As a psychology major, it’s not uncommon to hear people make negative remarks about the psychology field. There is the typical comments about psychology being a soft-science and a useless major. To these people, psychological studies are made-up to convince us that everyone is crazy or abnormal. Well, the next time you encounter these people, keep in mind these practical and not made up applications of psychological research.
Persuading others your opinion represents the whole group:
Say you are in meeting at work where everyone is discussing a new policy that you believe is unfair and takes away from the work you do. Now, you want to convince everyone else, including your boss, that the new policy is a bad idea but are pretty sure no one else is as worked up as you are about the policy. What do you do? According to a psychology study, to convince others that your opinion is representative of the majority, then just repeat yourself. This surprising psychology study finds that if one person in a group repeats the same opinion three times, it has 90% of the effect of three different people in that group expressing the same opinion.
Reduce your cholesterol levels:
So the doctor tells you that you need to get those cholesterol levels down and starts talking about new diets, exercise and medication. Not being a fan of that kinda thing, you could take a slightly lazier approach, write affectionate notes. The results from two separate studies demonstrated that after only 25 days, the experimental group who had written affectionate notes, showed a significant reduction in cholesterol. These reductions were seen independently from the effects of general health factors like age, drinking, smoking and so on. According to this early data, affectionate writing can reduce cholesterol levels.
Make yourself more attractive, more trustworthy and less dominant with a smile:
Do people look at you and think, I would only trust them as far as I can throw them? Maybe you’re a person that constantly accused as being dominant in social interactions. In either case, changing the way you smile may change the way people perceive you. A psychology study found that a long-onset smile (0.5s onset) is seen as more authentic and flirtatious than a short-onset smile (0.1s). On top of this, the researchers found long-onset smiles were perceived as more attractive, more trustworthy and less dominant. Head tilting also increased attractiveness and trustworthiness but only if the head was tilted in the right direction.
To read more practical uses for psychological research, visit the PsyBlog.