Drunk Tank Pink

Drunk Tank Pink

And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave

Book - 2013
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An illuminating look at the way the thoughts we have and the decisions we make are influenced by forces that aren't always in our control

Why are people named Kim, Kelly, and Ken more likely to donate to Hurricane Katrina victims than to Hurricane Rita victims? Are you really more likely to solve puzzles if you watch a light bulb illuminate? How did installing blue lights along a Japanese railway line halt rising crime and suicide rates? Can decorating your walls with the right artwork make you more honest? The human brain is fantastically complex, having engineered space travel and liberated nuclear energy, so it's no wonder that we resist the idea that we're deeply influenced by our surroundings. As profound as they are, these effects are almost impossible to detect both as they're occurring and in hindsight. Drunk Tank Pink is the first detailed exploration of how our environment shapes what we think, how we feel, and the ways we behave.

The world is populated with words and images that prompt unexpected, unconscious decisions. We are so deeply attracted to our own initials that we give more willingly to the victims of hurricanes that match our initials: Kims and Kens donate more generously to Hurricane Katrina victims, whereas Rons and Rachels give more openly to Hurricane Rita victims. Meanwhile, an illuminated light bulb inspires creative thinking because it symbolizes insight.

Social interactions have similar effects, as professional cyclists pedal faster when people are watching. Teachers who took tea from the break room at Newcastle University contributed 300 percent more to a cash box when a picture of two eyes hung on the wall. We're evolutionarily sensitive to human surveillance, so we behave more virtuously even if we're only watched by a photograph. The physical environment, from locations to colors, also guides our hand in unseen ways. Dimly lit interiors metaphorically imply no one's watching and encourage dishonesty and theft, while blue lights discourage violent activity because they're associated with the police. Olympic taekwondo and judo athletes are more likely to win when they wear red rather than blue, because red makes them behave aggressively and referees see them as more dominant. Drunk Tank Pink is full of revelatory facts, riveting anecdotes, and cutting-edge experiments that collectively explain how the most unexpected factors lead us to think, feel, and behave the way we do.

 

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, c2013.
ISBN: 9781594204548
1594204543
9781101605783
Characteristics: 261 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.

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Look at All the Colors

If you're the kind of person who can see in color -- and I deeply apologize to those who can't -- it's an easy thing to take for granted, but it doesn't take much research to see how the subtlest changes in hue can change a person's worldview. Drunk Tank Pink isn't all about color, but it uses color as a launching point to discuss all the little influences in our lives. Beginning with prison… (more)

Look at All the Colors

If you're the kind of person who can see in color -- and I deeply apologize to those who can't -- it's an easy thing to take for granted, but it doesn't take much research to see how the subtlest changes in hue can change a person's worldview. Drunk Tank Pink isn't all about color, but it uses color as a launching point to discuss all the little influences in our lives. Beginning with prison… (more)


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eugenelerner Jul 04, 2013

Credibility pre-review:
Page 9
"In his native Russian tongue, Vyacheslav Voronin's name means “slave.”
Typical old slavic names with with "slav" on their end should not mean "slave" because it sound like for an english speaking writer. This is an insulting news to Russian people, unless he will provide a reference. Factuality, dear writer.

ksoles Jun 19, 2013

Why does a strategically placed picture of eyes decrease theft more than one of flowers? How does exposure to money (real or fake) increase pain tolerance and decrease feelings of empathy? Can the paint colour of a room truly influence mood? In his engaging new book, social psychologist Adam Alter shows how our complex relationship with the environment (both external and internal) shapes how we think, feel, and act.

Words and images bombard us daily, affecting human behavior in unexpected and mostly unconscious ways. In three sections, "Drunk Tank Pink" explores the world within us, the world between us, and the world around us. Alter offers a non-stop narrative of anecdotes, facts and research experiments that, when considered together, form a quirky patchwork of the human psyche. Alter's findings certainly compel the reader and he fluently discusses many psychological constructs like nominative determinism, diffusion of responsibility, and social facilitation.

Humans constantly relate (both consciously and unconsciously) to a complex web formed by the animate and the inanimate. "Drunk Tank Pink" credibly debunks the notion that anyone thinks, feels or behaves entirely on free will.

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dianarolls Sep 12, 2014

read p 51-61
p191 disfluency
p79 social isolatiom,damagedby
p26-27 labels make a complex worldsimpler

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