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Recent Research on Well-Being, Giving, Getting, and Gratitude

Posted on February 20, 2013

From SPSP Press Release: Giving away money to feel wealthy New research shows that people all around the world – from Canada to Uganda, from South Africa to India – derive more happiness from spending money on others than they do on themselves. For the first time, we show that giving away money or spending […]

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Posted in Altruism, Distribution, Emotions, Positive Psychology | 1 Comment »

Enclothed Cognition

Posted on March 14, 2012

From Miller-McCune: That’s the implication of a newly published study, which found wearing a white lab coat — a piece of clothing associated with care and attentiveness — improved performance on tests requiring close and sustained attention. Importantly, the effect was not found when the garment in question was identified as a visual artist’s coat. […]

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Posted in Embodied Cognition, Implicit Associations | 10 Comments »

The Situation of Skin

Posted on November 14, 2011

From Psych Central (an article about the recent work of Situationist friend, Kurt Gray): A new study finds that when men or women look at someone wearing revealing attire they perceive the individual as being more sensitive, yet not as smart. University of Maryland psychologist Kurt Gray and colleagues from Yale and Northeastern University have […]

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Posted in Embodied Cognition, Evolutionary Psychology, Morality, Social Psychology | Leave a Comment »

Dr. Z. on Dr. Phil

Posted on December 7, 2010

Heroic Imagination in Action, December 9, 2010. Situationist Contributor, Phil Zimbardo will co-host the DR. PHIL TV show, on: Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010 (for local airing times, see This program continues an earlier show (Oct. 25, 2010) that focused on The Lucifer Effect, understanding how good people can turn evil, and centered on the […]

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Posted in Events, Situationist Contributors, Social Psychology | Leave a Comment »

The Situation of ‘Common Sense’

Posted on July 6, 2010

On April 15, I had the pleasure of participating in a Collaborative training symposium on Implicit Bias and Eyewitness Identification, conducted for Connecticut prosecutors and public defenders.  I spoke on the topic of implicit bias, a core research interest.  It was an interesting conversation, and the engagement was intelligent, thoughtful, and public minded. Afterwards, Chris Nolan, […]

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Posted in Implicit Associations, Naive Cynicism, Situationist Contributors | 9 Comments »

Our Stake in Corporate Behavior

Posted on January 23, 2010

Situationist Contributor David Yosifon published a thoughtful and timely op-ed,  in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle. Here are some excerpts. * * * Corporations are crucial institutions in our society. Consumers rely on them for everything from the basic provisions of food and clothing to the more dispensable delights of computers and cell phones. Workers rely […]

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Posted in Deep Capture, Politics, Public Policy, Situationist Contributors | 1 Comment »

The Situation of Health and Aging

Posted on June 1, 2009

Situationist friend Ellen Langer‘s latest book, “Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility,”  is out, and Wray Herbert recently wrote a terrific review of it for Newsweek, which we have digested below. * * * Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer [conducted] a study . . . with a group of elderly men some years ago, retrofitting […]

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Posted in Abstracts, Book, Life, Social Psychology | 4 Comments »

The Changing Face of Marketing?

Posted on May 15, 2009

Last week, in a guest blog post at the Faculty Lounge, I suggested that corporate America has been behaving rather strangely recently.  Oil companies have been touting investments in wind technology.  Investment firms have been urging caution.  Agriculture behemoths have been talking about conserving earth’s precious resources.  And clothing companies, known for trading on sex, […]

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Posted in Marketing, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

The Situation of Confabulation

Posted on April 13, 2009

Helen Philips had a nice article  titled “Mind fiction: Why your brain tells tall tales,” in the October 2006 issue of New Scientist.  Here are some excerpts. * * * The kind of storytelling my grandmother did after a series of strokes . . . [n]eurologists call . . . confabulation. It isn’t fibbing, as […]

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Posted in Book, Choice Myth, Deep Capture, Illusions, Neuroscience | 1 Comment »

The Situation of Blaming Rihanna

Posted on March 17, 2009

From the LAPD detective’s notes and Fox News via the Boston Globe: After Rihanna read a text message on [Chris] Brown’s phone from a woman, he tried to force Rihanna out of the car, but couldn’t because she was wearing her seatbelt. Brown then allegedly slammed Rihanna’s head against her window, and when Rihanna turned […]

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Posted in Conflict, Entertainment, Social Psychology, System Legitimacy | 1 Comment »

The Situation of a Loved One’s Clothes

Posted on January 15, 2009

Interesting piece by Linda Carroll of MSNBC on how we take comfort in the clothing worn by loved ones.  We excerpt the piece below. * * * As many as three-quarters of women say they snuggle with shirts and other clothing worn by someone dear, but not near, researchers reported in a study published in […]

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Posted in Emotions, Life | 4 Comments »

The Situation of Staring

Posted on April 1, 2008

From American Psychological Science: * * * It’s happened to all of us: While sitting at the conference table or at dinner party, a friend or colleague unleashes a questionable remark that could offend at least one person amongst the group. A hush falls and, if you’re like most people, your eyes will dart towards […]

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Posted in Conflict, Life | 3 Comments »

Social Networks

Posted on March 3, 2008

Nicholas Christakis describes his research with James Fowler on social networks, and how he came to that research, on Edge. We have posted some excerpts from the fascinating video and transcript below. * * * There is a well-known example in evolutionary biology about whether the eye was designed, or is “just so” because it […]

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Posted in Choice Myth, Food and Drug Law, Life | 8 Comments »

The Situation of Hair Color

Posted on January 22, 2008

This post is a mashup of several newspaper articles, including Shelley Emling’s article, “Blondes, ready for some bad news?,” Tom Spears’s piece, “‘Paris Hilton factor’ sucks IQ points from men and women equally,” and, from Psychology Today, an excerpt from the book Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, which explores, among other “politically incorrect truths […]

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Posted in Entertainment, Implicit Associations, Social Psychology | 5 Comments »

The Financial Squeeze: Bad Choices or Bad Situations?

Posted on November 2, 2007

Bob Sullivan wrote a terrific article last month on the sources of pressing debt loads for much of America’s middle class. It reviews and echoes some of the best research on how situational forces are attributed to the dispositions of the individuals and families feeling the squeeze of situation. We have excerpted Sullivan’s article below. […]

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Posted in Choice Myth, Deep Capture | 7 Comments »

The Situation of College Debt – Part II

Posted on September 26, 2007

Business Week recently published an excellent collection of articles (by Jessica Silver-Greenberg) examining the increasing use of credit cards by college students. The series sheds light on some of the situational sources of the escalating debt loads of college graduates, one component of a wider debt and and bankruptcy epidemic. The Situationist is offering a […]

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Posted in Choice Myth, Deep Capture, Marketing | 3 Comments »

Why You Bought That

Posted on September 6, 2007

Christina Binkley had an terrific article last month in the Wall Street Journal on “How Luxury Brands Alter Shoppers’ Price Perceptions.” We have excerpted portions of the article below. * * * What is too much to spend on a suit? The question weighed on Barry Schwartz as he scanned the racks at Boyds men’s […]

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Posted in Choice Myth, Emotions, Marketing | 2 Comments »

Person X Situation X System Dynamics

Posted on July 30, 2007

I recently wrote the following response to APS Observer Forum criticism, “Not So Situational,” June/July 2007. This response is also published on LuciferEffect. com, the official website of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (Random House, 2007). * * * Personal criticism has been leveled against me as representing an excessive “situationist” […]

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Posted in Ideology, Social Psychology | 5 Comments »

Deindividuation and Seung Hui Cho

Posted on June 21, 2007

“Sure, this robe of mine doth change my disposition.” ~William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale Phil Zimbardo, in his great book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, describes “how a simple change in one’s external appearance can trigger dramatic changes in overt behavior.” The term of art is “deindividuation,” and the evidence for […]

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Posted in Conflict, Social Psychology | 8 Comments »

The Magic of Jonathan Papelbon’s “Knuckle Knock”

Posted on June 12, 2007

On a couple of occasions, we have examined how people sometimes claim magical powers—and thus personal responsibility—for events that they couldn’t possibly have controlled (see “Red Sox Magic” and “Think You’ve Got Magical Powers?“). Be it through willing a certain event to happen, or voodooing it not to occur, many of us regard seemingly innocuous […]

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Posted in Situationist Sports, Social Psychology | 6 Comments »