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The Social Psychological Narrative

It's not the objective environment that influences people, but their constructs of the world. You have to get inside people's heads and see the world the way they do. You have to look at the kinds of narratives and stories people tell themselves as to why they're doing what they're doing... Many policy makers, if they're thinking about a problem turn to economists... When economists think about how to solve a problem such as closing the achievement gap in education, or reducing teenage pregnancy, their inclination is to use incentives... To a social psychologist, it is a little naïve to think that adding external incentives is all you have to do. Not to say that incentives can't work, but they can sometimes backfire if you look at it through the eyes of the person who is getting that incentive.
Pioneering investigator of the unconscious Timothy Wilson on the state of social psychology and its practical applications – including government attempts to shape public behaviour, and the futility of the self-help industry. [via]
posted by AceRock on Jun 15, 2011 - 21 comments

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