Personality and Entrepreneurship: Why are some people more entrepreneurial than others, and why should you care?

This is why you should care about entrepreneurship, and why that implies caring about personality: Personality rules the world, and the more power a person has, the more important is personality. Social psychology has shown us how our lives are affected by others, but personality psychology explains why some people are much more likely than others to affect our lives. Entrepreneurship is just another process by which this influence occurs; it is (like leadership) the natural consequence of differences in personality and yet another proof that the personality of some is much more influential than others’.

So, how entrepreneurial are you? To find out whether you may be the Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey of tomorrow, or whether you should just stick to a 9-to-5 job, just take our test!


(…) http://www.psychologytoday.com

Mr. Personality

A personality expert talks character and destiny.
by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D.
Do you have what it takes to be the next Richard Branson?

So far, psychologists have failed to explain why some people are more entrepreneurial than others, but the answer is straightforward: personality. Indeed, individual differences in creativity, ambition, and risk-taking explain why some people have much more potential for entrepreneurship than others, and valid personality measures can help us identify who the entrepreneurs of tomorrow will be. Of course, there are also socio-political factors contributing to entrepreneurship, which is why it is a lot harder to be entrepreneurial in North than in South Korea, or why unemployment may actually foster entrepreneurship. Still, in any country at any given point of time there will be more and less entrepreneurial people and a country’s economic and social development is much more dependent on the former. Leer más “Personality and Entrepreneurship: Why are some people more entrepreneurial than others, and why should you care?”

Exploring the psychological motives of racism

The recent controversy ignited by talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is just one of many incidents in recent memory that has put the public spotlight on the topic of racism in America. On the one hand, many sectors of American culture seem to be very engaged in efforts to promote racial equality and the celebration of diversity. On the other hand, public spectacles such as the Dr. Laura incident, journalistic coverage of social problems and injustices that involve race as a variable (e.g., the government response to Katrina), and scientific research in the fields of psychology and sociology indicate that racism and prejudice in general are still major problems our society faces.

Though we often hear about deep-rooted institutional and cultural forces that contribute to racism, it seems like we less often hear about the psychological motives and processes involved. In other words, psychologically, what does being racist do for a person? Below I provide a list of psychological motives that appear to contribute to racism.


The recent controversy ignited by talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger is just one of many incidents in recent memory that has put the public spotlight on the topic of racism in America. On the one hand, many sectors of American culture seem to be very engaged in efforts to promote racial equality and the celebration of diversity. On the other hand, public spectacles such as the Dr. Laura incident, journalistic coverage of social problems and injustices that involve race as a variable (e.g., the government response to Katrina), and scientific research in the fields of psychology and sociology indicate that racism and prejudice in general are still major problems our society faces.

Though we often hear about deep-rooted institutional and cultural forces that contribute to racism, it seems like we less often hear about the psychological motives and processes involved. In other words, psychologically, what does being racist do for a person? Below I provide a list of psychological motives that appear to contribute to racism.

Leer más “Exploring the psychological motives of racism”

Positive Relationships | by Michelle Gielan

An important relationship in my life just ended… and I’ll admit it, I didn’t really see it coming. That event has sparked a lot of thinking about relationships in general, and why I value them as much as I do (I am happy I do!). Having healthy, productive relationships with my family and friends is the most important thing to me in life. What I have come to more fully understand recently are the reasons why positive connections with others matter so much to me.

Positive, productive relationships demand the best of us. For a friendship or marriage to allow both people to flourish, each person is an active participant in helping create the other one’s positive future. Whether we are a friend, lover, daughter, or grandparent, each relationship gives us a chance to invest our energy in making another person’s reality better. Each of us needs to fully show up, be present, listen, express ourselves, and care for the other, and that requires time and attention. When it all works out well, and we can see the happiness on the other’s face, that creates, at least for me, the best feeling of satisfaction in the world.


http://www.psychologytoday.com

Michelle Gielan is a journalist and wellness expert,
receiving a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from UPenn.
She is a former national CBS News anchor.

An important relationship in my life just ended… and I’ll admit it, I didn’t really see it coming.  That event has sparked a lot of thinking about relationships in general, and why I value them as much as I do (I am happy I do!).  Having healthy, productive relationships with my family and friends is the most important thing to me in life. What I have come to more fully understand recently are the reasons why positive connections with others matter so much to me.

Positive, productive relationships demand the best of us. For a friendship or marriage to allow both people to flourish, each person is an active participant in helping create the other one’s positive future. Whether we are a friend, lover, daughter, or grandparent, each relationship gives us a chance to invest our energy in making another person’s reality better. Each of us needs to fully show up, be present, listen, express ourselves, and care for the other, and that requires time and attention.  When it all works out well, and we can see the happiness on the other’s face, that creates, at least for me, the best feeling of satisfaction in the world.


Relationships teach us about ourselves.
Sometimes, for good or bad, the person standing in front of us can be a mirror showing us who we really are. If we don’t like something in them, there are chances we don’t like it in ourselves. Friendships also give us a chance to watch ourselves in action. We can, on a moment-to-moment basis, pay attention to what we are thinking, feeling, or doing in response to what is happening externally. We can plug into our life story anytime, and learn from it.

Best of all, we get a chance everyday to practice acting from love. This goes beyond doing something nice for someone. Acting from love requires us to recognize the times when fear arises within us, and work to overcome it so we don’t choose a course of action from a fearful place. That takes awareness, hard work, and courage, but in those moments, when we choose love, we grow as human beings.

For me, keeping these things in mind has been incredibly powerful. It has propelled me to reconnect on an even deeper level with some of the people I am closest with in this world. I have been filled with gratitude every step of the way, and my heart is open as I move forward.

What do you value most in your relationships with people in your life?  What do you do to make these relationships the strongest they can be?

Michelle Gielan, a former CBS network news anchor, is pursuing a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.  You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lights-camera-happiness/201009/positive-relationships

Understanding The Discomfort of Social Anxiety

Your current thought patterns are likely what keep you trapped in the prison of social anxiety. To unlock yourself from this prison, you will likely need to have to rewire your brain with new thoughts that take time to cement in the brain, but if you try this as a start, it will lead you up the correct path.


Can you overcome social anxiety?
http://www.psychologytoday.com
Srini Pillay, M.D.
Srini Pillay, M.D.

is the author of the book: Life Unlocked:
7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear
.
He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School.

Your current thought patterns are likely what keep you trapped in the prison of social anxiety. To unlock yourself from this prison, you will likely need to have to rewire your brain with new thoughts that take time to cement in the brain, but if you try this as a start, it will lead you up the correct path. Leer más “Understanding The Discomfort of Social Anxiety”

The Most Important Thing To Know About Conflict


http://www.psychologytoday.com

Turning ideas about conflict, safety, and explosiveness upside down.
There is something my parents and teachers never told me about conflict.
To increase safety, move towards it.

I’m guessing that this idea, for many of you, is not only counter-intuitive but down right aversive. Certainly, for most of my adult life that had been the case. Just the thought of needing to “deal” with a live conflict would knot my stomach into a ropy mass. After all, stepping into a situation in which people were too angry or hurt to be “calm” (even when the people happened to be me) was volatile, dangerous, unstable.

Warning: Contents Under Pressure Tattoo on man's head

To help me feel safer, I found many effective ways to avoid conflict, or, if not avoidable, bring down the temperature of those involved through a number of effective “soothing” techniques.

However, the conflicts themselves did not actually get resolved. They just went under ground. And my subsequent interactions with the same people would continue to have that tinge of danger – the slight scent of gun powder in the air – ready to ignite with the right spark. Leer más “The Most Important Thing To Know About Conflict”

Speak Up! Women and How they Say Things

Paralinguistic cues can give clues to our stress level, age, height, weight, socio-economic status, anxiety, gender, personality characteristics, and culture. In fact, our voices are so unique voiceprints can be used to identify individuals today in the same way that DNA has been used for forensic purposes. Take, for instance, recent events in the Persian Gulf. The opening salvos of the 2003 War in Iraq were aimed at a bunker complex in which it was believed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was meeting with his sons. When Hussein showed up on television shortly thereafter, there was some belief that a body double was being used to fool the Iraqi population (and the Allied forces) into believing that he was still alive. To verify Hussein’s status, U.S. intelligence began analyzing voiceprints of his speech, comparing them to earlier television addresses. Other nonverbals couldn’t be trusted. One can manipulate the facial hair, expression, or even appearance, but controlling vocal cues is much more difficult!

We make myriad judgments about people based on their vocal cues alone. Studies have found high correlation among listeners regarding the personality traits of speakers.

It’s amazing how much information the voice can carry. It has been shown that from voice alone, listeners can accurately distinguish between female and male speakers. In one study, for instance, listeners who heard twenty speakers pronounce six recorded vowels were able to correctly identify the sex of the speaker 96 percent of the time.

GIRL TALK: THE FEMALE PERSPECTIVE
Women communicate a level of authenticity through the expressive variation of their vocal cues. They can demonstrate real sincerity, show their true feelings, and exhibit empathy in what they say. The variation inherent in the female voice conveys charisma. This is a great asset for public speaking. Women also talk to bond and connect, to fill up the empty space in order to make others feel more comfortable. Indeed, filling the silence can increase the comfort level for everyone, including the women themselves! If we don’t have a good comfort level, we don’t have good communication-our interactions become strained and forced. Women engage in “relationship talk” (classically called “chit-chat”) to help them warm up and ease the conversation into an easy, spontaneous flow.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always go over well with the men folk. In my own family, my 16-year-old son, Armand, and even Geoff, my significant other, wave me on to speak faster. My son complains that my voicemail messages go on and on. Geoff will cue me to, “Cut to the chase!” Or ask “What’s the bottom line?” Incidentally, both of those expressions are born of male culture, and I believe are a result of men’s need to be goal- rather than process-oriented (“Just the facts, ma’am.”). To a woman, the conveying of the “story” is as important as the story itself, but most men don’t care about the details! They want to get to the bottom of things.

Sad to say, some women can’t tolerate pauses in conversations and will talk to fill up the empty silence. This is often perceived as “gibberish.” Unfortunately, in the process they undermine their credibility. In fact, several other paralinguistic features of women’s nonverbal communication work against them.


He Speaks, She Speaks

A gender communication specialist unravels the mystery of how men and women communicate.
by Audrey Nelson, PhD | //psychologytoday.com

Benjamin Disraeli is credited with having said that there is no index of character so sure as the voice. Indeed, it’s not what we say, but how we say it that’s important. When we open our mouths we reveal all kinds of things about ourselves that have nothing at all to do with the words we are uttering.The importance of this area of nonverbal communication was borne out historically in April 1974 when Richard Nixon sent written transcripts rather than audiotapes of his secret White House conversations to the House Judiciary Committee investigating his possible impeachment. Members of the Committee quite rightly complained that written transcripts could not convey the full and correct meaning of an utterance since they lacked the additional nonverbal cues that one derives from the voice: inflection, stress, context, and other such nuances. They demanded the actual tapes because they contained this vital information. The landmark decision to provide the Committee the tapes eventually led to Nixon’s resignation, but it also legitimized paralinguistic communication-the study of voice and how words are said. Leer más “Speak Up! Women and How they Say Things”

The New Relationship: Do You Have a King or a Knight?

The new rules for choosing a life partner.

Recently, I’ve read a number of articles about the alpha woman/beta man relationship. As more women become breadwinners in their households, there seems to be a new stereotype forming around the label, the beta male.

Apparently, if a woman makes more money, has more ambition, and is possibly more educated than her husband, then he must be non-aggressive, domestic, and a bit dependent. If one sex rises in power, the other loses his clout.

Although this type of relationship exists, there are many healthy relationships with female breadwinners where the men have their own ambitions and drive. I wouldn’t call these men alpha or beta.

I believe there is a new type of male/female relationship forming in our culture not defined by who is more dominant and successful.

I first noticed this shift in the balance of power in relationships when doing my doctoral research. I found that as the earning muscle of a woman strengthens, her need for a man to take care of her financially subsides. Now, many smart, strong, goal-driven women are looking for emotional support instead.


Wander Woman | by Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D.
Guidance for the Goal-Driven Woman

The new rules for choosing a life partner.
Recently, I’ve read a number of articles about the alpha woman/beta man relationship. As more women become breadwinners in their households, there seems to be a new stereotype forming around the label, the beta male.

Apparently, if a woman makes more money, has more ambition, and is possibly more educated than her husband, then he must be non-aggressive, domestic, and a bit dependent. If one sex rises in power, the other loses his clout.

Although this type of relationship exists, there are many healthy relationships with female breadwinners where the men have their own ambitions and drive. I wouldn’t call these men alpha or beta.

I believe there is a new type of male/female relationship forming in our culture not defined by who is more dominant and successful.

I first noticed this shift in the balance of power in relationships when doing my doctoral research. I found that as the earning muscle of a woman strengthens, her need for a man to take care of her financially subsides. Now, many smart, strong, goal-driven women are looking for emotional support instead.

Leer más “The New Relationship: Do You Have a King or a Knight?”

The Science of Laughter

The laughter virus

As anyone who has ever laughed at the sight of someone doubled over can attest, laughter is contagious. Since our laughter is under minimal conscious control, it is spontaneous and relatively uncensored. Contagious laughter is a compelling display of Homo sapiens, a social mammal. It strips away our veneer of culture and challenges the hypothesis that we are in full control of our behavior. From these synchronized vocal outbursts come insights into the neurological roots of human social behavior and speech.

Consider the extraordinary 1962 outbreak of contagious laughter in a girls’ boarding school in Tanzania. The first symptoms appeared on January 30, when three girls got the giggles and couldn’t stop laughing. The symptoms quickly spread to 95 students, forcing the school to close on March 18. The girls sent home from the school were vectors for the further spread of the epidemic. Related outbreaks occurred in other schools in Central Africa and spread like wildfire, ceasing two-and-a-half years later and afflicting nearly 1,000 people.

Before dismissing the African outbreak as an anomaly, consider our own technologically triggered mini-epidemics produced ,by television laugh tracks. Laugh tracks have accompanied most television sitcoms since September 9, 1950. At 7:00 that evening, “The Hank McCune Show” used the first laugh track to compensate for being filmed without a live audience. The rest is history. Canned laughter may sound artificial, but it makes TV viewers laugh as if they were part o live theater audience.


Far from mere reactions to jokes, hoots and hollers are serious business:
They’re innate — and important — social tools.

By Robert Provine | //psychologytoday.com

Whether overheard in a crowded restaurant, punctuating the enthusiastic chatter of friends, or as the noisy guffaws on a TV laugh track, laughter is a fundamental part of everyday life. It is so common that we forget how strange — and important — it is. Indeed, laughter is a “speaking in tongues” in which we’re moved not by religious fervor but by an unconscious response to social and linguistic cues. Stripped of its variation and nuance, laughter is a regular series of short vowel-like syllables usually transcribed as “ha-ha,” “ho-ho” or “hee-hee.” These syllables are part of the universal human vocabulary, produced and recognized by people of all cultures.

Given the universality of the sound, our ignorance about the purpose and meaning of laughter is remarkable. We somehow laugh at just the right times, without consciously knowing why we do it. Most people think of laughter as a simple response to comedy, or a cathartic mood-lifter. Instead, after 10 years of research on this little-studied topic, I concluded that laughter is primarily a social vocalization that binds people together. It is a hidden language that we all speak. It is not a learned group reaction but an instinctive behavior programmed by our genes. Laughter bonds us through humor and play.

Leer más “The Science of Laughter”

Four I’s: Your true selves, really.

So, maybe your true self isn’t inside at all. Scramble all the way back out and look up in the sky for your true self, a god controlling you like a marionette. But, then, who controls the god? Whether you look inside or out, the true self isn’t there. The search is a great, mysterious shell game.

There’s a new way of looking at the self that conforms more to what the scientific evidence suggests. We know we evolved, and that our fellow creatures, which also evolved, nevertheless don’t seem to engage in searches for their true selves. Flies fly without every wondering why, without ever looking inside for the true source of their flight. Introspection, the ability to picture a true self, seems pretty much new with humans. Even with us, though, it doesn’t consume our day. Watching TV, maintaining liver function, or simply breathing — we have plenty of self-perpetuating habits that don’t depend on self-awareness. Still, there’s no family of words that roll off our tongues as readily as first-person singulars. “I,” “me,” “my” — we speak of these things with great authority. In light of evolution, however, what do these words mean?

To answer this question, it’s worth noticing that we humans evolved into word users, creatures with vocabularies so large that we can weave words into intricate mind’s-eye pictures of our world, and even worlds beyond. On the slightest verbal suggestion, you can picture a pink rhino with a candy-cane horn even though you’ve never seen one. You can visit your childhood home, your current house, or a future abode; you can picture your past, present, and future. You can mix the real and the make-believe, picturing, for example, a pink rhino from your childhood, which means that what you envision can diverge more or less from what is real. You can combine pictures into stories — mental movies, in effect. From what science can tell, this capacity is by far at its most developed in humans, and it’s due to our symbolic, or language, capacity.


Ambigamy
Insights for the Deeply Romantic and Deeply Skeptical
by Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D.

“I’m tired of being controlled by other people. It’s time for me to honor my true self.”

The idea of getting in touch with one’s true self has become a joke, mostly because people who pledged to do so back in the 1980s were too earnest, and, well, out of touch.

Still, the joke runs deeper than laughing at old fads. There’s something fundamentally slapstick about even the most thoughtful search for a true self. No sooner do you pounce on the place where you think your true self’s buck stops than you realize the buck must stop somewhere else.

What would you find if you burrowed around inside your mind, looking for your true self? A soul? A little equipment operator who runs your body, perhaps? Does this equipment operator have a body, too? If not, how does it work? If so, what runs it? Does it have an operator’s operator inside it? And, then, what runs the operator’s operator? Where do the nested Russian dolls of your self end? And who wants to know? Who’s the true self behind the part of you searching for your true self? Trying to get to the end of the queue is like trying to eat your mouth.

Leer más “Four I’s: Your true selves, really.”

The power of the symbolic world: Why burning the Quran is so disturbing Why is burning the Quran a symbolic threat?

As discussed in some of my previous posts, there is a very large body of empirical research in support of this basic position. When people are reminded of health vulnerabilities and physical limitations, they cling to the symbolic world (e.g., become more religious and patriotic, engage in efforts to feel more socially significant).

Returning to the specific issues of the Quran burning, in 1995 Jeff Greenberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, and colleagues published a series of experiments testing specifically this idea that cultural symbols are important because they help us cope with our awareness of physical vulnerability. In these experiments, participants completed some questionnaires that they were told measured personality. In one of these measures, they were asked to write down their thoughts about death or a control topic (a non-death related topic). Then they were given a problem-solving task. Successful completion of the task required the inappropriate use of a cultural symbol. For example, in one task, participants had to hang a picture on the wall but the only object in the room that could be used to hammer in the nail was a crucifix. Participants who had previously been asked to write about death took longer to resort to using the crucifix as a hammer than participants who did not write about death. These participants also tried to come up with more alternative means of hanging the picture and expressed more reluctance about using the crucifix in that manner. In another study, similar findings were observed when participants had to damage an American flag to resolve the presented problem.


When questioned about the backlash that may result from the planned Quran burning, the Rev Terry Jones pointed out that he was only burning a book. He was not killing anyone. This was a curious response. If burning a book was not that big of a deal, then it would not have been much of a stand against Islam, and thus not really worth doing. I suspect Rev Jones understands the power of symbols. He clearly wanted to make a potent statement. It does pose the question though: Why are we so protective of symbols?

Many philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists, and psychologists have pointed out that humans are uniquely symbolic creatures. We are chained to a physical reality, like all other animals. But we also have the capacity for imaginative and symbolic thought. The anthropologist Ernest Becker nicely illustrated this with the example of water. Water is part of the physical world and a critical component of our physical existence. But humans are the only animals that symbolize water (as H20) and, critically, the only animals that magically empower water (by blessing it and making it holy).

Look at the diverse tapestry of human cultural life. We go to great lengths to fashion a symbolic world. If you don’t believe in the power of symbols, try attending a local sporting event wearing the jersey of a rival team. In certain places, this little experiment could be a rather painful lesson in how important the symbolic world is to humans.

But the question is still unanswered. Why is the symbolic world so important to us? Many scholars have argued that the symbolic world is critical to humans because we are smart enough to fully understand the implications of being physical beings. We understand that life is fragile, we often have little control over it (e.g., I could be hit by a bus tomorrow or a tumor could be growing in me right now), and, critically, it is finite. However, the same advanced intellect that allows us to contemplate the grim reality of physical existence also allows us to construct a symbolic world.

With the construction of a symbolic world we can ease the pain of understanding our physical limitations; that we are merely, as Becker asserted, worms and food for worms. That is, we create a cultural world of meaning in which humans are not merely animals, but are symbolic entities. We are part of something larger and more enduring than our physical existence. In other words, in the symbolic world we can be immortal. Each of us will die, maybe even tomorrow, but our religions will live on. Our nations will live on. Even our favorite sports teams will live on. If we are lucky, our names may even live on through enduring societal contributions. In short, we invest heavily in the symbolic cultural institutions and identifications, in part, because they help insulate us from basic fears about our mortal predicament. Leer más “The power of the symbolic world: Why burning the Quran is so disturbing Why is burning the Quran a symbolic threat?”

How to have more insights

Mark Beeman is one of the eminent neuroscientists studying the ‘aha’ moment. As he said in a paper in the first NeuroLeadership Journal, “…variables that improve the ability to detect weak associations may improve insight solving.” In short, insights tend to involve connections between small numbers of neurons. An insight is often a long forgotten memory or a combination of memories. These memories don’t have a lot of neurons involved in holding them together. The trouble is, we only notice signals above whatever our base line of noise is. Everyday thought, like wondering what to have for lunch, might involve millions of neurons speaking to each other. An insight might involve only a few tens of thousands of neurons speaking to each other. Just as it’s hard to hear a quiet cell phone at a loud party, it’s hard to notice signals that have less energy than the general energy level already present in the brain. Hence, we tend to notice insights when our overall activity level in the brain is low. This happens when we’re not putting in a lot of mental effort, when we’re focusing on something repetitive, or just generally more relaxed like as we wake up. Insights require a quiet mind, because they themselves are quiet.


Animation of an MRI brain scan, starting at th...
The human brain is an extraordinary information processing system. It is brilliant at executing certain tasks, particularly physical task that can be codified, like playing an instrument or driving a car. However our brains have some surprisingly big limitations when it comes to certain types of mental tasks. Take linear problem solving, which involves trying to logically work out a solution to a question, like doing math or calculating a time zone difference. Doing this kind of task sometimes uses what’s called ‘working memory‘: we hold information in our memory and manipulate it or work on it. We need working memory when we don’t have an obvious answer to a problem: it’s used for things like making decisions, remembering and other cognitive tasks.

Our working memory turns out to be much more limited than people generally acknowledge. What do you get when you add ten plus ten? That’s easy. Twenty. Yet you don’t really need working memory for that, the answer is stored in long term memory. What about adding 128 with 287? You can do it, but it takes working memory. Adding up just six digits is quite an effort. What about mutiplying 23 and 56, without paper or a calculator? For most people it’s too much. Your working memory maxes out.

Leer más “How to have more insights”