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5 benefits of being ‘too’ sensitive

in Work Psychology by

On the TV show Masterchef contestants sample from a large pot filled with a wide range of spices and other ingredients. One by one the contestants guess ingredients ranging from salt to squid ink and are eliminated when they make an error.

The real challenge boils down to whether they are sensitive. That is, can their senses decipher these wicked combinations of ingredients?

Sensitivity is generally associated with being too emotional. People who are too sensitive may constantly burst into tears, ‘crack’ under pressure or simply be touchy.

However, it all depends on what triggers your sensitivity. If you are sensitive to rewards and accomplishments, you may be easily aroused and experience bursts of excitement and enthusiasm.

And if you are sensitive to negative consequences, you may be quick to become anxious and worried.

Then there is sensitivity to aesthetics. This sensitivity relates to whether we are attuned to the subtleties in our environment, such as the comfort of a chair or the design of a room.

You can read more about ‘trait sensitivity’ here.



Five benefits of being sensitive

If you can weather the roller coaster of emotions, there are also benefits in being sensitive:

1. You can be more attuned to the underlying needs of others. This can help you in negotiations or in influencing others.

2. You may be better at designing effective solutions because you are more sensitive to the existing limitations.

3. You can have a greater appreciation for and enjoyment of the arts and entertainment.

4. The emotions of others feel contagious, which may help with bonding and in building relationships.

5. You can be more sensitive to your own quirks, making you more aware when you are unhappy and need to make a change. For example, you may have not really bought into the angle of this blog and will quickly switch back to your work. Log your emotion below to let me know. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to be too sensitive to your feedback.

Let me tell you how to spot a narcissist

in Editor Pick/Work Psychology by

I have prepared this blog today. I wanted to discuss narcissism and I think it’s important that I tell you why I think it’s a relevant topic.Now pay attention to me now. Focus your attention my way.

‘Narcissistic’ is one of those labels we all throw about usually to describe the selfish or self-centred way a person goes about their day. Every decision is—ultimately—all about themselves. Their previous roles are like historical events where they were the centre of the universe, like that time I single-handedly saved the day. This mentality can be disastrous for teams, collaboration, and morale.

Few people want to be a pawn or cog in the wheel for someone else’s ambition.

If you want to work out whether your manager, friend, relative or colleague is potentially undermining your motivation with narcissism, there’s a quick test.

I can educate you. That’s right. ME. Can you guess what to look for?

If you think narcissistic people refer to themselves a lot, then you are actually wrong.

recent study examined the common belief that narcissistic people refer to themselves more than the average person.

The researchers found there was no difference in the language that was used between individuals identified as narcissistic and those who were not. That is, narcissistic people didn’t say ‘I’ or ‘me’ any more than anyone else.

Fortunately, there really is a simple way to detect narcissism. One study found you only had to ask a person how much they agree with the statement ‘I am a narcissist’.

Narcissistic people, as determined from other more laborious techniques, were more likely to agree with the statement.

It is argued that narcissists are the first to admit they are narcissistic. They don’t see it as a negative. They even admire themselves for it.

As they should.

People are just like me

in Work Psychology by


Why did he get so angry? What makes that person so creative? How did she feel when I said that? Every day our minds try like naïve psychologists to make sense of the behaviour of others.

According to research, we use our own beliefs about our own personal traits to predict the behaviour of others. 

If you are predicting what makes a person creative, for example, you might think, ‘I’m an introvert and idealistic and also happen to be creative!’ So you basically form a belief that idealistic introverts are creative. 

Your predictions about creativity, therefore, are biased by your own ‘scientific’ explanations about yourself and you generalise these theories to make predictions about everyone else. Psychologists call them ‘causal trait theories’.

But are causal trait theories accurate? Perhaps there are lots of extroverts who are realists and are even more creative?

Think of the implications of this research. You might enter into endless debates with someone because you formed fundamentally different beliefs about people. 

You might, for example, believe that anxious people are more dependent in general because you’re laid-back and like your independence. Your colleague may believe that anxious people are more independent because he or she is an anxious person who prefers to work alone.

Both of you, therefore, approach an anxious colleague in different ways based on these theories. You may want to give the anxious person more support. Your colleague may instinctively back off and give them extra breathing room.

So, when making decisions, it might be humbling to realise that we are biased by our own theories about people. 

I’m sure you’ll listen to my advice. After all, I happen to believe that only creative, intelligent, and forward-thinking people read my blog!

What you say on social media reveals your personality

in Media Psychology by


It used to be concerns about posting that embarrassing photo or regret over a comment you made that may have unintentionally insulted your best friend. On work-related platforms, like LinkedIn, your posts could impact your reputation. Now navigating the intricacies of social media is going to get even harder.
Research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that we can determine an individual’s personality traits by the language they use on these platforms.

Specifically, the researchers examined the written language of 66,732 Facebook users as well as scores on a personality test they had undertaken. The personality test determines whether they are agreeable, conscientious, extraverted, emotional stable, and open to experience.

Individuals who were less conscientious used words such as ‘hate’, ‘why’, and ‘dead’ whilst their conscientious counterparts used words like ‘weekend’, ‘enjoying’, and ‘great’.

Emotionally stable individuals used words such as ‘workout’, ‘game’, and ‘the’. Moody individuals tended to use words like ‘really’, ‘stupid’, and ‘sick’ in their posts. 

These findings are, perhaps, not surprising to psychologists who work in the area of language psychology. It is long been understood that what we say isn’t always as important as how we say it.

For example, research shows that individuals who are depressed are more likely to use ‘I’ than ‘we’. However, after experiencing a shared trauma, such as the death of Princess Diana, the use of the word ‘we’ dramatically increases in media.

When trying to be more polite, individuals use more abstract and ambiguous language than specific and tangible language. For example, when you say ‘shut the door!’, it is more direct and unambiguous than saying, ‘can you shut the door?’.

I wonder if today’s blog says more about me than I want to reveal?

do people change?

in Work Psychology by

You are more likely to believe people can change after experiencing failure. Believing otherwise would suggest you will continue to fail.

We generally believe that either people can incrementally change, called incremental views, or that we essentially remain the same, called entity views. Recent research suggests that our view depends on our motivation at a given time. After experiencing failure, we are more likely to support an incremental view because we’d prefer to believe that we can improve.

Experiencing success, by contrast, does not have any effect. That is, if we believe in a entity view, it’s good news. You will continue to be successful. If you believe in an incremental view, then it’s good news too. You are not only successful but could continue to build on this success. When a culture endorses an entity view, they can be less inclined to invest in training and development of people, and are more inclined to resist change. These findings imply that individuals—possibly entire organisations—will be more open to changing their approach after experiencing a series of setbacks.

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