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Is there a name for this feeling?

Is there a name for this feeling?



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With the intent of being seen as a big shot, a person induces unsuspecting observers to underestimate them by intentionally failing in trivial tasks but then successfully completing more complex tasks.


The emotions may include: duplicitousness, slipperiness, artfulness, craftiness, deviousness, wiliness, cunningness, deceitfulness, slyness, sneakiness, crookedness, vanity, haughtiness, pretentiousness, affectation, conceitedness, smugness, superciliousness, bumptiousness, condescension, obstreperousness, grandiosity, hubris.


The Psychology of Indifference

What causes the psychological condition of “indifference?” Indifference or apathy is a state in which we don’t care and/or don’t take action on something happening around us. People who are indifferent can be seen as cold, aloof, disinterested, unmotivated, and lacking in passion. There may be several reasons for indifference.

One cause may be that we are overstimulated, which is easy to happen in today’s culture. We receive information on our cell phones and from all of our friends instantly any time of day or night. We are bombarded with horrible news from around the world at the very moment it occurs. On TV we can watch crime shows all day long showing the terrible things that people do to each other. All of this information can be somewhat traumatic, and so we may shut down emotionally and mentally as a coping mechanism.

Indifference may occur when the problems of our life, our families, our communities, our country, and our world may seem so overwhelming that we feel quite powerless to do anything about them. This means that even when we notice what is going on around us, we may feel unable to make a difference. Instead of trying, we simply shrug our shoulders and move on.

There can be group and bystander effects causing indifference. When we see others being indifferent and apathetic, then we may be tempted to go along with the crowd. But the opposite may also be true. The worst time and place for our car to break down is on the side of a freeway during rush hour because hundreds of people will pass us by thinking to themselves “somebody else will stop and help” or they may think “I’m not going to stop because nobody else is stopping.” Whole parishes, schools, and communities can become apathetic or indifferent as a group. Apathy and indifference are contagious.

Certain drugs such as marijuana and narcotics may cause people to be indifferent. People can also be apathetic because of illnesses such as depression or other brain disorders. However, there may be a more insidious cause.

There is good evidence that people are gradually becoming more narcissistic. We find a growing sense of selfishness in the world. Our pride and unrestrained egos cause us to place ourselves first and everybody else a far second. The result of this self-indulgence is that we are indifferent to everything else that may be going on around us. We end up not caring about the suffering of others.

In summary, the causes of indifference can vary and they are powerful. Pope Francis recently expressed his concern about a growth of indifference not just in Western cultures but all around the world. Christ challenges us to be passionate, not lukewarm (see Revelation 3:15-16). When we read the lives of the saints we may learn that they did what seemed like small good deeds, but many of these small actions have had a big effect over time. Consider the impact of the humble nun Sr. Maria Kowalska who became known as St. Faustina, delivering the simple message of divine mercy that has now spread around the world. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta probably at times was overwhelmed by the suffering sick and poor all around her, but she did what she could for them with what she had.

If we become willing to do our own part of God’s mission in building His Kingdom and if we open ourselves to the movement of the Spirit in order to find what our work might be, we might see where and how we can take action on it. We don’t have to save the whole world because God has and is taking care of that. We just need to do our part. Let’s not wait for someone else to do the work. We need to believe that helping the poor and sick and marginalized is important. Let’s do it with fire and spirit. Passion is infectious.


For my two-penneth, I'd say that the person is acting out of "sheer bloody-mindedness". Meaning, "I will do this just because people say I can't (whether or not I think it's still a desirable thing to do)".

Don't know if this is only British English.

Edit: Seems to be only BE in this context according to MW.

The person who has been motivated by reverse psychology may be doing what they've been motivated to do out of spite.

The desire or emotion of wanting to prove someone wrong? Here are some examples of words that express that sentiment, used in a phrase or sentence:

  • Acting contrary
  • Motivated to find fault as an expression of schadenfreude
  • Behaving in a truculent manner
  • Being ornery, contentious or gratuitously fussy.

Or either of the two answers provided already, both of which are quite adequate.

Faultfinding works here. Same with peevish, but peevish isn't as precise.

Well, to this, I'd use the phrase "chip on your shoulder" , or something with "underdog". Someone can be on a "crusade" or "on a mission"

But this perhaps delves into psychology.

I think this question was interpreted in reverse. It seems to be asking for the characteristic of a person who can be easily manipulated by the use of reverse psychology, not the one doing the manipulating.

Manipulable describes such a person, as do the words tractable, malleable, and pliable.

You could also call such a person easily swayed or easily influenced.


Acedia: the lost name for the emotion we’re all feeling right now

Jonathan L. Zecher does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners

Australian Catholic University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations

With some communities in rebooted lockdown conditions and movement restricted everywhere else, no one is posting pictures of their sourdough. Zoom cocktail parties have lost their novelty, Netflix can only release so many new series. The news seems worse every day, yet we compulsively scroll through it.

We get distracted by social media, yet have a pile of books unread. We keep meaning to go outside but somehow never find the time. We’re bored, listless, afraid and uncertain.

John Cassian, a monk and theologian wrote in the early 5th century about an ancient Greek emotion called acedia. A mind “seized” by this emotion is “horrified at where he is, disgusted with his room … It does not allow him to stay still in his cell or to devote any effort to reading”. He feels:

such bodily listlessness and yawning hunger as though he were worn by a long journey or a prolonged fast … Next he glances about and sighs that no one is coming to see him. Constantly in and out of his cell, he looks at the sun as if it were too slow in setting.

This sounds eerily familiar. Yet, the name that so aptly describes our current state was lost to time and translation.


Is there a name for these types of bias in a study design?

Bias #1: the study design involves a pre-test, an intervention, and a post-test. It seems reasonable to suspect that participants would be likely to respond differently to the post-test due to some pressure, conscious or unconscious, caused by the awareness that the intervention might affect their test responses.

Bias #2: Participants may have prior awareness of the type of responses given by other participants. This might affect their own responses.

I assume these two types of bias have a name, but I can’t find anything (I can only find cognitive bias but I am looking for biased study design, such as as “Hawthorne effect”). Any ideas?

I think the term you may be looking for is "demand characteristics"?

That’s a perfect term for what I was describing, thank you.

Yes, you could call it a Hawthorne effect--knowledge of being in a study affects results. That said, much has been written about what actually caused the effects at Hawthorne. There was a lot more going on that just changing lighting levels. From a modern perspective, the researchers did a terrible job and biased their study by introducing lots of extraneous elements into the study. But the term refers to what you describe.

This is usually called contamination.

The following book talks about internal validity and threats to reaching conclusions in studies: Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Houghton Mifflin.


Pretty sure there’s a name for that burning feeling I got.

I like how specific it is that there are “no side effects or headaches.” Which just makes me assume it does give headaches.

All those sex pills say "now with no headaches". No idea why, but it must have been a thing.

Well, no headaches above your shoulders maybe

Every day we stray further from God.

with this pill you can get closer to him.

Eh, God went out for cigarettes a while ago.

We oughta leave this world behind

Why is the stick man’s dick so. pointy?

What, is your penis not a perfect cone?

"Destroy it with your dick."

I also flex after killfucks

Well, she doesn't mind it. Just look how happy she is, being dead and all.

When I went to my doctor he laughed at me when I said I wanted a drug that turns my penis into a weapon. Platinum Swag once again shows how modern medicine is a failure.

Of course it has a US flag on it.

of course. how do you think US government and corporations have been fucking Americans all these years?

But just a flag. Trying to trick people into thinking it was made in the US I guess?

It actually contains viagra. The ingredients listed are a lie. Baltimore Sun article about SWAG pills.

The big problem is that this stuff isn't regulated like pharmaceuticals. You don't know what's in it for sure, and the dosage isn't tested to make sure it's accurate. Stuff like this can cause strokes and heart attacks.


2 Branding Psychology Rules

1. If you ask a few people on the street and they like it, its probably not a good brand name. If they hate it, its probably good.

2. Avoid using a name which describes the product or service precisely. A subtle link to the product or service in the name, or no link at all is better.

Both of these seem illogical and its why the vast majority pick bad brand names.

A Brand is Like a Person You Know Well…

Pick a random name of anyone you personally know out of a hat. You immediately have opinions, qualities, values etc. attached to that person.

That is the same for branding. And it is on an INDIVIDUAL level just like how you form associations and opinions about people, you do the same for a brand.

“Nobody would call their kid Happy Blondie”

Do we name our kids using words that describe them?

Of course not, nobody would call their kid ‘Happy Blondie’. It’s generic, it doesn’t stand out, and there are millions of people that could be given the same name. It also devalues them as a person – it makes them less ‘real’ like an inanimate object.

The same is the true for brand names and companies. For example, any Scuba company could call itself ‘Best Scuba‘, and it sounds like just another and signifies it is not different.

Names are there to express uniqueness, not similarities.

Neptune Diving’ would be much better, and even better than that ‘Deep Neptune’ which has an even more subtle connection to the service.

Just In: ‘Britney Spears’ & ‘Virgin’ used in same sentence TWICE…

When you hear a name like ‘Britney Spears’ your brain will make lots of immediate associations, just like you will make associations when you hear ‘Virgin Airways’.

Both Britney Spears and Virgin Airways have brand associations, and our brain did not need a descriptive name to remember the name, or the instinctive association with what that brand means.

In fact a descriptive brand name would have made memorizing and positive associations harder, and here’s why…

How We Think About Brands…

Our mind can work like a thesaurus and when you use descriptive names, your brain remembers the meaning, rather than the individual words. So you’ll probably think something like ‘Good Diving‘ when trying to remember the name of ‘Best Scuba‘.

If the words have less or a confused meaning, we are forced to remember the name, and then decide the meaning for ourselves.

This is perfect because we truly like to make our own conclusions about what we associate with a brand, not have it forced upon us. A descriptive brand name like ‘Best Scuba’ forces an association, and raises our resistance to believing it because its someone else’s opinion and not our own.

Whereas a non-descriptive name allows us to draw our own conclusions (even though such conclusions will likely have been prompted by how the brand presents itself).

Brands & Brains…

A brand to a person is simply a collection information that leads us to a conclusion about what that brand is about, and this happens whether it was intended or not. The words of the brand name, the actions of the brand, the colors, the type of products and services, and how the brand presents itself all play a part in how we make and recall these associations in our head.

When we see a brand, subconsciously or consciously, these associations effect our decisions and thoughts towards that brand.

The Meaning of Words in a Brand Name…

In fact, the choice of words is important, as words themselves have associations in our mind, by the way they sound, and what they may represent.

For example, an Apple represents fruitfulness, freshness, good health and sweetness. While not all apply to computers, the positive associations like good health and freshness, along with the help of great products and a solid marketing campaign, pave the way for people to see Apple Computers as a fresh computer brand that delivers a healthy operating environment.

Yet instinctively we want to use directly descriptive names when choosing brand names, and the man on the street will tell you that your subtle non-descriptive brand name makes no sense.

A few decades ago the man on the street will huff ‘What’s an Apple got to do with a computer?’, and ‘Microsoft sounds like a penis dehancer’

If we were selling to robots, the man on the street would be right, but we’re selling the brand name to humans, and they think a little differently.

This applies just as much to small companies as it does Fortune 500 companies. If you have customers or an audience, then that audience is making associations with your brand name, and it effects how your company and products are perceived and if they will keep coming back to you.

Read the powerpoint summary of this great branding book below for more branding tips…

What do you think? Did you choose the right brand name for your business?


Famous psychology study ‘killed by replication’: does a pencil in your mouth make you feel happy?

Replication is very important in science, but sometimes the results can hurt. Hurt a lot. Yesterday I found this new replication meta-study on a very famous insight in psychology via this tweet by Stuart Ritchie:

Remember the study where you force a smile by holding a pencil in your mouth and you feel happy? Well, about that… https://t.co/Zb5Y3LXkQ0

&mdash Stuart Ritchie (@StuartJRitchie) August 19, 2016

The study he discusses is the 1988 study by Strack, Martin & Strepper:

We investigated the hypothesis that people’s facial activity influences their affective responses. Two studies were designed to both eliminate methodological problems of earlier experiments and clarify theoretical ambiguities. This was achieved by having subjects hold a pen in their mouth in ways that either inhibited or facilitated the muscles typically associated with smiling without requiring subjects to pose in a smiling face. Study 1’s results demonstrated the effectiveness of the procedure. Subjects reported more intense humor responses when cartoons were presented under facilitating conditions than under inhibiting conditions that precluded labeling of the facial expression in emotion categories. Study 2 served to further validate the methodology and to answer additional theoretical questions. The results replicated Study 1’s findings and also showed that facial feedback operates on the affective but not on the cognitive component of the humor response. Finally, the results suggested that both inhibitory and facilitatory mechanisms may have contributed to the observed affective responses.

It’s a famous study and I think there is indeed a big chance you’ve heard about the results.

But this new replication meta-study examining 17 studies replicating the original research is quite damning:

According to the facial feedback hypothesis, people’s affective responses can be influenced by their own facial expression (e.g., smiling, pouting), even when their expression did not result from their emotional experiences. For example, Strack, Martin, and Stepper (1988) instructed participants to rate the funniness of cartoons using a pen that they held in their mouth. In line with the facial feedback hypothesis, when participants held the pen with their teeth (inducing a “smile”), they rated the cartoons as funnier than when they held the pen with their lips (inducing a “pout”). This seminal study of the facial feedback hypothesis has not been replicated directly. This registered replication report describes the results of 17 independent direct replications of Study 1 from Strack et al. (1988), all of which followed the same vetted protocol. A meta- analysis of these studies examined the difference in funniness ratings between the “smile” and “pout” conditions. The original Strack et al. (1988) study reported a rating difference of 0.82 units on a 10 point Likert scale. Our meta-analysis revealed a rating difference of 0.03 units with a 95% confidence interval ranging from -0.11 to 0.16.

Via the tweet conversations following the tweet by Stuart Ritchie I also found this reply by Strack and this reply on this reply by the researchers.


2 Branding Psychology Rules

1. If you ask a few people on the street and they like it, its probably not a good brand name. If they hate it, its probably good.

2. Avoid using a name which describes the product or service precisely. A subtle link to the product or service in the name, or no link at all is better.

Both of these seem illogical and its why the vast majority pick bad brand names.

A Brand is Like a Person You Know Well…

Pick a random name of anyone you personally know out of a hat. You immediately have opinions, qualities, values etc. attached to that person.

That is the same for branding. And it is on an INDIVIDUAL level just like how you form associations and opinions about people, you do the same for a brand.

“Nobody would call their kid Happy Blondie”

Do we name our kids using words that describe them?

Of course not, nobody would call their kid ‘Happy Blondie’. It’s generic, it doesn’t stand out, and there are millions of people that could be given the same name. It also devalues them as a person – it makes them less ‘real’ like an inanimate object.

The same is the true for brand names and companies. For example, any Scuba company could call itself ‘Best Scuba‘, and it sounds like just another and signifies it is not different.

Names are there to express uniqueness, not similarities.

Neptune Diving’ would be much better, and even better than that ‘Deep Neptune’ which has an even more subtle connection to the service.

Just In: ‘Britney Spears’ & ‘Virgin’ used in same sentence TWICE…

When you hear a name like ‘Britney Spears’ your brain will make lots of immediate associations, just like you will make associations when you hear ‘Virgin Airways’.

Both Britney Spears and Virgin Airways have brand associations, and our brain did not need a descriptive name to remember the name, or the instinctive association with what that brand means.

In fact a descriptive brand name would have made memorizing and positive associations harder, and here’s why…

How We Think About Brands…

Our mind can work like a thesaurus and when you use descriptive names, your brain remembers the meaning, rather than the individual words. So you’ll probably think something like ‘Good Diving‘ when trying to remember the name of ‘Best Scuba‘.

If the words have less or a confused meaning, we are forced to remember the name, and then decide the meaning for ourselves.

This is perfect because we truly like to make our own conclusions about what we associate with a brand, not have it forced upon us. A descriptive brand name like ‘Best Scuba’ forces an association, and raises our resistance to believing it because its someone else’s opinion and not our own.

Whereas a non-descriptive name allows us to draw our own conclusions (even though such conclusions will likely have been prompted by how the brand presents itself).

Brands & Brains…

A brand to a person is simply a collection information that leads us to a conclusion about what that brand is about, and this happens whether it was intended or not. The words of the brand name, the actions of the brand, the colors, the type of products and services, and how the brand presents itself all play a part in how we make and recall these associations in our head.

When we see a brand, subconsciously or consciously, these associations effect our decisions and thoughts towards that brand.

The Meaning of Words in a Brand Name…

In fact, the choice of words is important, as words themselves have associations in our mind, by the way they sound, and what they may represent.

For example, an Apple represents fruitfulness, freshness, good health and sweetness. While not all apply to computers, the positive associations like good health and freshness, along with the help of great products and a solid marketing campaign, pave the way for people to see Apple Computers as a fresh computer brand that delivers a healthy operating environment.

Yet instinctively we want to use directly descriptive names when choosing brand names, and the man on the street will tell you that your subtle non-descriptive brand name makes no sense.

A few decades ago the man on the street will huff ‘What’s an Apple got to do with a computer?’, and ‘Microsoft sounds like a penis dehancer’

If we were selling to robots, the man on the street would be right, but we’re selling the brand name to humans, and they think a little differently.

This applies just as much to small companies as it does Fortune 500 companies. If you have customers or an audience, then that audience is making associations with your brand name, and it effects how your company and products are perceived and if they will keep coming back to you.

Read the powerpoint summary of this great branding book below for more branding tips…

What do you think? Did you choose the right brand name for your business?


Famous psychology study ‘killed by replication’: does a pencil in your mouth make you feel happy?

Replication is very important in science, but sometimes the results can hurt. Hurt a lot. Yesterday I found this new replication meta-study on a very famous insight in psychology via this tweet by Stuart Ritchie:

Remember the study where you force a smile by holding a pencil in your mouth and you feel happy? Well, about that… https://t.co/Zb5Y3LXkQ0

&mdash Stuart Ritchie (@StuartJRitchie) August 19, 2016

The study he discusses is the 1988 study by Strack, Martin & Strepper:

We investigated the hypothesis that people’s facial activity influences their affective responses. Two studies were designed to both eliminate methodological problems of earlier experiments and clarify theoretical ambiguities. This was achieved by having subjects hold a pen in their mouth in ways that either inhibited or facilitated the muscles typically associated with smiling without requiring subjects to pose in a smiling face. Study 1’s results demonstrated the effectiveness of the procedure. Subjects reported more intense humor responses when cartoons were presented under facilitating conditions than under inhibiting conditions that precluded labeling of the facial expression in emotion categories. Study 2 served to further validate the methodology and to answer additional theoretical questions. The results replicated Study 1’s findings and also showed that facial feedback operates on the affective but not on the cognitive component of the humor response. Finally, the results suggested that both inhibitory and facilitatory mechanisms may have contributed to the observed affective responses.

It’s a famous study and I think there is indeed a big chance you’ve heard about the results.

But this new replication meta-study examining 17 studies replicating the original research is quite damning:

According to the facial feedback hypothesis, people’s affective responses can be influenced by their own facial expression (e.g., smiling, pouting), even when their expression did not result from their emotional experiences. For example, Strack, Martin, and Stepper (1988) instructed participants to rate the funniness of cartoons using a pen that they held in their mouth. In line with the facial feedback hypothesis, when participants held the pen with their teeth (inducing a “smile”), they rated the cartoons as funnier than when they held the pen with their lips (inducing a “pout”). This seminal study of the facial feedback hypothesis has not been replicated directly. This registered replication report describes the results of 17 independent direct replications of Study 1 from Strack et al. (1988), all of which followed the same vetted protocol. A meta- analysis of these studies examined the difference in funniness ratings between the “smile” and “pout” conditions. The original Strack et al. (1988) study reported a rating difference of 0.82 units on a 10 point Likert scale. Our meta-analysis revealed a rating difference of 0.03 units with a 95% confidence interval ranging from -0.11 to 0.16.

Via the tweet conversations following the tweet by Stuart Ritchie I also found this reply by Strack and this reply on this reply by the researchers.


Acedia: the lost name for the emotion we’re all feeling right now

Jonathan L. Zecher does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Partners

Australian Catholic University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations

With some communities in rebooted lockdown conditions and movement restricted everywhere else, no one is posting pictures of their sourdough. Zoom cocktail parties have lost their novelty, Netflix can only release so many new series. The news seems worse every day, yet we compulsively scroll through it.

We get distracted by social media, yet have a pile of books unread. We keep meaning to go outside but somehow never find the time. We’re bored, listless, afraid and uncertain.

John Cassian, a monk and theologian wrote in the early 5th century about an ancient Greek emotion called acedia. A mind “seized” by this emotion is “horrified at where he is, disgusted with his room … It does not allow him to stay still in his cell or to devote any effort to reading”. He feels:

such bodily listlessness and yawning hunger as though he were worn by a long journey or a prolonged fast … Next he glances about and sighs that no one is coming to see him. Constantly in and out of his cell, he looks at the sun as if it were too slow in setting.

This sounds eerily familiar. Yet, the name that so aptly describes our current state was lost to time and translation.


For my two-penneth, I'd say that the person is acting out of "sheer bloody-mindedness". Meaning, "I will do this just because people say I can't (whether or not I think it's still a desirable thing to do)".

Don't know if this is only British English.

Edit: Seems to be only BE in this context according to MW.

The person who has been motivated by reverse psychology may be doing what they've been motivated to do out of spite.

The desire or emotion of wanting to prove someone wrong? Here are some examples of words that express that sentiment, used in a phrase or sentence:

  • Acting contrary
  • Motivated to find fault as an expression of schadenfreude
  • Behaving in a truculent manner
  • Being ornery, contentious or gratuitously fussy.

Or either of the two answers provided already, both of which are quite adequate.

Faultfinding works here. Same with peevish, but peevish isn't as precise.

Well, to this, I'd use the phrase "chip on your shoulder" , or something with "underdog". Someone can be on a "crusade" or "on a mission"

But this perhaps delves into psychology.

I think this question was interpreted in reverse. It seems to be asking for the characteristic of a person who can be easily manipulated by the use of reverse psychology, not the one doing the manipulating.

Manipulable describes such a person, as do the words tractable, malleable, and pliable.

You could also call such a person easily swayed or easily influenced.


Pretty sure there’s a name for that burning feeling I got.

I like how specific it is that there are “no side effects or headaches.” Which just makes me assume it does give headaches.

All those sex pills say "now with no headaches". No idea why, but it must have been a thing.

Well, no headaches above your shoulders maybe

Every day we stray further from God.

with this pill you can get closer to him.

Eh, God went out for cigarettes a while ago.

We oughta leave this world behind

Why is the stick man’s dick so. pointy?

What, is your penis not a perfect cone?

"Destroy it with your dick."

I also flex after killfucks

Well, she doesn't mind it. Just look how happy she is, being dead and all.

When I went to my doctor he laughed at me when I said I wanted a drug that turns my penis into a weapon. Platinum Swag once again shows how modern medicine is a failure.

Of course it has a US flag on it.

of course. how do you think US government and corporations have been fucking Americans all these years?

But just a flag. Trying to trick people into thinking it was made in the US I guess?

It actually contains viagra. The ingredients listed are a lie. Baltimore Sun article about SWAG pills.

The big problem is that this stuff isn't regulated like pharmaceuticals. You don't know what's in it for sure, and the dosage isn't tested to make sure it's accurate. Stuff like this can cause strokes and heart attacks.


Is there a name for these types of bias in a study design?

Bias #1: the study design involves a pre-test, an intervention, and a post-test. It seems reasonable to suspect that participants would be likely to respond differently to the post-test due to some pressure, conscious or unconscious, caused by the awareness that the intervention might affect their test responses.

Bias #2: Participants may have prior awareness of the type of responses given by other participants. This might affect their own responses.

I assume these two types of bias have a name, but I can’t find anything (I can only find cognitive bias but I am looking for biased study design, such as as “Hawthorne effect”). Any ideas?

I think the term you may be looking for is "demand characteristics"?

That’s a perfect term for what I was describing, thank you.

Yes, you could call it a Hawthorne effect--knowledge of being in a study affects results. That said, much has been written about what actually caused the effects at Hawthorne. There was a lot more going on that just changing lighting levels. From a modern perspective, the researchers did a terrible job and biased their study by introducing lots of extraneous elements into the study. But the term refers to what you describe.

This is usually called contamination.

The following book talks about internal validity and threats to reaching conclusions in studies: Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Houghton Mifflin.


The Psychology of Indifference

What causes the psychological condition of “indifference?” Indifference or apathy is a state in which we don’t care and/or don’t take action on something happening around us. People who are indifferent can be seen as cold, aloof, disinterested, unmotivated, and lacking in passion. There may be several reasons for indifference.

One cause may be that we are overstimulated, which is easy to happen in today’s culture. We receive information on our cell phones and from all of our friends instantly any time of day or night. We are bombarded with horrible news from around the world at the very moment it occurs. On TV we can watch crime shows all day long showing the terrible things that people do to each other. All of this information can be somewhat traumatic, and so we may shut down emotionally and mentally as a coping mechanism.

Indifference may occur when the problems of our life, our families, our communities, our country, and our world may seem so overwhelming that we feel quite powerless to do anything about them. This means that even when we notice what is going on around us, we may feel unable to make a difference. Instead of trying, we simply shrug our shoulders and move on.

There can be group and bystander effects causing indifference. When we see others being indifferent and apathetic, then we may be tempted to go along with the crowd. But the opposite may also be true. The worst time and place for our car to break down is on the side of a freeway during rush hour because hundreds of people will pass us by thinking to themselves “somebody else will stop and help” or they may think “I’m not going to stop because nobody else is stopping.” Whole parishes, schools, and communities can become apathetic or indifferent as a group. Apathy and indifference are contagious.

Certain drugs such as marijuana and narcotics may cause people to be indifferent. People can also be apathetic because of illnesses such as depression or other brain disorders. However, there may be a more insidious cause.

There is good evidence that people are gradually becoming more narcissistic. We find a growing sense of selfishness in the world. Our pride and unrestrained egos cause us to place ourselves first and everybody else a far second. The result of this self-indulgence is that we are indifferent to everything else that may be going on around us. We end up not caring about the suffering of others.

In summary, the causes of indifference can vary and they are powerful. Pope Francis recently expressed his concern about a growth of indifference not just in Western cultures but all around the world. Christ challenges us to be passionate, not lukewarm (see Revelation 3:15-16). When we read the lives of the saints we may learn that they did what seemed like small good deeds, but many of these small actions have had a big effect over time. Consider the impact of the humble nun Sr. Maria Kowalska who became known as St. Faustina, delivering the simple message of divine mercy that has now spread around the world. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta probably at times was overwhelmed by the suffering sick and poor all around her, but she did what she could for them with what she had.

If we become willing to do our own part of God’s mission in building His Kingdom and if we open ourselves to the movement of the Spirit in order to find what our work might be, we might see where and how we can take action on it. We don’t have to save the whole world because God has and is taking care of that. We just need to do our part. Let’s not wait for someone else to do the work. We need to believe that helping the poor and sick and marginalized is important. Let’s do it with fire and spirit. Passion is infectious.