Hi, I’m Anastasia. I like to gather random knowledge from the internet and every once in a while, I come across really fascinating stuffs.
I specially handpicked these 3 concepts to tell you about today because I feel that most of us at some point have actually experienced them or been subject to them. Perhaps this post would give more meaning to little bits of your life that have gone unexplained for so long. Enough chitchat, let’s get down to business.
The experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.
I first heard this word while watching Boston legal. The legendary Alan Shore was defending a woman who had been accused of killing her much older millionaire husband. There was no evidence to prove that she did it but at the same time, there was no evidence to prove that she didn’t do it. The entire city was against her because she had a cold demeanor, was cheating on her dead husband and didn’t even shed a tear when she found out he was dead. In his closing before the jury, Alan Shore introduced the term, explaining that it’s the feeling of pleasure we get from experiencing other people suffer and that scientists have recently been able to capture the electric activity in our brains at these moments. Then he pointed out that there was no evidence proving that his client committed the crime but because she’s a young gold digger who didn’t love her dead husband, she was an easy suspect. He places the jury on the spot by concluding that if they convicted his client, it was not because they had proof beyond reasonable doubt but because of the pleasure of seeing her suffer (Schadenfreude).
I discussed this with a few people and we all agreed that at some point, we have experienced momentary pleasure at the suffering of others. It doesn’t matter if the person deserved it or not, they suffered and for a moment, we were happy about it.
Schadenfreude is driven by one of 3 emotions; Aggression, rivalry or justice. It is commoner in children but adults have their fair share of the emotion.
2. The Halo Effect.
Beautiful People are more likely to be successful.
A while ago, I had a discussion with a friend about appearance and he told me that there was a theory of some sort that proved that beautiful people are more likely to succeed. It seemed incredible at that time and I decided to do my own research. Well, turns out, it’s not a theory or even a rule, it’s a consequence of The Halo Effect.
In very simple terms the halo effect suggests that we make positive judgement and assumptions about a person based on one positive attribute. This is like that figure of speech that involves using a part to represent a whole. Synedoche I think? No? Okay.
So for example, if I think a person is funny, I’m more likely to assume that the person is also kind and hospitable.
This effect has a whole lot to do with appearance because most times, we form our first impression based on how a person looks. So basically, beautiful people are assumed to be kinder, more hardworking, more successful and happier than other people.
A study was carried out where subjects had to rate 3 different people based on their pictures. One was beautiful. The other was average looking. And the third was not beautiful. The subjects all thought that the beautiful person was happier, funnier, nicer and even more successful than the others.
The consequence of this is that beautiful people get trusted more than people who are not. They get jobs easily than people who are not. They don’t need to put in as much work to get as much appreciation. It’s crazy.
The effect took it’s name from the concept of a halo which is a ring of light that surrounds the head of angels. The light falls over their entire being causing them to appear ‘angelic’. The single positive attribute of a person (Eg beauty) acts like a halo and spreads light over the rest of the persons character.
The opposite of the halo effect is called the horn effect where we assume negative assumptions based on a simple trait . The devil’s horn? Get it? It reminds me of a joke commonly said that the ugliest person in the room becomes the suspect when the air smells foul.
3. The door way effect.
Let me explain this with 3 simple questions
“What was I saying again?”
“Why did I open the fridge?”
“Why did I come to this room?”
I see your eyeballs getting bigger! You can relate? Yes? Splendid! That makes two of us.
So the door way effect is simply the theory that it is difficult for us to remember things when we change environments.
But contrary to what you might think, this ‘environment’ involves the physical environment as well as the mental environment.
Here’s how it works. Tasks are divided into levels that our brain understands. For a example, a woman asks 3 builders what they’re doing. One says “I’m laying bricks atop one another “, the other says “I’m building a wall”, the third says “I’m building a cathedral”. All the same thing but at different levels.
Sometimes, these tasks become routine and our brain doesn’t focus on the tiny details of these tasks. But when the need arises to focus on a tiny detail, that is to switch levels( physical and mental environment), our memory becomes difficult.
For example, the bigger picture is to have a productive day. In order to do that, you need to clear your room and in order to do that, you need to take your tea cup to the kitchen sink. So your brain switches levels to focus on the tiny detail of taking the cup to the kitchen(change in mental environment). But the moment you enter the kitchen (change in physical environment), you forget why you were there! Your memory becomes difficult. So you walk back to the room and look down at your hands. Voila! You see the tea cup and you remember!
The same thing happens when we forget what we want to say. For example, the bigger picture is to tell a joke so your brain prepares the joke you want to say (mental environment), then you get everybody’s attention and begin speaking (physical environment) causing your brain to switch levels and Bam! You forget! How embarrassing!
You may conclude that our brains simply doesn’t like to switch levels but science reveals that switching levels can also juggle one’s memory. That is why you may walk into a room and remember all the events that happened ten years ago. How wonderful!
There we have it. The three concepts you should know before the new year arrives. Did you find them interesting? Have you experienced them before? What new concept would you like me to know? Please leave a comment in the box below!