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Uploaded:2012-04-12
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Hank discusses some new research that studied what makes us unhappy with ourselves and with other people, focusing on homophobia and consumerism.

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Sources:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120406234458.htm
http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.optionToBuy&id=2012-02599-001
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/afps-cai040912.php
http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/03/16/0956797611429579

scishow, science, psychology, social psychology, society, antagonism, happiness, consumerism, consumer, galen bodenhausen, depression, anxiety, hate, self-worth, homophobia, sexuality, richard ryan, self-hate, homosexuality, straight, gay
Hello and welcome back. Today we're talking about some new research that sheds light into what makes us unhappy with ourselves and with other people.

First, a hunch that many of us share has been confirmed by science. Homophobia is more common and more strong in people who say that they are straight, but who have unacknowledged attraction to the same sex. And also people who were raised in households that forbade such desires.

This makes total sense, of course, because any thought of homosexuality would remind the individual, at least subconsciously, of a piece of themselves that they were taught to hate. It's pretty sad, really.

Richard Ryan, the author of the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, said in many cases, these are people who are at war with themselves, and they're turning this internal conflict outward.

The trick is figuring out who has unacknowledged attraction to the same sex when by definition they will not acknowledge it. And the scientists did this a couple of ways. One, by leaving participants in the study with pictures of straight and gay couples, and observing which one they spent the most time looking at. They also asked people to assign words into categories of "gay" and "straight," and when the word "me" comes up, the unacknowledged homosexual will put that word into the "straight" category, but they'll do it much more slowly than an actually straight person.

It might seem kind of silly, but understanding the roots of this antagonism, which often leads to serious crimes of hate, is extremely important for our society, and for the safety of members of it.

Also, you've been told that you can't buy happiness, but in case you needed proof, here it is: new studies show that consumerism makes you a depressed, isolated weirdo. In one of the studies done at Northwestern University some subjects were given depictions of all kinds of fancy things that they can't afford--sports cars, electronics, jewelry--while others were given neutral scenes that didn't have any consumer goods in them.

Both groups then filled out questionnaires about their self worth. Those who had been given depictions of luxury rated themselves higher in depression and anxiety and were less interested in social activities like parties or doing charity work.

In another study, subjects were asked to describe a hypothetical water shortage, in which they had to share a well with three other people. The two groups were exactly the same except that in one group the participants in the study were called "consumers"--including the person that was being asked the questions--and in the other group people were just called "individuals."

The people in the group that were called consumers said that they were less trusting of others to conserve the water, but also described themselves as less responsible and less willing to work with others on the crisis. Nice.

When asked what could be done to turn off these petty consumerist instincts, lead researcher Galen Bodenhausen said "watch less TV." Amen, brother. But this is not TV. So you can keep watching this all you want.

If you have any questions or ideas please leave them in the Youtube comments or get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter, and we will see you next week.