[Paleopsych] Re: perceptual accuracy study

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Thu Feb 17 05:35:13 UTC 2005

Who are we? A secret government agency, we have one black helicopter but 
it is in the shop right now and we get around in Ford Probes. You have 
been Probed.

All seriousness aside: Paleopsych is a listserv of fans of Howard Bloom, 
author of The Lucifer Principle and Global Brain. It is a group of 
scientists,  academics, some clinicians like me, and a motley crew of 
unclassified people.
Howard's website: http://www.howardbloom.net/

I'm a clinical psychologist practicing in Salt Lake City. I picked up on 
your study from another Listserv, the Appreciative Inquiry list. There 
was a reference to a press release from UM. I read the press release and 
passed it on to Paleopsych.
AI website: http://appreciativeinquiry.cwru.edu/

Human potential is an occasional thread, and I come from the positive 
psychology area, solution-focused psychotherapy, and appreciative 
inquiry. Background in emotional intelligence. I liked the study because 
I have read a lot of the current pos psych stuff and Fredrickson's 
articles and pass them on. Tomorrow I speak to a group of businessmen 
about positive psych (they have all taken Seligman's ASQ and we are 
going to discuss optimism) and I will probably print out the UM press 
release, pass it out, and discuss it. When we are happy we are smarter, 
will be my theme. They don't all believe it. One is quite critical of my 
ideas. One is enthusiastic. Some have glazed eyes. We will discuss how 
your study shows an increase in a kind of quick intelligence from 
cheerfulness. So your name will be taken, possibly in vain. Thanks for 
replying so promptly, I passed your reply on to the listserv. If there 
is more discussion, I will let you know.
thanks again,
Lynn Johnson
no relation to Kareem

Kareem Johnson wrote:

> Okay first things first.
> Who are you exactly? What is paleopsychology and why are you talking 
> about my soon to be published study?
> As for your question.  It's funny my co-author Barb Fredrickson is 
> cautious of using comedians because some humor relies on ridicule and 
> can be hostile or offensive.  But I think that there is something 
> special about laughter as a positive emotion. I  set out to choose 
> humor that would poke fun at common and shared experiences.
> The comedian was a Cacausian male comedian (Kevin James; he's in the 
> move "Hitch" with Will Smith, star of "King of Queens").   It is hard 
> to translate comedy material but the segment mentions topics such as 
> dads that won't turn on air conditioning, long messages on answering 
> machines, the rhythm of phone numbers, and waiting in elevators.  The 
> segments consistently rate high in reports of amusement, happiness, 
> and joy and low in anger, fear, or disgust.  Ratings of the positive 
> emotions were positively correlated with cross-race recognition, and 
> negative emotions like anger and anxiety were negatively correlated 
> with cross-race recognition.
> As for vigilance, there were three emotion conditions; humor, fear, 
> and neutral.  If vigilance would enhance recognition you'd expect the 
> fear condition to enhance recognition but it did not.   Other studies 
> shown stress (also vigilance) actual impairs cross-race recognition.
> The paper is in press at Psychological Science.  It should be 
> published sometime this summer.
> A sufficient answer?
> Now it is an open question whether using  an offensive or "us versus 
> them" comic would do.   Perhaps comedy that makes fun of people that 
> are different than us (ethnic jokes, gay jokes, jokes about the 
> mentally retarded) would have a different effect on recognition.  But 
> across a college population sample the emotion reports would also 
> reveal higher levels of negative emotions of the people offended.  
> Then you get into the personality variables... so tell me again... how 
> do you know about this study and why do you care? ;-)
> --kareem
> On Feb 15, 2005, at 10:05 PM, Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. wrote:
>> Kareem,
>> A question came up on the paleopsychology list - what was the 
>> specific content of the humor tape. The question was from Ross Buck:
>> It is interesting that the stimulus for positive emotions here is a
>> comedian.  We need to know more about the subject of the humor.  
>> Often, the
>> funniest comedians are quite aggressive in their humor, possibly 
>> fostering
>> feelings of in-group bonding that are quite different from
>> hearts-and-flowers happiness, and perhaps actually enhancing "us versus
>> them" feelings.  Could the enhanced recognition of different-race faces
>> actually be a kind of vigilance?
>> Cheers, Ross
>> Ross Buck, Ph. D.
>> Professor of Communication Sciences
>>     and Psychology
>> Communication Sciences U-1085       
>> University of Connecticut               
>> Storrs, CT 06269-1085
>> 860-486-4494
>> fax  860-486-5422
>> buck at uconnvm.uconn.edu
>> Any response to that?
>> Lynn
> ________________________________________________________
> Kareem Johnson                        Department of Psychology
> Ph.D. candidate                        University of Michigan
> (734) 330-5131                        (734) 936-0640   
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