Do Not Paint Your Walls Pink

By Anupum Pant

Like I’ve told you once, there is no pink. Still, we do see the colour pink and there’s no denying that. Don’t call me a sexist for saying this, but it’s true that the colour pink is associated with femininity. Otherwise the colour is also known to generate feelings of caring, tenderness, and love. If everything we know about pink is somewhat positive, then why isn’t it a good idea to paint your walls pink?

Let me start with a little story.

Hayden Fry and the Pink room

Hayden Fry was an American football player and later he went on to become a coach. In the late 70s he started coaching the University of Iowa football team. Now, the particular thing to note about Fry was that in the year 1951 he had graduated from Baylor with a degree in psychology.

Since he had graduated in psychology, Fry probably knew some good ways that he could use to mess with the opposing team’s brain. And then he decided to paint the walls of the visitor’s locker room at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, with the colour pink. The walls, floors, toilets, ceiling and everything else in the locker room was painted pink. As a result, the home team started doing significantly well at football games (later the practice of painting locker rooms pink was outlawed).

Some say, he used pink to paint the visitor’s locker room because he knew that the colour pink had a calming effect on people. But I think he was relying on something deeper. He was probably trying to cash on the results of a study that was done by Prof. Alexander Schauss in the year 1979.

The Effect of Pink Colour

Prof. Alexander Schauss started a study with a couple of volunteers. He divided the group into two equal halves. All of their strengths were measured by asking them to use their arms against a counter-force and by asking them to squeeze a device called a dynamometer.

After this, for a minute, the first half had to stare at a dark blue colour and the other half stared at pink. Their strengths were recorded again.

A remarkable decrease in physical strength was recorded among the people who were given the colour pink to stare at. The participants were not aware of the effect it had on them.

Probably it were those pink walls and pink floors at the visitor’s locker that made the opposing team physically weaker and helped Iowa win.

Conclusion

Colours certainly are one of those subtle forces which change the way we think, feel, and behave. Pink has been proven to make you weaker physically. So, unless you wish to be weaker, you wouldn’t want to paint your walls pink! How about blue? It is a simple choice.

Now I think even writing an article about pink and having your brain think about the colour makes you weaker. Seriously, I feel like I need rest after writing this. Phew!

Hit like if you learnt something.

Suicide Attempt Turns into a Successful Surgery

By Anupum Pant

Background

I don’t mean to sound wry with the heading, but it’s a real story, and is a real fact. I can’t be held responsible, if you are stupid enough to try this “surgery” at home. Still, let me say it – Please don’t try this, even if you are stupid. There is no chance you’d survive this. The whole purpose of this article is to keep you informed.

In short, it is about a man (you could even call him a boy) who suffered from an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, shot himself in the head to commit suicide. The very act, ironically ended up curing himself of the OCD.

Crash Course in OCD

To tell you a little about OCD, it is a disorder which creates a serious problem in someone’s life if they suffer from it. They get obsessed with doing some things repetitively. For example, people often have an OCD where they feel compelled to arrange things in stacks. Or others who can’t sit in ease if their clothes are not in a perfect order. Or some, who have an obsessive fear of germs and end up washing hands several times a day….etc.

These disorders usually can make a person lonely as others start staying away from the seemingly paranoid person. Otherwise, they also create a problem in the sufferer’s life by consuming excess time, money, energy, etc of their’s. Most times, the person suffering from an OCD starts experiencing serious emotional distress or depression.

In very rare and extreme cases, where anti-depressant and behaviour therapy doesn’t work, doctors resort to performing a surgery, where they remove a part of the brain from which the problem seems to come from. Even under controlled circumstances, this surgery is considered as a very serious one.

The story

About 30 years from now, a 19-year-old boy George, from Vancouver, British Columbia suffered from a serious problem that used to interfere with his normal life. He had an obsessive fear of germs and used to wash, and used to shower hundreds of times in a single day. Yes, really hundreds, not less. Doing this took away all of his strength and he found it hard to do anything else. This made his education and general life suffer as he could not attend school or work at any place.

He was a top class student and had a pretty good IQ. But the boy was seriously depressed and often complained to his mother that he wanted to die. On unfortunate day, when the boy felt really troubled, he went down to his mother and complained that he wanted to die. This seemed like a final blow to the mother’s exasperation and she  told him to go shoot himself. Not realizing the metaphoric nature of his mom’s statement, the boy decided to go and do just that.

He went to the basement and shot himself in the head using a .22 long rifle. The bullet got lodged in the brain. Naturally, after this, he had to be rushed to the hospital. After a very long surgery, surgeons were able to remove the bullet, but couldn’t successfully remove all the fragments of the bullet that were lodged in the brain.

Fact: There was a similar accident that happened at a particle accelerator, where a proton beam travelling at almost the speed of light, destroyed a part of a man’s brain and yet it left him with almost no serious complications. He went on to complete his PhD after that!

When three weeks later he was admitted at the hospital again, for a check-up, there was no obsessive behaviour observed in him. He was left only with a few minor quirks that did not interfere much with his life. He had apparently cured himself by shooting himself in the brain and destroying the part where the problem originated from. At the same time, his IQ did not drop and and he passed other brain damage tests too! Such a miraculous surgery had never ever been recorded in the history.

[Original article]

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The Astonishingly Funny Story of Mr. McArthur Wheeler

By Anupum Pant

In a wonderful paper titled “Unskilled and Unaware of it“, two social psychologists from Cornell University, Justin Kruger and David Dunning share an incredibly funny story of Mr. McArthur Wheeler. Although it is funny, the story actually beautifully demonstrates an excellent concept – a kind of cognitive bias (discussed later in the post). Here is the story:

The Story of Mr. McArthur Wheeler

On one fine morning in Pittsburgh (PA), in the year 1995, a man aged 44, known by the name McArthur Wheeler decided to rob a bank. Since he thought he knew a lot about a peculiar chemical property of lemon juice, he decided to smear the juice on his face before executing his plan to rob the bank.
His logic – As lemon juice can be used to write invisible letters that become visible only when the letter is held close to a heat source, he thought, the same thing would work on his face too. By smearing lemon juice all over his face, he thought that his face would become invisible to the security cameras at the bank. He did not just think that, he was pretty confident about this. He even checked his “trick” by taking a selfie with a polaroid camera. I’m not sure if the film was defective, or the camera wasn’t operated properly, but the camera did give him a blank image. The blank image made him absolutely sure that this trick would work. Or he would not have ever dared to rob a bank with lemon juice on his face.

That day, he went on and robbed not one, but two saving banks in Pittsburgh. A few hours after he had done his job, the police got their hands on the surveillance tape and decided to play it on the 11 O’Clock news. An hour later, an informant identified McArthur in the news video and contacted the police with the man’s name. McArthur got arrested on the same day. Ironically, the same surveillance cameras that he was confident would not be able to capture his face, got him behind the bars. During his interaction with the police, he was incredulous on how his ignorance had failed him.

The Dunning and Kruger effect

Both the psychologists Dunning and Kruger got story of Mr. McArthur. They decided to study it more deeply. The psychologists were interested to study about the utter confidence of Wheeler that made him believe he’d be able to foil the security cameras with lemon juice on his face. He had the confidence, but he clearly wasn’t competent enough…Why was he so sure he’d succeed?

Their study finally demonstrated that the less competent an individual is at a specific task, the more likely they are to inflate their self-appraised competence in relationship to that task. This phenomenon is today known as the Dunning–Kruger effect.

As Charles Darwin rightly said:

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.

Dunning Kruger effect McArthur Wheeler
At zero experience in the x axis it’s not “no nothing”. It’s *Know nothing (There’s a spelling mistake in the image) – ‘On Finch’ mentioned this in comments below.

Indian Idol contestants and the Dunning Kruger Effect

This effect is clearly observed during the auditions of reality shows like Indian idol (etc). The auditions are usually thronged by a variety of good and bad singers. The ones who are bad at it, never realize their incompetence and yet are genuinely disappointed when they get rejected. Often times, they resort to noisy quarrels too.

If you’ve observed carefully, people who aren’t very good at humour or sarcasm often tell poor jokes and expect people around them to laugh hard. But when people don’t laugh, they seem genuinely shocked. It is incredible to see them totally unaware of how bad they are at it.

At every place, it is a common tendency of the least skilled people to have an inflated sense of self-competency.

Ignorance sure is a dangerous thing.

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