Your reputation will precede you especially if it’s a bad reputation

Monday, 30 May, 2011

The good die young and the rest become famous… negative behaviour may not do your reputation any favours, but ironically such a reputation is more likely to get you noticed:

So why would we be especially attentive to people with a bad reputation? In general, the brain prioritizes negative information over positive – you’re more likely to survive if you mistakenly respond to a stick as though it were a snake than if you make the opposite error. But because, historically, humans have been the biggest predators of other humans (as well as their greatest source of support), signs of human treachery should be even more likely to capture our attention.

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Our moods may be subject to the control of our… coffee cups

Friday, 4 March, 2011

Everyday household and office objects may be asserting a form of mind control over us, suggests a growing body of research… chairs, for instance, can affect the outcome of negotiations depending on how hard or soft they are.

It may seem incredible to imagine that the boring coffee mug you held this morning while chatting with your kids, or the clipboard you held while filling out that interview this afternoon, were actively priming your behavior and emotions. How could these static, boring objects change the way you feel and act towards others?

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Altruism, isn’t it about giving without expecting something back?

Friday, 22 October, 2010

Even though we may be behaving in a selfless manner many of us still believe that there are strings attached to our actions.

One reason people deny that altruism exists is that, looking inward, they doubt the purity of their own motives. We know that even when we appear to act unselfishly, other reasons for our behavior often rear their heads: the prospect of a future favor, the boost to reputation, or simply the good feeling that comes from appearing to act unselfishly. As Kant and Freud observed, people’s true motives may be hidden, even (or perhaps especially) from themselves. Even if we think we’re acting solely to further another person’s good, that might not be the real reason. (There might be no single “real reason” – actions can have multiple motives.)

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Do you remember when it was good etiquette to have etiquette?

Wednesday, 7 July, 2010

Ten apparently forgotten rules of social etiquette… a couple of these have become antiquated, rather than forgotten, in my opinion though.

Guests are supposed to arrive at the given time and not wait about at home till they are sure that they will either make a grand entrance or be fashionably late. In the olden times, if you arrived at a dinner part even 15 minutes late, you would be expected to eat in the kitchen with the staff and join the rest of the guests only when they were done eating.

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Gentleman, you have to learn the rules before breaking them

Tuesday, 27 April, 2010

The Rules of a Gentleman, compiled by Ryan Evans. Some of these guidelines are relatively easy to abide by, others however may prove a little testing

Shut the computer and pick up a newspaper every once in a while.

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An audience with the audience, a nightmare at the movies

Friday, 29 January, 2010

Thankfully my experiences at the movies are nothing like what Ryan Gilbey has to put with:

But for a while now I have found myself tensing slightly in the foyer, knowing full well that, for reasons unconnected with whichever film I am seeing, it will be a miracle if I leave a few hours later having had a satisfying experience. More likely I will have paid a tenner to listen to other people’s conversations, phone calls and heckles.

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Good avatar, bad avatar, who are you going to be online?

Thursday, 12 November, 2009

The avatars we choose to represent ourselves on the web may also have some influence on our conduct online thinks Jorge Peña, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, with people who, say, adopt a Batman avatar subsequently assuming some of the Dark Knight’s traits.

“When you step into a virtual environment, you can potentially become ‘Mario’ or whatever other character you are portraying,” said Peña, who studies how humans think, behave and feel online. “Oftentimes, the connotations of our own virtual character will subtly remind us of common stereotypes, such as ‘bad guys wear black or dress up in hooded robes.’ This association may surreptitiously steer users to think and behave more antisocially, but also inhibit more pro-social thoughts and responses in a virtual environment.”

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I’d never join a club, or group, that’d have me as a member

Wednesday, 15 July, 2009

The best way to lead a group is to at first appease the group… even leaders who are seen as visionary and thinking outside the square have usually gained acceptance from their supporters by initially behaving in a “conventional” manner.

A study that has much to teach was carried out by Merei (1949) who observed children at a Hungarian nursery school. He noticed that successful leaders were those who initially fitted in with the group then slowly began to suggest new activities adapted from the old. Children didn’t follow potential leaders who jumped straight in with new ideas. Leaders first conform, then only later, when trust has been gained, can they be confident that others will follow. This has been confirmed in later studies (with grown-ups!).

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