Episode: 57 The Mysteries of Human Behavior|Book Review|People

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[LAST UPDATED]:23rd August, 2016
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Est. Reading Time: 9 minutes

What is the title of the book? 

Understanding the Mysteries of Human Behavior

Who is the author of the book? Professor Mark Leary from Duke University
Who is the publisher of the book? The Great Courses
Date Started: August 4th, 2016
Date Finished: August 21, 2016
When was the book published? Released: April 01, 2012
Where Can You Buy The Book?
What genre is the book? Non-Fiction, University, Psychology, Science and Mathematics.
How Much Is The Book? $15.00-$33.00
How Long Is The Book? 12 hours and 11 minutes

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Chapter 1: Solving psychological mysteries? First, people do things because they have made habits out of doing them for a long time. The debate between science and religion. Human beings are unusual animals. EVOLUTION. SELF-AWARENESS. CULTURE.
Humans have the ability to use their minds to imagine things in the future. Everyone thinks their culture is the norm. Nine out of ten prison inmates are men. Men are ten times more likely to murder someone. Men are more apt to be mentally retarded. However, societies assume men have it better than women.
Humans have the ability to Imagination things before they happen
  • we have the capacity to plan for the future
  • the concept of human beings vs. animals
The concept of Men and Women
  • – Men tend to die more on the job than women
  • – Women tend to have depression more often
  • – The self-images are different between the sexes
Chapter 2: How did human nature evolve? More people are killed by car accidents than by snakes. We are the product of individuals who have survived and reproduced. What Motivates People? Below, are some typical examples of what drives people to do what they do:
  • – Accepted – the need to feel accepted by individuals is essential to survival
  • – Groups – we all need to belong to one group or another to survive
  • – Influence – the need to be able to persuade others
  • – Antenna – to avoid being hurt, exploited, or to protect oneself
  • – Intimate relationships – the desire to have intimacy
Evolution built these motives into human nature. Human beings are very aggressive. We are living in a modern world with a stone-age brain. Aggression is not as essential as it was before. We have to control our eating habits.
Chapter 3: Where do people’s personalities come from? Why do people’s personalities turn out differently? Nature versus Nurture? Heritability is a statistic used in breeding and genetics works that estimates how much variation in a phenotypic trait in a population is due to genetic variation among individuals in that society.
Height is genetically determined. People with neuroticism tend to have more depressed moods – they suffer from feelings of guilt, envy, anger and anxiety, more frequently and more severely than other individuals. Extraverts are more likely to smoke. Thrill seekers tend to smoke more.
Chapter 4: How can siblings be so different? Two children from the same family turn out differently. Siblings don’t share many of the same gene combinations. Siblings may have unshared environments. Shared experiences between siblings may not be the same because both are subjective perceptions. Siblings who both experience the same divorce may have two different perceptions of what happened.
Chapter 5: Why do people need self-esteem? Increasing self-esteem will make you successful. Low self-esteem causes lots of society’s problems. Raising self-esteem may increase our country’s budget.
Higher self-esteem students do better in school. Everyone feels low self-esteem when they’re rejected and vice versa. Self-esteem is a gauge. How do you think of yourself? High self-esteem does not lead to improved well-being. People have concerns about social acceptance.
Chapter 6: Why do we have emotions? Emotions make us focus our attention. Emotions are associated with impulses. They produce changes in the body.
Understanding Human Emotions
  • – People will treat us according to how we feel.
  • – We make faces of disgust when we see dead animals because that was how our minds were designed.
  • – We experience many different emotions in a day
  • – People experience the same event but react in a much different way emotionally.
  • – Two people can experience the same event, but have different interpretations.
  • – Everyone interprets events differently.
Don’t worry about things you can’t control right now. Don’t get anxiety with your imagination. Shame is a bad person. Guilt is bad behavior. Schadenfreude is the pleasure over the misfortune of another.
Chapter 7: What makes people happy? What would you change in your life to be happier?
Three categories bring happiness:
  • Life circumstances account for only 10% of happiness. Money, for examples, Brings Happiness to a particular point: income is somewhere between $60k-$75k per year. Job, Relationships, Friends, or Family are examples of life circumstances. Surely, Money is not going to bring us happiness.
  • Genetics accounts for 50% of happiness.
  • Behavior accounts for 40% of happiness.
Typically, Happy people are known to spend more time with family and friends. Intrinsic goals improve subjective well-being. Extrinsic goals are not associated with subjective well-being. Basically, Happy people should instead create intrinsic goals. There is pleasure in having quality relationships.
Most importantly, Physical Appearance does not bring happiness. Hedonic adaptation is when we become accustomed to our new circumstances. Six months after lottery winners win their report they’re unhappy.
Chapter 8: Why are so many people so stressed out? Millions of people live under constant financial pressure. People under stress are moody. Acute stress is an immediate threat to our well-being. Chronic stress is always there. We use to have constant feedback on meeting our goals. Now, we live in a delayed-return environment. We face more uncertainty now than ever.
Five Major Categories of Stressors:
  1.  Money – most common stressor
  2. – Personal Relationships – pleasure and support, but marital difficulties and family problems
  3. – Work and School – constant threat of losing job, academic pressures
  4. – Health Problems – being ill or injured, medical procedures
  5. – Daily Hassles – balance work and family life, neighbors loud music, barking dog, or parking spot.
People differ in how they cope with stress.Type A people are more stressed out. They try to do too much. Neuroticism people interpret ordinary situations and problems as threatening and stressful. Self-compassion is caring for yourself when life goes bad. Self-compassionate people have lower stress.
Chapter 9: Why do hurt feelings hurt? Why does it hurt so much to be rejected? What kinds of situations hurt our feelings?
  • – Explicit – I want nothing to do with you anymore.
  • – Avoiding or Ignoring – It hurt when you didn’t return my phone call.
  • – Criticized – somebody evaluates something about us negatively.
  • – Betrayal – a family member is sharing my personal information.
  • – Teasing – teaser doesn’t value our relationship.
  • – Unappreciated – taken for granted.
Finally, Hurt feelings are little perceived relational value. Physical pain alerts us to a threat to our physical well-being. Hurt feelings let us know when our connections with other people might be damaged.
Chapter 10: Why do we make mountains out of molehills? Have you ever overreacted to anything? Over-reacting to disrespect when it really doesn’t matter can be costly, and ruin relationships.
Animals are more likely to survive at the first sign of trouble when they respond to disrespect or threats, rather than waiting for the threat to cause serious harm. Gang members are especially sensitive to signs of disrespect.
Behavioral discipline goes right out the window when the person became narrowly focused and fixated on one particular field. Eventually, they become so focused they can’t think about anything else and lose all control. Condemnation fuels anger.
You should not strongly express your anger like the movies portray! Striking out doesn’t release your anger. It won’t get others to behave as we want to.
Four factors:
  1. – Evolution prepared human being to react at the first sign of trouble
  2. – People overreact to deter others from taking advantage of them
  3. – When people become myopically focused on what they want
  4. – Certain cultures encourage over-reaction to things that displease them
Chapter 11: Why is self-control so hard? Distant goals don’t seem worth as much. Find some way to promote abstract goals. Successful people plan ahead to avoid strong temptations. How do you deal with temptations?
Always consciously think about your abstract goals and values to avoid temptations. Self-control decreases as the day goes on. When are you most likely to succumb to temptations? We only have a finite amount of self-control.
Chapter 12: People remember things when they commit to memorizing them. Memories can compete with one another. Also, folks try to forget horrible things that happen to them. Next, when we physically go back to our childhood neighborhood, we discover natural triggers that help us better remember our childhood.
False memories have been known to give people death row. Do we really want to remember everything that happened in our life? It’s okay to let the details fade away from your memory.
Chapter 13: Subliminal messages that come from advertisers, the government, etc. are shown to us to get us to be irrational in our ways. We subconsciously do or buy things even when we are shown an advertisement for a fraction of a second.
Basically, Your emotions are affected by pictures that you don’t even see because they are still being shown to you; no matter the rate shown.
The brain can still extract the images displayed in the pictures. Politicians use subliminal messages in advertisements to win votes. Affirmations need to be very simple. Visuals affect behavior more than audio messages.
Complex subliminal messages don’t work. Why do we do what we do? The fact is you wouldn’t know the difference between hidden subliminal messages and conscious awareness.
Chapter 14: Researchers study dreams. Why we dream is still a mystery? Dreams help people to solve problems. Our dreams explore these issues as we sleep. You could try to remember what you dream, but it won’t solve any problems trying to remember.
Dreams are usually real life related with real people. Researchers still don’t know why we dream.
Chapter 15: Why are people so full of themselves? We all think we are better than average. Why do people believe that they are better than they are? People move to cities, states, and buy products that have the same letters as their name initials.
People are so concerned about what other people think of them. People try to feel better about themselves. Finally, Individuals who are successful and humble are admirable.
Chapter 16: Do people have psychic abilities? The author is confusing to me in this chapter. I believe he is talking about individuals who can predict things. With better research, we will know if psychic abilities exist or not.
Chapter 17: Why don’t adolescents behave like adults? First, The author talks about the child growing up. Hormones are related to emotions. Adolescents are more prone to impulsive and risky behaviors. They take the most risks when they are with their peers. They’re choosing to do these things voluntarily because they want to behave riskily.
Not all adolescents reach puberty at the same time. We can do things to help teenagers make better decisions for themselves. We all act out sometimes no matter how old we are. Certain amounts of risk taking are okay.
Chapter 18: How much do men and women really differ? Men are naturally more aggressive than females. Women are more selective in choosing their mates. Women are only fertile for a portion of their life span. Men and women don’t differ as much as people seem to think.
Chapter 19: Why do we care what others think of us? We behave in ways that will make the right impression. We pay attention to our public image. Do we really want to live in a world where we don’t care what other people think of us? We keep one eye on how we are coming across. People will play dumb to appear incompetent.
People may fear public speaking because it’s tied to forming impressions. A lot of accidents are caused by individuals trying to make an impression upon others. Tan skin became associated with prestige. A concern for one’s public image can lead to anxiety and cause hazards to one’s health.
Chapter 20: Why are prejudice and conflict so common? What leads people to be prejudice? Some people enjoy distinguishing “us” from “them” and put them into categorical groups. They start thinking “our” group is better than “your” group. Two groups in competition with one another may cause hatred.
We create groups to form the trust. It may lead to adverse outcomes, but it does make sense. People are more dangerous in groups. Typically, Groups are more suspicious. Not everyone in a group is the same! Human beings are the only species who start wars over ideals and values. Structured contact: equal status, some common goal, personally acquainted, higher authority promotes getting along. We should develop a shared identity.
Chapter 21: Why do people fall in and out of love? There’s still a lot we don’t know about love. Liking and love are two different experiences. Thinking about the people we love is inherently pleasurable. Chemicals are no longer there when the relationship ends.
Oxytocin is a chemical released when people are in a loving relationship. Next, Serotonin: Passionate love and psychological disorder (obsessive compulsive disorder) are not the same things. One moment couples are angry and the next they are in love. Peoples unrealistic expectations about love are a problem.
Chapter 22: What makes relationships succeed or fail? Close intimate relationships with partners are an essential part of life. Their use to be a bigger stigma to getting a divorce back then. Woman don’t depend on income as much from men anymore. Dominant and submissive relationships tend to be fine and work out okay. All relationships come with rewards and costs.
Start out with realistic expectations, and you will have a better relationship. People stay in unhappy relationships because they don’t think the alternatives will be any better. Be responsive to needs and desires of partner. Trust that the other person is going to be there for you. Make sure you are getting sufficient rewards from the relationship.
Chapter 23: Why do people blush? The flow of blood to the face. The face gets hot when we blush. You can tell when there is reduced eye contact. We blush when others think very highly of us. Stares are often threatening. Blushing has something to do with our concerns for other people. It almost always occurs in social situations.
You can’t make yourself blush! It can’t be faked. People will be more forgiving if you blush. People blush when they receive undesired attention. Why do some people blush more than others? How much do you think about how others evaluate you?
Chapter 24: A few mysteries we can’t explain yet. Laughter is ordinary, strange, and familiar. What was wrong with these earthlings? Laughter is about relieving stress. People laugh more when around others. Laughter is an indication of social connection.
Kissing is another mystery. We kiss when we feel close to someone. Art is another mystery. What about art makes it enjoyable? Why do people have an urge to express themselves? Art makes us lost in our work. We achieve a flow state of mind. Consciousness is the last mystery. How are able to have emotions?
How are we aware of ourselves and the world? How does our 3-pound brain produce consciousness? We can’t find anything in the brain that causes consciousness. Life’s greatest mysteries reside in the human mind.

  Finally, I give the book 3/5 stars because it wasn’t truly valuable. Honestly, I have read better books. Yes, this book is good, but it can appear dull at times. Lastly, I like how the author makes the material easy to digest. 

Thank you for reading this post.

Respectfully Written,
Carl Wolfgang Schultz

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