiding functional fixedness arising from perceiving the boxes as containers of other objects.

Across all five problems, Duncker found that the functional fixedness of crucial objects reduced the number of solutions by almost a half. Duncker pointed out that the phenomenon applies not only to physical objects or tools, but also to mental objects or concepts. An English translation from Duncker’s classic article in German was published in the journal Psychological Monographs in 1945. Functional fixedness can hamper a person’s ability to solve problems.

Functional fixedness prevents people from finding novel ways of using the objects that are familiar for solving particular problems, for solving other problems that may arise. Children who are five or younger are not fixed, they come up with new ways to use familiar objects during play. As they grow they become functionally fixed as a result of adults correcting them. By practicing creative thinking, functional fixedness can be avoided.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance written on black backgroundWhen a person holds two or more contradictory or inconsistent beliefs, ideas, or values, he or she experiences a mental discomfort. This mental discomfort or psychological stress is described as COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.

A seemingly simple cognitive consistency theory was first introduced by the US psychologist Leon Festinger in 1957. The concept is related to the effects inconsistent cognitions i.e. knowledge or belief, has on a person. It is believed that, inconsistent or contradictory beliefs or ideas are very hard to maintain and often cause tension, which ultimately motivates a person to bring change in those beliefs or ideas. If both the beliefs or ideas in the cognition pair are in harmony they are considered consonant, if one of the beliefs in the cognition pair is opposite to the other, they are dissonant; and if they are neither in harmony nor converse of the other, then such beliefs are said to be irrelevant to each other.

A state of tension is created due to dissonance relation which, in turn, leads to three types of dissonance-reducing behaviors:

  • Changing one of the two perceptions or cognitions
  • Decreasing the perceived importance of dissonant cognitions
  • Adding further (justifying) cognitions

This may be better understood by the following example. A classic case of dissonance is a smoker who holds two beliefs, i.e., “I smoke cigarette” and “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health.” These two sets of information are mutually contradictory and will lead to a state to dissonance. Therefore, to reduce this dissonance, the person will chose one of the above-mentioned dissonance-reducing behaviors.

The Halo Effect

sun with halloThe Halo effect was first documented by the US psychologist Frederick Lyman Wells in a study of ratings of the literary merit of authors. The study was published in the Archives of Psychology in 1907. It is a form of cognitive bias in which a person, brand, or thing evaluated to possess one desirable or positive trait is consequently evaluated to possess many other desirable or positive traits. In person perception, it is a generalization from the perception of one prominent attribute to an impression of the personality as a whole, leading to inflated correlations between rated characteristics. In other words when a person or object is perceived to be good in one aspect, we generally perceive him/her to be good in other areas as well. The term is occasionally limited to occasions in which it leads to an overvaluation of the personality as a whole. In simple terms, your general perception of an individual as “He/She is good!” influences your perception of that person’s particular traits (“He/She is intelligent also!”). The term ‘halo error’ was introduced in 1920 by the US psychologist Edward Thorndike.

The Spotlight Effect

woman in spotlightThe Spotlight Effect is a cognitive bias that makes people believe that others notice them more than they actually do. In other words, spotlight phenomenon makes people overestimate the extent to which others notice, observe, or judge them and the extent to which others remember things about them. It is, in some cases, the major reason behind people getting self-conscious in a large gathering and sometimes, becomes the cause of social anxiety. It is found to be more prevalent among teenagers, who spent plenty of time thinking about how others will perceive them. The cause of the spotlight effect is the innate tendency to forget that even though one is the center of one’s own world, he or she is not the center of everyone else’s. The term was coined by Thomas Gilovich and Kenneth Savitsky. The phenomenon first appeared in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science in 1999.

Cryptomnesia

Woman sitting on the typewriterCryptomnesia refers to a memory bias by which a person recalls a memory but misidentifies it as a new thought. This eerie process causes a forgotten memory to return without being recognized as a memory. The person does not consciously engage in plagiarism but he or she experiences the recollection as if it were a new or his own original idea. In social situations, cryptomnesia often comes up as an annoying idiosyncrasy, but it has far greater relevance for, and may result in serious consequences, in the art world. For instance, an artist or an author may commit plagiarism without even realizing what is happening. According to psychologists, cryptomnesia is a source-monitoring error which happens when we fail to register the source of information. As human brain amasses memories, details are ranked. In this filtering process, the origins of facts often fall secondary to the facts themselves. Cryptomnesia may, in fact, be a byproduct of an otherwise efficient memory system.

The McGurk Effect

The-McGurk-Effect written on black backgroundThe McGurk Effect is a perceptual phenomenon named after Scottish psychologist Harry McGurk, who was also co-author of the first article on the phenomenon, titled “Hearing Lips and Seeing Voices” which was published in Nature journal in 1976. The phenomenon involves an interaction between visual and auditory perception in speech. This occurs when sound of a speech does not match with the shape of the lips that produce that sound, thereby leading to perception of a word that actually has not been spoken at all. The best example would be when the video image of a person saying bay is dubbed with a sound corresponding to the usual pronunciation of the word gay causing the listener to perceive an intermediate word day. The brain, in this case, combines the auditory part of one sound with the visual perception of another sound, which ultimately results in the perception of a sound that was not even uttered. The phenomenon takes place when the listener is in a crowded room or when the speaker is speaking very softly and the former cannot hear the sound that well. The McGurk effect demonstrates that visual channel sends critical information not just to the people who are deaf but also to the listeners who can hear normally.

The Baader–Meinhof Effect or Frequency Illusion

Text written on grey backgroundThe BAADER–MEINHOF EFFECT, also known as frequency illusion, is a cognitive bias and refers to a phenomenon where things or objects that an individual has recently noticed like a name, a word, etc. suddenly seems to appear with strange frequency afterwards. In this phenomenon, the person who has recently paid attention to something obscure or unfamiliar begins to encounter that newly learned information in unanticipated situations. It gives an impression that out of nowhere, the new information is rapidly surrounding him. The reason is that the brain starts noticing the thing, which was once unfamiliar. One interesting thing about this phenomenon is that it is not named after the linguist who did research on it. Rather it is named after a West German militant group which was founded in 1970. However, the militant group has nothing to do with the phenomenon. It was named after the group when a reader of St Paul Pioneer Press first noticed the mention and then randomly heard two references within 24 hours out of nowhere. The phenomenon is a result of two cognitive processes namely selective attention and confirmation bias.

Fregoli Syndrome

Fregoli syndrome is a rare psychological disorder in which the person affected believes that different people around him or her are in fact same but appear different because they are in disguise. It is also called delusional misidentification syndrome where strangers are perceived as familiar people in disguise. It can be said that it is a delusion of over-identification, in contrast to Capgras syndrome, which is a case of under-identification. The disorder was named after an Italian actor, Leopoldo Fregoli, who was famous for his ability to impersonate famous political personalities. It is believed to be caused by serious injury to parietal and temporal regions of the brain or neural pathways.

Jamais Vu

The term JAMAIS VU in psychology is borrowed from the French language and means ‘never seen’ in English. It refers to the phenomenon in which the observer experiences a situation, which is although familiar to him or her, suddenly seems very unfamiliar as if being seen or experienced for the first time. Jamais vu is often described as the opposite of another phenomenon called deja vu, which refers to the feeling of having already experienced what is happening at present. Involving a sense of strangeness, Jamais vu gives the observer an impression of seeing something for the first time in spite of being rationally aware of having seen or been in the situation before. This phenomenon can be easily created by writing or saying a specific word out loud several times. After a few seconds one will feel that the word sounds weird and unfamiliar and that it makes no sense.