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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.

477
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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 ...
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 ...
119
votes
3answers
17k views

Do elevator manufacturers purposefully provide a door close button that doesn't work?

I've read the above factoid many times, but sources are conflicting as to whether or not its true; that is, some say there's a set timer on door openings and closings that can't be budged by pressing ...
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 ...
101
votes
5answers
17k views

Can you predict a number that is “randomly” chosen by a person better than chance?

(https://xkcd.com/628/) If you hover your mouse over the comic for a few second a small tool tip box says: You can do a lot better than 1% if you start keeping track of the patterns in what ...
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 ...
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 ...
77
votes
1answer
14k views

Is the world record for staying in an anechoic chamber an hour or less?

There is an anechoic chamber in Minneapolis, supposedly the "quietest place on earth", with isolated walls that absorb 99.99% of all echoes. It is claimed that the world record for staying in this ...
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, ...
73
votes
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 ...
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 ...
71
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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 ...
66
votes
3answers
11k views

Do people think in a language?

I was discussing some things with a psychology major, and he insisted that people always use a language to think. This is quite opposed to my own experience. I agree that I am capable of formulating ...
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 ...
59
votes
2answers
11k views

Do men feel threatened by intelligent women?

I found this posted in multiple news sites The findings, to be published in the November edition of ‘Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin’, concluded that men find the propect [sic] of dating ...
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 ...
57
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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., ...
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 ...
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 ...
46
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4answers
8k views

Do men think about sex every 7 seconds?

I'm sure most of us have heard at least a variation of this myth. Unfortunately I failed to find the original source. Was there actually a study that claimed this? A lot of the sites debunking this ...
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 ...
45
votes
2answers
4k views

Do opposite types in romantic relationships attract?

Is there any scientific truth to the common maxim "opposites attract" when applied to romantic relationships? I'm not necessarily looking for one blanket answer, though an overall trend or pattern ...
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 ...
44
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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 ...
43
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2answers
50k views

How long is it possible to maintain concentration?

When I study, I like to do it in blocks of a few hours, with little rests in between. I have heard from multiple (possibly unreliable) sources, however, that a human's concentration will drastically ...
42
votes
1answer
11k views

Does vegetarian sweat smell better?

I've read this article online in a Belgian newspaper (in Dutch): Weet wat je zweet: deze 7 dingen wist je nog niet over zweten — HLN. Number 4 is saying that vegetarian sweat smells better then non ...
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 ...
42
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there an unusually large number of people with Asperger's who work in or study IT or Computer Science?

I hear it claimed very often that there is a higher incidence of people with Asperger's Syndrome who work in IT or study computer science (far more so than other fields). This wired article touches ...
41
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3answers
6k views

Are homosexual men substantially more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexual men?

There seem to be a common reaction towards finding out a man is gay where people think they should keep an eye on their children. To add at least one quote from a rather inflammatory post: I ...
41
votes
3answers
49k views

Do children who kill animals turn out to be violent?

It is widely claimed that children who injure or kill animals as children are more likely to exhibit violent behavior as adults, committing domestic violence or murder. A site dedicated to discussing ...
41
votes
1answer
2k views

Do we perceive time to pass faster as we age?

I heard that many times and I really have that sensation. Does anyone have a good explanation why that is? Psychologists assert that time seems to go faster with age, but the literature on this age-...
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-...
40
votes
1answer
4k views

Pornography and the male libido

Does watching pornography reduce or otherwise affect the desire of men to have actual sex? This claim has been made by numerous people, including Naomi Wolf in The Porn Myth. The broader claim is ...
39
votes
5answers
6k views

Does astrology work?

I have been to astrologers couple of times. Once, whatever he said worked. Not sure if it is a coincidence. Does astrology work?
39
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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 ...
39
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3answers
17k views

Does gender reassignment surgery increase quality of life of transgender individuals?

The general belief, at least amongst the LGBT community, is that gender reassignment surgery will increase the quality of life of transgendered individuals. Obviously those that undergo the surgery ...
39
votes
1answer
7k views

Can people read much faster than 400 words per minute?

While investigating the topic of speed reading for a school project, I came across this Slate article. The general idea (which I encountered in most articles I read which discussed this topic) would ...
38
votes
1answer
3k views

Does extremely high intelligence correlate with poorer social skills?

The Psychology.Wikia page Correlation between intelligence and social deficiency states: Abnormally high intelligence, 3 or more standard deviations above the mean, tends to correlate strongly with ...
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 ...
36
votes
1answer
2k views

Can the placebo effect be observed in experiments conducted on animals or babies?

In a paper defending homeopathy, it is argued that the observed benefits of homeopathic treatments cannot be attributed to the placebo effect because the treatments elicit similar benefits when used ...
34
votes
3answers
3k views

Near death experiences — clinically dead person “sees” something, later verified to be true?

This is slightly different from the question HERE, asking "Is there and explanation for near death experiences." I'm not discussion the vague, light-in-the-tunnel, warm-feeling near death experiences (...
34
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1answer
4k views

Is the placebo effect getting stronger?

There has recently been a row about the marketing of pain killers. The makers of Nurofen have been accused of selling the same formulation at different prices for different conditions and claiming in ...
33
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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 ...
33
votes
2answers
7k views

Do emotionally-driven tears release toxins from the body?

Sometime ago I'd heard someone trained in child psychology claim that crying for emotional reasons (as opposed to getting something in your eye for example) released toxins from the brain and/or body. ...
33
votes
1answer
2k views

Is allowing an infant to cry harmful to its development? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is sleep training a form of neglect or harmful? One of the most popular schools of thought regarding modern parenting is that not immediately responding to an infant's (...
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 ...
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 ...
31
votes
1answer
7k views

How does deja vu work?

If you've ever had that fleeting, mysterious sense that something new -- a city or person you’re seeing for the first time -- is somehow familiar, that you’ve been there or known them before,...
30
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2answers
31k views

Do some casinos use extra oxygen to increase gambling, or is this a myth?

(Image: Source) It's no secret that casinos are designed to encourage visitors to stay (and hopefully gamble). But how far do casinos really go? 10 Tricks Casinos Use On you: free drinks no ...
30
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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 ...