psychoBlogy

I See Psychology… Everywhere

Social Psychology in Bacteria

I recently heard a fascinating story on NPR of what one might call the social psychology of bacteria.  As Dr. Bonnie Bassler has demonstrated, bacteria seem to wait until they exist in a critical mass to do what they do.  Whether it’s to emit color, damage host cells, or whatever, they seem to recognize (on some level anyway) that they are pretty impotent individually, but in groups, they can have a pretty major impact on their world.

As lagniappe, Dr. Bassler’s comments about her life and lab illustrate a number of other principles, such as the impostor phenomenon, similarity and attraction, and a pessimistic explanatory style.  For example, she says that her students are similar to her in that when they find an exciting result, their immediate response is to wonder what they’ve done wrong.  Such impressive work; have a listen!

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19 September 2006 - Posted by | Comparative, Research, Social

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