How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing For Any Occasion

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How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing For Any Occasion

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Title: How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing For Any Occasion
Author: Wegner, Daniel M.
Citation: Wegner, Daniel M. 2009. How to think, say, or do precisely the worst thing for any occasion. Science 325(5936): 48-50.
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Abstract: In slapstick comedy, the worst thing that could happen usually does: The person with a sore toe manages to stub it, sometimes twice. Such errors also arise in daily life, and research traces the tendency to do precisely the worst thing to ironic processes of mental control. These monitoring processes keep us watchful for errors of thought, speech, and action and enable us to avoid the worst thing in most situations, but they also increase the likelihood of such errors when we attempt to exert control under mental load (stress, time pressure, or distraction). Ironic errors in attention and memory occur with identifiable brain activity and prompt recurrent unwanted thoughts; attraction to forbidden desires; expression of objectionable social prejudices; production of movement errors; and rebounds of negative experiences such as anxiety, pain, and depression. Such ironies can be overcome when effective control strategies are deployed and mental load is minimized.
Published Version: doi:10.1126/science.1167346
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:8923959

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [6948]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University
 
 

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