‘Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World,’ by Sam Sommers

The Washington Post:

Most of us consider ourselves to be objective, consistent people who make decisions that reflect our core principles, no matter what the situation. In “Situations Matter,” psychology professor Sam Sommers throws this common-sense notion out the window. Our environments are actually much more powerful than we think.

Statistics show that people are more likely to marry someone who lives in the same neighborhood than someone from farther away. And the idea that women are more nurturing and less aggressive by nature? An experiment that allowed women to anonymously blow their opponents away during video games showed that they were just as trigger-happy as the male participants. Our perceptions, both of ourselves and of the actions of others, are heavily influenced by context. We are, Sommers suggests, unconscious of the way that different scenarios can manipulate our seemingly objective understanding

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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