The sixth sense is real and it's usually right (and other things) cover image

The sixth sense is real and it's usually right (and other things)

Dorian Minors • May 11, 2015

This is an archived article from our predecessor website, The Dirt Psychology. The idea there was to take psychological scholarship and turn it into wisdom. The Armchair Collective tries to go a little further than just psychology. As such, these articles live here in archive form, until they're updated.

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The sixth sense is real and it's usually right

But it's not paranormal. It's just your brain, doing complex math and extraordinarily complex problem solving at a minute level. It's called 'unconscious awareness'. It's your brain realising that the sound on your left got slightly softer than that on your right, and processing the length of that difference to work out not just whether a person passed behind you but whether it's likely to have been a man or a woman. It's also your nose, helping you decide which person in front of you is more attractive based on their genetics instead of just their looks. It's the recognition of a 'fake' (or non-duchenne) smile. It's a reason to trust your intuition because it's not just magic but the gift of an extremely complex mind.

Compassion > Toughness

Have you ever heard the expression 'you've got to be firm to be fair'? Well it looks like you were doing it wrong all along. The Harvard Business Review summarises research that shows that a compassionate approach to bad performance is far more effective than being firm. It builds trust and loyalty that increases performance in the long term as well. This study might focus on it's application in business but the implications are just as important in the family home.

Violent news can effect you like PTSD

New research indicates that following excessing proliferation of violent media on the news and in social media (like the coverage following 9/11), as many as one in three people will develop PTSD-like symptoms despite having no real life exposure to trauma (once thought a necessary precursor for the disorder). Terrifying right?

Are you an 'emotional' person? It might be your genes.

According to a recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience, your sensitivity to emotional information may be significantly dictated by your genetics and not by your personal life experiences. Specifically, the gene ADRA2b. If you've been around The Dirt a while, you'll know that emotions are motivation behaviours - trying to get you to do something.  Some people may just be motivated even more than others. But it's not all bad news. It's been suggested that those with this genetic attribute are more sensitive to the emotional relevance of things. So while most of us try to ignore our emotions, these people probably don't and since the things they get emotional about are more likely to be important, they're probably better off.

Run out of reading material? Pick these books up!

TED recently released a list of books that'll help you answer the big questions about yourself:

  1. Why did I do that?
  2. How can I be happier?
  3. How can I live in the moment?
  4. How can I let myself be happier?
  5. How do I make every day decisions better?
  6. Why do we lie?

If those questions are burning on your brain, or even if they aren't, check out TEDs article to find out six of the best, recent, psychology-based answers to our biggest questions. Turning scholarship into wisdom without the usual noise and clutter, we dig up the dirt on psychological theories you can use. Become an armchair psychologist at The Dirt Psychology.

Turning scholarship into wisdom we can use at The Armchair Collective.

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Dorian Minors

I mostly do brain science. Sometimes I train honeybees. I promise they're related. I made this site because there's no reason why scholars should be the only ones to own knowledge. My special interests are interpersonal relationships, the science of community, spirituality and the brain, and the neural basis of complex behaviour. I hope this stuff is as interesting to you as it is to me. You can find out more about me here.