Numerous psychological studies have been conducted throughout the past century, and while some of them were considered to be barbaric and inhumane, others generated results that have radically changed psychotherapy and psychiatry, as we know them today. These psychological studies can also change your life to a certain extent, by simply changing your mindset and the way you see things. With that in mind, here you will find some of the most revolutionary psychological studies that can have a tremendous impact on your life:
1. The 2003 Study On How Power Changes The Way We Think
One of the most important and controversial studies ever conducted was the one published in the Psychological Review Journal back in 2003. The study aimed to reveal that those who are in a position of power often treat others (usually the ones they consider to be inferior) with disrespect.
The study was actually a very simple but conclusive one: it involved two students who were asked to write a paper and then to ask each other to evaluate it. The study has revealed that whenever people are given power of any kind, they are more prone to flirt directly, to get physical with those they consider to be inferior, to be straightforward and also to be the first ones to negotiate a deal. The results of this study can be particularly important for those who hold an important position, such as that of CEO, although they can benefit everybody.
2. The Study Conducted By The San Francisco State University In 2009
Another very important psychological study that can really impact your life is the one conducted by the San Francisco University, six years ago. The results of the study are rather simple, and they come as no surprise to many of us: the study has concluded that people who “buy experiences”, such as holidays, are a lot happier than those who buy material things. In other words, physical possessions do not lead to happiness – experiences do.
However, these experiences are not limited to vacations: buying something as simple as a movie ticket or a dinner at the restaurant can actually make somebody happy, mainly because they tend to satisfy higher order needs and they make us feel more alive than buying electronics or any other type of possession.
3. Everybody is A Bit Evil
As mentioned above, some psychological and social experiments are more debated than others, and the 1972 Stanford prison experiment has certainly played a very important role in the history of modern psychology. The study has revealed that everybody has some capacity for evil, and that various social situations can dramatically affect the human behavior. The study involved creating a mock prison and to select 24 individuals that has no criminal record, who were asked to act as prisoners and guards, and to switch roles every 24 hours.
Their behavior was closely monitored with the help of hidden camera and their behavior was later analyzed by the famous psychologist Philip Zimbardo. Although the experiment was initially scheduled to last for 14 days, it only lasted for 6 because the guards have become extremely abusive and started to inflict a great deal of emotional and mental stress and torture on the “prisoners”. The guards also became physically aggressive towards the prisoners and, at some point, they even started humiliating the prisoners. The experiment was out of control, but it has manage to prove the fact that there is a bit of evil in everybody.
4. Truth And Morality Can Boost The Oxytocin Levels
Oxytocin is commonly referred to as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle chemical” – this is a naturally occurring substance in the human body that gets produced when we feel good, just like serotonin. Oxytocin plays a very important role not just in love, but also in reproduction.
A study conducted back in 2011 by the Claremont Graduate University has shown that trust and empathy along with morality can significantly increase the oxytocin levels, thus making you feel better, happier and more optimistic. Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and it is created by the pituitary gland – it has a double role, as it acts not just as a brain neurotransmitter but also as a hormone.
5. The Cognitive Dissonance Study
This psychological study is believed to have given one of the most unsettling and disturbing findings in modern psychology – and for a good reason, as the concept of cognitive dissonance refers to the idea that most people have two contradictory beliefs, yet they unconsciously choose to follow only one of those beliefs and somehow adjust it to fit the other one.
Everything comes down to the way our mind tends to rationalize our experiences, our thoughts and out emotions, and what makes this psychological study so unsettling is that our unconscious mind and the conscious one work independently from each other, therefore you can never know for sure what your mind is actually thinking. Your conscious mind may hold a certain belief (one that you are fully aware of), while your unconscious mind may hold a totally opposite belief on the same topic.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, these are only six of the most important psychological studies that can impact your life, one way or another. The human mind is truly fascinating and it never seizes to surprise us: we find something new about ourselves each year, and it is entirely up to us to decide whether we want to be up to date with the latest discoveries and to allow them to change our lives for the better!