New York magazine’s “Science of Us” editor explains the compelling psychology of awkwardness, and why learning to accept your cringeworthy moments can be a social advantage.
“Have you ever said goodbye to someone, only to discover that you’re both walking in the same direction? Or had your next thought fly out of your brain in the middle of a presentation? Or accidentally liked an old photo on someone’s Instagram or Facebook, thus revealing yourself to be a creepy social media stalker?”
Melissa Dahl, editor of New York magazine’s “Science of Us” website, has experienced all of those awkward situations, and many more. Now she offers a thoughtful, original take on what it really means to feel awkward. She invites you to follow her into all sorts of mortifying moments, such as reading her middle school diary on stage in front of hundreds of strangers, striking up conversations with busy New Yorkers on the subway, and even taking improv comedy lessons. [more at Penguin Random House]
Our new webpage is online! Here you will find information and updates on the work of our group.
David Stolz and other members of the SNL have been featured in a national TV show on social behavior. Please find the video and a teaser for the show below (in German).
“Warum klatschen wir, wenn alle klatschen? Warum kaufen wir dort, wo alle kaufen? Menschen imitieren das Verhalten der Gruppe, zu der sie sich zugehörig fühlen oder zu der sie gehören möchten – egal ob Nachbarn, Freunde oder Arbeitskollegen. Die Journalistin und Tagesschau-Sprecherin Linda Zervakis beleuchtet menschliches Sozialverhalten im Alltag.” [to the Video]
We have put together some tricky questions on “vicarious embarrassment” and “fremdscham” at the German ZEIT ONLINE. Please enjoy (in German)!
“Wann tritt Fremdscham am ehesten auf? Kann Babys etwas peinlich sein? Und welche Politikerin schämte sich für Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg? Beat the Prof Peinlichkeit!” [to the Quiz]
Our opinion on the Impact Factor and the rationale for (not) using it for evaluating scientific excellence has been featured in “The Scientist” online. In our biorxiv preprint you cand find a more detailed explanation of our argument.
“Papers published in low-impact journals are not necessarily low-quality scientific contributions.” [link to the article]
We are very happy to announce that Lena Rademacher’s most recent PET work on the recovery of dopamine function in former smokers has been featured on Reuters by Lisa Rappaport. The Biological Psychiatry paper contains all the details and can be found here.
“The brain makes less dopamine, a chemical involved in both pleasure and addiction, when people smoke but this temporary deficit may be reversed when smokers kick the habit, a small experiment suggests. “It is assumed that the brain adapts to the repeated nicotine-induced release of dopamine by producing less dopamine,” said lead study author Dr. Lena Rademacher of Lubeck University in Germany.” [link to the article]
David Stolz very nicely explains in national TV how social exclusion makes you suffer and why we need friends that support us. In this show on the famous ZDF David and the host Eric take kids and youngsters on a tour through the MRI. Check out the video below (in German).
“Freunde machen glücklich! Ob das wirklich so ist, findet Eric heraus…” [to the Video]
We have just come across this wonderful article by Julia Layton on HowStuffWorks. The article begins with a cringeworthy video of Ted Cruz and then nicely explains our take on why we experience such odd emotions as vicarious embarrassment for another’s predicaments.
“In this video from a January campaign event in Iowa, presidential hopeful Ted Cruz leans in to give his young daughter a kiss on the cheek. What happens next is pretty brutal: Cameras rolling, the 7-year-old flicks repeatedly at his face and then protests “Ow, ow, ow” as she tries to physically escape him.” [link to the full article]
This is a very intersting read on the pain the media corps feels when confronted with awkward acting and decisions of politicians by Haddas Gold in POLITICO. Somewhere in the middle of the piece on Jeb Bush’s excursions in the field you can also find reference to the famous “Fremdscham”.
“At a recent campaign Jeb Bush event in South Carolina, three voters in a row who were supposed to be asking him questions instead started giving the gentle-spirited candidate, who once pledged to run a “joyful” campaign, advice on how to be sharper.
It felt more like an intervention than a town hall. Reporters sitting at a table reserved for the press recalled making rueful eye contact with each other, with the unsaid sentiment, “Poor Jeb.”” [link to the full article]
It seems that Jeb Bush’s campaign offers a lot of examples illustrating the motivation for our research. In this article by Lucy Tiven on attn: she draws attention on a recent incident in New Hampshire.
“Jeb Bush is no stranger to embarrassment. A new report explains why despite his flubs and missteps, we’re prone to feel for the younger Bush brother.
A prime example of Jeb Bush’s embarrassing moments.
On Tuesday, the Former Florida Gov. pled for the audience of a New Hampshire town hall to “Please clap,” according to an MSNBC report.” [the link to the full article]