How much do you know about psychology?
Take our quick quiz to find out:
What’s the name of the psychologist who identified the state of ‘flow’ when humans perform (in sport, in music, in art or any difficult challenge) at their absolute best?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (If you’re not sure how to pronounce his name, here’s a phonetic guide: “Me high? Cheeks send me high!”)
Csikszentmihalyi became a happiness researcher because of the adversity he faced growing up. He was a prisoner during World War II, and he witnessed the pain and suffering of the people around him during this time. As a result, he developed a curiosity about happiness and contentment.
In Csikszentmihalyi’s words, flow is “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it” (1990).
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), used by many global business consultants, is scientific.
True or false?
NLP was made up by two self-help gurus in the 1970s who watched some psychotherapists at work. It is full of false claims that sound scientific.
A forensic trawl of the scientific literature shows there is no evidence base to NLP. Whilst this might not matter (except to the businesses that pay a lot of money for something that is total piffle), in 2013 a charity was successfully called to account for offering NLP to traumatised war veterans.
Crowds turn people stupid and dangerous.
True or false?
After a mass emergency, it’s typical for reports to describe the crowd as ‘stampeding’ in blind panic. There’s an implication that when we’re in a large group, we lose our senses and it’s everyone for themselves. This characterisation is refuted by psychological research on crowd behaviour that has shown that panic is rare and that people do frequently stop to help one another.
Cooperation is particularly likely when people feel a shared sense of identity. Psychologist John Drury made this finding based partly on his interviews with people caught up in real-life emerfencies, such as the overcrowding that occurred at a Fatboy Slim concert on Brighton Beach in 2002.
Drury and his colleagues argue this has implications for the way authorities handle emergency situations: “Crowds in emergencies can be trusted to behave in more social ways than previously expected by some involved in emergency planning,” they wrote.
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