An empirical approach to understanding human behavior

We all want to know why people behave as they do, but this is by no means an easy task. There is no way to peek directly into someone’s mind, so we must rely on our own first-hand observations to develop our intuitions and beliefs. Unfortunately, our experiences are very limited, and our intuitions can be unreliable. How can we overcome these limitations to develop accurate theories about the causes of human behavior? The approach that Social Psychologists have been using for decades: carefully conducted empirical research! The students in PS253 have been learning a lot about how Social Psychologists conduct experiments to better understand human behavior, and this blog is their chance to tell a broader audience about recent findings that they find personally interesting. The hope is that you, our audience, will learn something valuable about human behavior — and maybe about yourself! — that wouldn’t have been known without the intrepid efforts of Social Psychologists around the world.

PS253: Social Psychology (Spring 2016)
Travis J. Carter

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