Jason Berghorst

Observation of people: 'There's a lot of psychology in that'

In Other Words

“There’s a lot of psychology in that.” 

That’s one of my favorite and most used sayings, at least according to my students and the coworkers that I eat lunch with.

Paul Harvey had “the rest of the story.”

Al Roker has “here’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods.”

My signature saying, it seems, is “there’s a lot of psychology in that.”

I’ve been teaching psychology for quite a few years now and applying psychological principles and concepts to various situations and conversations, whether invited to do so or not — one of my hobbies.

And often my observations and applications start with my favorite phrase.

Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. As any people-watcher will tell you, there’s always plenty to observe and comment on.

My excuse for doing so in class is that I like to connect everyday life to the subject matter we are studying.

When it comes to lunchroom conversations, social gatherings, committee meetings or family dinners, I don’t really have an excuse for doing this. It’s just fun for me.

And often someone will respond with pleasure or interest when they see a concept applied to life. That just makes me want to share more. There’s a lot of psychology in that.

I suppose it was only a matter of time until I worked my psychology observations into a column.

Maybe you’ll even start noticing some yourself.

Here we go.

I stop at Casey’s before work for a breakfast sandwich too many mornings. Based on the always-full parking lot and often too long line, I’m not the only one with this morning habit.

I often ask the cashier for a bag to carry my purchases in. After only a few days of making the same request of the same overworked cashier, I noticed something I had to share with my students, and now you.

As soon as she was done helping the customer ahead of me in line, before I even got to the register or said anything at all, the cashier reached for a bag. There is definitely a lot of psychology in that — classical conditioning, to be exact.

Have you ever checked your speed or tapped your brakes when you meet a brown car that looks like a state trooper on the highway?

Or maybe you’ve been at church in the evening and still said “Good morning” to people because that’s what you’re used to saying in that setting?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that you’re hungry for turkey at Thanksgiving or lefse at Christmas, when you otherwise never crave those foods.

And does JJ’s food taste better the first time in March than it does in September after many summer visits?

Yes, all of these random observations are psychology concepts in action.

I’m sure you can think of many others too. Or at least now you might be looking for them.

There’s a lot of psychology in that.





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