Emotions

“We review the burgeoning literature on the social effects of emotions, documenting the impact of emotional expressions on observers’ affect, cognition, and behavior. We find convergent evidence that emotional expressions influence observers’ affective reactions, inferential processes, and behaviors across various domains, including close relationships, group decision making, customer service, negotiation, and leadership. Affective reactions and inferential processes mediate the effects of emotional expressions on observers’ behaviors, and the relative potency of these mediators depends on the observers’ information processing and the perceived appropriateness of the emotional expressions. The social effects of emotions are similar across expressive modalities (face, voice, body, text, symbols). We discuss the findings in relation to emotional contagion, emotional intelligence, emotion regulation, emotions as social information (EASI) theory, and the functionality of emotions in engendering social influence. Finally, we identify gaps in our current understanding of the topic and call for interdisciplinary collaboration and methodological diversification.”

The Social Effects of Emotions via Annual Review of Psychology.

Negative Thinking

Artist Freehand X

“Positive thinking, we’re told endlessly, is absolutely essential at every minute if we hope to lead happy, successful lives: only through positive thinking will we achieve our ambitions and be winners instead of losers. Cartloads of self-help books, well-paid motivational speakers and lifestyle gurus all emphatically promote this drive to focus always on positive thinking. ‘It’s necessary to get losers out of your life if you ever want to live your dream,’ says self-help guru Les Brown, presumably eschewing all losers and living his.’ Positive thinking, we’re told endlessly, is absolutely essential at every minute if we hope to lead happy, successful lives: only through positive thinking will we achieve our ambitions and be winners instead of losers. Cartloads of self-help books, well-paid motivational speakers and lifestyle gurus all emphatically promote this drive to focus always on positive thinking. ‘It’s necessary to get losers out of your life if you ever want to live your dream,’ says self-help guru Les Brown, presumably eschewing all losers and living his.

We’re likewise endlessly told that negative thinking, is a definite no-no, only for wet blanket losers. But is this true? Is it true that positive thinking is always the best approach, or could it be, in fact, that some good old negative thinking might actually enable us to live our lives more effectively, efficiently and happily than optimism will? Well, apparently, it does! It turns out this full-tilt drive for constant positivity is being somewhat mis-sold us. So cheer up, wet blanket negative thinkers, if you dare! You may actually have got it right!

Negativity, this radio series explains, is a better spur to suitable action than unwarranted, blind hope, and can prove enormously constructive. Instinctive emotions like fear, anxiety and self-doubt serve an important, positive purpose, just as long as self-doubt is tempered by self-compassion. Self-doubt brings greater flexibility and consideration to plans and actions with a willingness to change tack instead of a moving in a headlong, inflexible rush, while pessimism can actually spell success. The very best, most successful lawyers and surgeons are, the presenter tells us, pessimists – those who examine a job from every possible angle, suspicious that any little thing could go wrong at any moment and get ready for it.”

Read more here via Mature Times.

Listen to the podcast here: THE POWER OF NEGATIVE THINKING A Radio 4 Broadcast and Podcast

Crossing the Unknown Sea

“A good work and a good, dedicated life, almost always in the end … after all the seemingly necessary cover ups … means visibility… it means coming out of hiding.

It is all very well having a dream, but the moment we put the dream to hazard, we have the possibility of failing. How many times have we kept a hope or dream in abeyance because the possibilities of failure were too much to contemplate? If we failed at that central, precious thing then who would we be? Could there be any one left at all? Far better to choose something smaller, something we don’t care about, or some logistical task we don’t mind getting wrong, something we could recover from, something where we are, in effect, really invisible, to ourselves and to the world. Better to choose a world where things don’t matter. Better not to appear fully on life’s radar screen. But making ourselves visible is to arrange for the possibilities of a different kind of disappearance – into the work, the task, the audience, the life that opens up, where the fearful one who first dreamt is burned away by anticipation and a living contact with a future we might want to call our own…making ourselves visible enables us to be found and then invited in by the world we desire.”

~ David Whyte

The Truth Effect

“Repeated information is often perceived as more truthful than new information. This finding is known as the illusory truth effect, and it is typically thought to occur because repetition increases processing fluency. Because fluency and truth are frequently correlated in the real world, people learn to use processing fluency as a marker for truthfulness. Although the illusory truth effect is a robust phenomenon, almost all studies examining it have used three or fewer repetitions. To address this limitation, we conducted two experiments using a larger number of repetitions. In Experiment 1, we showed participants trivia statements up to 9 times and in Experiment 2 statements were shown up to 27 times. Later, participants rated the truthfulness of the previously seen statements and of new statements. In both experiments, we found that perceived truthfulness increased as the number of repetitions increased. However, these truth rating increases were logarithmic in shape. The largest increase in perceived truth came from encountering a statement for the second time, and beyond this were incrementally smaller increases in perceived truth for each additional repetition. These findings add to our theoretical understanding of the illusory truth effect and have applications for advertising, politics, and the propagation of ‘fake news.'”

The effects of repetition frequency on the illusory truth effect via Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.

Cues to Deception

The best lie is a half truth.

“Do people behave differently when they are lying compared with when they are telling the truth? The combined results of 1,338 estimates of 158 cues to deception are reported. Results show that in some ways, liars are less forthcoming than truth tellers, and they tell less compelling tales. They also make a more negative impression and are more tense. Their stories include fewer ordinary imperfections and unusual contents. However, many behaviors showed no discernible links, or only weak links, to deceit. Cues to deception were more pronounced when people were motivated to succeed, especially when the motivations were identity relevant rather than monetary or material. Cues to deception were also stronger when lies were about transgressions.”

More on Cues to Deception via Psychological Bulletin.
Art: Dark Krystal by Laureth Sulfate. Photographie et art numérique, 2020.