Psychology News Round-Up (March 21st)
By Dave Nussbaum
- I (@davenuss79) wrote an article this week for the launch of Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight.com site based on Joe Simmons (@jpsimmon) and Leif Nelson‘s work on intuitive confidence. They find that people bet on favorites to cover the spread even when the odds even, or tilted against the favorite.
“When people decide how to bet on a game, first they identify who is going to win,” Nelson said. That decision is often fast and easy, particularly when teams are not evenly matched. “The faster and easier it is, the less concerned they are with correcting that intuition when answering the more difficult question of whether the favorite is going to beat the point spread.”
- Jamie Pennebaker (@jwpennebaker) sent out a link to a twitter language-analysis tool based on his LIWC program. Based on my last 869 words I’m neither angry nor depressed, but I may be a little distant and analytic.
- Amie Gordon (via @mwkraus) has posted the first in a series on the psychology of parenting in which she proclaims that “the one thing I know with certainty is that I still have no clue what exactly I’ve gotten myself into.”
- NPR’s Shankar Vedantam (@HiddenBrain) talks to Francesca Gino (@francescagino) about her work that finds that people “who employed rituals before eating savored their food more and found it tastier, [which] was true for chocolate and even carrots.”
- Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) writes about the burdens and benefits of helping others in a great piece in the Atlantic Monthly:
In my book Give and Take, I report evidence that being a “giver” who enjoys helping others can be inefficient in the short run but surprisingly productive in the long run. Givers tend to start out with lower sales revenue and lower medical school grades. In sales, givers often put their customers’ needs above their own sales targets. In medicine, before big exams, givers are so busy helping their friends study that they fail to fill the holes in their own understanding. Yet after a year in sales, the highest revenue belongs to those same generous people, and by the end of medical school, the top grades belong to the students with the most passion for helping others.