Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some Odd Psychological Concepts

Coolidge effect -- this is a phenomenon in many species in which both males and females exhibit continuous high sexual performance if they are provided new receptive partners.  Frank Beach originally coined this expression in 1955. It was based on a Presidential legend, probably apocryphal:

    The President and Mrs. Coolidge were being shown [separately] around anexperimental government farm. When [Mrs. Coolidge] came to the chicken yard she noticed that a rooster was mating very frequently. She asked the attendant how often that happened and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” Mrs. Coolidge said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.” Upon being told, Coolidge asked, “Same hen every time?” The reply was, “Oh, no, Mr. President, a different hen every time.” Coolidge: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

Transylvania effect -- This is also referred to as the Full Moon effect -- It is a pseudoscientific theory that deviant behavior is related to phases of the Moon.

Von Restroff effect -- predicts that an item that stands out as unique against a background of more homogeneous items is more likely to be remembered than other items.  Names after Hedwig von Restroff.
Duke of Marlborough effect -- This term was coined by Richard Dawkins to refer to the increase in masculine libido that results from experiencing a victory, whether directly or vicariously. Apparently Sir John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough examplified this, as reported in an entry in Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough’s diary:  “His Grace returned from the wars today and pleasured me twice in his top-boots.”  Male athletes tend to experience elevated testosterone levels before a contest; those who win tend to maintain afterwards those elevated testosterone levels, but the testosterone levels of losers drops dramatically afterwards.

The Flynn effect --The Flynn effect refers to a tendency of the average scores on intelligence tests to increase over time.

The Lake Woebegone effect -- The Lake Wobegone effect refers to the tendency to overestimate one's achievements and capabilities in relation to others. It is named for the fictional town of Lake Wobegone from the radio series A Prairie Home Companion, where, according to Garrison Keillor, "all the children are above average". In a similar way, a large majority of people claim to be above average.

Perky effect -- The Perky effect in psychology refers to the process by which visual mental imagery is thought to interefere with visual perception. For example, if a person is instructed to project by imagination a tomato or a banana on a while screen, an a faint image of a tomato or banana is projected, the person may not be able to tell the difference between the real image and that which was imagined. Cheves W. Perky did the pioneering research on this back in 1910.

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