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The Surprising New Science of Physical Intelligence!


The Surprising New Science of Physical intelligence

This post throws light on the surprising but real science of how our environment and situations shape our behavior.Read on….

The last few decades have unraveled unknown frontiers of human behavior. Scientists have been studying the rather interesting and surprising ways our thoughts, decisions are and actions are unconsciously influenced by our physical senses. Now a best selling new book takes readers on an exciting tour of these cutting edge studies and after reading this you will never think or look at a cup of coffee, the color red, or the smell of cinnamon in the same way again.


Warm temperatures make us temporarily friendlier. The color red causes us to perform poorly on tests. Heavy clipboards make the CVs clipped to them seem more impressive. Clean smells promote moral behavior. Sports Teams in black jerseys are given more penalties than teams in other colors.


From the world’s leading expert on the new science of physical intelligence, here is the true story of how the body profoundly affects our thoughts, emotions and decisions about everything from the people we like to the ways we work. Our environment – colors, temperatures, heavy or light objects – influences us in surprising ways that have been hidden until now.

In a path breaking book titled Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence, Professor Thalma Lobel offers a surprising exploration of how sensations, scents, colors, tastes, and visual perceptions significantly influence us, Prof.Lobel presents a series of studies one after another and explains how these unexpected findings have significant implications on almost everything we do in life.

Thalma Lobel shares these fascinating new findings – like how clean smells promote moral behavior and sports teams in black jerseys are given more penalties than teams in other colors – to reveal how shockingly impressionable we are to sensory input from the world around us.

While bestsellers like Predictably Irrational and Thinking, Fast and Slow explain the ways we make predictable, systematic cognitive errors, Sensation is a pioneering book that shows how vulnerable we are to the unconscious influence of our senses over our minds.



Listed below are interesting examples of the phenomenon of Physical Intelligence at Work in our lives

  1.  Let’s imagine that you are on your first date. What do you think would be the better choice of beveragea warm cup of tea or coffee, or a cold soda or beer?

In one study researchers gave two groups of participants a description of a person who was intelligent, skillful, practical, determined, industrious, and cautious, then asked them to rate the person on several other characteristics. Prior to reading the description, participants were asked to hold the researcher’s coffee for a moment (while the researcher made a quick note). Half were handed a warm cup of hot coffee and half were handed a cold cup of ice coffee.

Participants who held the warm cup judged the person in the description as being generous, caring and good natured (i.e., warm) while those who held the cold cup judged the same person as being irritable, antisocial, and selfish (i.e. cold)! Again, both groups had read the exact same description. The only difference was the few moments they spent holding either a warm or cold coffee cup.

This shows that you should perhaps choose a nice cup of tea during a first date and not a cold soda or a beer, as it will put in a more positive state for judging your companion.

  1.  In another situation visualize that you’re negotiating a new purchase, or an important deal. What type of chair should you sit on—and what kind of chair should you offer to the person with whom you’re negotiating?

A unique set of studies demonstrated that sitting on a hard chair makes us tougher (harder) negotiators, and sitting on a soft chair makes us less aggressive (softer) negotiators. Therefore, it would be worth your while to try to sit on a hard chair and offer a soft chair to the other person.

  1.  What about the impact of colors? For example the color red is the color of visceral emotions according to Prof. Lobel. In a series of tests conducted by American and German researchers they went about finding the connection between the red color ad performance in IQ tests.

In a study on the effect of color, men were shown pictures of the same woman, but wearing different color blouses—each man saw one picture with the woman wearing either a red, blue, green or gray blouse. The men consistently rated the image of the woman in the red blouse as sexier and more attractive. They also reported a greater desire to date the woman in red, and were willing to spend more money on a date with her than the same woman in a green, blue or gray blouse. Of note: The men did not perceive the woman in red to be more intelligent, kind, or likable—just more alluring. (Remember, it was the same woman in all the images. Only the color of her blouse was different.)

Therefore, women may want to consider wearing red on a first date (and having a warm beverage)!


  1.  Let’s say you are looking for volunteers for some assignment. How can you ensure that your subjects would agree willingly to volunteer? In a 2011 study, experimenters gave different subjects a bit of chocolate, a cracker, or no food. They were then asked to fill out an unrelated questionnaire, after which an experimenter told the participants that “another professor from the psychology department had just stopped by and said that volunteers for another, unrelated study were needed.” Who was more likely to volunteer? The chocolate eaters ,of course!

5. Now you’re trying to harness your creativity at work. What kind of lighting should you consider—a florescent light, a soft lamp, or a bare bulb to ignite your creativity?

We all associate a light bulb coming on with a “bright” (creative) idea. Studies found that turning on a light bulb during a task requiring creative problem-solving enhanced people’s creativity and enabled them to resolve problems more quickly than turning on a florescent light. In another study, participants were divided into two groups and given a problem that required an “out-of-the-box” solution. A first group of participants was asked to literally sit in a large cardboard box, and a second group to sit beside it (“outside the box”). As you might imagine, the participants who sat outside the box were significantly more likely to come up with creative solutions to the problem than those sitting inside the box.

You may want to switch on a naked bulb when you’re working on problems that require creativity and insight—or keeping a box beside you.

6. If you want to maximize your workouts in your home or gym, would a specific scent or smell help you?

Gyms are not usually known for having pleasant scents and many suffer from the aftermath of patrons consuming too many protein shakes but a change might be on the horizon. Recent studies found that the smell of peppermint enhances physical exercise. Working out in peppermint-scented rooms made people perceive the workout as less difficult, and helped athletes perform better than during workouts in non-scented rooms.

Other studies found that cinnamon scents improved attention and memory and that sweet smells enhanced altruism and helping behavior. As for your workouts—rather than trying to spray peppermint scent around the entire gym the next time you work out, try chewing a fresh stick of peppermint gum beforehand.

Lobel’s book has implications and takeaways for almost all aspects of life, including business and management(the length of the lines on an organization’s personnel charts have implications for how we perceive power and leadership); advertising and marketing (a company’s logo colors affect how we perceive its financial stability as well as other aspects of our personal lives (how showering impacts our morality and cheating behavior). It will give you endless material for cocktail parties and dinner conversations. So grab a warm beverage, take a whiff of cinnamon and sit down in a comfy chair for a  read.

Positive Psychology – The Ultimate Frontier for Psychology

Positive Psychology is the systematic and scientific study of human strengths and virtues ,which each one of us posses. This fascinating field that evolved dramatically in the last two decades is chancing the landscape across domains. Through cutting edge research from some of the most respectable universities have now proven beyond doubt that done rightly with the right mindset it can certainly enable individuals and communities to thrive. Positive Psychology is founded on the firm belief that each one of us want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to nurture our character strengths, and to enhance our varied experiences of life, love, work, and play.

This fascinating field encompasses the following:

  • Optimism
  • Compassion
  • Appreciative Enquiry
  • Flow
  • Resilience
  • Wellbeing & Happiness
  • Core Character Strengths
  • Positive Aging
  • Life of Purpose
  • Life Satisfaction


To know more on this emerging phenomenon, given below are a list of videos which provide an interesting exposition of this life changing field:

Happiness Leads To Success

Happiness Leads to success by Prof Christopher Abraham


Success is not the key to happiness_Albert Schweitzer


Prof. Christopher Abraham explores the science of happiness, and how it relates to professional and personal success.Psychological studies have primarily concentrated on human failing and pathology. In fact, the idea of psychotherapy, a concept realised by Sigmund Freud, is based on the fact that human beings are distressed and need to be calm.
The practitioners that followed Freud developed a model that seemed to portray humans as mechanical and passive, being shaped by situations surrounding them.
However, this view was soon altered when eminent psychologist Martin Seligman, in 1998, urged psychology professionals to set about the healing process with understanding and building strong qualities. Seligman is credited with sowing the seeds of happiness studies and positive psychology. He went on to be the world’s leading scholar on optimism.
Seligman’s idea quickly caught on, with the Gallup organisation founding the Gallup Positive Psychology Institute to fund research on the subject. This provided the foundation of the Gallup Positive Psychology Summit, which was globally recognised within two years of it being held.
So what really makes us happy? How can we become happier? And is happiness sustainable? Current cutting edge research on studying happiness indicates that our individual level of happiness springs from three primary sources:


Our genetic set point
Fifty per cent of our happiness derives from a genetically determined set point, contend leading researchers such as Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky from the University of California.
The set point for happiness is similar to the set point for weight. Some people are blessed with skinny dispositions: even when they’re not trying, they easily maintain their weight. By contrast, others have to work hard to keep their weight at optimum levels, and the moment they relax their dietary and exercise regime, they gain back all the weight.
So those of us with low happiness set points will have to work harder to achieve and maintain happiness, while those of us with high set points will find it easier to be happy under similar conditions.
Our life circumstances
“Life circumstances” determine a scant 10 per cent of our happiness, Prof. Lyubomirsky continues: “Only about 10 per cent of the variance in our happiness levels is explained by differences in life circumstances or situations–that is, whether we are rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, beautiful or plain, married or divorced, etc. If, with a magic wand, we could put a group of people into the same set of circumstances (same house, same spouse, same place of birth, same face, and same aches and pains), the differences in their happiness levels would be reducedby a measly 10 per cent.”
Prof. Lyubomirsky notes in her book The How of Happiness that this finding runs contrary to many of our efforts to obtain happiness: “One of the great ironies of our quest to become happier is that so many of us focus on changing the circumstances of our lives in the misguided hope that those changes will deliver happiness… An impressive body of research now shows that trying to be happy by changing our life situations ultimately will not work. Although we may achieve temporary boosts in well-being by moving to new parts of the country or the world, securing raises, or changing our appearances, such boosts are unlikely to be long-lasting.”
Most experts agree that human beings immediately adapt to positive circumstantial changes in the hope of bringing about happiness in their lives. Although the circumstances change, it may not be a source of long-term happiness, as they will eventually be taken for granted.



Happiness strategies

The remaining 40 per cent of our happiness is determined by our behaviour—intentional activities referred to as “happiness strategies.”
This is the core of the research of leading professionals in this field which advocates increasing and sustaining happiness through intentional activities.
Genuinely happy people make things happen, and don’t just sit around being content. They learn more, achieve more and control their thoughts and feelings. If an unhappy person wants to experience interest, enthusiasm, contentment, peace and joy, he or she can make it happen by learning the habits of a happy person.
Scientific research supports the use of strategies such as expressing gratitude, acts of kindness, nurturing relationships, committing to goals, among others. Researchers describe precisely what these somewhat generic terms mean in this context and provide a rationale for why they work and explore what they might look like in practice. They do not say that these are the only meaningful happiness strategies, but separately they meet standards for being “evidenced-based,” and together they constitute a list sufficiently broad “so that every individual could find a set right for him or her.”
The science of happiness is here to stay with the single focus of making the world a better place.


Flow and Success

There are special moments in our lives when we actually lose track of time.Imagine a moment when you are practicing or performing something you are really passionate about and you do not realize the time that has passed.You are mindful of every single moment in your memory and savoring the joy of complete fulfillment.Its indeed a special moment and psychologists call this the Ultimate State of Flow.Today with neurological studies across the world we have understood that each one of us is capable of reaching this unique  Flow state ,which can lead to an enhanced form of Happiness beyond our imagination.Excellence in life is thus determined more by Flow than by ordinary Happiness.While Happiness is normally determined by external and internal circumstances,Flow results in a heightened form of consciousness.

According to research done by the renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ,one in five Americans share that they experience Flow several times a day.Mihaly further validates that Flow happens when we do what we love doing ,like gardening,playing music or our favorite sport or dancing.Even work can reach Flow state when we have a Purpose and are passionate about it.