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Questions tagged [psychology]

Use this tag for questions about understanding, predicting, and changing the thoughts, emotions, and specifically psychological theories of behavior should use this tag. However, this excludes questions about specific claims, beliefs, or superstitions that would be better categorized under other, more specific tags, including behavior, brain, consciousness, superstition, esp, ghosts, religion, spirituality, energy, and meditation.

73
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3answers
14k views

The origin of “99 cents”

I've seen two competing theories on the origin of pricing products at $<desired dollar amount minus 1>.99 (i.e. charging $19.99 instead of $20, of $5.99 instead of $6): Psychological pricing ...
389
votes
2answers
243k views

Was the experiment with five monkeys, a ladder, a banana and a water spray conducted?

I've found the following picture online. It is about the moral/paradigm behind consistent behavior. Click to enlarge. The image text says A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and ...
82
votes
6answers
10k views

Is homosexuality innate?

There is a widespread belief that one chooses to be a homosexual, and that people can successfully overcome such feelings. On the other hand, some scientific studies have shown that finger length may ...
72
votes
6answers
5k views

Do violent video games cause violent behavior?

I have been following this question casually over the past couple of years, and it seemed to me that there was no strong consensus either way on the subject. However, I recently read an editorial from ...
42
votes
3answers
5k views

Does child rearing by homosexual couples have any measurable negative effects?

There is a widespread belief that there are adverse effects on children reared in same-sex-parents households compared to male+female household (I can add random googled cites if necessary, but the ...
52
votes
1answer
13k views

Is there any harm in forcing/re-educating a left-handed child to use their right hand?

Backstory: Many of my relatives were subjected by their parents to a "training process" to "prevent" left-hand-dominance. This method started at a very young age and basically consisted of politely ...
57
votes
5answers
7k views

Any Scientific Basis for Neuro Linguistic Programming?

Over the years, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) has been creeping into popular culture. It is used by a lot of self-help gurus, and also in context of the right way to educate and learn (e.g., ...
18
votes
1answer
6k views

Does changing your pH balance change your mood?

I have read that eating more alkaline foods and changing your pH balance reduces stress and anxiety. For example, see Eat a Lemon, Feel Less Stressed: Stephanie McClellan, MD, and Beth Hamilton, ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Backwards masking in music

It was alleged by opponents to rock and heavy metal that the artists would include hidden satanic messages in their songs that would become audible when playing the song backwards. It was further ...
106
votes
3answers
32k views

Is a woman who dresses sexually suggestively more likely to get raped?

There was a recent controversy about a police officer who is reported to have suggested: Women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like a “slut.” If we leave out the derogatory word and focus ...
30
votes
2answers
5k views

Do nice guys finish last?

xkcd #513 Friends  by Randall Munroe You might think this is something men parrot to justify their lack of luck with the ladies, but ask any androphile and we'll tell you there's just something ...
44
votes
6answers
6k views

Are different prices in wines justified by taste?

According to the BBC, Wine costing less than £5 a bottle can have the same effect on the palate as those priced up to six times as much, a psychological taste challenge suggests. My skeptic sense ...
22
votes
1answer
6k views

Is rape a crime about violence and power, or a crime of passion?

Adam Carolla, from the popular radio show Loveline, and in the Guiness Records for the most downloaded podcast of all time made the following claim (1 min mark): rape is not a sexual crime, you ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Do you feel pain in a life-threatening situation?

Let's say you are in a war-situation, and both you and your opponent are out of bullets. When I was in the army, I learned that the most efficient way to kill your opponent would be to kick him in the ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Are anti-smoking advertisements in actuality promoting smoking through use of reverse psychology?

Years ago, I had a friend who was both a heavy smoker and a noted contrarian. One day as we were driving past a large anti-tobacco billboard he told me he thought that telling smokers not smoke was ...
477
votes
4answers
47k views

Does torture work well as an interrogation technique?

Wikipedia's Effectiveness of torture for interrogation says, Torture has been used throughout history for the purpose of obtaining information in interrogation. Some arguments say that it is an ...
57
votes
3answers
6k views

Are human beings naturally predisposed to believe in God?

My girlfriend sent me this article from the Telegraph. This is an excerpt: Led by two academics at Oxford University, the £1.9 million study found that human thought processes were “rooted” to ...
39
votes
3answers
7k views

Do women prefer men with a sense of humor?

I think everyone may have heard this at one time or another, but it's said that women prefer men with a "good sense of humor". The idea is so commonly held, it even has its own abbreviation on dating ...
80
votes
1answer
18k views

Is masturbation bad for one's health?

This question has probably been asked by almost everyone at some point in their lives. But the answers we receive vary from "it is very good" to "it is very bad". I can understand that becoming ...
52
votes
3answers
18k views

Can people feel somebody is watching them?

I think most of us is familiar with this feeling. You can tell someone (who stands behind your back) is staring at you without any physical evidence. Is it possible or is it just a matter of ...
63
votes
3answers
8k views

Is the depiction of nudity or sex harmful to minors?

In other words, are the censorship & ratings of movies and other forms of art based on something more than nothing? ;) Or, in a broader sense, I am questioning the very widespread belief that kids ...
77
votes
2answers
8k views

Did most sex workers experience abuse as a child?

Dr. Drew Pinsky, a medical doctor who hosts several television and radio programs, claims quite frequently that most people who engage in sex-related industries, such as prostitution or pornography, ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Does addictive behavior exist?

There are widespread claims that you can get addicted to video games, shopping, internet, whatever, even sex. Not merely "like it very much", but addicted, as in addicted to alcohol. According to ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Are religious people happier?

This video discusses the idea that religious people are happier. Are there: any sources that support or contradict the claims? any scientific papers that address the issue?
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it possible to determine if a person is telling the truth by which direction they look?

I have heard that people look up and to the left if they are not truthful, and up and to the right if they are telling the truth. Is there any truth to this?
25
votes
3answers
18k views

Does black magic work?

In India, a large number of people believe in black magic. Black magic is the belief of practices of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers.This type of magic is invoked when wishing ...
26
votes
2answers
9k views

Do men show greater variance in the distribution of their IQ than women?

It is frequently claimed that men show greater variance in the distribution of their general intelligence factor (g) ("IQ") than women. Is that claim accepted by the scientific community?
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Does the color red have measurable psychological effects? [closed]

In answering a question about the effects of viewing different colors, I wanted to make a claim about the psychological effects of the color red – specifically the popular belief that it causes ...
22
votes
1answer
12k views

Can any EMF detector detect ghosts?

It has been my understanding that EMF detectors are used for a wide variety of applications. For example, EMF detectors can be used to measure electrical leaks in microwave ovens as well as ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Does the container that soda is in affect the flavour?

When I was a kid, a friend and I had a list of favourite containers for soda (specifically Coca Cola). We said that it tasted the best when coming out of a glass bottle and the worst from a plastic ...
29
votes
2answers
990 views

Is graphology grounded?

In France Graphology is still actively used by some recruiters in order to attempt to evaluate applicants' personality from their handwriting (therefore covering letters in France are still ...
21
votes
1answer
4k views

Are people who win the lottery more likely to go bankrupt?

It's been suggested that people who win the lottery are more likely to go bankrupt than if they had not. For example, an article on Smartmoney states: More than 1,900 [lottery] winners went ...
15
votes
1answer
5k views

Are people more likely to give honest responses to surveys when anonymous?

We obtain a great deal of data about trends in sensitive and personal topics through anonymous surveys. For example, in a science writing class I'm taking, the professor showed us results from an ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How well is the ideomotor effect understood and defined? [closed]

I'm curious what the extent of the ideomotor effect is, and how it is precisely defined. I often hear it used to explain things as widely diverse as Ouija boards, assisted communication frauds, and ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Are discussions about suicide themselves suicide triggers?

Several online forums I've frequented have had discussions removed when suicide methods are mentioned. The reasoning have been that discussion about suicide themselves are suicide triggers. While it ...
8
votes
1answer
671 views

Do light boxes help Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Light boxes are sold as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and seasonal mood swings. The claims listed are: Helps to ease seasonal mood swings and winter depression, and help ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Does the combination of red wine and cheese cause bad dreams?

I have only anecdotal evidence to support the aforementioned claim: heard it from several people in my youth and believe to have experienced it myself, but that might be placebo. Some quick googling ...
71
votes
2answers
9k views

Does working over 40 hours a week make you less productive?

Does modern research prescribe 40 hour workweeks, and agree that increasing hours doesn't proportionally increase productivity you turn in less and worse work, and risk dangerous mistakes longer ...
40
votes
3answers
2k views

Were our ancestors segmented sleepers?

Historian A. Roger Ekirch contends that in ancient times, people naturally had two sleeping periods at night- the first starts shortly after sundown and ends in an short break, where people were semi-...
36
votes
2answers
3k views

What does Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tell about a person?

Does Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tell something objective and predictive about the persons decision making tendencies? In other words, can a Myers-Briggs score give you useful information about what ...
33
votes
1answer
4k views

Is mental exhaustion something real?

I can go from working hard on algorithmic programming a whole day, and feeling totally mentally exhausted, to playing chess. As far as I can understand, these two types of thinking should be strongly ...
31
votes
2answers
8k views

Do rapists think rape is normal?

I have found the following statement on an article of feminism: Do you know who think all men are rapists? Rapists do. They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes ...
46
votes
4answers
11k views

Is there any scientific support for psychoanalysis?

I listened to episode 140 of the The Psych Files podcast where the host, Michael Britt, tried to psychoanalyze Jack Lalanne and was left wondering whether there's any validity to it. I am under the ...
31
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the commonly accepted mechanism that causes people to experience pareidolia?

I often see cases of pareidolia reported in the news, on blogs, and even here. I think remember reading in Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan that this had an evolutionary origin (i.e. if you see a ...
30
votes
1answer
2k views

Is spanking an effective form of discipline for children?

I have heard many claims that spanking is ineffective for disciplining kids? Is there any research to confirm or deny this?
44
votes
1answer
2k views

Do involuntary “microexpressions” betray liars?

I believe that it is Paul Ekman who is primarily responsible for suggesting that when people lie, their faces exhibit fleeting "microexpressions" that reveal their underlying beliefs. It would be a ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

Does willpower depend on the amount of glucose in the body?

How strong is the evidence for the argument made in Willpower by Baumeister and Tierney? Basically willpower (or better: "self-control") is supposed to be proportional to the amount of glucose in ...
22
votes
1answer
741 views

Is self-discipline more important than IQ in predicting academic performance?

There is one highly cited (>1K citations in Google Scholar) study titled "Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents", and quoting from its abstract: Self-...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Does telepathy exist?

I remember reading not too long ago about a study in which experimenters performed a number of standard psychological tests with a twist; it was something about they ran a number of tests from ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

When is praise for children harmful?

There seems to be a growing movement of people who thing that praise is bad for children, as for example on the Not School blog. The thesis seems to be: A child who receives praise, rewards, and ...