Pepto-Bismol pink is a color sometimes used in prisons to calm inmates. People with names that start with K are more likely to donate to victims of Hurricane Katrina than Hurricane Rita. Professional cyclists pedal faster when people are watching.
A variety of external factors influence our thoughts, feelings, and decisions, says Adam Alter, a professor of psychology at NYU and the author of “Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave.”
He spoke about the degree to which our environment shapes who we are at Seattle’s Town Hall on April 2, 2013.
The classic observer of human behavior would tell you all of our decisions have a rational basis. But new research indicates that “rational” may not be based on any conscious factors, but instead, is more deeply hardwired in our DNA. Vladas Griskevicius is co author of a new book called “The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think.” He talks with Marcie Sillman.