In recent years, a growing number of psychological theories have become popularized by the American media; however, this has also led to the spread and continuation of various psychological myths. While many Americans look to scientific disciplines such as psychology and sociology for answers to life’s most common problems, the general public must remain critical of all new studies and findings. As a longtime student of psychology, Frederica Wald recognizes the importance of limiting misinformation in regard to psychological theories. Within the blog, Frederica Wald will share some of the most common psychological myths that have been shared by the American media and how these myths have been disproved.
Standing in a Power Stance Will Help Increase Confidence
In 2010, Psychological Science published a study on “power poses,” in which 42 volunteers were asked to stand with their feet apart and their hands on their hips or sit with their legs on a desk and report their tolerance for risk and confidence levels. The study showed that power stances had no direct effect on subjects’ willingness to make risky bets and increase overall confidence. While the study gained immense publicity, in 2015, the psychology community stated that the study lacked a sufficient number of volunteers and lacked credibility. The power stance study has since been redone with varying numbers of volunteers, all of which have found no correlation between power stance and confidence.
We Have Finite Amount of Willpower
Called one of the most influential psychological therapies of modern times by the British Psychological Society, the Finite Willpower theory suggests that we draw on a limited amount of willpower throughout the day to resist temptations such as desserts or addictive substances. However, a recent psychological study conducted on 2,000 participants found that draining self-control in one task had little to no effect on the subject’s capacity to resist subsequent temptations. These studies suggest that individuals have an infinite amount of self-control and willpower and, in fact, found that exerting self-control in one situation may increase the likelihood of self-control in future events.
Most Americans have heard the saying “opposites attract,” which refers to the belief that two individuals who have very little in common are more likely to form a relationship. This belief is often portrayed in romance novels, TV shows, and movies, and, according to recent surveys, over 75% of undergraduates believe “opposites attract” to be true. However, studies have shown that there is little to no data to support this theory, and, in fact, many studies have found the reverse to be true. According to multiple studies (Byrne, 1961; Singh, 1973; Newcomb, 1961; Montoya, Horton & Kirchner, 2008), similarity and attraction are closely linked, with those who have twice as many attitudes in common with another person tend to like each other twice as much.