I want to begin with the self, and I actually want to begin with my favorite psychology finding of all the time, and it's known as the spotlight effect. The phenomena of interest here, is that we tend to think everybody notices us. We tend to think that the spotlight is on us. This was explored in some lovely work by Tom Gilovich and his colleagues. Both look at the fact and see if we're right. So, in this clever study, they asked undergraduates to wear T-shirts with photographs on them, and some of the undergraduates were asked to wear photographs that were a very dislike people, and he did some questions at a time to find out who is disliked apparently. At the time the study was done, people didn't want to have T-shirts with photographs of Hitler or the singer-songwriter Barry Manilow. I like Barry Manilow myself, so no attack on him. The positive T-shirts were very light figures: Martin Luther King Jr. and the comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, and what happened is, they got students to go to class just to interact with people wearing these T-shirts and then later on they asked the students, ''How many people noticed your T-shirts?" They also asked the people, ''Did you notice what these people were wearing, what our subjects were wearing?" It turned out that the people wearing the T-shirts got it wrong, they got it wrong by a large extent. They felt that the spotlight was on them and it really wasn't. For the most part, we're focused on ourselves, and so we think that other people are focused on ourselves, but the truth is that other people tend to be focused on themselves and I find that reassuring. Note that this also shows up in some other research online. So, when we lie, we tend to think that we're transparent that other people because we're so conscious of the fact we're lying. We believe that other people notice it too and they often don't, we're much better liars than we think. So, I like this research, I think it's positive in a couple of ways. One is particularly for the ages in which people tend to attend my classes, just coming out into teenage years. This is a period of where maybe the dominant emotion is embarrassment, is feeling that all eyes are on you, feeling tremendously conscious of how you look, how you act, and particularly when you mess up. It's reassuring to realize that people really are noticing you as much as you, you worry that they are. Another implication of this and more general, more cosmic one in fact was pointed out by Tom Gilovich. When you ask people what they regret when they die, for the most part, this is fairly anecdotal, but for the most part, they regret things they didn't do. Gilovich suggests that one explanation of why people don't do things, they don't take that chance is that they don't want to look foolish, and I think the finding that people for the most part aren't looking, is fairly liberating. So, the spotlight effect and illusion of the spotlight effect is for me something worth remembering. A second set of biases have to do with positive traits. So, suppose I ask you, ''Compared to everyone else, taking this online course, watching this online lecture, how attentive are you? How smart are you? How dedicated are you? From the very top to the very bottom, give yourself a percentage score." Well, if I asked everybody and everybody was accurate, the average would be 50 percent. But, that's not what happens. You probably gave an answer of above 50 percent, most people do, and this is sometimes known as Lake Wobegon effect which, is based on Garrison Keillor's fictional town, where all the children are above average. People tend to believe that they are above average, and this shows up in all sorts of domains. It shows up as when you ask people to rate themselves as students, as teachers, as marriage partners, as chess players, as athletes, as drivers, and it's an interesting question what, why. So, one answer is that often when we proceed in life, if we're fortunate we get a lot of feedback, but the feedbacks are often positive. Often we hear good things about our performance in certain domains where, a good cook, considerate husband, and so on. Another possibility is that when everybody answers the question how good are you, we apply different criteria for goodness. So, one person says, ''I'm a great driver and they think because I'm very safe, very cautious,'' another person as well, ''I'm very good at car parallel parking,'' a third person says, ''I take chances no one else will, that's why I'm a great driver,'' and finally, and this is the one of most interest to social psychologists, we might have a general healthy motivation to feel good about ourselves, and this shows up in a second, sort of a positive bias, the self-serving bias. An idea of the self-serving bias is, that we tend to attribute to ourselves, to our own traits, positive things, more so than for negative things. So, in experiments that look at this, you might ask a student to think about a class he or she did well in compare to a class he or she did poorly in, or ask a professor about a scientific paper that got accepted or a scientific paper got rejected, and when asked why, there's a natural human tendency to view our positive accomplishment as a result of ourselves, we worked hard, we're smart, we put in the effort. While the negative consequences, we're tempted to view as the cause of other external factors. A paper got accepted because it was a wonderful paper, got rejected because the reviewer and editor are morons. We did well in the class because we worked very hard, we did poorly in the class because the professor was unfair, and it shouldn't been held so early in the morning, and so on. This shows up not only in laboratory studies, but in real-world, when athletes describe their successes and failures, when CEO's describe good years and bad years, even when people write accident reports, things that they are plainly responsible for, they often attribute to others. A final sort of self-serving bias, positive bias is that, what we do makes sense, and this falls under a broader theory in psychology known as cognitive dissonance theory, associated with Festinger. The idea is that when we experience an internal inconsistency between two things, between two thoughts, and our thought and action, it's unpleasant for us, it leads to dissonance, and we want to reduce dissonance. We want to make things fall into place, we don't want tensions. So, this manifests itself in different ways, one simple example is that people often attend to information that supports their existing view rather than information that challenges it. You might think this is a strange way for a rational creature to behave. If I'm in favor of the Republican president United States, you'd think that I'd be really interested in what the Democrats have to say, and vice versa. If I'm a pro-life, you'd think I'd be interested in what pro-choice people have to say. If I am really invested in a certain psychological theory, you would think that I would be really engaged in people who object to psychological theory, but the mind doesn't work that way. We often seek out and this is sometimes known as a confirmation bias. We often seek out support for our views, support for ideas, and so think about the magazines you read or the websites you go to, for the most part, they often tend to be in accord with your political views not challenging them. Or think about when you get a second opinion on something. Everything to how you look, in a certain set of clothes, to second medical opinion. People often don't get a second opinion when they get information, in a first opinion they didn't like, that didn't accord with their expectations. Scientists tell us, that science proceeds by seeking out counter-evidence by trying to falsify theories. But, that's not how the human mind works, the human mind wants support. A different manifestation of cognitive dissonance is known as the insufficient justification effect, and this is supported by a lovely and famous experiment. You give people a boring thing to do, and you either pay them very little money, in this case a dollar or a lot of money in this case $20, and then they have to describe the experiment as exciting to somebody else to have to lie about it. Then, you get them to rate what they thought of the task, and interestingly, the people who got paid a small amount of money rated the task as more enjoyable, than to people getting a lot of money, and the explanation for this has to do with dissonance. You just did something, you lied, you did something wrong. Well, why did you do it? Well, if you get paid a lot of money, you could say, I wish I had a justification, everything's in accord, I have enough money to make me do it, it made sense. But, if you did it for a little bit of money, that may not sit well with you, and so then you say, ''Well, I must have enjoyed the task, the task was fun, the task was worth doing.'' Cognitive dissonance really matters, it shows up in all sorts of ways, and in all sorts of aspects of everyday life. In a classic book, When Prophecy Fails, social psychologists looked at, what happens when people who believe the world is going to end, come up to the time when it's supposed to end, and it doesn't end. Well, they don't throw away all their views, they don't say, "God, I was mistaken," rather they re-frame it to say, ''Wow, well, I guess all our preparations and our plans worked, and we've slightly stalled end of the world, without the date slightly wrong. Cognitive dissonance is a theory for why so many organizations engage in hazing, brutal treatments in order to become a member of the group, the idea being that if you go through some sort of humiliating experience to enter a group, that'll make you more invested in the group. It'll make you because you'll have to tell yourself, why did I go through a humiliating experience, well the group must have really been worth it, and to make your mind consistent, you then up the value of the group. I think it's immoral for fraternities and so on to haze people. But, there's no doubt that it actually is powerfully effective. Therapists want you to pay, because you'll value the therapy more. Things that you do, that you volunteer for, you become more committed to, than things that you get paid for, because you get paid for it, you don't have to love it, but if you volunteer for it, you do have to love it. Benjamin Franklin has a next last example, his advice on how to make an enemy love you, is surprising and interesting. Go up to the enemy, and ask him or her for a favor, that seems weird. Why would that make them love you, but cognitive dissonance tells a story, which is that they feel obliged to do the favor, they didn't have to explain themselves why did they do a favor for you, and then they'll conclude, they must have liked you. Finally, and this is many parents know, many teachers know, there's a danger in rewarding children to do things that you'd want them to like, like paying them to read. The danger is that, if you're paid to read, the story they'd tell about reading as they do it for a financial reward, but if you can get them to do it without some sort of financial award, they would then tell themselves a different story and the story is, that they like to read. There's a lot of arguments over how cognitive dissonance works in a proper way to frame it, but nobody doubts that phenomenon like these are real, and they make a real difference in our lives.