Tag Archives: Social Psychology and Personality

When Two Regulating Systems Is Not Enough

ArgueTake a classic example of a driver who is running late for an appointment and another driver unexpectedly cuts him off, or how about when another driver is stuck behind a slow moving vehicle with no immediate way of getting around. If you can relate with these themes then you may have experienced a sense of frustration for the posed scenario. If you indeed had these experiences and have not acted on them by rolling down the window and yelled at the other driver then you, like most everyone else, is dutifully practicing automatic emotion regulation and emotion regulation (Mauss, Bunge & Gross, 2007).

Now, think of an instance when someone leaves decorum: a U.S. congressman yells at the U.S. President during a speech, or a musician who during an award event takes the microphone from the award winner to make a point, or a tennis player angrily disagreeing with the referee during a match.

As it turns out people have not one but two regulating systems to help control behavior (Mauss et al., 2007). Automatic regulation system, as the name suggests, occurs automatically, such as when children are being raised and told not to cry. Eventually the child regulates his emotions before they kick in. What about the second regulation system–you ask? Mauss et al., 2007 note that if the first system, for some reason, does not regulate and people have an outburst then we can mitigate the action. Emotion regulation itself, the authors note, occurs by reducing the intensity or duration of the outburst. As it turns out though, sometimes even two regulating systems are not enough. If that is the case then an apology may be in place.

square-eye Read more: Joe Wilson’s outburst

square-eye Read more: Popular figures leave decorum behind

square-eye Mauss, I.B, Bunge, S.A., & Gross, J.J. (2007). Automatic Emotion Regulation.

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Governments Sanction Happiness

EnthusiasticBillyMurrayA new political trend appears to be evolving—the search for happiness. A case in point is the country of Bhutan, which measures “gross national happiness” according to NPR and Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2007). An NPR story reported how the country of Bhutan is growing alternative resources to reduce the cutting down of its forests. The depletion of forests may reduce the countries happiness the story reports. On the same note The Associated Press, reported that French President Sarkozy declared that happiness should be implemented as part of an economic indicator.  For instance, it is noted that factors such as “distribution of wealth and income, education, health and leisure” would be considered instead of GDP.

The search for happiness seems to be elusive even for those who study the concept, according to Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2007). One similarity in the review was that happiness does depend on factors such as the distribution of wealth, income, education, health and leisure and so on. Sheldon and Lyubomirsky (2007) also noted however that when everything is equal other variables are more important. The authors conclude that the search for happiness starts at an individual level with consistent pursuit and appropriate goals. However the governments opening up the discussion may be the start of the pursuit of happiness.

square-eye Read more:  “Bhutan Hopes Bamboo Boosts National Happiness”

square-eye Read more: The Associated Press: Sarkozy wants happiness used as economic indicator.

square-eye Sheldon, K.M., Lyubomirsky, S. (2007) Is it possible to become happier? (And if so, how?)

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Express It As You Feel It

Airport_International_Terminal2As airlines cut budgets and reduce service with the excuse of re-structuring travelers are in turn being affected and expressing their opinion. It appears that people have plenty of frustrations to let out when discussing air travel. Indeed, delayed flights and being left stranded at airports can cause someone to have a low opinion of air travel. Reuters reported how after a flight a musician came to find that his guitar had been damaged. After a failed attempt at compensation the musician decided to do what musicians do best–write a song about the incident. In response to the video posted online, the airline company indirectly compensated the musician in the form of a charity donation.

Dissatisfaction with airlines is part of the norm among travelers resulting in websites such as FlyersRights.org and tripplersview.com dedicated to giving travelers a voice, reports Reuters. In addition, the report notes that the masses are finding other ways of protesting on sites such as twitter.

People manifesting their attitudes or distaste toward the airline companies is an example of Smith and Lewis’ (2009) concept of the attitude behavior relationship. If companies and organizations are making changes and the attitude of feeling short-changed becomes part of the norm people will do something about it, starting by expressing their dissatisfaction.

square-eye Read more: Link to Reuters article

square-eye $1.99Smith, J.R. & Louis, W. R. (2009). Group Norms and the   Attitude-Behavior Relationship

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Want to find out your mood? Look it up online.

Very_happyConsider the culture of today after an event is given importance—we discuss our feelings and opinions on facebook, twitter or a blog. An article reported in Scientific American: 60 Second Science the new methods researchers are implementing to investigate group emotions in cyberspace. According to Scientific American: 60 Second Science, Michael Jackson’s death elicited sadness on the web, while a joyful and proud moment was experienced during the U.S. Presidential election on November 2008.

The website titled “We Feel Fine”, reported in Scientific American: 60 Second Science, breaks down feelings based on gender, nationality and age and many other demographics.

You don’t facebook, blog or twitter you say. No need. Identifying yourself with a social group is sufficient to arouse emotions about “group-relevant objects and events” writes Diane Mackie and colleagues.

Speed-Dating Scientific American: 60 Second Science story

Speed-Dating ‘We feel fine’ website

Speed-Dating $1.99 Mackie, D., Smith, E.R., & Ray, D.G. (2008) Intergroup Emotions and  Intergroup Relations

Speed-Dating Hogg, Michael A. and R. Scott Tindale (eds). Blackwell Handbook of Social  Psychology: Group Process. Blackwell Publishing, 2002.

Appearance Matters

Kelis_perfect_smileWhat advice would a tourist board give to the local community when the tourist numbers drop? Smile! The Paris tourist board concluded that appearance matters. The tourist board proceeded to request that the residents of Paris smile.  After conducting a travelers survey it was found that among the high cost of travel, tourists experience included the perception of unpleasantness.  The tourist board concluded that the impressions people form about Parisians affect the overall tourist economy.

However, asking the locals to smile is not enough. When visiting Paris expect to be greeted by specialists known as “smile ambassadors”. On certain days you may even experience roller skaters gather to form a smile.

The story featured in the Reuters section, Oddly enough, may not be as odd as it is presented to be. Social Psychologists, Leslie A. Zebrowitz and Joann M. Montepare, 2008, explain why first impressions start with looking at a persons face and how people make judgments about others. A safe conclusion is that smiling will give the best impression, tourists or not.


Read more: Reuters article on Paris smile campaign


$1.99Zebrowits, L.A. & Montepare, J.M (2008) Social Psychological Face Perception: Why Appearance Matters

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