In psychology there is a way of viewing the world called the dark triad which is comprised of the three traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. In a personality test the higher you score on those traits the greater the likelihood you don’t care about others. This dark triad has been around since the early 2000s, and now researchers have devloped a similar study to find the opposite, a light triad scale (LTS). The LTS is measured by Kantianism, Humanism and Faith in Humanity; basically the greater you score on the LTS the better you are as a human being.
In addition to being both reliable and valid, it seems the LTS isn’t just an inversion of the dark triad test — it does actually measure different characteristics. “The absence of darkness does not necessarily indicate the presence of light,” the authors write in their paper, “… there appears to be some degree of independence between the Light and Dark Triad, leaving room for people to have a mix of both light and dark traits.”
Kaufman and his team also constructed what they call “portraits of the light vs. dark triad.” Participants who scored high on light triad traits tended to be older, female and have experienced less unpredictability in their childhoods. They also tended to report higher levels of: religiosity, spirituality, life satisfaction, acceptance of others, belief that they and others were good, compassion, empathy, openness to experience and conscientiousness.
Take the LTS test!
Over the course of the last decade interrogation techniques involved violence, yelling, and trying to “outsmart” the person being interviewed. Sadly that’s how interrogations were shown in entertainment and in reality at places like Guantanamo (which is still running).
This bizarre approach to information gathering bothered psychologists Emily and Laurence Alison so they set out to review what interrogation techniques actually work. The answer: don’t assault the person you’re hoping will give you information, instead treat them as a person and they will tell you all they know. This adds to the already established thinking that coercive interrogation techniques don’t work.
The Alisons’ analysis of the terrorist tapes confirmed this. One of their most striking findings is that suspects are likelier to talk when the interviewer emphasises their right not to. “The more pressure you put on a person, the less likely they are to speak to you. You need to make them feel responsible for their choices,” said Laurence. “You can’t bullshit, you’ve got to mean it.” He slips into character. “Ian, you don’t have to speak to me today. Whether you do or not isn’t up to me. It isn’t up to your solicitor. It’s up to you.
“These are powerful tools to get inside someone’s head,” said Laurence. “But they’re not tricks. You have to be genuinely curious. There’s a reason this person has ended up opposite you, and it’s not just because they’re evil. If you’re not interested in what that is, you’re not going to be a good interrogator.”
Parents always tell their kids to eat more fruits and veggies, as adults we should do the same. A recent study has found that adding two extra servings of fruits or vegetables to your daily diet can improve your wellbeing in just two weeks. This is an easy way to improve your mood while also improving your health. Try setting an alert on your phone to remind you to eat that extra apple a day.
The researchers found that participants who personally received extra fruits and vegetables consumed the most of these products over the 2 weeks, at 3.7 servings daily, and it was this group that experienced improvements in psychological well-being. In particular, these participants demonstrated improvements in vitality, motivation, and flourishing.
This is the first study to show that providing high-quality FV to young adults can result in short-term improvements in vitality, flourishing, and motivation. Findings provide initial validation of a causal relationship between FV and well-being, suggesting that large-scale intervention studies are warranted.”
Despite what a really old book may imply, envy can be OK. In english the word envy seems to mean one thing but in other languages envy has multiple meanings and thus when thinking about envy we require more nuance. Sure enough, modern thinkers point out that we need to modify our conception of envy to fully articulate what the word means.
It turns out that some forms of envy can make us better people.
Richard Smith, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky who began studying envy in the nineteen-eighties, writes that the feeling typically arises from a combination of two factors. The first is relevance: an envied advantage must be meaningful to us personally. A ballerina’s beautiful dance is unlikely to cause envy in a lawyer, unless she once had professional dancing aspirations of her own. The second is similarity: an envied person must be comparable to us. Even though we’re both writers, I’m unlikely to envy Ernest Hemingway. Aristotle, in describing envy, quotes the saying “potter against potter.” When we admire someone, we do so from a distance. When we envy someone, we picture ourselves in their place. (Smith’s work, in turn, was inspired by a 1984 paper on “social-comparison jealousy,” by the psychologists Peter Salovey and Judith Rodin.)
I know it’s strange to say that self control is contagious: but it is, so you should catch it by having friends that are good practitioners of self control.
“The take home message of this study is that picking social influences that are positive can improve your self-control,” said lead author Michelle vanDellen, a visiting assistant professor in the UGA department of psychology. “And by exhibiting self-control, you’re helping others around you do the same.”
People tend to mimic the behavior of those around them, and characteristics such as smoking, drug use and obesity tend to spread through social networks. But vanDellen�s study is thought to be the first to show that self-control is contagious across behaviors. That means that thinking about someone who exercises self-control by regularly exercising, for example, can make your more likely to stick with your financial goals, career goals or anything else that takes self-control on your part.
VanDellen’s findings, which are published in the early online edition of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, are the result of five separate studies conducted over two years with study co-author Rick Hoyle at Duke University.
In the first study, the researchers randomly assigned 36 volunteers to think about a friend with either good or bad self-control. Those that thought about a friend with good self-control persisted longer on a handgrip task commonly used to measure self-control, while the opposite held true for those who were asked to think about a friend with bad self-control.
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