A 2-Minute Exercise to Do Better in Interviews

By Anupum Pant

Is there a job interview or a public speaking gig coming up for you? Well, you don’t have to worry as much as you are doing right now because Amy Cuddy is here to save you.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, talks about a power pose – a 2-minute pose – you could strike before going into an interview which has been proven to have a significant difference in your performance at anything that requires confidence (like an interview).

She introduces this concept in the a very convincing TED talk that I’ve attached below. If you do not need much convincing, you could skip watching the talk and just do this before you go into an interview or go to the stage for something.

  • Find a quiet place where no one will see you and make fun of you.
  • Strike a superhero pose. If you don’t know what that means, stand like this. For 2 minutes. Done! Otherwise, here is a nice infographic based on Cuddy’s research. [Link]
  • If you don’t, at least do not stoop and close your shoulders while waiting in the lobby because it certainly affects you negatively.

Apparently, according to an experiment by Amy Cuddy and Dana Carney of Berkeley, 86% of those who posed in the high-power position (the superhero pose) opted to gamble, while only 60% of the low-power posers (closed poses) felt comfortable taking a roll of the dice.

Moreover, a significant difference was found in the saliva samples of both the high-power pose people and the low-power pose people. Who’d have thought that a simple 2 minute pose could make chemical differences in your body!

On an average, the high-pose people saliva showed an 8% increase in the testosterone level, while the ones who did the low-power pose had a 10% decrease of the same. That is phenomenal, if you ask me.

Also, the hormone related to stress, Cortisol decreased by 25% among high-power posers and increased 15% among low power posers. (A decrease in cortisol levels is better for activities like interviews)

[Video] What Travels Faster Than Light

By Anupum Pant

Like always, another one of those awesome Vsauce videos where Michael explains how darkness and scissor intersections can travel faster than light and still not go against any physics laws. So much to learn! Let me just say nothing today.

P.S there’s a mention of the Dunning Kruger effect and the story of Mr. Mc Arthur Wheeler I covered some time back on the blog.

Superstitious Pigeons

By Anupum Pant

B.F. Skinner was an American psychologist, a behaviorist, and a social philosopher. He was also the inventor of the operant conditioning chamber – A.K.A the Skinner box, is a box which is used to study animal behaviour. For example, you can use it to train an animal to perform certain actions in response to some input, like light or sound.

Using one of his favourite animals, he designed an experiment where he trained a pigeon in order to examine the formation of superstitious beliefs in animals. Here’s what he did.

He placed a couple of pigeons in his setup which was designed to deliver food to them after certain intervals. Of all the things, the timing of food delivery by this apparatus wasn’t related to one thing for sure – behaviour or actions of the bird.

And yet, after some time in this automated setup, the pigeons developed certain associations which made them belief that the food came when they did something. They had developed superstitious beliefs.

For instance:

One bird was conditioned to turn counter-clockwise about the cage, making two or three turns between reinforcements. Another repeatedly thrust its head into one of the upper corners of the cage. A third developed a ‘tossing’ response, as if placing its head beneath an invisible bar and lifting it repeatedly. Two birds developed a pendulum motion of the head and body, in which the head was extended forward and swung from right to left with a sharp movement followed by a somewhat slower return. – Wikipedia

The bird behaviour isn’t much different from what humans do…

The pigeons started believing in a causal relationship between its behaviour and delivery of food, even when there was nothing like that.

It’s almost like the humans blowing on the dice, or throwing it harder to make a favourable number appear. Even when blowing or throwing a dice harder doesn’t hold any causal relationship with the event of good numbers turning up.

During other times, when people bowl down a bowling ball and twist  their bodies towards right to make the ball go right, they have in fact unknowingly developed a superstitious belief, just like the pigeons that there’s a causal relationship between turning their bodies and curving of the bowling ball. In reality, there’s nothing like that. The ball goes where it has to, irrespective of how they turn their bodies.

Just like in the superstitious pigeon’s case, the food would have appeared anyway. The pigeon didn’t have to do something to get it.

via [Wikipedia]