Top Ten Psychology Studies

Top Ten Psychology Studies

Just because a study is old doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant. Indeed, the
effects of many older studies are still being felt in psychology today.
Generations of psychology students have wandered out of lectures,
seeing themselves and other people in a new light. So, in this series
of posts I will take a look at ten studies that have changed psychology
and the way we see humanity. UPDATE: Now all the nominations are in, it’s time for you to vote for your favourite (below). Which one most captures your imagination?

1. What Are Babies Watching?
"What
do babies understand about the world and how can you possibly find out,
given that babies are not so hot on answering complex questions about
their perceptual abilities?"

2. The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.
"It’s
not just Miller who was persecuted by this number though, it’s all of
us. What this magical number represents – 7 plus or minus 2 – is the
number of items we can hold in our short-term memory."

3. Revolutionary Treatment of Depression
"It
seems incredible that a successful form of psychological therapy could
be based on telling people their thoughts are mistaken. And yet that is
partly how cognitive therapy works."

4. Euphoria Induced by Experimental Trickery
"Imagine
it’s the 1960s and you’re a first year psychology student at the
University of Minnesota. Being a brave soul, along with wanting a
better final grade, you’ve agreed to take part in a psychology
experiment. You’ve heard that it involves testing a new vitamin
injection but that hasn’t put you off."

5. Even 24,576 Measurements Couldn’t Prove Plants Have Souls
"It
was Fechner who, with the publication of his masterwork Elements of
Psychophysics in 1860, is often credited with helping to found
experimental psychology (Fechner, 1860). Strange, really, for a man who
set out to prove plants have souls."

6. Stanley Milgram: Obedience to Authority Or Just Conformity?
"What
psychological experiment could so be so powerful that simply taking
part might change your view of yourself and human nature? What
experimental procedure could provoke some people to profuse sweating
and trembling, leaving 10% extremely upset, while others broke into
unexplained hysterical laughter?"

7. Memory Manipulated After The Event
"…we
examine the quality of our memories, in particular the ways in which
memory can be changed after the event we are remembering. The work of
Elizabeth Loftus has been extremely influential in this area as one of
her early studies demonstrates."

8. Personality or Situation? The Psychology of Individual Differences
"…what
can psychologists tell us about the systematic differences between
people? To answer this question I have to break the pattern just this
once and include two studies, from two apparently warring factions of
personality psychology."

9. Nobel Prize-Winning Research on Risky Decision Making
"Would
you bet £10 on the flip of a coin if you stood to win £20? So you’ve
got a 50% chance of losing £10 and a 50% chance of winning £20. This
seems like a good bet to take and yet studies show that people tend not
to take it. Why?"

10. Sigmund Freud and Unconscious Mental Processes
"To
really understand the revolutionary nature of Freud’s work you need to
do something for me: to forget you’ve every heard of him or his ideas.
Just lie back…relax…."

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