Success isn't about finding one great way to achieve something and sticking with it. It's about looking at all the possible options and computing success through analysis.
Psychologist and writer Maria Konnikova looks at the mechanisms of human nature that have allowed con artists, religious authorities, and cult leaders to prevail for thousands of years.
We tend to think con artists are smooth talkers and persuasive sellers, but listening is their most important quality, says Maria Konnikova, who has written a new book on con artistry.
The con artist is more of a psychologist than a thief, explains Maria Konnikova. If fact, con artists will never actually steal anything from you; they'll convince you to hand it over freely.
We all need to give ourselves mental breaks, but we also need to focus and not let email notifications, Twitter notifications, suck our attention.
From an evolutionary perspective, our quickness to judge faces certainly makes sense. We need to know if someone is friend or foe, if he is strong or weak, if we can trust him or not. And we need to know quickly, before something bad happens. But is that quickness still as good when it determines national political outcomes?
It is remarkably easy to report false-positive findings, or results that support an effect that, in reality, does not (or may not) exist.
The way our brains act, it seems, is sensitive to the way we, their owners, think, from something as concrete to learning, the subject of the current study, to something as theoretical as free will.
In most circumstances, narcissism doesn’t go over well. But there’s one big exception to the rule: leadership.
Today, I don’t want to write about Kahneman’s work or his invaluable contribution to the study of decision making and the workings of the human mind, but rather, about something much more general: his approach to research.
When we habituate to something, our physical and psychological response becomes so used to it that whatever the “it” is stops being arousing.
We become high achievers by working on something important—all the while procrastinating doing something even more important.
Touch has always played an important role in our development and in our tendency to make certain judgments and take certain risks.
When researchers asked runners to repeat a specific phrase in their heads, like "push," the runners performed substantially better than they had prior to the intervention.
Pay attention to what isn’t there, not just what is. Absence is just as important and just as telling as presence.
The Asch effect has been replicated successfully numerous times, in a variety of contexts, and each time, peer pressure glows strong.
A recent study shows that the decision to have children, and especially to have them early, is a factor that contributes to women's educational attainment.
Self-control: we could all use more of it. Even those of us who are best at exercising self-control on a daily basis have so-called hot triggers, the special circumstances that would make us, too, lose our cool and start to behave less than rationally.
A change in scale forces us to take note. Objects that we would never notice acquire significance, become worthy of examination and attention. In other words, they force mindfulness.
While groups may have been wise at the start of the experiment, as soon as individuals within the group became aware of others’ estimates and choices, the diversity of opinions plummeted.
Choice is good. It’s always nice to have options. It makes us feel more in control; it supports our vision of ourselves as “deciders” in our own lives. But choice can also come with negative consequences.
I think it’s time to add the behavioral immune system to the long list of subconscious influences on our choices.
Actively pursuing happiness may not lead to an actual increase in happiness. In fact, it can do the opposite and make you less happy at the end of the day.
Motivation matters. It matters a lot. It matters more than we thought, and might make more of a difference on both performance and life outcomes that we thought possible.
Debate on personality disorders, classifications, diagnoses, and treatments is well worthwhile, and a colorful spokesperson never hurts.
Both too much and too little testosterone increase risk-taking and ambiguity tolerance.
Our decisions matter. You don’t need me to tell you that. Of course they matter. It almost seems a tautology, a restatement of the obvious, of the very definition of “decision.” And yet, even though we make decisions at every point in our lives . . .
Maria Konnikova is the New York Times bestselling author of The Confidence Game (Viking/Penguin 2016) and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking/Penguin, 2013). She is a contributing writer for The New Yorker, where she writes a regular column with a focus on psychology and culture, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, California Sunday, Pacific Standard, The New Republic, WIRED, and The Smithsonian, among numerous other publications. Maria is a recipient of the 2015 Harvard Medical School Media Fellowship, and is a Schachter Writing Fellow at Columbia University's Motivation Science Center. She formerly wrote the “Literally Psyched" column for Scientific American and the popular psychology blog “Artful Choice" for Big Think. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she studied psychology, creative writing, and government, and received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.