Have you ever wondered what makes us work the way we do? For instance, right after switching off the alarm and getting up, who hasn’t had the feeling of going on ‘autopilot’ at times, when having a shower, getting dressed and preparing breakfast, but why do we get grumpy if we then don’t get our beloved cup of coffee because we forgot to buy coffee the previous day?
Then, on the way to work, we use our memory to walk or drive through the busy streets, but how do we decide which way to go and how do we adjust our rout if it changes? How do we know which shortcut or detour to take?
When we then arrive at our workplace, we say hello to Jack, Paul and Laura, Clair our colleagues who just arrived in the lobby, but how do we actually recognize all of them? How can our brain keep them apart, even if they have a new hear cut, wear sunglasses or hats and scarves, and half of their face is covered?
We might engage in quick conversation about the weather, the latest football and rugby results, or the latest news whilst taking the elevator to the right floor, but why do we actually engage in ‘small talk’? Why don’t we also share our issues that we have with our wives, husbands and kids with these colleagues, and why do we share them with our closest friends? How do we know what’s okay to talk about and what isn’t?
Before our meeting with the boss, we might see him walking through the office and get an idea that he actually is in a bad mood. So, asking him for a holiday break in the middle of summer is no good idea, but how can we tell in which mood someone is in? Why do we seem to know if someone is tired, happy, angry, or relaxed, even before we even exchanged a simple ‘hello’?
Our business deal of the day might then require some tough decisions about investing in a project that has only little chance to succeed, but if it does, it will be a major step towards the ultimate goal of the company and even result in a promotion. Should we take the risk? What would make and what would prevent us from taking the risk? Would other people do the same?
After work, we might then go to the gym, engage in sports or in other social activities to ‘work off some stress’ and feel better, but does this really help and if so why? Why do we need social activities and a good workout to deal with busy days and stay in balance? What is the reason for feeling better? Is it because we did something to stay healthy or is there more to it?
Even before Friday evening approaches, we might start daydreaming about our weekend plans and what we do on our favourite day of the week: Saturday, but why do many people favour Saturday, why not Sunday? What’s so special about that day? Furthermore, what’s happing when we are daydreaming about our weekend plans and other things? What is our brain doing?
Many questions seem to arise about our behaviour in daily life, if we only look at it more closely. Most of these questions are part of current research in psychology and even though many questions have been answered, there are still a lot more to be answered. Often new questions arise as studies are carried out leading to new discoveries and surprising insight into our daily behaviour.
With this blog I want to present studies from different areas of psychology and look critically into how the findings in psychology apply to our daily life and what we can learn from them.
Enjoy the next posts!