Posted by: Anne E. Stuart | February 17, 2012

Friday Five – February 17, 2012

Crazy busy seems to be the theme of this semester. It might have something to do with teaching five courses, instead of my usual four. Whatever the reason, it means that I’m late in posting this week.

Fast Company: FC Expert Blog (JD Rucker) – February 13, 2012

This post demonstrates how psychology is everywhere. Marketing is simply applied social psychology. This post describes what elements of design were used in the posters for the Top 10 blockbuster movies of 2011.

Psychology Today: Resolution, Not Conflict (Susan Heitler, Ph.D.) – February 14, 2012

In her Resolution, Not Conflict blog, Susan Heitler discusses Geoff Colvin’s book Talent is Overrated. The premise is that it is not just the quantity of time spent practicing, but also how one practices that sets apart world-class performers and athletes. She discusses “deliberate practice” where one focuses on small pieces and mastering those before going back to the big picture.

My students should take note that these same skills can be applied to studying. If you don’t expect to become a top-notch athlete or performer without practice, how can you expect to be an A student without studying. Also, it’s not just about how much time spent studying, but spending time studying the right way.

Psychology Today: Shadow Boxing (Katherine Ramsland) – February 15, 2012

In her Shadow Boxing blog, Katherine Ramsland writes about how often people seem surprised that a serial killer could be hiding right under their noses. It really shouldn’t be that surprising. In order to be a serial killer, one has to kill more than once. This requires skill and intelligence not to get caught. As Ramsland points out, much of that skill is in reading people and being able to live separate lives – one of the killer, and one of a normal person.

PsychCentral: World of Psychology (Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.) – February 17, 2012

Margarita Tartakovsky discusses Sam Sommers’ book Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World.

I’ve added this book to my to-read list, even though I think it will likely only reinforce much of what I read in my graduate training in Social Psychology. The description reminds me of the quote I always start a semester of Social Psychology with:

We humans are first of all beings in a situation.  We cannot be distinguished from our situations, for they form us and decide our possibilities. (Jean-Paul Sartre, paraphrased, 1946)

Psychology Today: Sexual Personalities (David P. Schmitt, Ph.D.) – February 16, 2012

In his Sexual Personalities blog, David P. Schmitt discusses some of the errors being made by critics of evolutionary psychology. According to Schmitt, these critics are incorrect in making absolute statements where evolutionary psychology is talking in patterns. Schmitt reports the accurate data gathered by evolutionary psychologists that both men AND women engage in short-term mating strategies when it is advantageous.



  1. I think “Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are” is an interesting idea, because so many people think of themselves in stagnant terms which do not fit who they have become. I know that I think along those lines sometimes. the being affected by complete strangers is fairly intriguing, but it is to be expected because of the society we live in. We live in a society where it is almost impossible to not be influenced by what strangers do or think. Think about every time you bought something because it was ‘popular.’ Isn’t that being affected by strangers?

    “Some Ways to Practice Are More Perfect Than Others” is an interesting article because it does highlight the best ways to improve in anything. One could apply the ideas in the article to nearly every aspect of their life if they were motivated enough. It also brings out the difference between masters of trades and those who merely do something as a hobby. This article reinforces a lot of the things that I already knew from things that my coaches have told me about practicing and improving.

  2. Do You Know a Serial Killer?
    In the article Do You Know a Serial killer, it addresses how close predators may be closer than one thinks. Serial killers are amongst us and they are right under our noses. A serial killer may be partnered with you at work, they might be the one ringing you out at your local supermarket, they might even be your mechanic who fixes your car. There are multiple possibilities where you can come across a serial killer in your everyday life. A serial killer has two different identities where they can act civil enough to still have relationships and social lives. This lets them be able to live amongst us without any detection because people who act like us, are one of us. Having a blind eye toward another person you wouldn’t be able to decipher who that person really is, and what their motives are.

    Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are
    In the article published by Margarita Tatakovsky it is talking about how one sees them selves. There is a word for that, which is called “Introspection”(the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes). The article also has information about how we never really know who we are, we only have a sense of it. They mean that because we are so easily influenced in our lives and are still ignorant of all the different factors in the world our threats become opportunities and failures transform into life lessons(Sommers).What we categorize ourselves today as might change 10 years from now , or even tomorrow. It is unpredictable These influences in life influence who we are and what we act like. All of these factors are psychological and determine our individual expectations.

  3. “Some Ways to Practice are More Perfect Than Others” describes the best ways to practice. The ideas that are given in the article are definitely helpful to anyone who wants to improve with any activity. I believe that many people probably have used some of these techniques at some point in time, but have not effectively put all of the important steps together. By combining a good amount of practice time with attention to detail allows for a mastery of whatever one is doing. Correcting mistakes as they are made and going over the difficult parts is critical, otherwise practice could end up actually worsening ones performance.

    “Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are,” brings up many important points that many people probably would not think of. One example is how complete strangers are able to influence out behavior. Of course we know that the people that we know do this, but it is hard to believe that someone that you have never seen before could cause you to act a certain way. The article also brings up the fact that people change constantly. This makes me believe that we are not set in our ways, and that change is always possible. It is a very difficult thing to attempt to define who we are, which could be another reason that our definitions are always changing.

  4. “Some Ways to Practice Are More Perfect Than Others”
    This article makes absolute since, and i couldn’t agree more. Practice does make perfect. With the given examples it definitley raises a good point for it. I know for one when i started to practice playing the piano, i got better and better. Now it’s been about a year since i’ve practice and i’m very rusty while i play. We gotta keep practicing if we want to become good at something.

    “Do You Know a Serial Killer?”
    This article caught my attention immediatley. The past couple of days, I’ve been watching the show BONES, and all they find are corpses that have been murdered by serial killers. When i read this article, it freaked me out to be honest. The fact that anyone can be a serial killer and you won’t even know it is such a scary thought! All i know is that I never walk alone if there’s no one around the area. I get spooked easily, so i always follo the buddy system where i have a friend with me at all times. You just never know if something bad will happen.

  5. “Do You Know a Serial Killer?”
    As soon as I read this title above, I immediately clicked on it because I wanted to know if any of my friends show the symptoms of a serial killer. Hard to believe yes, I was spooked to what this article had to say. It states how “the public wants monster to be obvious” . In which this statement is 100% true but you have to look at the facts, not everything in life is right there in front of you. Matter of fact the hardest and most enjoyable things have to be discovered. I just don’t understand how a human being could intentionally hurt another, no matter what age. It really just blows my mind because I do not have that mentality nor will I ever.

    “Some Ways to Practice Are More Perfect Than Others”
    This article looked very interesting to me, because I am one who does practice certain things but when it comes to athletics I could careless. I use to be an athlete but once I came to college I decided not to be. So for this article to states how practicing doesn’t always need to be for athletics sparked my interest. The article states that “The performers who reach the top pretty consistently will be the performers who put in the most hours per day perfecting their skills”. This goes along with everything else you do in life. All you have to do is put in the time and effort and great success will come out of it. I really enjoyed reading this article, it made me more aware of how practice really does make perfect.

  6. Do You Know a Serial Killer?

    The article immediately opened my eyes. First of all the title is very interesting. I had actually today, watched the show “I [almost] got away with it.” It is a show that explains the life of criminals and how they live their life’s on the run from justice. It is very interesting to see these people kill numerous innocent human beings and are viewed as normal people in society is scary. In the article it explains how some people are more interested in killing certain groups, such as women or children, which makes me sick. It also freaks me out to think i could’ve met ten serial killers today in the public and had no idea.

    Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are

    This was also a very interesting article. The most interesting thing about this article in my eyes is how over time it is said we change the way we view ourselves. Another very interesting part was how strangers affect us as well. It is something you do not think about but is very true. It is interesting to see how people react under the influence of what they think they are under. It is all a mind game,.

  7. “Some Ways to Practice Are More Perfect then Others”
    As an athlete it was easy to recognize some of the things that the article was talking about. Its true the more you practice the better you will perform and the more skills you will gain. But if you are not practicing correctly then you may not be gaining much from it.

    “Movie Posters”
    I’m in a marketing class and we talk about the importance of good advertising a lot. But companies really do put in more effort into the marketing then into the actual product it seems.

  8. I find that psychology actually is everywhere. To understand anything I believe you need to have the ability to understand people first. This gives people the advantage in making sales because if you know what a customer wants then you can satisfy that customer.

    Practice makes perfect is a common saying, but yes you need to practice the correct way. Anyone can go to practice and say they practiced but in reality joked around the whole time. If you take your time to master each little thing you will become an overall master in that field. Only makes sense.

  9. -The Psychology behind movie poster designs: This article was very interesting. It shows how movie posters and DVD covers are designed as to lure people into a movie theater or buy the DVD. The designers use various mind tricks to get an audience for instance the color red, curved lines, and several different textures. Now I know the reason why a movie “seemed” good and ends up being s huge disappointment.

    -Why You’re not who you think you are: This article is suggesting that who we think or say we are differs depending on our physical location and location in time. If you were to fill in this statement “I am _______” the answer will most likely differ according to not only where you are but who your with or what your doing. This article interested me mainly because it somehow proves that at any given time you are not exactly who you think you are.

  10. •Do You Know a Serial Killer?
    This is article just shows how smart serial killers are. It is scary to believe that somebody has the ability to live a “normal” life while still being a monster. It also amazing the type of people mentioned as serial killers. For example, the person who entertained sick kids. We really do live in a scary world.

    •Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are
    This article is very true and I do realize that i view myself differently depending on the situation. I am definetly a different person out with my friends compared to when I am home with my family. Also, I may act differently towards somebody depeding on our location. In some locations I am very friendly and outgoing to a person. In other situations, I may be shy and not social to that same person.


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