Currently viewing the tag: "psychology"

Negative attitudes about others are often formed at a young age, and they’re thought to remain relatively stable throughout adulthood. However, few studies have examined whether implicit social biases can change. In recent years, however, Professor Manos Tsakiris of the Royal Holloway University of London and Professor Mel Slater of University College London and the University of Barcelona have developed ways to expose participants to bodily illusions that induce ownership over a body different from their own with respect to race, age, or gender. For white people who were made to feel that they had black bodies, their unconscious biases against black people diminished. And adults who felt as if they had children’s bodies processed perceptual information and aspects of themselves as being more childlike. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where an actual body swap occurs.

Journaling Prompt: What type of person do you have negative thoughts about? How could you begin to see things through their eyes?

Art Prompt: Body swap

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about this research and how implementing it might change the direction of our world.

Photo Credit: Mr. Bob on Flickr

My mother was from Antigua, a small island in the Caribbean. She used to say her greatest find was my father, this crazy white shell who washed up on the beach one day. She said if you put your ear up to him you could hear traffic and car horns and people from Boston talking funny. She said they were made for each other like the wind and the sea. Opposites, but unable to be apart. –Hugh Howey, The Shell Collector

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where the conflict derives from an attraction of opposites.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a relationship you’re in with someone who is very different from you.

Art Prompt: Opposites

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience why we are attracted to people who are different than we are.

Photo Credit: June Yarham on Flickr

There are those who suggests that a child is a tabula rasa when born, a blank page, which remains to be filled out by life experience. That is not true. Children are born with encoded nature of their genetic being, and they are born with a history of their culture and their family infused into their very conception, and as the context into which they are received. This becomes what is innate and in each of us yearns to be heard and recognized, to be named and known in relationship to others-to exist. –In the Moment: Celebrating the Everyday by Harvey L Rich, M.D.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the background of your protagonist, considering genetics, culture, and family history. 

Journaling Prompt: What part of your personality do you believe you were born with and what came through life experiences?

Art Prompt: My personality

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the interplay between innate personality and life experiences in shaping a personality.

Photo Credit: Jlhopgood on Flickr

Approximately 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study. In addition, the most recent U.S. census data shows more than a quarter of the population lives alone, more than half of the population is unmarried and, since the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children per household have declined. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story with a protagonist whose loneliness drives him/her to make a mistake.

Journaling Prompt: Who do you know who might be lonely? Write about why you think they are lonely, then give them a call!

Art Prompt: Loneliness

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the health effects of chronic loneliness.

Photo Credit: Geraint Rowland on Flickr

It’s impossible to give someone the world. You can show them glimpses of yours, hope they join you in it, but to give them the world means you have to be willing to give up your own. –Sejal Badani, Trail of Broken Wings

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about someone who wants the world, and isn’t worried about destroying the other person to get it.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the boundaries that you have that help you protect your world.

Art Prompt: If I gave you the world…

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how abusive spouses use power and control to demolish their victim’s world.

Photo Credit: Cindy Schultz on Flickr

Dogmatic individuals hold confidently to their beliefs, even when experts disagree and evidence contradicts them. New research from Case Western Reserve University may help explain the extreme perspectives, on religion, politics and more, that seem increasingly prevalent in society…

“…religious individuals may cling to certain beliefs, especially those which seem at odds with analytic reasoning, because those beliefs resonate with their moral sentiments,” said Jared Friedman, a PhD student in organizational behavior and co-author of the studies.

“Emotional resonance helps religious people to feel more certain — the more moral correctness they see in something, the more it affirms their thinking,” said Anthony Jack, associate professor of philosophy and co-author of the research. “In contrast, moral concerns make nonreligious people feel less certain.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story where the conflict is driven by a dogmatic individual who will not listen to another point of view.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a person you know who is driven by dogma and how it affects you.

Art Prompt: Dogmatic person

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the pros and cons of dogma.

Photo Credit: Jake Guild on Flickr

“In Greek mythology, Cassandra, daughter of the king of Troy, had the power to foresee the future. But, she was also cursed and no one believed her prophecies,” said the study’s lead author, Gerd Gigerenzer, PhD, of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. “In our study, we’ve found that people would rather decline the powers that made Cassandra famous, in an effort to forgo the suffering that knowing the future may cause, avoid regret and also maintain the enjoyment of suspense that pleasurable events provide.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene involving a character who can see the future.

Journaling Prompt: Would you like to see the future? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Seeing into the Future

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of prophecy.

Photo Credit: Cassandra (Stratford Gallery) on Wikimedia



“As an emotion, disgust is designed as a protection,” said Vikas Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. “When people feel disgusted, they tend to remove themselves from a situation. The instinct is to protect oneself. People become focused on ‘self’ and they’re less likely to think about other people. Small cheating starts to occur: If I’m disgusted and more focused on myself and I need to lie a little bit to gain a small advantage, I’ll do that. That’s the underlying mechanism.”

In turn, the researchers found that cleansing behaviors actually mitigate the self-serving effects of disgust. “If you can create conditions where people’s disgust is mitigated, you should not see this (unethical) effect,” Mittal said. “One way to mitigate disgust is to make people think about something clean. If you can make people think of cleaning products — for example, Kleenex or Windex — the emotion of disgust is mitigated, so the likelihood of cheating also goes away. People don’t know it, but these small emotions are constantly affecting them.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where your protagonist is so disgusted that he or she feels entitled to cheat.

Journaling Prompt: Does the way you feel affect  your integrity? Write about several examples.

Art Prompt: Disgust

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the phenomenon of cheating and what allows people to feel entitled to do it.

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Meyer-van Voorthuijsen on Flickr

I don’t care that the odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 11 million. My heartbeat and sweaty palms say otherwise. I don’t care if something has never happened to anyone anywhere in the span of Earth’s existence; I can still worry it will happen to me. Uncomfortable feelings take hold of me, get my brain’s undivided attention and tells it point blank: “Something has to be wrong or we wouldn’t feel this way.” –Panic and the Media: Unraveling the Worry By Sarah Newman, MA

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, poem, or haiku about being paralyzed by worry.

Journaling Prompt: Write about the biggest worry you have right now.

Art Prompt: Worry

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the devastation of worry and how they can stop worrying and enjoy life.

Photo Credit: Waithamai on Flickr

…research shows many people have homicidal thoughts or fantasies (as many as 79 percent of men and 66 percent of women in a 1993 survey of university students), DeLisi said. It becomes a problem when those thoughts progress to contemplating situations in which homicide is appropriate, forecasting consequences of murder or simulating the act of killing.

“For most people, the thoughts are short-lived and related to a dispute. They may think about killing someone instantaneously, but once they cool down they’re OK,” DeLisi said. “For correctional clients, it’s part of their emotional life. They have a lot of anger, hostility and psychopathology. They think people are out to get them and they’re very aggressive, so some of these severe offenders contemplate homicide.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who escalates from contemplation to execution of a homicide and the aftermath.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever fantasied about hurting someone? Write about that experience, however brief it may have been. What did you learn about yourself?

Art Prompt: Fantasies

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about how dangerous fantasies can be and how to deal with them when they happen.

Photo Credit: Andy on Flickr