5 Psychological Phenomena You Probably Haven’t Heard About
“Psychological phenomena” is often kind of just a fancy way to refer to reasons behind human interactions, and ways to describe the cause-and-effect relationships between actions and reactions. It’s important to keep in mind that this terminology is neither positive nor negative, but often examples ARE interesting.
Additionally, being able to recognize what is happening (and why it’s happening) can be an important tool when analyzing your own behavior across situations, whether in work or your daily life.
Today, we’re taking a look at 5 “psychological phenomena” (心理效应 xīn li xiào yìng), and their related research, that you may not know about—but you definitely will be glad you do now.
1. Marshmallow Experiment
In 1972, psychologists at Stanford University administered a test to young children looking at their ability to delay gratification, or self-control.
自我控制 (zì wǒ kòng zhì): n. self-control
The test was simple: children were given 1 marshmallow and told that if they waited 10 minutes before they ate it, they would be given another. Seems like a pretty easy way to get some free candy, right? Well, not for all the children.
棉花糖 (mián huā táng): n. marshmallow; cotton candy
The psychologists found that there was a correlation in the children’s ability to wait for a reward and their competence (as described by their parents), standardized test performance, as well as their health status, years later.
It looks like there may be some benefits to actively training ourselves to not give up future benefits for immediate pleasure!
tōng guò cè shì hái zi de rěn nài lì ，kě yǐ yù cè tā men zhǎng dà hòu de xìng gé.
通 过 测 试 孩 子 的 忍 耐 力，可 以 预 测 他 们 长 大 后 的 性 格。
By testing children’s patience, they can predict their personality after they grow up.
Imagine you’re ¾ of the way through drawing a circle, when suddenly the phone rings. You answer the call, but the only thing you’re thinking about is the fact that you haven’t finished drawing the circle; it’s like there’s constantly something at the back of our mind telling us “You have to finish it, you have to finish it, you have to finish it.”
画 (huà): v. to draw
Although some people define themselves as perfectionists, it’s perfect natural to want to finish something that you already started!
完美主义者 (wán měi zhǔ yì zhě): n. perfectionist
zhè piān xiǎo shuō wǒ yǐ jīng xiě le sān fēn zhī èr le ，jiù chà yí gè jié wěi jiù wán chéng le.
这 篇 小 说 我 已 经 写 了 三 分 之 二 了， 就 差 一 个 结 尾 就 完 成 了。
I’ve already written two-thirds of this novel, all it needs is an ending.
zài dà jiā de xié zhù xià ，tā yuán mǎn wán chéng le rèn wù.
在 大 家 的 协 助 下， 他 圆 满 完 成 了 任 务。
With everybody’s help, he finished the job perfectly.
3. Chameleon Effect
The “chameleon effect’ is the idea that we are drawn to people who we feel a connection with, no matter how superficial the connection; this could be something as simple as similar movements, facial expressions, or words used.
变色龙 (biàn sè lóng): n. chameleon
We can apply this to our daily conversations, too. For example, when talking with someone else, if you want the other person to feel better about you, you can try repeating some key words that they say. Of course, you also have to be nice! It doesn’t work if you treat them poorly.
wǒ dǎ suàn zhè zhōu liù qù dí shì ní lè yuán.
我 打 算 这 周 六 去 迪 士 尼 乐 园。
I’m planning to go to Disney World this Saturday.
dí shì ní lè yuán？ nà nǐ qiān wàn bié cuò guò wǎn shɑng de yān huā biǎo yǎn.
迪 士 尼 乐 园 ？ 那 你 千 万 别 错 过 晚 上 的 烟 花 表 演。
Disney World? Then definitely don’t miss the nighttime firework show!
4. Suspension Bridge Effect
Psychologists set up a seemingly innocent experimental scenario: after one group of men crossed a suspension bridge, and another group crossed a stable bridge, they were asked how attractive they thought a woman they just passed was.
吊桥 (diào qiáo): n. suspension bridge
It turned out that those men who crossed the suspension bridge thought that the woman was more attractive than the other group did! Why? The idea was that the men on the suspension bridge thought that their heart was racing and skin sweating because they had found the woman attractive… not because they were walking across a shaky bridge.
心跳 (xīn tiào): n. heartbeat
This is why horror movies or activities to get the blood pumping are popular first date choices! Couples are more likely to feel they’re attracted to each other when they really are excited.
gēn jù diào qiáo xiào yìng ，qíng lǚ men zài yī qǐ kàn kǒng bù diàn yǐng hòu gèng róng yì gǎn dào bǐ cǐ qīn jìn
根 据 吊 桥 效 应， 情 侣 们 在 一 起 看 恐 怖 电 影 后 更 容 易 感 到 彼 此 亲 近。
According to the suspension bridge effect, couples are more likely to feel closer to each other after watching a horror movie together.
5. Compliment Sandwich
The best way to give someone feedback, particularly negative feedback, is by “sandwiching” the main point between two positive ones.
三明治 (sān míng zhì): n. sandwich
By delivering criticism in this way, the other person is more likely to accept the idea, and to take it more seriously.
称赞 (chēng zàn): v. to compliment
It doesn’t matter if you’re a boss, a friend, a sister, or a classmate, it never hurts to deliver criticism in a constructive way, and a way that won’t be detrimental to your relationship or make the other person feel bad!
zhè piān wén zhāng nèi róng hěn fēng fù！
这 篇 文 章 内 容 很 丰 富！
There’s really a lot of information in this article!
dàn shì yǒu yì xiē yǔ fǎ cuò wù.
但 是 有 一 些 语 法 错 误。
Although there are a few grammar mistakes.
rú guǒ nǐ jiǎn chá zhī hòu zài fā biǎo ，zhè piān wén zhāng yīng gāi huì gèng jiā liú chàng.
如 果 你 检 查 之 后 再 发 表， 这 篇 文 章 应 该 会 更 加 流 畅。
If this is published after you check it over again, this article will be an even better read.
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