For half a century, social psychologists have been trying to figure out the human gift for rationalizing irrational behavior. Why did we evolve with brains that salute our shrewdness for buying the neon yellow car with bad gas mileage? The brain keeps sending one message — Yesss! Genius! — while our friends and family are saying,
This self-delusion, the result of what’s called cognitive dissonance, has been demonstrated over and over by researchers who have come up with increasingly elaborate explanations for it.
In 1956 , Jack Brehm, carted some of his own wedding gifts into the lab (it was a low-budget experiment) and asked people to rate the desirability of things like an electric sandwich press, a desk lamp, a stopwatch and a transistor radio.
Then they were given a choice between two items they considered equally attractive, and told they could take one home. (At the end of the experiment Mr. Brehm had to confess he couldn’t really afford to give them anything, causing one woman to break down in tears.) After making a choice (but before having it snatched away), they were asked to rate all the items again. Suddenly they had a new perspective. If they had chosen the electric sandwich press over the toaster, they raised its rating and downgraded the toaster. They convinced themselves they had made by far the right choice.
The question is… What does he do after he walks off camera? Have you ever wanted to do this to the office yakker?
One afternoon in early September, an architect boarded his commuter train and became a cellphone vigilante. He sat down next to a 20-something woman who he said was “blabbing away” into her phone.
“She was using the word ‘like’ all the time. She sounded like a Valley Girl,” said the architect, Andrew, who declined to give his last name because what he did next was illegal.
Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chatterer’s cellphone transmission — and any others in a 30-foot radius.
“She kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening on the other end,” he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? “Oh, holy moly! Deliverance.”
Individuals using jammers express some guilt about their sabotage, but some clearly have a prankster side, along with some mean-spirited cellphone schadenfreude. “Just watching those dumb teens at the mall get their calls dropped is worth it. Can you hear me now? NO! Good,” the purchaser of a jammer wrote last month in a review on a Web site called DealExtreme.
What’s funny is the amount of salacious material running in the background of “serious” news stories.
I gotta start watching more FOX…
It has long been observed– though not scientifically– that women seem to show a vague preference for men who are already spoken for. This observation is known as the wedding ring effect, and there are numerous competing theories as to why it may be. Some suggest that the wedding ring is a cue that a man is “safe,” a passing opportunity for empty flirting; while others theorize that the female psyche sees the ring as an indication that another woman has deemed him worthy. There is also the possibility that the increase in feminine attention is purely imagined, a way for a married man to reassure himself that he’s still got “it” (or for that matter, that he ever had “it” to begin with).