Interesting discoveries in human behavior research (Part 1)

We’ll be celebrating 20 years on the web at Queendom.com – that’s 20 years of developing personality and aptitude tests, 20 years of conducting research on human behavior, and 20 years of gaining a clearer understanding of what it means to be human in the 21st century. In short, this is my conclusion about human behavior: We’re all a little quirky. There is no “normal,” just many, many variations of “normal.”

I thought it would be fun to go back in our 20-year history and highlight some of the most interesting findings from our research. While doomsday theorists and philosophers might bemoan the fact that we’re destined to repeat the past, I find that I am always pleasantly surprised by some of the interesting results we uncover. We may not be perfect, but we’re damn interesting creatures!

Here are some of the winners:

#1 – Career women, stay-at-home moms, and working moms, although seemingly distinctive, actually share similar values, including:

Family & Friends: They greatly cherish their relationship with family and friends and derive much joy from being surrounded by those they love.

Community Values: They are passionately involved in their community and social causes. They speak out against injustice and do their utmost to be good citizens and humanitarians.

Hard work & Diligence: They understand and appreciate the importance of hard work. They put a dedicated effort into everything they take on, often going above and beyond the call of duty.

Stability: They value financial and career stability, and thrive on structure, taking a methodical approach to projects, goals, and problems.

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#2 – Highly critical people are more likely to suffer from self-esteem issues.

People who frequently criticize others are more likely to:

  • Envy other people’s life.
  • Worry constantly about being rejected by their friends.
  • Believe that they will never amount to anything or anyone significant.
  • Modify their personality, opinions or appearance in order to be accepted by others.
  • Restrict their friendship to people who benefit their status in some way.


#3 – Eating disorders are both a physical and psychological battle.

According to our study:

  • 45% of individuals diagnosed with an eating disorder have low self-confidence.
  • 58% believe that they will never be loved unless they have a perfect body.
  • 56% crave other people’s approval.
  • 40% have a pessimistic outlook on their life and their future.
  • 70% ruminate excessively and obsess about problems in their life.
  • 56% find that their life is too stressful or difficult.
  • 72% tend to take failure very hard.


#4 – Certain thought patterns can increase our vulnerability to depression.

Our research revealed that depressed people are more likely to:

  • Attribute failure to internal causes. 

No matter what goes wrong in their life (a failed relationship, being laid off at work, etc.), they automatically blame themselves – even when the failure isn’t their fault. 

  • Suffer from attentional bias.

They are more likely to focus excessively on/be more sensitive to negative comments, despite evidence to the contrary.

  • Be extreme perfectionists.

They set unreasonably high standards for themselves, and when they inevitably fail to live up to them, they become even more upset and depressed, creating an ugly, vicious cycle.

  • Live in fear of other people’s judgment.

They place a great deal of stock in other people’s opinion, and worry a great deal about what friends, colleagues and loved ones think of them. Any mistake or failure is evaluated in the context of, “What will other people think?”


#5 – People still believe in – and take steps to avoid the consequences of – superstitions.

Our list of top ten superstitions based on our paranormal beliefs study includes:

  • The belief that thinking negative thoughts can cause bad things to happen.
  • Unlike the negativity surrounding number 13, more than half of our sample believe that 7 is a very auspicious number.
  • Nearly half of the people surveyed believe that a curse awaits anyone who disturbs an ancient Egyptian tomb.
  • Breaking a mirror is still considered bad luck for a third of people surveyed.
  • If they spill salt, every fourth person throws a pinch of it over his or her left shoulder to counter the evil associated with this superstition.

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#6 – People who are defensive in response to constructive criticism are more likely to hate their job.

  • After receiving negative criticism, 43% of unsatisfied employees respond by becoming disengaged from their job. They work less hard and put in the bare minimum effort to get tasks done (compared to 18% of satisfied employees).
  • 29% of unsatisfied employees believe that their poor performance is due to the fact that the standards their customers, colleagues, or managers set for them are too high (compared to 15% of satisfied employees).
  • 30% of unsatisfied employees view most people as being “cut-throat,” and believe that these same people intentionally use criticism to bring others down (compared to 16% of satisfied employees).
  • 44% of unsatisfied employees feel insulted when someone rejects their ideas (compared to 29% of satisfied employees).


#7 – Men can be emotional eaters too.

Our research reveals that the top emotional eating triggers for men are:

  • Trigger #1: The desire to be carefree 

Tell a person that they can’t have something, and they’ll only want it more. That seems to be one of the emotional eating triggers for the men in our sample: They don’t like the feeling of restriction and limitation, especially when it comes to food. 

  • Trigger #2: Self-sabotaging beliefs

While they recognize that emotional eating is not healthy, they sabotage their chances of curbing this habit by adopting beliefs like, “I don’t have the discipline needed to control my eating.” “It’s pointless to look after myself by eating healthy because I will never be good enough for anyone.” “I am too old to change my lifestyle.”


#8 – Although a fear of failure is common, a fear of success can be just as debilitating.

Collecting data from people who took our Success Likelihood Test ,we compared those who indicated that they are afraid to succeed to those who are not. Here are some the results of our study:

  • 65% of people with a fear of success believe that success is a matter of fate – about being at the right place at the right time – which implies that they don’t have full control over their ability to succeed (compared to 55% of those who don’t have this fear).
  • 56% are afraid that taking pride in their accomplishments will make them appear arrogant or conceited (compared to 36%).
  • 41% indicated that being the best performer or being at the top of their field implies a heavy load of responsibility that they don’t want to carry (compared to 17%).
  • 33% don’t like the idea of standing out because of their accomplishments (compared to 17%).
  • 20% have “Impostor Syndrome.” They believe they don’t deserve success or that the success they have achieved was just a lucky break (compared to 5% for those who are not afraid to succeed).


#9 – People still have unhealthy beliefs about emotions.

For example:

  • 32% of people in our study purposely postpone or avoid discussing touchy topics (like bringing up an issue that could cause an argument).
  • 54% of men and 35% of women will do whatever they can to stop themselves from crying.
  • If they have an uneasy feeling about a situation or a person (what we like to call a “gut feeling” or “intuition”), 31% of men and 24% of women will IGNORE IT!
  • Along the same vein, 63% of men and 54% of women believe that emotions have no place in the decision-making process.
  • Rather than milking their emotions for information, 55% of men and 60% of women don’t question why they are feeling angry, sad, or worried.


#10 – Weight loss troubles: It might be what’s in your head, not in your belly.

If you’re doing everything right on your weight loss journey (like eating healthy and exercising), and don’t have a medical issue that can hinder your progress, it may be time to explore the thoughts you’re feeding yourself. For example, among the overweight and obese people in our study…

  • 60% have a low tolerance for frustration. They want immediate gratification, which means that if they don’t see quick results of their efforts, they are more likely to give up.
  • 55% use food to deal with negative emotions like sadness, anger, rejection, or anxiety.
  • 59% have an overall tendency to procrastinate. Essentially, the “I’ll work out tomorrow” or “I’ll start making smarter food choices tomorrow!” often turns into next week, two months from now, next year, or the next time we overeat and vow not to do it again.
  • 45% said that they consider a healthy lifestyle a “hassle.” Here’s the problem: Most people try to do too much too quickly. Rather than cutting down on a few unhealthy foods at a time, they go cold turkey (pun intended). So it’s no surprise that after two weeks of a strict “only-veggies-and-lean-protein” diet, they have a sudden, inexplicable craving for something laden with gravy, bacon, and cheese.

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Insightfully yours,

Queen D

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