Earlier this week, a friend of mine asked me what, as a psychologist, I thought we could do to ensure that the commitment to action stirred up by the presidential election results doesn’t fall by the wayside. I answered her quickly but the question lingered on my mind. I think there are a few general strategies anyone, regardless of the issues close to their heart, can use to maintain accountability and action over time and effect change for midterm elections in 2018 and the next presidential race in 2020.
Subcategorization is a social identity dynamic that can have either negative or positive ramifications for behavior. This psychological process happens when a person or group is deliberately excluded from comparison. It’s what US Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez just did to her teammate Simone Biles when she told Aly Raisman before the floor exercise competition, “If you get silver again, you’re the best, because Simone doesn’t count.”
If you live in a big city (or maybe even if you don’t), you’ve likely been targeted at least once for a well-known scam. A well-dressed person near a transit center claims to have fallen on very temporary hard times such as losing a wallet and needs cash for a train or bus ticket home. Could you possibly spare $10 or $20 to help out? They’d normally never ask, and they’ll even mail the money back if you can help them out of a tight spot. Maybe you take pity, only to see the same person telling the same story in the same train station the next week. It’s a con. Continue reading How Social Media May Help Curb Con Artists
Dedicated co-working spaces are proliferating, and it’s probably a huge relief to small startups and remote workers who can finally enjoy community and collaboration without the price tag associated with an ongoing office lease. Here in Boston, there are at least two major co-working chains (WeWork and Workbar), in addition to several one-off options, for people who would otherwise be working solo or in very small groups. Continue reading Building Community Through Shared Identity
Even though Boston, where I live, is relatively small, I still find myself sticking to my immediate neighborhood and declaring certain others as “so far away.” So it was a challenge for my friend who moved to one of these “remote” areas to get our group to join him for dinner in his new neighborhood. Fortunately, psychology has a few helpful tips to gain agreement to venture across the city: Continue reading How To Get Your Friends to Trek to Your Neighborhood for Dinner
If you wanted people to donate money to help a stranger, how would you do it?
A good first step to take would be to make the recipient seem like less of a stranger. Research on altruism generally shows that we’re more likely to behave generously toward people we know and like. Interventions to increase altruistic behavior often focus on making the recipient more real to the giver–by using photos and stories, by urging the giver to take the perspective of the recipient, and so forth. Continue reading Relatedness for Social Good: Microlending
The always-fascinating FiveThirtyEight Economics blog published a report on the ways unemployed people spend their time in comparison to folks with jobs, drawing on data from the recently-released American Time Use survey. Many of the findings shouldn’t surprise anyone:
- The unemployed spend a lot less time working
- They do zero work travel
- They spend a lot more time searching and applying for jobs
What is perhaps more surprising is the social toll that joblessness takes, especially over time. People who are unemployed spend less time with friends and family, especially if they are unmarried. Why is this? Continue reading Unemployed? Feeling Lonely? Some Reasons Why