Personality is class which has a lot of vocabulary. Here are 595 terms from personality psychology explained (hopefully, clearly). Listed alphabetically it is easy to find a specific terms or just browse through the material. Fifty-three pages plus cover.
I’ve taught thousands of students and I often remember their faces but rarely remember their names. My version of “remembering” faces is that they look familiar. I can’t picture them in my head. It’s a vague recognition. It’s more “you look like someone who could have taken one of my classes.”
Although I rarely remember their names when seeing them again, I will remember their names, assignments and grades together. Like most professors, I spend most of my time reading papers, grading quizzes and evaluating assignments. I associate the name with the page, not the face.
When I first meet a student, I face the same problem most people do: how to remember a name. Here are some things that can really help.
1. Don’t multitask.
I’m usually rushing around to get ready for (or get out of) class. Rushing is not an aid to memory. I have to put down my briefcase, look straight at them and focus on what they are saying. If I don’t, the odds of remembering their name goes way down.
Often we don’t listen when we’re introduced to someone. We’re thinking about the day, the event or ourselves. Try to focus on the person’s name.
Instead of leaving it to chance, deliberately try to encode the information. Do it on purpose. Switch from autofocus to manual focus. Deliberately encode the name. Take your time. Make sure you have it.
2. Do it deliberately.
We have a tendency to believe that memory is an automatic process. Some things are remembered without much effort but relying on automatic encoding results in unpredictable memories. When things go in automatically, we get a song stuck in our head but can’t remember the name of the person we’re still talking to.
We will remember that George Washington’s middle name wasn’t Floyd but find it hard to remember that people in the 1700’s didn’t have middle names (not enough George’s around to get confused). We need get out of auto-encoding mode.
Instead of leaving it to chance, deliberately try to encode the information. Do it on purpose. Deliberately encode the name.
3. Know what it easy and hard for you.
If names are particularly hard for you, spend more time on it. Give if more effort. Put your memory systems to work.
4. Do it until you have it.
If it is important enough to remember, do the whole job. Don’t stop until you can reliably retrieve the name. Take your time. There is no rush. Make sure you have it.
Find a way to spend more time with that person. Take a selfie video and say the name: “This is Alice and me. You might think we’re in Wonderland but we’re really in Safeway (or insert name of your favorite grocery store).”
Ask the person more questions. Look for commonalities. Did they grow up in same town? Have they ever been where you have gone or where you’d like to go? Are they affiliated with the same club, religion or political group? Hunt for links.
Identify their most distinctive physical feature. Is their nose Pinocchio, Myrna Loy or Miss Piggy? Is their hair fire engine red, snowball white or licorice black?
Sometimes encoding is hard work.
Previously, I noted that wedding videos are more memorable than videos (click here). Now let me flip to the other side (I’m fickle).
Let me explain what your brain likes about videos. There four reasons your brain likes videos.
First, perceptually, we are very oriented to action. Before the age of 3, or if you have ADHD or brain damage, it is impossible to not turn and look at something new. It’s built in.
Remember the Pixar movie Up and “squirrel!”? We start out the same way. We love motion. As we get older, our prefrontal cortex grows and we develop the ability to override our natural orientation tendency. We can more or less control ourselves.
There are some motions, though, which are still irresistible to us. We love watching a curving motion. Magicians take advantage of this by distracting us from one hand by moving the other hand in an up and curved motion. It is hard for us to not follow the path.
The brain does some amazing processing with objects in motion. It highlights the moving object. That is, it emphasizes the foreground. This would be enough to make objects clear but the brain has another trick too. It defocuses the background.
Film editors were among the first to notice this phenomenon. They worried about cutting from scene to scene when the background didn’t match. They thought it would ruin the experience. Turns out our brains come to the rescue.
In general, we don’t notice backgrounds. Even large changes are ignored. In psychology, the phenomenon is called change blindness. Unless by chance we are looking at the background, we don’t notice the shift.
We often don’t notice things in the foreground either. We don’t notice the actor is wearing a hat and then not wearing a hat, in the same sequence. We miss most of the continuity errors made in movies. Our perceptual system is very forgiving.
Second, videos come with sound. You get to hear the voices of everyone there. You get to hear the excitement, the nonsense conversations, and the echoes of the building.
You get to hear the intimate moments you couldn’t hear from the back of the room. You hear the vows, the toasts, the jokes and the asides. It feels like you are there.
Third, videos highlight interactions. Photos show where the roads meet but videos show the traffic patterns of conversation. You get to watch and eavesdrop others. You can see the actions, reactions and counter-actions of people being people.
Fourth, photos provide continuous flow. A photo freezes the moment. A video reveals people’s mannerisms, their pacing and their conversational style. You get to both see and hear it.
When it comes to memory, photos are still best. Partly, this is because people look at photos more. For memory the more times you see something the more you remember it. If you want to improve your memory of your videos, watch them more often.
When you watch a video, your brain will summarize it for you. It will extract the meaning, tap it with emotional and locational cues and store it away. But the extracted summary is much more like a photo than a video.
Both photos and videos fade into mental impressions. Our memories of realities become more abstract. It takes a lot less room to remember concepts so we extract the meaning for experiences and just store that.
Our mental abstractions become less and less based on reality. We are experiencers of the world, not archivists. We don’t put things in permanent storage. We adjust our memories to fit our current needs.
The nice thing about personality is that everyone has one. You don’t have to buy it, earn it or learn it. You are already you.
Personality is also called personality theories or principles of personality. It is the study of what makes us human. It describes what we do, what we think and how we view ourselves. Some say there are over 50 definitions of personality but I think that’s a major underestimate. Near as I can tell, everyone in psychology has at least one idea about what should be excluded in a definition of personality. And nobody agrees on what should be included. About all everyone agrees on is that there are too many definitions of personality.
BasicPersonality.com is a website with posts about the theories of personality and the people who developed them. There is a blog for the general public and more detailed lessons for students taking a university level course.
Check out BasicPersonality.com
Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, and a architectural wonder. It is nestled between two mountains and two rivers.
Built in the 9th century, the temple is a collection of nine platforms stacked on each other, covered by a giant dome. It looks like a pyramid from the side and like a mandala geometric pattern from above. It has 2672 relief panels, and over 500 statues.
Any great structure takes years to make, and many dedicated people. This is true of temples and sciences. Borobudur stood 75 years to construct (best guess). Psychology has been under construction for 150 years and is still unfinished.
The people who created psychology are “nuts” about psychology. They worked hard at discovering small portions of the truth which lead others to their discoveries. Eventually, a mountain of knowledge about human behavior has been created and a new science emerged.
History & Systems of Psychology is also called the history of psychology. It is the study of how psychology came to be, and of the people who contributed to its development. All areas of psychology are included: abnormal, personality, developmental, learning, perception and neuropsychology.
It is a good summary of everything psychology covers. It includes ideas from every philosophy in the world, every science and every culture. Great ideas come from all over the world. Maybe the world is round to remind us that no one has a corner of wisdom.
PsychNut.com is a website with posts about the people who created psychology . There is a blog for the general public and more detailed lessons for students taking a university level course.
Check out PsychNut.com
As long as there have been people, there has been a need to plan, calculate and evaluate our progress. We build the Wall and later we built the Pyramids. But both required a practical application of math.
Statistics is an area of mathematics, a collection of tools for analyzing data, and a way of thinking. As a subset of mathematics, statistics can be the study of multidimensional space, models of chance, or representational structure and change But at its best, statistics is a way of thinking. Statistical thinking is applying logic to life
StatNut.com is a website with posts about central tendency, dispersion, t-tests, ANOVAs and correlations. There is a blog for the general public and more detailed lessons for students taking a university level course.
Check out StatNut.com.