The Month of November 2018














Attribution Theory:


Summary: The ‘attribution theory’ is when meaning is attached to someone else’s behaviour or our own. Fritz Heider began research for the theory in the early 20th century. There are two types of attribution: external and internal. External attribution, or situational attribution, is when the assigned behaviour attached to an individual is caused by the situation the individual is in. Internal attribution is when the cause of an individual’s behaviour is attributed to internal characteristics instead of outside forces.

October 2018

Horn Effect - Summary: The ‘horn effect’ is when a single negative trait of a person influences the overall perception of them. Since a person is unattractive, they must not be a very good person. This is an example of the horn effect. Th18/2018e person might be unattractive but this does not speak about the morality of their character. This cognitive bias is related to the halo effect.


Halo Effect - Summary: The ‘halo effect’ is easily described as an evaluation of unrelated things to make judgments. If an impression is created in one area, it influences the opinion in another area. A beautiful person is assumed to also be smart even though those two aspects aren’t related. This is a type of cognitive bias. Edward Thorndike, a psychologist, coined the term. The effect applies to objects and people.


Stoned Ape Hypothesis - Summary: The ‘stoned ape’ hypothesis was proposed by an American ethnobotanist, Terence McKenna, in his book Food of the Gods. He suggest that the transformation from homo erectus to homo sapiens had something to do with the addition of psilocybe cubensis mushrooms to their diet. He proposes that the effects of this mushroom, which contains psilocybin, was an evolutionary advantage to our hunter-gatherer ancestors for many reasons. Due to lack of paleoanthropological evidence, Terence’s theory remains a hypothesis.


Synaesthesia - Summary: The word synaesthesia comes from the greek words syn (together) and aisthēsis (sensation) which therefore means “joined sensation”. This condition affects the five senses. If one were to hear a sound they might also taste it. Numbers and letters of the alphabet when mentioned could have a colour associated with it. Any two senses can combine to create various results. Vary rarely people can have three or more senses blend. A form of synaesthesia may also be triggered by the use of psychedelic compounds.



September 2018

The Snowball Effect - Summary: The snowball effect explains a phenomenon of building momentum. At the initial start the significance or size is small, almost meaningless. As momentum builds the significance or size grows, meaning becomes stronger. This can be applied to many aspects. As the name of this phenomenon implies, picture a tiny snowball you can fit in your hand rolling down a snowy mountain side. The snowball will roll down the mountain side and exponentially grow to easily become the size of a boulder. 


Depressive Realism Hypothesis - Summary: ‘Depressive Realism’ is a hypothesis developed by Lauren Alloy and Lyn Yvonne Abramson in 1979. Their theory suggests that depressed people have a more realistic view of the world compared to non-depressed individuals. The theory from these two psychologists sheds light on negative and positive cognitive biases and the effect on individual realities. The results remain controversial having evidence on both sides of the argument.


Cocktail Party Effect - Summary: The 'cocktail party' effect explains a phenomenon that occurs when focusing on a single source of auditory stimuli among the multiple sources of noise. When focus is applied, everything outside the range of focus is effectively tuned out of the individual's perception. This does not mean that the brain stops processing the background stimuli. A word or phrase of importance to the individual will catch their attention and shift their focus. This effect highlights how information is filtered to our conscious or subconscious.


Cognitive Dissonance - Summary: This is a theory about communication. When a person holds two or more incompatible beliefs they run into psychological conflict known as ‘cognitive dissonance’. To return to a state of consonance, the new beliefs are adopted or the old beliefs are reinforced.