Who’s got character?
Tolstoy wrote with such empathy, but abandoned his own illegitimate son. Nixon was a great father and husband despite his lack of integrity at work. Why are people so morally complicated, and why do we expect people’s character to be simple in the first place? In this talk, Dr. Iskra Fileva helps us understand character and our assumptions about it. Join us to find out the difference between moral talent and heroism, how to use psychology research to improve yourself, and much more. Among the many research studies we hit on, here are two especially interesting ones:
- Readers think essays praising Fidel Castro show the authors’ real beliefs, even when those readers are informed that the authors were instructed to praise Castro. See Jones, E. E.; Harris, V. A. (1967). “The attribution of attitudes”. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 3(1): 1–24. DOI:10.1016/0022-1031(67)
- The ambient smell (e.g., near a bakery vs. a gas station) affects how helpful people are to others. See Baron’s piece ”The Sweet Smell of Helping: Effects of Pleasant Ambient Fragrance on Prosocial Behavior in Shopping Malls.” An abstract is available here: http://psp.sagepub.com/
To keep exploring, try Dr. Fileva’s New York Times piece on character, John Doris’s Lack of Character, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Eugene O’Neill’s play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night.