4 popular psychological life hacks debunked

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.

100 Replies to “4 popular psychological life hacks debunked”

  1. There is something screaming at me about ben frank effect. The far better conclusion to reach from this experiment, in my estimation, is that the people who did not give the money back liked the researcher lesS, not that the ones who gave it back liked them morE. Hopefully there was a control group where they didn't ask for money back to see what the researcher's baseline likeability happened to be.

  2. Good video for what it worth because the mirror behind you effect as nothing to do with the Milgram experiment. This experiment was made to see if people are willing to give physical punishment because they received the order to do it. It has nothing to do with making participant learn faster nor putting an agressive behaviour as the new good standard.

    Maybe you should try debunking your own debunking video instead of mixing too much unrelated theories together. Like did you know the Polio was cause by ice cream. Just beware of the illogical correlation and keep up helping your neighbour.

  3. "People did report feeling more confident after striking a power pose."
    OMFGBBQ Totally debunked!

    "Demonstrating you remember someone's name, presumably by saying it, did make them like you."
    Holy crap the debunking continues! DEBUNKED AGAIN!

    "The Benjamin Franklin effect does have a minor influence on people according to the research."

    "Putting a mirror behind you will make people less agressive when they value less aggressive behaviour which most people in most contexts will."

  4. isnt the one with the reasearcher asking money flawed? because people who liked him more before he asked would be more likely to give money. So you cant say that by giving him the money, it made you like him. It may have been the opposite, you liked him so you game him the money

  5. According to dictionary.com, debunk means to prove pretentious, false, OR exaggerated. Even though most of these hacks are supported by scientific research, the video did clarify how these tips are exaggerated, so technically, they're debunked.

  6. You didn't actually debunk most of them… 1.5 on a 12 point scale is a 12.5% increase. People would pay thousands to look 12.5% younger.

    Saying this trick "probably works" doesn't sound scientific at all.

    "Putting mirrors should reduce rude behavior." That's even more unscientific than the original claim. lol

    What did I just watch and why is there so much like?

  7. About Point 3. How do you know that the effect of helping the scientist out was the result of them liking him? How do you know that it's not the other way round?

  8. You say the power pose is likely just a placebo effect? Of course it is a placebo effect! That's the point!? What else could it be?

  9. I tried the power pose trick multiple times before and it never, EVER worked for me. I thought I was just weird or something.

  10. Giving back money is quite different from letting someone borrow a book. Nobody likes a passive aggressive indian giver.

  11. So, to get people to like you, you would need to be confident, self-aware, able to remember peoples names and accept favours.
    I can make a theory that being a nice person is a easy way to get people to like you.
    I feel enlightened!

  12. In Japanese there is a term "yobisute" (yo-bi-soo-teh) which literally translates as "call throw away" which is the rude behavior of using someone's name, especially their first name, when you have not developed a familiar relationship with them or the person outranks you by position or seniority. It is offensive especially to the older generation. And not really part of customer service. Saying someone's name more is too direct and singles them out of their comfort zone of being a part of the group and goes with the saying, the nail that sticks out gets hammered.

  13. Hello,Do you suspect your partner (husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend) might be cheating on you?Has he/she cheated on you before?Or you want to have idea about your relationship Do you need to gain access to his/her phones and e-mails?Do you want to hack into his/her Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Instagram e.t.c.contact me at [email protected]

  14. How can you even measure these effects accurately and know that people behave the same when not in test conditions?

  15. I felt dissapointed that these werent complettely disproved, but honestly,, its refreshing to see a video that questions these things. Like the powerpose thing, I remember doing that, and feeling like it worked. But I really do think it worked because I thought "I did the thing, ergo i am more confident, its ok for me to act confident now" and just acted more confident as a result.

    And the names thing was no surprise, god, people have done that to me, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. It just feels like people are trying to sell you something, like they're not being genuine, and as if they're trying way hard to get you to manipulate you into liking them. I'd say personally it has the opposite of the intended effect

  16. I think the research for 3 is pretty wrong; Don't you think that they gave him the money because they liked him in the first place?

  17. Can you somehow make the sound in a way, one still can listen to your video at speedup? I find it way to slow talking, but if I change speed your voice is difficult to understand.

  18. I dont understand the first one. If it is a placebo effect, it still works. of course they arent actually more powerful; they just feel more powerful…

  19. so saying someone's name makes them like you?hmm this sounds familiar


  20. honesty sitting differently and standing differently … made me feel more confidence without anyone telling me it would ;o

  21. There is no recipe for success or day to day life satisfaction or for getting ahead in one's career or job, meaning, what works for one person may not work for another. Sometimes I question the value of even doing these studies and experiments. In the end I always come back to the idea of being more creative in my day to day affairs, without gimmicks or plans because that is what seems to help the most.

  22. maybe the study for the 3rd hack could've been better designed

    I think if someone were asked to perform a task to help you rather than giving up a personal belonging to help you, the effect might be more obvious.

  23. I think the experiment to understand Benjamin Franklin effect isn't the right one to fully understand the effect. Asking to take back something you gave a person, doesn't really feel like helping. I would be kind of irritated. You just gave me this money, why did you give it in the first place if you actually need it?

  24. Do a video on the law of attraction and how it's pretty much bs also compare it to your argument in the 'Why you shouldn't trust successful people's advice' video

  25. I wonder if I was the only one who thought of Bioshock in reference to the Benjamin Franklin Effect: "Would you kindly…."

  26. Benjamin Franklin wrote about a consistent and long term campaign to get someone to like him. He borrowed several books from the man's library over a relatively long period of time. The effect is likely much stronger when reenforced like this.

  27. I can attest to the power poses. Long before I watched the ted video about it, I found out that standing straight makes you more confident. It's a big confidence boost, at first if you're not used to it you'll feel awkward but overtime you'll get used to it and you'll notice that your actions will start changing.

  28. It's interesting how Aggression gets such a bad rap, a technical definition of the term is almost exactly the same as the term assertive. People tend to describe an action as assertive when they agree with the outcome or it works in their favour, and they call it aggressive when they disagree with the outcome or it goes against some agenda of theirs. Therefore our interpretation of an action as aggressive seems entirely dependent on our selfish perspective rather than an independent examination of our actions

  29. Hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John, hey John. Nope. John still hates me.

  30. First of all everyone complaining about clickbait titles… you do now that almost all newspapers do it? It's a basic technique to increase viewership and therefore increase the value of an otherwise product, as it influenced more people positively.
    So yeah, as these videos are actually really high quality and interesting I'd say it's okay for him to use these "clickbait titles" (there are worse).

    And secondly I have a question to Nr. 3, the way you described the experiment, maybe I got it wrong, the people were asked for their oppinion on the researchers once, after they had given back the money. How does it prove, that people like you better when you do them a favor? Couldn't it be possible that the only cause for this difference was that people who were generally more positive to new people and liked the researcher more (because of his looks for example) would be more likely to actually return the money?
    For me that would make it obvious why the difference wasn't too big as well, because their oppinions just didn't differ that much because of their limited contact to that researcher and less time to build an oppinion.

  31. The Best Thing i like about your videos is that like in other channels they think they are entertaining everyone by cracking stupid jokes and a comedy like atmosphere. Your video has some serious atmosphere, upto the point and doesn't focus on these shitty humours.

  32. I have an issue with the 3rd one.
    the study finds a correlation between giving the money back and liking the person.
    but you are more likely to to make a nice gesture to someone you like more.
    further, positive people who are friendly and kind-hearted, are more likely to both make a helpful gesture, as well as liking strangers.

    so it may just be that the people who gave the money back, were also the people who would be more friendly when meeting new people.

  33. I like the content of these videos, but technically you didn't debunk them. Makes your titles look very clickbaity. :

  34. The thing about Ben Franklin effect (if I recall correctly) is they didn't ask all of them to return the money. They only asked some participants – that's a very important difference. Those of them who were asked for a favor liked the researcher better than those who just did their job, got their money and left. The way you explain the experiment makes it seem so flawed, don't you think some of the researchers would have realized that?

  35. A majority of psychological research has been debunked, often because they have faulty premises and conclusions

  36. I usually like your stuff but the title does not reflect the contents of this video.

    On point 1, it is meant to be a placebo effect that hopefully gets you started with growing your confidence. Sure people have sensationalised the study but if one has tried power posing a few times they know that it's just a slight boost to get you ready for whatever important event they have ahead.

  37. in Dale Carnegie's book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People", I distinctly remember him explaining that remembering a name and using it was key. It wasn't necessarily the repetition that mattered.

  38. number 1: placebo effect? Isn't holding a pose in order to feel into the pose placebo by definition? Psychological change caused by a pose that is only perceived as power pose due to imprinted cultural correlation sounds like the very definition of placebo, so you debunked nothing.

  39. Well… to the first Myth

    If you hang around like a wet bag, you are likely to feel less good than being in a 'power pose' – how they named it did the rest. Shame on Ted talk and shame on Ted talk viewers for this in my eyes irrelevant 'talk' being so popular

  40. Using money to disprove Benjamin Franklin's cognitive dissonance doesn't really apply. He asked for a book which is something of information and value, as well as other non-money related tasks that we align more with doing good for our friends than a job/research/assignment. Because it's not related to money and more of the vested cognitive interests of the individual, they are more likely to like you because they see that similarity with the ACTION of doing something for the person. When a simple money return/not returned situation is faced, it doesn't have the same cognitive involvement.

  41. 3:13 Really they don't think that's a significant difference? That's pretty huge especially if the sample size was also large. It's almost like the difference between a 2.5 and 3.5 star restaurant on Yelp.

  42. So you claim 3/4 work, and yet you say they are debunked?

    You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

  43. Even if these advantages are not as extreme as many people think, they are advantages and, since they have almost zero cost to implement, why not keep using them?

  44. In the Benjamin Franklin one, did they take an initial poll before the experiment was performed? It sounds like this might be confirmation bias as it ignores the possibility that the people who gave the money did so because they liked the person more.

  45. Erm, doesn't the word "debunked" mean they've been proven false? But you've shown at least 2 are actually correct

  46. Probably this, probably that, how is that factual? I am probably going to unsubscribe from this channel, actually I will in fact. 🙁

  47. the jump from 5.8 to a 7.2 is actually pretty big. People like the number 10 better than 12. and in that case it jumps from a D rating to a B.

  48. Look at the drawing in the placebo effect slide? Ha there are a bunch of random pictures. Braces on teeth?

  49. Better dont go around asking for favors in order to make friend…if they say no, then they will reduce their cognitive dissonance by thinking "he's an idiot, that's why I didnt do him a favor"

  50. Seriously, you started well with taking replicability and publication bias into accounty, but why didn't you do that with the other "facts"?

  51. So variable when it comes to someone's name repetition though. I find it extremely off-putting during the cold calls or even when socialising. With all of us growing aware of most popular psychological tricks thanks to the internet, it's also getting easier to spot a manipulator. It's just way too obvious sometimes. Once you overdo it, you may lose a person's trust once and for all. I believe that discovering your true self needs to guide each of us, and no special tricks will be needed.

  52. Man I knew this guy that would say everyones name constantly. I found it condescending to say the least and hated him slightly more whenever he did it.

  53. #5 clickbait titles were annoying back then, are annoying now, and will be annoying forever..👄👅

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