Psych stuff round-up

From time to time I gather articles, research and resources that are in some way psychology-related; I call this ‘psych stuff’. Some snippets may be really useful, some may be eye-opening and others may be funny, quirky or strange.

The ‘eye contact illusion’
Intriguing research in Australia, reported by the BPS, offers help to those of us who find making direct eye contact uncomfortable. Indeed, there are cultural differences to consider when it comes to ‘looking someone in the eye’: in most Western cultures it conveys interest and sincerity, but in other cultures it can be perceived as challenging and disrespectful. Fortunately, if you’re giving a presentation and you know you need to ‘make eye contact’, there’s a really simple alternative.

Some of us are fine on eye contact, but it’s what to say when we meet people that’s awkward. Here’s advice from a self-styled ‘questionologist’ and ‘7 Questions to Better Connect With Others’.

Neuro-diversity at work
Jonathan Kaufman’s piece for Forbes makes the case that leaders need to adapt because
“Neurodiversity and autism serve as the next wave of the diversity challenge”
Hear, hear.

Q: What to do if you’re worried a robot will take your job?
A: Relax. Yes, really.
Psychologist Adam Waytz has a book called ‘The Power of Human’ coming out soon, so it’s safe to say this is his pet subject. Whilst many may say what makes robots great is that their minds don’t wander, Waytz takes the view that our wandering minds are what make humans great. Meaning it’s time for a break! For more, see his article, ‘Leisure Is Our Killer App’ for MITSloan Review.

Brain studies and ethics: the elephant in the room, or should I say pig?
If you’ve missed the news about pigs’ brains showing post-mortem activity, you’ve most likely been away – or turned away. The scientists involved in the experimental study observed all the relevant ethical guidelines to the letter. Responses range from horror to intrigue and even hope. One day, the lessons learned may benefit people with brain damage. But for now, what’s clear is that the ethical codes and guidelines aren’t fit for purpose: where/when does life end? Three eminent writers lay out the quandaries in this Scientific American report (first published in ‘Nature’).

Procrastination: is tough love the answer?
According to Marty Nemko, the current view that we should be gentler on ourselves about our own bad behaviour isn’t going to help. At least that’s his view when it comes to procrastination. Thankfully he offers 9 tips to get over ourselves (my favourite is #8).

In a similar vein, here’s The Positivity Blog’s Henrik Edberg with ways to stop overthinking (and start doing). 21 quotes + 5 top tips – what’s your favourite quote?

Finally…next month, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, from Monday 13 to Sunday 19 May. This year’s theme is ‘Body Image – How we think and feel about our bodies.’ Get ahead (clunky pun intended) and find out more here.

Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’ and ‘How to be Zoomly at work’

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Image credit: Head with gears in brain. @hobbit+art-Depositphotos

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