human behavior

Human beings are creatures of emotion, not creatures of logic. They crave for a feeling of importance.
—  Dale Carnegie
Human behavior, that’s what I like. Humans do some really interesting things. Like, besides killin’ ourselves, we also kill each other. Murder. And we’re the only ones who do that, by the way. We’re the only species on earth that deliberately kills members of our own species for personal gain…or pleasure, sometimes it’s just fun.
—  George Carlin

Here’s why people keep going to psychics and fortunetellers

15% of Americans  have admitted to visiting a fortuneteller or psychic. In spite of the fact that claiming to commune with the supernatural realm is widely dismissed as a sham — and is also a class B misdemeanor in New York City that could cost a fortune teller up to $500 in fines — palmists and Tarot card readers occupy storefronts throughout the city and advertise online. And people continue to seek them out: according to a 2016 survey of paranormal beliefs conducted by Chapman University, 14.1% of those surveyed believe astrologers, fortune tellers and psychics can foresee the future and nearly half (46.6%) believe that places can be haunted by spirits. Read more

In collaboration with Shut Eye on @hulu

How to introduce knowledge change

I’m tired of the call-out culture. What I want is conversations, seeing other people as full human beings even if you disagree with them, and meeting people where they are and loving them right there. Here are some educational psychology principles of helping others learn new things and change their minds!

1. Influence prior knowledge. Get to know what they think already.

2. Introduce alternative theories. Based on what they’re thinking already on a particular issue, begin to talk about what you believe.

3. Offer convincing evidence. Why is it that you believe what you believe?

4. Prompt deep processing of relevant information. What’s most interesting to them about what you were just saying? How do they see it applying to their lives?

Walk away understanding that you won’t be able to change each person’s mind. They have to do that themselves, and not everyone is willing to do so. That is okay.

Now you’ve had a conversation instead of a shouting match.

At the time I wrote [Human Behaviour] I was referring to my childhood and probably talking about how I felt more comfortable on my own walking outside singing and stuff than hanging out with humans … I experienced harmony with kids, the mountains and the ocean surrounding Reykjavik and animals I guess but found grown ups rather chaotic and nonsensical. When I went into sixth form school I choose science, math and physics and thought psychology, anthropology, sociology and history and such was for sissies. A huge majority of Icelanders do the same thing. They call subjects in school about people “kjaftafog” which means nattersubjects. As I got older and became a grown up myself I have learned to appreciate nattersubjects and recently read many books for the first time about psychology and I guess my last album Volta had a anthropology angle on it … so I have learned a little about humans. Now I can keep up a conversation (still rubbish at small talk though) and through my experience probably understand them a little better
—  Björk addressing “Human Behaviour” two decades later, The Guardian (2011)

Hidden Brain is a new podcast from NPR about human behavior. In the latest episode, host Shankar Vedantam points out that sometimes having a back-up plan can actually be bad for you. And if you listen to the end of the episode, you can hear me singing a song about these concepts in the stye of a 90s-era pop-punk band.

Check out the podcast here.