If you think you know yourself pretty well, try the following items on for size. They're little everday facts about our talking, loving, helping, even our voting and horn-honking selves that, social psychologists insist, are probalby true of you too.
GOOD SAMARITANSHow willing would you be to help someone in need? According to actual studies, you'll more likely lend assistance if . . .
- You're in a good mood. Your helping, researchers say, helps you sustain your "high."
- Or if you're in an exceptionally bad mood, when you can use a bit of a boost in your self-esteem.
- It's a sunny day (sunshine has a way of bringing out the best in us).
- You've just experienced a stroke of good fortune. In one experiment, even just finding a quarter in a pay telephone was enough to induce subjects to stop soon afterward and help a stranger pick up dropped books.
- The person in need of help is like you in nationality and social background (we can all use some work on this one).
- You judge the person's plight is not of his or her own making (i.e., you'd sooner stop and help a sick person than someone who seems drunk).
SATISFIED WITH YOUR LIFE?
Once again, mere sunshine often brings out our sunnier dispositions: Under blue skies, you'll more likely answer "Yes" to to this sort of question on a survey.
- As you might guess by now, studies show you'll leave a bigger tip in a restaurant on a sunny day.
- You'll also likely leave a more generous tip if the server unself-consciously touches you at some point during the meal.
If you're in a position of authority -- i.e., your're a boss, owner, parent, etc. -- studies show you'll likely feel free to...
- Look your "underlings" directly in the eye.
- Offer frequent advice.
- Be argumentative toward them.
- Use patronizing pats on the shoulder or arm.
- Keep a sober face (this strengthens your "control" persona).
If you're a man and in mixed company, you'll tend to . . .
- Talk more than the women do.
- Interrupt frequently (80 percent or more of interruptions are by men).
- Try to set the conversational agenda.
- Make a lot of strong assertions ("It's cold in here!").
If you're a woman and in mixed company, you'll more likely...
- Feel a bit nervous about talking.
-Defet to topics brought up by the men.
-Listen a lot more that they do.
-Offer opinions tentatively: "It's uh, cold in here, don't you think?
DESTINED NOT TO BE IN PICTURES
Why (if you're like most people) do you seem not to like yourself in photos very much?
Social psychologists say this may be because you're more used to seeing yourself in the mirror, where your image is reversed (hair part appears on the right, nose seems bent to the left, etc.). Photos, on the other hand, show you more the way others see you - with image unreversed - so they strike you as being a bit odd.
Studies show you'll more likely believe fast talking ad men and politicians...
-Because they'll strike you as more intelligent...
-As well as more interesting and sincere.
-If you admired President John F. Kennedy, perhaps his rapid-fire talk rate had something to do with (he spoke in bursts of 300 owrds per minute at times). GETTING TO KNOW SOMEBODY
For a variety of reasons, you'll probably feel more friendly toward people who . . .
- Live nearby or work with you.
- Are around your age.
- Believe in the same things you do (if you're a Republican, you'll tend to like other Republicans more, etc.).
- Earn about the same amount of money as you.
- Read the same types of books.
- Are close to you in height (for same-sex friends).
- Smoke if you do, don't smoke if you don't.
- Like you too (friendship is definitely a mutual admiration society).
- You'll also more readily give blood if a friend or loved one makes a personal appeal to you (you'll largely ignore posters or TV spots).
- You'll be more likely to pick up a hitchhiker who looks you directly in the eye (you'll be twice as likely to stop if eye contact is made, one study found).
SIZING PEOPLE UP
-The taller you are (if a man), the more "clout" you'll normally have in a whole range of social situatins (in the United States from 1900 to 1968, the taller of the two major presidential candidates won every time).
-Politicians, bosses and other authority figures will often seem taller to you than they actually are - due to status associations.
-If you're a typical tall man, you're earning more than your short friends.
-if you're a typical woman, you prefer dating guys about 6 inches taller than you.
-If a typical man, you'll look for women 4 inches or so shorter.
-Whoever you are, statistics show your odds of breaking the man-taller-than-the woman dating "rule" is only about 1 in 720!
HONKING PECKING ORDER
- When you encounter a car blocking an intersection, you'll more likely honk your horn if the other car is an older, less prestigious model.
- Or if you're a male.
INVISIBLE ZONES AROUND YOU
Radiating out from you wherever you go are four invisible social space zones that you constantly monitor . . .
- An intimate space extending out about 18 inches that you reserve for lovers, family members, fellow wrestlers, etc.
- A personal space reaching out several feet, usually reserved for friends (when somebody "gets in your face," they're usually violating this zone).
- A much larger social space that includes business associates, salespeople, etc.
- A public space stretching sometimes thousands of miles to accommodate lecturers, politicians, communications heard over radio or TV.
- When a stranger intrudes in your space, as in a crowded elevator, your blood pressure and pulse rate may shoot up in alarm.
KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE
-If you're a woman, you tend to stand closer to other people then men do.
-If you're a typical North American (or northern European), you stand farther away from strangers than do Latin Americans or Arabs. MIRROR, MIRROR . . .
- As a voter, you'll more likely pull the lever for the better-looking candidate.
- As a parent, you may even discipline your kids less harshly if they're cute.
- On a jury, you may well go easier on attractive defendants (unless they're charged with a sex crime).
- If an employer, you'll likely give cuter kids better grades.
- If a college woman, your looks can even end up affecting your blood pressure.
- If you're of average weight, you're probably earning more money than your oerweight or underweight counterparts.
- You'll also likely have more job prestige.
- If you're heavy or thin, you'll probably have an especially tough time landing a job that requires you to meet the public. . . .
- Moreover, if you do get the job, you'll likely have a harder time getting along with your coworkers.
If you wear, say, a medium-sized shoe, statistics show you'll likely enjoy a longer relationship if the person you fall in love with also wears a medium-sized shoe (arm lengths, heights and weights also tend to match up in successful long-term pairings).
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
- If you're a Kathy, Christine or Jennifer, you've got a better chance of being popular than an Ethel or Gertrude.
- If you're a John, David or Steve, you'll probably wine more dates than an Oswald or Elmer.
According to time-use studies . . .
- If you're a typical married woman, you're spending more time on a paid job than women of a generation ago . . .
- You're also spending less time on housework.
- But if you're a typical married man, your work hours are about the same . . .
- Though, especially if you're young, you're doing a bit more of the housework . . .
- But still you're doing only one-half to one-third as much as your wife (the ratio used to be more like one-sixth).
- If you're a typical family man or woman, you've got more leisure time these days because you've got fewer kids . . .
- And, chances are much of this extra free time is going into TV watching.
- If you're a typical man, you do indeed prefer blondes.
- If you're a typical woman, brown-haired men are your date of choice ("tall, dark and handsome").
- If you're a blond, just about everybody will figure you have more fun...
- Yet, ironically, your blondness may cause a lot of men to shy away from asking you out (for fear of rejection)...
- So having fun won't always be as easy as it's cracked up to be.
EYEGLASSES AND DESTINY
- If you wear specs, you'll automatically come across as being more intellectual . . .
- But you'll also be seen as less sexy, especially if you're a woman . . .
- Though, in compensation, you'll impress others with your sensitivity and gentleness . . .
- Which, since everybody else seems to believe these things about you, you may start to believe yourself.
- Also, wearing your glasses, you'll often think you're doing better on such "brainy" tasks as taking tests or filling out income tax forms . . .
- Though, of course, unless you're very farsighted, this won't be true.
SOME FINAL SMELL FACTS
- Studies indicate that if somebody's got b.o. you'll probable judge him or her to be unsociable ("if he smells bad, he is bad")...
- And also less interesting...
- As well as unsophisticated...
- And unhealthy.
- But you'll also subconsciously judge them to be more active...
- As well as stronger...
- And more athletic...
- And more industrious.
- As for perfume, if you're a typical guy, you'll like fragranced women more...
- Except when they're dressed up and you're not...
-In which case you'll figure she's aloof and unattainable (the scent somehow accentuates this feeling)...
- And, therefore, you'll tend to write her off ("sour grapes").
So, there you have the experts' view of "You." But none of us is really "typical" or "average" - people aren't statistics.
Besides, nothing about you is carved in stone. If there's something about yourself you don't like, just go out and change it. Just to understand yourself allows you to become something of a New You.
Now, who's that in the mirror?