Pop Psychology: The psychology of pop culture and everyday life! by Bakari Akil II, Ph.D. by Bakari Akil II, Ph.D. - Read Online

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Pop Psychology - Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

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Reciprocity Theory and Mall Walkways

Likeability – Gain-Loss Principle

Likeability – Mere Exposure Theory

Actor Observer Bias

Crowds & Behavior – Why did I do that?

Unavoidable Persuasion

The Power of a Promise: Use it to your Advantage

Fear and a Strange Man in the Elevator

Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Cognitive Dissonance Theory

Andre Agassi and Cognitive Restructuring

Can TV Shows increase social skills?

Why Jed Clampett really moved to Beverly Hills

Beat the Competition: Practice when you sleep!

Which You, Which Intelligence?

The Theory of Social Validation

How a simple scientific questionnaire can change your life!

Public Speaking: When Running is not an Option

To improve performance, you may want to get and audience

Nicholas Cage, Predicting the Future and Why Problem Solving can Fail

Media and the Knowledge Gap Hypothesis

Who is Setting Your Agenda?

How the Navy Seals Increased Passing Rates

Making Success Unconscious

Special Thanks!

About the Author


When I am in front of a group of college students, most between the ages of 18 and 26, keeping their attention can be more than a challenge. Reciting the textbook, endless power point slides and providing endless definitions can be the quickest way to induce eyes to roll, note taking to cease and temporary bouts of unconsciousness. The same can be said with meetings and lectures to public audiences.

Early on I learned that I couldn’t present information in a dry and unentertaining way. So even though I deal with mostly academic issues, I spend a lot of time morphing dry and passionless theories, definitions and concepts into engaging and entertaining material. After all, what’s the purpose in learning this ‘stuff’ if we can’t take what we’ve learned and use it to help others or ourselves?

Psychology, which is the study of mental processes and behaviors, can be a very engaging subject. As an academic, I have often used psychological theories in my explanations regarding mass media and in helping people to improve their interpersonal and intrapersonal (self-talk) communication skills.

Pop Psychology covers 20 psychology and mass media theories and includes a heavy dose of pop culture, storytelling and humor to keep you entertained throughout. At the same time, I hope it inspires, motivates and educates. In these passages I’ve attempted to bring these theories to life. By demonstrating how these theories can be applied in real life settings I hope that you can use them to your advantage. Or if you are just looking for a fun, yet intellectually entertaining read this book can serve that purpose as well.

Let’s Begin…

Reciprocity Theory and Mall Walkways

Many mall walkways have become the equivalent of carnival circuses as they are often jammed with kiosk owners selling toys, sunglasses, print screen hats, cell phones and almost anything you can imagine. They call out to you invitingly as if you are in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. I am very good at ignoring them. My wife, -- not so much.

In one visit to the mall we were walking through a mall corridor and the catcalls from the kiosks began. As usual, I kept my eyes and ears straight ahead and kept walking. However, as I turned to speak to my wife I noticed she had vanished. I looked back a couple of feet to see a young woman pouring cream onto my wife’s hand and beginning to massage it in. After that she buffed her nails with some sort of ‘magic’ cloth. The woman said the cream was made with minerals from the Dead Sea. With each ‘free gesture’ I cringed.  I knew there was a catch.

After giving my wife the royal treatment, the saleslady made her pitch. The creams and side products cost over a hundred dollars. My wife was trapped. This lady had just spent ten minutes massaging her hand and buffing her nails. My wife felt obligated, but not that obligated. She also didn’t feel as if she could abruptly turn away after such treatment and so the sales lady continued to pitch. That’s when I made an excuse for us that we had to go and we went on our way.

Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., author of, Persuasion: The Psychology of