Tag Archives: social psychology

What is Reverse Psychology?

reverse psychology pic“Technically, you are using ‘Reverse Psychology’ when you intentionally and strongly argue in favor of a decision or behavior while secretly wanting the receiver of your argument to endorse the opposite decision or behavior” (Pantalon, 2011). Continue reading


Giving is its Own Reward

sexy woman and manOr so the researchers at UCLA would have us believe. Assistant professor of psychology Naomi Eisenberger and psychology graduate Tristen Inagaki performed an experiment on 20 heterosexual couples in romantic relationships at UCLA’s Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center.

In the experiment, each boyfriend received painful electric shocks while his girlfriend’s brain activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Inagaki and Eisenberger “explored the potentially beneficial effects of support giving by examining the neural substrates of giving support to a loved one.” They “focused on a priori regions of interest in the ventral striatum and septal area (SA) because of their role in maternal caregiving behavior in animals” (Inagaki and Eisenberger, 2012). Continue reading


Development of Social Cognition Part 1: The Impact of Gestalt Psychology

faces or vase. figure and ground.Part 1 – Part 2

Many core tenets of modern day social cognition have their roots in the Gestalt tradition. As an example, let us consider the matter of context. Theory and research within social cognition begins with the knowledge that humans do not exist in vacuums: at any given moment, there are multiple social forces impinging on the individual and these must be given adequate consideration. As such, the importance of context is a theme which runs throughout the entire field of social cognition. Yet this emphasis on context is by no means new. Gestalt psychologists had long recognized its importance decades before and it was their initial interest in this factor which was later built upon in social cognition. Continue reading


What is Social Cognition?

impatient wife with obnoxious husband

No way that’s his mom!

Social cognition is a sub-field within the larger discipline of social psychology and has been defined as “the study of mental processes involved in perceiving, attending to, remembering, thinking about, and making sense of the people in our social world” (Moscowitz, 2005, p.3). While some psychologists are content with analyzing only overt behavior, researchers in the field of social cognition prefer to dig deeper. Social behavior, from their perspective, is not directly determined by environmental factors that are external to the individual. Rather, it results from the internal cognitive processes which influence our interpretation of the social context. No social reality exists beyond that which we actively construct in our minds and it is this cognitive construction of social reality – our social cognition- that ultimately determines our behavior in social situations. Continue reading