PSY 13, Louis CK-Style

Jerry Seinfeld and friends (see first lecture) are not the only comedians wise to the power of situations.  Check out the clip below; Louis CK summarizing our entire semester of PSY 13 in just 3 (sometimes vulgar, so language warning) minutes:


Driving is a great example of a common daily situation in which we change the way we’d ordinarily think and behave.  Can anyone come up with other good examples to get us started this semester?  Comment away and share some ideas below…

This entry was posted in Chapter 1, Comedy, Power of Situations. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to PSY 13, Louis CK-Style

  1. kalper02 says:

    With a few bright-eyed and bushy-tailed exceptions, I’ve noticed that most people (myself included) are less chatty, friendly, and outgoing when they first wake up.

  2. Daniel Dinjian says:

    Honestly I read this and then reread it and just thought to myself, oh my god I totally act different in the morning. And on the one hand it’s kind of obvious, who likes mornings? But on the other hand I guess I have it in my mind that the morning sucks and I place the blame for that sucking on the morning itself. I’ve never actually thought of it in relation to my own behavior and how I act differently, so I guess that was sort of eye opening although I don’t know if it’ll make mornings any more bearable.

    • I definitely agree with you, and I’m certainly not a morning person whatsoever. Further, I’ve noticed that I’m in the worst mood when I wake up on a Monday. I used to just blame it on the fact that the weekend was over and I had to return to work and school, but this certainly opened my eyes to how my own behavior perpetuates my bad mood when I wake up on a Monday. Ultimately it’s up to me to wake up “on the right side of the bed”, no matter how hard it might seem when my alarm goes off for the 20th time…

    • Greg Lehrhoff says:

      I’m totally the same way in the morning, and I also see a huge difference in how I act at night, especially late at night. I think I become a lot more disinhibited than usual. I’m less concerned with consequences, riskier, more creative, more social, more nihilistic, more thrill-seeking. It’s kind of like, in the daytime I’m Morty, in the night I’m Rick. My sweet spot is the afternoon– that’s the time where I really feel like I’m acting normally by society’s standards. Which I’m really thankful for because my early mornings and late nights are often spent alone or with close friends and family, whereas I’m a little more capable of venturing out into the social sphere in the middle of the day.

    • Rebecca says:

      It sounds like that you are attributing your negative construal of mornings as a main reason that you don’t like mornings, instead of the objective nature of morning (assuming that such thing actually exists).

      The textbook mentions that some social psychologists believe that people’s subjective understanding of their environment is more important to be considered perhaps in social psychological studies than the objective qualities of their environment. Then my question is (for everyone): given that people’s construals would vary by a large degree, how does this view that place such heavy emphasis on construals and little on the objective qualities of the environment reconcile with the commonly accepted goal of social psychology: to find the metaphysical mechanisms that work either universally or culturally (either way, the mechanisms have to work on more than a few people.)


  3. Tory Kolbjornsen says:

    Honestly Disney world brings out the worst in me. I’m 21 and I went with my mother and 18 year old cousin and instead of letting children and handicapped people have the right of way I realized we targeted them to get ahead of the rush in the morning (I am not proud, but its true). And that is completely the norm there, hurdle the weak, people are yelling and its far from the happiest place on earth when that rope drops in the morning.

    • Michael Rogalski says:

      While I respect your opinion and certainly see where amusement park goers can get a little wide-eyed at times, I’d like to present the opposite viewpoint. I was at Disney/Universal recently as well, and my best friend was there at the same time. Normally, she has a rather abrasive personality (yelling in the library, picking fights with other girls at parties, etc.) but I think the opposite happened to her when she got away from the stress of the semester. The change of scenery had her smiling all the time, taking happy “Snapchats,” and I think she even hugged one of the Transformers characters (probably Bumblebee) at Universal Studios. Just a reminder that the while a situation can bring out the worst in us, it can also bring out the absolute best.

    • I agree that crowded amusement parks can bring out a terrible side of people, but I also think that the environment plays a large role in human behavior. Personally, I love seeing kids laughing, smiling, and being excited for all the Disney characters. If a little girl pushes past me to get a picture with a princess, I don’t get upset; I think it’s heartwarming to see how happy they are. Being in an amusement park makes me feel as if I am in a surreal environment – almost detached from the rest of the world – and I think the separation or added “dimension” calms me down and makes me a different person. While it can be easy to rush past people, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, everyone is there to have fun, and each person’s enjoyment doesn’t have to come at the expense of others.

  4. I act like a different person when I’m hungry, and I’ve noticed it with my family as well as friends. Because your body needs something, it acts as if that is the most important need, rather than even treating people in a decent manner. tl;dr: don’t go to a restaurant and order when you’re already super hungry…it’ll be a bad experience for everyone involved.

    • 100% agree. It interesting actually how you really see people revert back to primal tendencies when they are lacking in a basic need, such as food or sleep. It really shows us how basic needs come first and social interactions tend to take a back seat when we are deprived.

    • My mom taught me the acronym HALT, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. If someone is being crabby, in my experience it’s because one or more of these four needs isn’t being met.

      • Gideon Wulfsohn says:

        Having never heard this before, I love it!

        For me the tired category can turn me into a full on gremlin. Funny how primitive we can be when it comes to these four categories.

    • Jason Mark says:

      I agree. There as a crazy study that I just read about recently (posted below) in which researchers noted that if judges are reading over a parole case, the likelihood of that parole succeeding is about 60% when the judges are not hungry, and close to zero when they are hungry. Its a really insane phenomenon, but Im also curious whether or not this is a social phenomenon, or a biological one?

      • Katherine Rose Alpert says:

        You make a really interesting point! I’m not convinced you can separate biological influences from social ones in all cases. However, your comment made me rethink my own post about the mornings. Likely, morning behavior can be explained by biological phenomena, like interrupting REM cycles with an alarm and such.

  5. As far as an original comment goes (I’m confused about where we should make our original comments and our responses), I would say that a lot of people act differently in video games and other anonymous online services. I think the feeling of anonymity both dehumanizes the interactions and also gives people a sense of security that for some reason can bring out a really ugly side of them.

    • Lucy B. Ren says:

      I definitely agree with this. I think that as soon as the face-to-face aspect of human interaction is taken away, it allows people to reveal their worst thoughts without any consequences. The anonymity allows them to disregard what is and is not “societally acceptable” and act without filter.

    • rrasmu03 says:

      Original comments are made directly in response to the article or video posted by Professor Sommers, whereas response comments are responses to other students’ posts.

  6. In my opinion, Black Friday might take the cake for the day of the year that brings out the worst in people. It seems that every year we hear about another horror story of one person or another being trampled by a crowd of people rushing towards a 40% off sign or some other deal. The competitive atmosphere outside these stores before the doors open appears to drastically affect the behavior of shoppers, many of whom could simply be there for the “unlike any other” experience that characterizes Black Friday and have no intention of hurting others.

    • Aubrey Tan says:

      Your comment about Black Friday actually brought back some crazy memories I have from a few years back in High school when I went out for Black Friday with a few buddies. The behaviors that I saw from shoppers was absolutely absurd. The thing that sticks out the most for me is the consistency of actions that I witnessed within different stores i went to throughout the night. I saw at least 4 different arguments where three of them turned into physical altercations when someone couldn’t get a product they wanted. I saw two guys fighting over an iPad in best buy as well as 2 women berating a walmart employee since they sold out quickly of a blender or some other cooking appliances. I definitely saw the worst of both genders this night. However, it seemed that people were more aggressive and upset over expensive items that they couldn’t get as well as higher percentage discounted products.

    • I’ve never actually participated in the Black Friday fiasco. However, the ‘lines’ seem to be the epicenter of Black-Friday-goers struggles. In general, waiting in lines, especially ones as extreme as what we see on Black Friday, challenges our behaviors. I was outside a liveband bar on July 4th weekend two weeks ago with some buddies. We went early to make sure we avoided ‘the line.’ However, everyone had that same strategy. Since the security was subpar, most people’s efforts were directed toward cutting in as far as one could in this line. We were reacting to both the cutters and being squashed. It was a completely uncomfortable yet extremely competitive situation. It brought the best out in some and the worst out in others. Just like shopping, waiting in line is simple, but commands certain qualities such as patience and preparation, both which will be tested.

  7. Jason Mark says:

    One interesting example of this that is coming to mind to me right now is Hevrutah Study, the Jewish method of learning religious texts alongside a partner. This kind of study is usually done with a pair who are friendly with one another and often come from the same community. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon during the learning sessions to hear a House of Study filled with the near-yelling and intensive arguments from these pairs as they try to work out the meaning of a text. Of course, immediately after this learning, these same people who were yelling at each other in argument will go back to often being soft spoken and great friends, and most of the time no one will think twice of the arguing before, as it really is the natural thing to do.

    • Katherine Rose Alpert says:

      How do people feel about sporting events? It seems common for people to yell insults at their opposing team or swear under their breath when their team loses a point. Even when there is no harm being done to them, people get so emotionally invested in the game that they say and act differently in the stadium (or couch).

  8. Greg Lehrhoff says:

    I suppose I’m guilty of this as much as anyone else, but I always find people acting kind of bizarrely in customer service situations. Like my little brother, when he’s ordering food, always pretends like he’s thinking about it before he says what he wants. Which is strange because I know that he knows exactly what he wants! I think he does it to make the order seem less commanding. I imagine that he’s uncomfortable with the power dynamic between him and the server. Maybe because he’s my youngest brother, so he’s not usually in a position to give any orders…

  9. One interesting example that I can think of is how patrons act in restaurants. I think we’ve all seen a waiter accidentally bring out the wrong plate and the customer act as if it were the end of the world. Or, maybe the server forgot to put a lemon slice in your water, a very minor issue in the grand scheme of your life, but for some reason you find this a personal affront. You might chalk this up to manners, but often times I think the lack of control people feel when dining out makes them act irrationally. Perhaps it’s the lack of agency people feel that leads to this agitation when dealing with food service, or they entitled to denigrate food servers because they’re paying for a product and feel a false sense of power.

  10. Anonymity is dangerous!!

    When we are around people we know we will see again, or even those we have to sit next to for more than a minute we stay within the realm of civilized respectful society. The moment we are sitting behind the wheel surrounded by strangers, or better yet, sitting behind a keyboard on reddit with people hiding behind cryptic usernames we tend to exercise minimal restraint. As an avid redditer myself, I am bother by this because my username is the same username I use across the web for all things including Twitter, and have never been one of these people that sits there “trolling.” Sometimes this ends up resulting in a quality form of humor we can all enjoy. For example, I have a buddy on Twitter who posted “In NYC for the weekend, let me know who I should meet up with!” and the top response ended up being “Malia Obama.” That said most anonymous internet forums end up pushing the boundary too far when straddling the line between funny and mean. I’ll stop here before I start discussing my love hate feelings towards the brilliant app that was Yik Yak.

  11. dboorg01 says:

    I agree with the dangers associated with the pseudo-anonymity of the digital world. We see it all the time with YouTube comments, twitter, and most social media platforms. Looking at the way interactions are carried out on dating apps is particularly intriguing. Usually dating and social conventions associated with first dates are pretty rigid, and politeness is encouraged. However, all of that seems to go out the window the moment you get on Tinder. Not only is politeness no longer a factor, but people can go to extremes in what they say in terms of vulgarity, aggressiveness, rudeness, and so on. I’m linking a video that illustrates how it would be if people acted on a first date like they do on tinder (the video only focuses on guys, but the rudeness associated with the anonymity of tinder applies to girls too). Language warning.

  12. Meghan Wales says:

    I often find that at Thanksgiving and other family gatherings that I act very differently than I usually do. I feel as though others with large and politically varied families may feel the same way. I am usually very loud and extroverted but when I am around my mom’s side of the family I feel shy and need lots of alone time. I think because a lot of the family is guarded about being open because of differing political beliefs it causes everyone to feel on edge and more private than they normally would be.

    • dboorg01 says:

      This is so true! It’s so interesting to see how different one person can act around different groups of people, even if its different groups of friends or family vs. friends, so on. It makes me question the notion of personality. If I am capable of so naturally acting so different in varying scenarios, do I really know what my personality is?

  13. Rebecca says:

    I find myself becoming a different person when I switch from Chinese to English (or vice versa). I am not sure whether it was because the people and culture around me also changes when I change the language I speak or mostly because of the switch of language itself, as suggested by the Linguistic Relativity hypothesis:

  14. Good way of describing, and pleasant article to get information about my presentation subject matter, which i am going to present in school.

  15. Wow, amazing blog format! How long have you been running a
    blog for? you made blogging look easy. The full glance of your website is
    magnificent, as neatly as the content!

  16. Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost
    on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there
    that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas?

    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *