People Psychology: A Short Guide to Understanding People | Andre Klapper, PhD | Skillshare

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People Psychology: A Short Guide to Understanding People

teacher avatar Andre Klapper, PhD, Researcher, Neuroscientist, Psychologist

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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. What is this course about?

    • 2. Discover what personality actually is

    • 3. How to correctly use personality to understand people

    • 4. The five personality traits we all ought to know

    • 5. The four psychological needs that drive most of our decisions and behavior

    • 6. How do our psychological needs interact with each other?

    • 7. The truth about attitudes and how they secretly influence our behavior

    • 8. Understand people with psychological disorders and what can help them

    • 9. Congrats and thanks!

    • 10. Bonus: How we (mis)read other people's faces

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About This Class

Can you imagine a life without people?

Wherever we are, people play an extremely important part of our life. 

This course will teach you in a few easy lectures how you can use psychology to understand the people in your everyday life better. 

Learn about our personality, psychological needs, attitudes, and our psychological problems and how you can use this to understand people better.

What you will learn in this course

  • Discover what personality actually is

  • Learn how to correctly use personality to understand the people around you

  • The five personality traits we all ought to know

  • The four psychological needs that drive most of our decisions and behavior

  • The truth about attitudes and how they secretly influence our behavior

  • Understand people with psychological disorders and what can help them

In short, you will learn the essential concepts psychologists use to understand people and how to apply them in your everyday life.

One of the most enjoyable things when I studied Psychology was applying the knowledge to my everyday life together with my fellow students.

Soon we were talking in our own language: about how that guy is totally self-enhancing, how this guy is using personality wrongly, or that teacher is implicitly biased towards women without noticing it.

We realized that we were starting to understand the people around us more deeply and that made our lives a lot richer.

In this course, I want to share this experience with you in a few short lectures that get straight to the important points.

This course is about understanding the people around you in ways you couldn’t before, seeing things that you didn’t see before, and discovering the things that are really driving them.

So get started now so that you can experience it yourself.

You can start with any lecture and see for yourself what it has in store for you.

And you can ask me any psychology question you have.


Meet Your Teacher

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Andre Klapper, PhD

Researcher, Neuroscientist, Psychologist


Psychology & Neuroscience researcher with more than 10+ years of training and experience.

Learning how our mind and brain work and conducting research on these topics has been incredibly fascinating for me and it definitely enriched my life.

My mission is to share my experience with other people and help them to get the most out of themselves.

I have courses on Psychology, Neuroscience, and research.

Why learn from me?

- 700+ enthusiastic reviews from people all over the world.

- Short and concise lectures - straight to the point without any unnecessary information.

- Simple and easy approach - complex ideas are broken into bite-sized chunks.

- Quality content. PhD, 10+ years of training and experience, scientific publica... See full profile

Related Skills

Lifestyle Psychology Other Mind

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1. What is this course about?: Hi and welcome. My name is Andre. I'm a psychologist and neuroscientist. This is a course many people have asked me about. Many people ask me, what can you tell me as a psychologist, to help me understand other people? Better on this course is my answer. This course is about essential psychology lessons that can help you to understand people better. Specifically, in this course, I'm going to show you different approaches to understanding people. I'm also going to show you what the advantages and disadvantages of each approach are. And I'm gonna show you typical mistakes we make when we try to understand other people and show you how to correct these mistakes. And before we get into that, I want to use this lecture to clarify the goal off this course. More specifically, what do we actually mean by understanding another person? What do we mean by understanding and their two aspects of understanding that I want to disentangle in this lecture? First understanding can be about predicting behavior, and second understanding can be about revealing the internal costs inside of the person that is causing the behavior. So let's take a little example. Let's say that we want to understand, Mark. And let's say that we learned that Mark is very aggressive. Essentially, what that tells us is how Mug is going to behave in the future. He is aggressive, so he's lucky to perform aggressive behavior. And that's useful because now we know that maybe we should avoid Mark. Or at least we should be careful when we are around Mark. But if we only know that Marcus aggressive, we still don't have any clue why Marcus aggressive what's going on inside of him that makes him do this aggressive behavior. And there could be various reasons why Mark is behaving this way. For example, it could be that Mark has very low self esteem. Maybe he just feels attacked very easily. Maybe when people laugh, he immediately thinks they're laughing about him. And then maybe his aggressive behavior is the consequence of that low self esteem. Or it could be that Mark believes that people are generally selfish and hostile. He basically thinks that he lives in the world full of enemies, and his way of dealing with it is that he attacks first because he basically wants to protect himself from a dangerous world. So we have these two aspects of understanding another person. We want to predict the behavior of the person, and we want to reveal the internal cause of the person. And as you're going to see in the remainder of this course, some of the approaches I'm going to show you are more focused on predicting behavior, while other approaches are more focused on internal causes off behavior, So keep the distinction in mind during this course. 2. Discover what personality actually is: in this lecture, we're gonna look at the first approach to understanding people, which is to look at people's personality. And we're going to start with the question. What actually is personality? So what is personality and essentially personality is about describing people based on their general tendencies. For example, if we say that markets aggressive, we're basically saying that Mark tends to be aggressive, and the main assumption is that people tend to be relatively stable over time. So if I tell you that markets aggressive, then essentially I'm saying that I saw that Mark used to be aggressive in the past, and I assume that he's also going to be aggressive in the future. Therefore likewise, If I say that Maria is friendly, then I'm basically describing her general tendency of behaving. And I'm assuming that since she behaved friendly in the past, she's also going to behave friendly in the future, Or if I say that John is outgoing. Then again, I'm saying that John used to behave outgoing in the past and therefore he's probably gonna be outgoing in the future and the reason why we think in terms of personalities, so in terms off general tendencies is because it helps us to predict people. So, for example, if you know that John is outgoing, you know that if you invite him for a party, he's probably gonna come. Or if you invite Maria, then you know that you probably not gonna regret it. Whereas if you invite Mark, then you may actually regret it. So personality is something that helps us to predict people and generally navigate through the social world. And the main assumption of personality is that people are relatively stable. They more or less stay the same. And that's generally a reasonable assumption. Because psychological research has shown that one of the best predictors of future behavior is past behavior. People tend to do what they used to do more so than they do what they, for example, say they will do. And what that means is that if you want to predict people's behavior, then the number one rule for prediction is that you don't want to ask them with a desire or intend to do say you want to bring a new product to the market and you want to do market research to find out whether it's a good product, then you don't want to ask them. Would you like this product, or would you buy this product instead? Usually a better strategy is to ask them what they did in the past. Did you buy a similar product? Did you ever try to solve the problem that this product would be solving? Generally speaking, if you want to predict people's behavior than one of the best strategies is to ask them what they did in the past and when we're thinking in terms of personalities than we're applying the same logic. We're assuming that people are gonna be the way they used to be. And in some sense that's a little bit superficial, because we completely ignore what the person's needs are what the person believes are all the things that are going on inside of the person. But we know from research that if your goal is to predict people's behavior than that's a very reasonable strategy, so to sum it up, one of the strong points off thinking in terms of personalities is that personality is relatively easy to observe and at the same time, a good predictor of behaviour. However, a negative side is that personality does not give us deep insight into the internal causes of the behavior 3. How to correctly use personality to understand people: okay, by now you know what personality is and also that it can be a very useful tool for predicting behavior. But this is actually only half of the story because there is a problem with personality. And the problem is so big that there was even a point in the history of psychological research where the psychologist wondered whether thinking in terms of personalities makes any sense at all and understanding what that problem is and also help psychologist solved. The problem is something that can help us understand personality better and also use personality better as a tool for understanding people. So what was the problem with personality? And the problem was that one psychologist looked at how people behave throughout their whole life, so not just in specific situations. But throughout their whole life. That psychologist noticed that people are very different from context to context. A prison may be very shy and introvert at work, but then after work, the same person may be very outgoing and energetic when he's going to a party with friends , for example. Likewise, a person may be very bossy and cold at work, but then when he comes home, he may be a very soft and sweet person, and that's a problem for personality theories, because the main assumption of these theories is that people are more or less always the same. The main idea is that if we observe that a person is a certain way at a certain moment, the person is also going to be like that in the next moment. But now it seemed that that totally wasn't true anymore. And there was a time when that made psychologist wonder whether the concept of personality makes any sense at all. But then they realized that the different patterns of behaviors actually linked to different situations. So it was not just that people behave completely inconsistently, but they behave different from situation to situation. And the idea that kind of safe personality is that our behavior is influenced by two main factors. One is our personality, and the other is the situation. And to give you a little illustration, why, that is an important inside. Let me tell you a little story that happened to me once on a party. I was chatting with a girl and we were kind of telling each other about ourselves and I mentioned that I consider myself relatively introvert, and she looked at me very, very puzzled because at the moment I was actually very talkative and outgoing because I wasn't a good moods and I was on a party, so I wasn't behaving the way I behaved most of the time. And she actually said to me, No, you're not. You're not introvert. And at that moment, I didn't think that much about it. I just said, Yes, I am. I'm the kind of person who likes to read books all by himself, and at that moment she really got annoyed. And actually, a minute later she just walked away and it took me a moment to realize what just had happened. And then I realized that what she saw me doing was so inconsistent with what I was describing about myself that she thought I was lying directly into her face. But of course I wasn't lying. What she just didn't realize is that people very a lot from situation to situation, and she was only looking at the personality side off our behavior. And so the main lesson to be learned here is that if we want to understand people, and if we want to predict their behavior, we need to take the situation into account a lot more than we normally do. So the main lesson is that predicting behavior from personality works best in specific situations. So if you get to know somebody at work, then you know that person's personality as work. And if you know somebody only at home, then you know that person's personality only at home. And if you meet a person on Lee at a hobby, then you know that person on Lee at that hobby and so on and so on. Generally speaking, predicting behavior from personality works best if we restrict ourselves to specific situations. 4. The five personality traits we all ought to know: Okay, by now, you know a little bit better what personality is and also how to use the concept of personality when you try to understand people. And the last thing I want to do before we move to another approach to understanding people is asked the question. What? I actually the main personalities. So what do I mean by that? Well, if you just think off what kind of personality traits we have to describe people, then you will realize that there are a lot of personality traits we can describe people in terms off, how trustworthy they are, how honest, kind, talkative, friendly, outgoing, energetic, sociable and many more so. There are a lot of personality traits to pick from, So the question is, which ones should you pick? And psychological researchers looked at this and realize that actually, when you look at the personality traits that we have, then there seemed to be clusters. It seemed to be some personality traits that naturally go together. For example, if a person is trustworthy than usually, that person is also honest and usually also friendly and usually also kind, and likewise, if a person is outgoing than most of the time. That person is also talkative. Most of the time. That person is also energetic, and most of the time that person is also sociable, says not the case that every personality trait is different that seem to be clusters. And after researchers realized this, they ask themselves. So what are the main clusters of personality? Fortunately, they had a big arsenal of statistical techniques, which they could use to decide which trades belong together and could be summarized into one personality trait. And so that's what they did, and the result of this work are the so called Big Five. These are five personality traits that together give you a very complete picture off another person's personality. So in this lecture, I want to walk you through these five personality traits, and the 1st 1 is openness to experience. People who are low in openness to experience tend to be close minded. They tend to prefer when everything stays as it is, and they are past oriented. While people who are high in openness to experience tend to be open minded, they love change, and they tend to be future oriented. So people who are high in openness to experience love adventurers. They love discovering something new. They love the unknown. They don't mind when things aren't that predictable. They like the excitement of the new while people who are low and openness to experience, like a predictable world where basically everything stays as it is. Okay, the second trade off the Big Five is conscientiousness, and people who are low in conscientiousness tend to be laid back. They also tend to be disorganized, and they tend to be unreliable. While people who are high in conscientiousness tend to be beautiful, they're well organized, and they tend to be reliable. So a person high in conscientiousness is the kind of person you want to have on a team when you're doing an important task, while a person low in conscientiousness can actually be nice if you just want to have fun and if you don't want to control things, but just let them go as they go. So that's the second personality trade of the Big Five. The third personality trade is extroverted. People who are low, an extra version are basically the introverts. They enjoy activities by themselves, and they tend to be quiet thinkers, people high an extra version, on the other hand, tend to be outgoing, and they enjoy activities with other people, and they tend to be talkative. And that doesn't mean that they cannot also be thinkers. But if they're thinkers, they usually more allowed thinkers. They like to think in the group in a discussion with other people, rather than sitting by themselves and thinking quietly. And that is the third personality trade of the Big Five. Now, the fourth personality trait is agreeableness. People who are low on agreeableness tend to be unfriendly, detached from people there mentally like an island. They just exist for themselves, and they tend to be competitive. Why People who are high in agreeableness tend to be friendly, and they're very compassionate. They love to connect with people, and they tend to be cooperative. So people who are high in agreeableness basically the kind of people that we enjoy being with and that we can work well together with, although if you're hiring people, for instance and the position does not necessarily require team work, then you may even want to go for a person who is not that high in agreeableness, but a little bit more competitive so both sides can have merits. But the high side definitely feels better, and that is the fourth trade of the Big 51 more to go. The fifth trade is neuroticism, and that's the only trade where the more positive side is actually at the low end of the spectrum rather than the high end. So people who are low in neuroticism tend to be emotionally stable. They tend to be secure. Mentally speaking, they tend to be calm, and they tend to have good psychological health. While people who are high in neuroticism tend to be emotionally unstable, they tend to be insecure. It had to be restless, and they're prone to psychological problems. So, out of all the personality traits I showed you, neuroticism is the strongest related to psychological health. And it's also the personality traits what we can say the most clearly that you want to be on the low end of the spectrum for most personality traits, their advantages and disadvantages that each side of the spectrum but here you really want to be at the lower end of the spectrum. So there you have it. The Big Five, the five personality traits you would pick if you want to get a very complete description off somebody's personality. And finally, I want to show you a little trick that can help you remember the five personality traits, which is the acronym Ocean Over Openness to experience C for conscientiousness E for extroversion. A for agreeableness and an phone eroticism ocean. I always had trouble to remember these five personality traits, but once somebody showed me the acronym Ocean, I finally could remember them consistently. So hopefully that helps you to. So if you want to use the Big Five, remember the acronym Ocean? 5. The four psychological needs that drive most of our decisions and behavior: welcome to the next section. In this lecture, I'm gonna introduce it to another concept that can help us explain people which is play ecological needs. And specifically in this lecture, I want to introduce you to some psychological needs that pretty much everybody has. So this is a very different approach to personality. Where's and personality will look at what difference from person to person here. When we look at needs, we actually look at something that is very, very similar across people. And so the main question we need to ask ourselves here is not what need applies to which person, because pretty much all of the needs are going to show you apply to every person. But instead, we need to ask ourselves which need is currently driving this person and to make it a little bit more vivid. I'm going to use an example throughout this lecture, which is Mary who just bought ice cream. And we're going to speculate a little bit. Why Mary board ice cream Using the needs that I'm gonna cover in this lecture. Okay, here comes the first fundamental need that pretty much everybody has. We all have a need to be long. We want to feel connected to other people. We want to feel accepted by other people. We want to feel loved by other people. We want to feel that we're a part of the group and because we have this need when we get excluded by a group, it's almost physically painful. It's a very unpleasant feeling, and therefore people can go to great lengths to avoid this and to generally make sure that they're accepted and a part of the group. And I want to show you an experiment that illustrates very nicely the behavioral consequences off that need to be long. So in this experiment, the question for the participant was simply which line out of these lines is equal to the blue line, and when you look at this, it's fairly obvious it's obviously line number. Be right, And that's also how it was in the experiment. It was obvious that one line is the correct answer, but there was a little caveats because the participants did not give the response by themselves. But they were sitting in a group, and in that group everybody else gave an answer first, and what happened was that one by one, the people would say it see again and again. It would all agree that it's see while that's obviously not correct and then at some point is the participants turn. Another participant has to decide what response to give. And what happened in the experiment is that very often people decided to go along with a group, and the participants were also asked after the experiment why they did that. And they did say that they knew that this was the incorrect response. But the problem was that is just very awkward to say be when everybody else says, See, it really makes you feel like an outsider and people didn't want to feel excluded. They wanted to feel as a part of the group, even though they didn't know these people, even though they had never seen these people before, even though those people didn't mean anything to them because they would never see them again. Most likely, they did not want to feel excluded, and the reason for that is that people have a strong need to belong. They want to feel connected to the people around them, and in this case that means that they give a wrong answer, even though they know that it's wrong. And what I like about this experiment is that it's illustrating something that is actually happening very open in our everyday life. For example, what is one of the number one reasons why people start to smoke? Not because they think that is a good idea. Most people realize that starting to smoke is a very, very bad idea, but very often they do it out of social pressure. If they're in a group where everybody is smoking, they don't want to be the only person who is not smoking. And so they start smoking so that they feel as a part of the group and to satisfy their need to belong. So a question you can ask yourself in many situations when you observe people is how does what the person is doing? Give the person belongingness. For example, if we see Mary buying ice cream, we could speculate that maybe Mary bought the ice cream because she wants to socialize with her friends who are also eating ice cream at the same place and again, it's awkward to be the only person who is not eating ice cream, and that's why she bought the ice cream. So that's belongingness strong need we all have. Let's move to the second need. The second need is self enhancement, and essentially, what self enhancement means is that we want to feel good about ourselves. We want to have a positive self image. We want to feel special and like a person who can achieve great things. And because that need for self enhancement is so strong. People actually not that objective about themselves. Studies have shown that most people rate themselves as above average, and I've mentioned that already in one of my other courses. And if you know what an average is, then you should see that this is very unlikely to be true. It's more likely that people overestimate themselves, and one way this happens is through interpretation. So, for example, if two people with completely different driving styles I asked, Do you think you're a good driver, then both people may say yes because they have different interpretations of what a good drivers person 1 may think that Yeah, I'm a great driver because nobody drives us fast as me while person two things that yeah, I am also a great driver because I never had an accident. And the truth might be that the driving style of person one is rather reckless and know that skill at all, while person two drives like an old grandma and definitely not in a way that most people would say is great driving. And the reason why people do that is because they have a need for self enhancement. They want to feel good about themselves, and when you look around in your life, you will see that there signs off self enhancement. Everywhere around you, you can see self enhancement when guys buy expensive cars to look good and look like they have a high status. You can see South and has been one woman, buy expensive shoes and have a closet full of shoes at home. And likewise, you can see it when men by super expensive suits. So a question you can ask yourself when you want to understand people is how does what the person is doing right now boost the person self esteem? How does it help the person to self in hats? And let's do that for the Mary example again, a possible reason by Mary bought the ice cream is because she wants to celebrate that she just passed the final exam, and the ice cream is basically like a symbol of her success. It's a trophy, if you will. Okay, let's move to the next need. The next need is control. We want to feel that we're in control. We want to feel that our actions have influence on the world around us. And you can see that already in childhood, when parents teach their Children, for example, to tie their shoe laces, that's something that can turn out very rewarding to the child. It feels good when you don't need your parents anymore. It feels good when you get some autonomy are needful. Control is also the reason why. One of the main punishments we have is to deprive people of control. We imprison them. We forbid them from going where they want to go. And that's something that feels very punishing to us because we have this need for control and when that need is not satisfied, we suffer. So another question we can ask ourselves when we want to explain other people's behavior is how does what the person is doing. Give this person a feeling of control, and we can apply that again to the Mary example and say that maybe Mary bought the ice cream to take a break from work and have a moment for herself. Maybe it's not that much about the ice cream, but the freedom to have ice cream when you want to. Okay, there's one more needs, and it's the most obvious one. But it has to be mentioned. We strive for pleasure. Pleasure is what gives us energy. Pleasure makes us excited. Pleasure makes us active. We need pleasure to some degree to function in our life. So another question we can ask to understand people better is how does what the person is doing Give that person pleasure. And in the Mary example, that means that maybe Mary both the ice cream, because she just likes ice cream. Okay, so those are the main needs that most people share and that are driving our behavior in many, many situations. And an advantage of thinking in terms of needs is that it goes a little bit deeper than personality. It tells us about what's going on inside of the person rather than just helping us to predict what the person is going to do in the future. But there's also a disadvantage, which is that it is a little bit of guesswork to figure out what need is currently driving the person. While personality is relatively easy to observe, needs cannot really be observed. We can only try to deduce them from the behavior off the person. 6. How do our psychological needs interact with each other?: Okay, Now that you know about the most important needs that are driving us, let's talk next about the question. How do these needs interact with each other and their two main possibilities we can imagine . And the first possibility is that some needs always have a higher priority than others. So these needs would always have to be satisfied first before we set us by. The other needs on the second possibility is that there are no fixed priorities. So in one situation, we may be driven more by one need. And in the other situation, we may be more driven by the other need. There are no fixed priorities. Okay, To illustrate what I mean by possibility one, let me show you a theory. First, that fits to their possibility, and chances are high that you have seen it before because it's very, very popular among laypeople. It's called mass loss, Pyramid of needs. And if you have seen it before, I just want to tell you a little bit ahead of time that I'm gonna give you a different perspective on that theory later. But first I want to explain the theory for those who don't know it yet. So the idea is that we have this permit of needs and the lower something is in the permit, the higher priority it has and at the very bottom of the pyramid off physiological needs and physiological needs, essentially things like our need to sleep and our need to eat. And the idea is that first we have to satisfy these needs and only then we started satisfy all the other needs. The next needs our safety needs. We want to feel safe and protected and we want to have shelter. Then comes our need for belongingness. We want to feel accepted by other people. We want to feel loved by other people and we want to feel that we are a part of the group. Then the next layer off the permit is our self esteem, which is basically self enhancement. So essentially we want to feel good about ourselves and we want to feel that we are valuable person. And finally, on the top of the permit is self actualization. And according to mass loaf, self actualization is our need to grow and realize our full potential. And the idea of the theory is that first we have to satisfy our physiological needs, then our safety needs kick in, then our need to be long, then our need to self enhance Oh, our need for high self esteem. And finally, at the very end, self actualization kicks in. And this theory is very, very popular among laypeople, but not that popular among psychologists, because the problem with this theory is that it isn't that well supported by evidence. So let me show you a study that doesn't really seem to align with mass loss permit. And I gotta warn you that it's a little bit disturbing because in that study and Alec Short was planet into the brain, off the rats and more specifically, into the reward center of the brain of the rest. And in the case with the red, there was a button, and that button was connected to the electrode in the reward center off the brain off the rat. So what that means is that when the red presses the button, it stimulates the rewards and off its brain, which means that it experiences an intense feeling off pleasure. And essentially, what happened in the experiment is that the red kept pressing the button over and over until it starved to death. And to be clear, there was actually food in the case with the red. The red just didn't eat it. It couldn't stop pressing the button and getting that intense feeling off pleasure. And so it died. And that doesn't really align with mass loss pyramid. If you believe the permit, we would believe that physiological needs, such as hunger, always come first. But in this experiment is the other way around. The feeling of pleasure is so intense that it just overpowers the feeling of hunger. And actually, there are also examples in our everyday life that don't really seem to align with mass loss pyramid such as, for example, drug abuse. This is a very similar thing, actually. When people become addicted to something, they often disregard their other needs. They forget to drink. They forget to eat. They forget to sleep just to get another kick out of their addiction. And that doesn't fit to the idea that physiological needs always come first. Another example is when people do stupid things just to show off what they can do. And again that shouldn't happen. According to Mass loss pyramid according to mass loss permit. The need for safety should always come before the need for self esteem before the need to show off and feel good about yourself. But we know from experience that sometimes it's the other way around. Sometimes people want to show off, even though it puts them into danger. Okay, one more example. Sometimes we feel so connected to another person. We're having such a good time. We're so in love that we forget to eat. We forget to sleep. And again that shouldn't happen according to Mass Left Permit, because according to the pyramid are need to eat and sleep always comes first. But in reality, that is no with the case and therefore massless pyramid, though it is popular among laypeople, isn't that popular among psychologists? So what does this mean for us? For us, it means that the needs I showed you in the last lecture don't really seem to have an order and said it seems to be more lucky that it changes from situation to situation which need is the most important, and so in each situation is different. Need could be the dominant need that is driving our behavior 7. The truth about attitudes and how they secretly influence our behavior: in this lecture, we're gonna look at attitudes and beliefs, and you don't need to look around for long to see that attitudes and beliefs play a very important role in understanding people. For example, if a person believes in fairness, then we know that this person is not that likely to engage in criminal behavior. And we also know that this person is not that likely to cheat in a game, for instance. Likewise, if a person believes in gender equality, then we know that this person is less likely to be unfair to women compared to a person who believes that women are in some sense inferior. And if a person believes in himself, if a person believes that he or she is competent, then we know that this makes the person more likely to take risks compared to a person who doesn't believe in himself and who is afraid of failure. And another example is that if a person is prejudiced, if a person believes, for example, that African Americans are criminal, then that person is going to treat African Americans very differently from a person who doesn't believe that African Americans are criminal. So it is obvious that attitudes and beliefs play a very important role in our life. And the first question I want to tackle very quickly is when do attitudes actually predict behavior? Because I discuss at the very beginning that actually, people don't often do what they say they do. So under what circumstances can we assume that the attitude of a person predicts the behaviour of the person and psychological research has shown that there three aspects you want to look at, how strong the attitude is, how specific it is and how accessible it ISS. So let me show you quickly what that means. If a person says the way animals are treated is disgusting, then that is a very strong attitude. However, does that mean that that person never buys animal products? Not necessarily because it is not a very specific attitude. An example of a specific attitude would be, for example, one should never by animal products. This attitude is much more likely to translate into actual behaviour than the 1st 1 But there's another aspect we need to look at, and that's accessibility. So supposed to know that a person says one should never by Adama products But it takes the person four seconds of thinking before he actually says that if that is the case, even if the attitude is strong or specific, you should doubt that attitude. Or at least you should doubt that the person will act in accordance with that attitudes. If an attitude doesn't jump immediately into your mind, even if you believe it, it's probably not a strong predictor of your behavior. And that is called accessibility. The quick and attitude jumps into your mind, the quicker you can respond when somebody asks you about your attitude, the more likely it is that that attitude will drive your behavior. So these are three things you want to look at if you ask yourself, does what the person says actually translate into what the person does. But nevertheless, keep in mind that still the strongest predictor of behavior is what people did in the past . So if you know what a person did in the past, that's still a better predictor than whatever the person says. Okay, I hope that helps you getting better at the prediction aspect off understanding people. Next, I want to show you in a bit more detail how attitudes actually work and why. It is the case that people often don't do what they say they will do. And one of the main reasons is that we actually have two types of attitudes, and one of them is relatively unconscious. So let me show you what these two types of attitudes are. We have explicit attitudes, and explicit attitudes are basically what we think about something, and what we think about something mainly influences our intentional behavior. So it influences us at the moments when we're consciously thinking about what we're doing and paying conscious attention to what we're doing. But we also have implicit attitudes. An implicit attitudes are simply the associations we have with something, and these associations mainly influence our automatic behavior. The behavior we perform when we're not thinking about what we're doing when we're not paying attention to our current behavior, which is actually most of the time. Okay, I want to show you an example of this, and the example I'm gonna use is prejudice against African Americans, and I hope that doesn't offend anybody. It's just that prejudice against African Americans happens to be one of the types of prejudice about which there has been a lot of research, and so I'm going to use that as an example. Okay, suppose you watch a documentary, and that documentary makes consistently the point that African Americans are not criminal again and again in the documentary, There's the message. African Americans are not criminal. African Americans are not criminal. Then, on the explicit level, you learn that African Americans are not criminal. But what happens on the implicit level, while the implicit level is just the associations you learn and you learn associations between two things simply if they appear together and two things that are appearing here together very, very often is African Americans and criminal. So in other words, if you watch the documentary, one thing that is likely to happen is that you learn initiation between African American and criminal. And the consequence is that now African American becomes a trigger for the concept criminal . So if you think about African Americans where you see an African American, then that's going to make you think off stuff related to criminal. It doesn't mean that you believe that African Americans are criminal. It just means that if you think of an African American, then automatically stuff related to being criminal can pop into your mind irrespective of what you believe about African Americans. And so an example of a consequence of this is supposed to meet an African American in a dark alley. Then, even if you don't think that African Americans are more likely to be criminal, the thought that this particular guy might have criminal intentions can pop into your mind . And that happens automatically. And I want to show you a study that shows how dramatic the consequences of these associations can be. And what the study showed is the so called shooter bias. So let me show you what the shooter biases. The study simulated that the participants were basically walking around with a gun. In reality, they were just watching a screen, but they were imagining that they were holding a gun, and the test was that whenever a person appears who has no weapon, they should not shoot. While whenever a person appears with a weapon, they should shoot. And sometimes the person who appears could be a white American, and sometimes it could be an African American. And again, sometimes that person has no weapon and then they shouldn't shoot. And sometimes that person has a weapon, and then the participants should shoot. And the researchers were interested how often the participant would shoot an unarmed person . And here the results. First, unarmed African Americans were more likely to be shot than unarmed white Americans, and that is called the shooter buys. Second, the shooter buyers was larger for people who had negative associations with African Americans, and that shows us how dramatic the consequences of these associations can be in situations where we have to respond fast. And in the study that participants had to respond fast, were controlled by automatic mechanisms and therefore were controlled very much by our associations. And if somehow, in the past we have learned an association between, for example, African American and criminal, that makes us more likely to shoot an innocent person. And you can imagine what the implications are for what happens when a policeman has to decide whether to shoot somebody or not in a split second decision. In that situation, off course, the person will be very much influenced by implicit attitudes, so by associations, so a main reason by people don't always act in line with their attitudes is because when we say attitudes, we actually mean explicit attitudes. But we're not just influenced by explicit attitudes were also influenced by implicit attitudes, which are the associations we have with something. And those attitudes influence us, especially when we're not paying attention or when we have to respond very fast. Generally, they influence our automatic behavior. So the main take home message from this lecture to understand people better, is be aware that people are influenced by the implicit attitudes. So their associations okay, so that's attitudes and beliefs on an advantage of using attitudes to understand people is that they predict behavior to some degree and at the same time also show us the internal causes off the behavior. But it disadvantage is that attitudes do not always translate into behavior, as I showed you, and they can be very supple, such as in the case of associations which influence us more or less unconsciously. 8. Understand people with psychological disorders and what can help them: I welcome to the last lecture off this course in this lecture. I want to look with you at psychological disorders. These days, psychological disorders get more and more common, and so it's worth to look at the question. What is going on in a person with a psychological disorder and also a little bit? What can you do to help that person? And in this lecture, our introduce you to three main psychological disorders, which are depression, phobias and panic attacks. So let's start with depression. In essence, depression is a persistent feeling off sadness, so it's not like the normal sadness we feel, but it's a sadness that just won't go away. It persists for a long amount of time, and a few characteristics that are common among depress people are that they feel detached . They feel basically like a mental island, like they have no meaningful connections with other people. They feel worthless, and sometimes they feel that the world would be better off without them. If you're hopeless, if you're incapable and that they can't change anything about the situation and their fear that nothing is enjoyable, and if you look at these four things, then you can see that they actually met pretty well on the four needs air showed you in the need lecture. Feeling detached is essentially a deprivation of the need to belong. Feeling worthless is a deprivation of our need to self enhance. Feeling hopeless is a deprivation of our need to feel control and the fact that nothing is enjoyable as a deprivation of our needful pleasure and so four things you can look at if you want to understand a person with depression, is how is this person doing with the need to be long? How itself enhancement how with control and howl with pleasure. Okay, so that's my little overview of depression. And one thing I also want to point out is that depression isn't always something rational, and that's because depressed people often suffer from automatic negative thoughts. So, for example, if we take the need to belong than you might think that this person explicitly believes that, for example, nobody likes this person. Now think back to the distinction between explicit attitudes or explicit believes and implicit attitudes or implicit belief. The same distinction is applicable here, even if a person knows that this person has friends, for example, who care about him or her. Then it can still be that the person has associations that just makes thoughts like nobody likes me pop into the mind of the person. And these are called automatic negative thoughts, and they're very common among depressed people. So keep in mind that depression is not always based on explicit beliefs. It's not always rational. Sometimes they can be based on automatic associative mechanisms. Okay, despite these complications, there actually is a relatively simple remedy against depression, and I know that it almost sounds to simple because we're so used to think about depression in a complicated way. We tend to think that depression involves going back to your childhood and finding a hidden trauma there, and sometimes that is necessary. But very often it is not that complicated. So a very simple remedy that has been shown to be effective against depression is physical exercise. This has been shown over and over by research. Physical exercise is very effective in reducing depression. The only problem with physical exercise is that if you're depressed and you go to a therapist and tell him that you're depressed and the therapist puts you on a threat mill. Then chances are high that you're not coming again for the second session. And therefore, even though physical exercise is a very effective treatment for depression, it isn't really that much used in psychotherapy. But nevertheless, you can use it. And by the way, I use it to when I feel down. When I had some set bags, when I feel sad and my mood is dropping, then I find that physical exercise off some sort going running or whatever works for you is a very effective way to address these depressive feelings. Okay, so that's my little advice for dealing with depression. Nevertheless, I want to point out that if you have or know somebody who has a serious depression, you should go to a therapist. I just wanted to have set that to make sure that there aren't any confusions. You still should go to a psychotherapist if you have a major depression. Okay, so that's depression. The next disorder I want to discuss is phobias and phobias are an example of anxiety disorders, and if you have a phobia, then basically you have fear off something relatively specific, and the classical example is when you're afraid of spiders, for example. But it doesn't have to be spiders. It can be spiders, but it can also be snakes, high altitudes leaving home. Or it can be a social phobia can be that you're afraid of being embarrassed in front of people or off not being liked by other people. So a phobia is an anxiety disorder where your fear is very directed at something, Whatever. That's something, maybe. Okay, so where do these phobe has come from? And of course, there isn't a single answer, but one of the main causes our fear, associations and beliefs. So first of all, a very straightforward cause off a spider phobia is if you believe that spiders are dangerous. If a person believes that spiders are dangerous, even though in the country of the person despite is actually completely harmless, then that's a very straightforward way. Why that person is afraid of the spiders. But very often it's not just explicit believes that are causing the phobias, but it can be something more fundamental, like fear associations and again that taps into the distinction between explicit attitudes and implicit attitudes. Just like in the example with his documentary, where people learn an association between African American and criminal, which makes no sense people can learn an association between fear and say Spider. That also makes no sense. And that's why people with a phobia often cannot really explain that phobia. Why you're afraid of spiders? I don't know. They just feel creepy to me because phobias don't have to be something rational. They can be based on automatic mechanisms such as associations. Okay, With that in mind, the question is now what can you do about a phobia? And one of the most common treatments is that the patient gets gradually exposed to the thing he's afraid off, and that gets combined with relaxation techniques. So if we take the example of Spider phobia again, then this may mean that, for example, first the person just imagines a spider and at the same time tries to breathe slowly and generally relax himself. And once that goes well, then the person may next, for example, look at a picture of a spider and then again relax himself at the same time. And then once that goes well, the person may next look at a video of a spider and again relax himself. And then, at some point, the person may actually face a real spider and tries to calm down. Why he sees the real spider. And, of course, that's not an easy treatment for a person with a phobia, but is actually very, very effective. The overwhelming majority comes out of this treatment with either substantially reduced phobia or with virtually no phobia. So those are the phobias. Also a very common psychological disorder these days, and the last psychological disorder want to introduce you to our panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden and overwhelming feeling off anxiety. So when you have a panic attack, you may suddenly notice that your heart is racing like crazy. You may notice that your body is sweating like crazy, and you may notice that your hands are shaking and that's a panic attack. It's when you suddenly feel a feeling of anxiety that is completely out of proportion. So what is causing that severe feeding off anxiety and one of the major factors and causing panic attacks is when people get afraid off their own bodily arousal and by bodily arousal , I mean that your heart is bumping your body is sweating your breathing like crazy. You're trembling. All these things can be very, very scary. And what can happen then is that the fear is causing more fear. So, for example, that could be some minor trigger that makes the person feel a little bit fearful. But then, because the person is afraid of his own fear, the fear is causing more fear, and a vicious circle is starting. That leads to a panic attack. So a major factor in panic attacks is the fear off the own bodily arousal. And that's also why that place a central role in the treatment of panic attacks, the way panic attacks are tweeted is actually quite similar to the treatment for phobias. It involves gradual exposures to a state of high bodily arousal, while the patient tries to remain mentally calm. And that may literally involved that the patient has to go on a threat mill and run for a while into the hardest racing and then try to remain mentally called. And if that works, then next the patient may have to run for a little bit longer and induce a stronger bodily arousal. And then again, the patient has to remain mentally calm at the same time. Okay, that's my little overview over three of the most common psychological disorders nowadays. And if I'd pick a take home message from all the things I said so far, then it would be this one. Keep in mind that psychological disorders are often not rational because they are not always based on explicit beliefs. They can be based on associations that work in a relatively mindless fashion. And so the person with the psychological disorders may not always know why he or she is depressed or why he or she is afraid. That's part of how our mind works. Our mind is not just this rational part, but also this automatic part that sometimes learn silly associations that makes no sense at all, but that I nevertheless a part of ourselves 9. Congrats and thanks!: and you made until the end of the course. Congratulations. I hope you feel that you understand people a little bit better. I hope I could make you happy with this course. And if I did, you could make me really happy. If you leave a review, a lot of people take the whole course and then never tell me whether they liked it. And I always wonder. So please don't be that person. Tell me whether you liked it If their points that you would like to have improved and that would also be great feedback to me. Just tell me whatever you thought about the course. Okay, That's it. Thanks for taking this course. 10. Bonus: How we (mis)read other people's faces: I welcome this is a bonus lecture in which I want to give you some advice on how to read people's faces better and more importantly, on how you can avoid that you misread them. And that's an increasingly important topic, because not only is the face off another person the first thing we see off another person in most situations, but now it is. It's also the case that sometimes we literally only know what the face off another person looks like. For example, if we're doing online dating, if we're on tender, for example, then very often the only thing we see about the other person is the face. And that is very important that the judgment we make based on that face is accurate. And in this lecture, I want to basically show you two things. First, I want to show you that we really read personality trades automatically from other people's faces. And then I will turn to the question whether the personality traits we think we see in other people's faces are actually accurate, whether they accurately describe the other person and what we can do to get better at reading their faces. So, first I want to show you that we automatically read personality traits from other people's faces. For example, if you look at Jack Nicholson, then most people feel that that's not a trustworthy guy. That guy actually looks kind of creepy, and that's probably the reason why in many movies he plays the villain, or at least some kind of character that isn't entirely trustworthy because he has to face that just makes you feel immediately that that guy cannot be trustworthy. But if you look at Elijah Wood, on the other hand, also known as photo from Lord of the Rings, then you have the complete opposite experience. If you look at his face, he looks so innocent and so trustworthy in some sense that you could hardly imagine him playing the villain in a movie. He definitely fits better into the roll off some hero or some innocent person. And so what you can see in these examples is that we automatically read personality traits from the face off another person. And the big question that I want to answer now is, are these judgments that we are making thesaurus worth in this judgments from faces? Are they accurate and the short answer is no. It is not true that, for example, somebody who looks like Jack Nicholson is more likely to engage in criminal activities than somebody who looks like a lie. A wood. And it's also not true that somebody who looks like Jack Nicholson is more likely to say lie or cheat in the game. Research has generally shown that when we think that a person looks trustworthy or untrustworthy, that usually says nothing about the real personality off that person. And so our natural ability to read how trustworthy somebody is based on the face is definitely something we can improve, and I want to show you know how to do that. And the key here is to distinguish between the face and the expression off that face. So, for example, if we look at this face, then we can see that this person seems to have an angry facial expression and in that case is completely appropriate to think that oh, maybe maybe a better avoid that person. Maybe that person is dangerous, and that is completely appropriate because angry people are more dangerous and less trustworthy, so it makes absolutely sense to back off a little bit and be a bit more careful around that person. But now have a second look at Jack Nicholson and really have a close look at his face. And what you will see if you really look at his face carefully, is that he doesn't look angry at all. He actually looks kind of surprised at this moment, but nevertheless, we easily get the impression that he might be angry and untrustworthy just because he has these eyebrows that make him look angry. Whatever emotion he's currently in and this is essentially was going wrong. Here they're features in the face that make us think that this person is untrustworthy, even though they have nothing to do with untrustworthiness. And so the key here is to ask yourself, what is the rial facial expression off that person? Once you know the rial facial expression off the person, you can make a much better judgment as to whether the person is trustworthy or untrustworthy. The next time you look at, say, a dating profile and you see the picture of another person, you can ask yourself what is the facial expression off that person? If you realize that Oh, actually, that person doesn't look angry or anything like that. But somehow I still get the feeling that this person may not be trustworthy. Then you may be better advice to distrust that feeling because it may just be based on how the face that over the person looks like I didn't may have nothing to do with how the person actually is. All right, That was a bonus lecture. I hope you enjoyed it. And if you haven't left a review yet, I would be very happy if you could leave one. Now, this is always super helpful. First for telling other students whether they should take this course or not. And also to help me to improve this course further for you. So make sure to leave a review. And I hope you enjoy this lecture.