You’ve probably heard heaps of psychological life hacks out there on the internet. Some of them sound quite reasonable, but do they actually work? Well, today I’m putting four popular life hacks under the scientific microscope. So, let’s get started. Number one, power poses make you feel more confident, and help reduce stress. In 2012, Amy Cuddy presented the second most viewed TED Talk of all time. Her research showed that after taking a dominant pose for only two minutes, subjects felt more powerful, and less stress. They also took more risks and performed better in job interviews. Now, these changes were even linked back to the physiological changes in hormone levels. Thus, she concluded that power poses can significantly change the outcomes of our life. But, does this trick really work? Well, in 2014, other researchers tried replicating Cuddy’s initial experiment with the largest sample in participants. In the replication, participants did report feeling more powerful after performing their power pose. However, they couldn’t replicate the changes in behavior, or hormone levels. Furthermore, an analysis of 33 studies on this topic found that after controlling for publication bias, there was no effect of power posing. So it’s sort of sounding like a placebo effect. Overall, more research is needed before you can trust this trick. Number two, saying a person’s name more often will make them like you more. This advice comes from the classic Dale Carnegie book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People.” In it, he says that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to them. Now, in psychology, this is shown by The Name letter effect. You’ll find that people like the letters in their name more than the letters that aren’t. But, will repeating that name help others warm up to you? Well, a set of three experiments found that people are more likely to comply with your requests if you remember their name. Not surprisingly, remembering their name also made them feel slightly more positive, and made them feel more flattered. So, perhaps it’s less about repeating a person’s name, and more about showing them you remembered it. Either way, this trick probably works provided you don’t go overboard with it. Number three, the Benjamin Franklin effect. The Benjamin Franklin effect states that when we help someone out, surprisingly, we end up liking them more. Therefore, if you want someone to like you, simply ask them for a favor. Now, this works because of cognitive dissonance which is when people change their attitude to resolve the contradiction between their thoughts, and behavior. In this case, suppose you dislike someone but then go on to help them. To justify this contradiction, you’re likely to change your initial opinion of that person. Now, here’s the study every article cites when stating this effect. In the experiment, participants got to win a bit of money by answering some questions. Afterwards, the researcher would ask as a favor for the participants to return the money because he was running low on funds. Those who performed the favor did end up liking the researcher more. However, the effect was pretty small. Those who didn’t give his money back rated him a 5.8 on a 12 point scale Those who did, rated him a 7.2, which is only one and a half points higher. In fact, a review by psychologists from the University of Wisconsin and Minnesota concluded that the overall evidence was consistent, but weak. So, while in my work, don’t expect too much from Benjamin Franklin. And number four, if you work in customer service, put a mirror behind the counter. Everyone has heard stories about customers being rude towards the staff, but if you place a mirror where customers could see themselves, would they think twice about acting out? Well, under the theory of objective self-awareness, it’s been found that mirrors do heighten our self-awareness. This in turn causes us to compare and evaluate our current behavior to our personal values. But, the key here is personal values. Experiments have shown that, normally, mirrors do inhibit aggression. This is because, normally, aggression is frowned upon, but what if you set a new standard in which aggression is viewed as good? For example, in one study, participants were told they’re giving painful electric shocks to the other subject will help them learn faster. In this case, the mirrors actually increased aggressive behavior. Therefore, assuming the customer has some moral decency within them, putting mirrors should reduce rude behavior. And those are the top four psychological life hacks debunked.