A better way to answer “So, what do you do?”
Plus, one for the Swifties
“We tend to spend more time counting our troubles than our blessings.” –psychologist Fred Bryant
Warm up. “So, what do you do?” If you want to come across as warm-hearted, it might help to answer that question by focusing on the journey, not just the destination. In a series of experiments, researchers had people read and rate various LinkedIn introductions. Some introductions emphasized the user’s journey — in other words, the path they took to achieve their accomplishments — while others simply focused on the accomplishments alone. When intros included a person’s journey, people rated them as warmer. The researchers explained that adding information about one’s professional path conveys a sense of humility. “For example, obstacles one faced or learning processes they went through could be great information to include in one’s personal story,” said study co-author Ovul Sezer. “We find that journey information leads to greater perceptions of warmth because journeys help to communicate humility, mitigating the appearance of arrogance often associated with self-promotion.”
The story of stories. Are you…ready for it? Taylor Swift is on the academic menu at Arizona State University this fall. Students will “learn about advanced topics in social psychology that feature in her work, her life, and her fans.” Before you shake it off, remember: stories are great teachers. For example, a recent study found that people understood and remembered information better when it was presented to them as a narrative story rather than a data-driven essay. And the benefits of storytelling might be especially useful in the social sciences. As cognitive scientist Vera Tobin told us,“Stories are a kind of magic trick. When we dissect them, we can discover very, very reliable aspects of those tricks that turn out to be important clues about the way that people think." In other words, stories — even about a pop singer’s life and lyrics — can be useful learning tools.
Future Me. Have you ever set a goal and had a really difficult time sticking to it? We look at why it can be difficult to set our “future selves” up for success — and how to grapple with that challenge. Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
You 2.0: Slow Down!: It’s understandable that we sometimes dwell on things that upset us. But sometimes our negative emotions can keep us from savoring the good things in our lives. This week, we continue our You 2.0 series with psychologist Fred Bryant. We’ll discuss the many benefits of savoring, and how we can turn even the smallest of moments into an opportunity for pleasure.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Lynn Fainsilber Katz’s Story: A stranger at the beach helped Lynn remember that when life gets hard, you don’t have to do it alone.
Don’t forget to send us the story of your unsung hero! Record a voice memo on your phone and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FROM OUR LISTENERS
What five-letter English word doesn’t change in pronunciation even when you remove four of its letters?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
A man got into a ship and could see more than four continents at the same time. How is this possible?
The answer: He got into a spaceship. [source]