What do a bike-crazy psychologist, an infestation of cockroaches, a Paralympic athlete and driverless cars have in common?
They're at the heart of the origin story of social psychology, the study of how the social world affects what we think and do.
Whither love? It's the eternal question posited by everyone from poets to pop stars. And in this episode of N of Us, it's answered with three social psychology studies.
Help is on hand from Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, Harry Connick Jr and Donny Osmond, all of whom offer their tuppence on who we fall in love with and how to make it happen.
Barack Obama is arguably the most powerful man in the world. But is his power justified?
In this episode of N of Us, we find out by wandering through the Italian Renaissance, taking savasana, grabbing a donut and buying the world a Coke.
Happy President's Day!
Photo from Walkadog
Photo by Eliz.Joy22
Bugs, daylight savings time and park benches that poke you in the posterior if you sit on them too long: how are these related crime?
Fix the small things and the big ones will follow. That's the basic premise of Broken Windows Theory, which has inspired revolutions in public policy since it first appeared on the pages of The Atlantic in 1982. It may be mired in controversy, but it seems to work. But why?
In this episode of N of Us, I propose Broken Windows is the icing on our psychological bun, that there's something deeper in our psyche that turns us off the places where we are.
Photo by Eliz.Joy22
photo by Sunfrog1
When I was growing up in Southern California, the most famous car salesman on my TV was Cal Worthington. He and his hat and his (never really a canine) "dog" Spot persuaded me, a six year old, that I need to buy a car. From him.
How did he do that? In this episode of the N of Us, Cal, homemaker Betty and her Tupperware and Top Gun lead us down the two routes of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion to find out.
This week's podcast was produced and presented by me, Aleks Krotoski. Editorial and voice support provided by Ben Hammersley. Our researcher is Hannah Whittingham. Sound Mixing by Marcus Veda.
The N of Us is sponsored by the British Psychological Society.
Photo by me.
There’s an island in the Pacific Ocean that’s only 25 miles long and 12 miles wide. The people there worship a god called John Frum. And their religion has a surprising origin.
The Tannese have something in common with a caged pigeon, Peggy Lee and a baby that won't go to sleep. Find out more about where magical thinking comes from in this episode of N of Us.
photo by Melissa Youngern on Flickr.
Hypnosis is the product of two states: the trance and the suggestion.
We can be put deeply, deeply to sleep by a professional, or we can put ourselves into one.
The important bit is what happens when we're there.
photo by Lyza on Flickr.
This is the story of two shopping malls and the men behind them - the men who manipulate our surroundings in such a way that we can't help but impulse buy. One lulls us into submission so we buy on the way out. The other dazzles us so much that we have to buy in order to get out.
And this, naturally, leads to theme parks. The mouse-father of them all.
The Gimme Episode. Go on, gimme.
Photo by Cross Stitch Ninja on Flickr.
A nation at war, a community fighting the zombie horde. Tribes: the Ur theory of social psychology.
Autumn Rush Week just finished at college campuses across the US, during which kids (I can call them kids) do unspeakably stupid things to impress a bunch of people who will let them into a club for the next four years that they will dedicate their lives (and future dollars) to forever.
Meanwhile, I just spent a weekend in the countryside queuing outside a hedge. Yes, to get in. Into the hedge.
Image by ufuk.
There's a fine line between conformity and compliance. But the end result is often the same.
photo by Joe Loong on Flickr.