This past semester I took Intro Psychology at MIT with Professor Gabrieli. He’s an incredibly intelligent and engaging professor that has some of the most interesting and fun lectures I’ve ever had at MIT. As a result, some students compiled a list of of his weirdest, strangest, and best quotes from lecture.
Shout out the 9.00 group chat for all of these. And thank you to Ken for linking it again and contributing to it!
“When you want to take a sip of coffee, you know not only what the cup looks like but also where it’s located, and this knowledge is helpful because drinking your cat might lead to a furry mouth or a scratched face.”
“‘Don’t sweat it’ may really mean ‘Don’t let people smell that you are frightened.'”
“You would probably do a lot of exploring with other sensory systems before you placed it in your mouth—and even then you might be reluctant, no matter how delicious it was.”
“When you first see your beautiful prom date in her dress, you marvel at how green the material of her outfit is.”
“While Newton’s friends were at the pub, he spent his free time uncovering the relation between light and vision.”
“Although most cat lovers just dangle a string for their cat to play with, Thorndike flexed his cats’ intellectual capacities.”
“People are thus more likely to act according to a single piece of information (That woman seems flirty) and not take into account other, potentially more important pieces of information (That woman is my roommate’s girlfriend).”
“Whether we are learning to avoid the pain of touching a hot dish or learning the pleasures of bubble tea, our brains have the capacity to learn associations that our ancestors never confronted.”
“It should be noted that Skinner was neither a dog nor a cat person, but mainly a pigeon and rat guy.”
“Soon after we stop feeding you chocolates, you will stop your voracious reading.”
“If you learn something really interesting in your class—say, that penguins engage in a form of prostitution for pebbles when resources are scarce.”
“If you are a rapper, then it is not the laying down of sublime rhymes in time that makes your raps the dopest and your memory the mostest.”
“For example, if you see a private photo pop up on your computer screen during lecture but quickly close it before your classmate sitting next to you sees, you will hold a brief sensory memory in your mind, like an afterimage.”
“If you want to strengthen your memory storage after you finish reading this chapter, it might be a good time to go catch some zzz’s”
“…and those who watched an arousing video clip showing oral surgery..”
“Bugs Bunny is not legally allowed at Disneyland.”
“[Name] has just had a phone number whispered in his ear by someone he finds attractive. He knows that he has a few moments to type that number into his phone before he forgets it.”
“You are inside your mother for nine months, and then one day—BAM!”
“You don’t have to be looking at a plate of pickles to think about a plate of pickles.”
“Whether it’s your toe that’s stubbed or your girlfriend who’s snubbed, your pain matrix leaps into action.”
“There you are, with your cool rat shades on, decked out in your cool rat outfit, murmuring sweet rat nothings.”
“Actually, let’s upgrade that to people who love you, and for good measure, let’s even throw into the mix at least one rockingly attractive person who is happy to have sex with you whenever you think that’s a good idea.”
“And if your default response is to kiss that very inviting-looking person who happens to be dating a close friend, you are showing self-control by leaving the party to go home and take a cold shower instead.”
“Like most animals, humans tend to be motivated to approach good things (sex, food, success) and avoid bad things (pain, embarrassment, rejection).”
Imagine that you are an observer of the following online conversation:
B: Amen to that.
A: Quite the evangelist.
B: Our Father, who art in cyberspace, give us today our daily bandwidth.
A: evangelist / nerd lol. So how are things with you today.”
“But here is where the superego pipes up and says, “Ahem, you can’t just go around slapping people upside the head or running them down in your SUV.”
“Trying to wrap your head around and make sense of 15 correlations starts making you feel lungeous, doesn’t it?”
“Another question is why fears of snakes, spiders, and heights are so much more common than fears of other things that have caused many of us far more distress, such as hammers, calculus problems, and older or younger brothers or sisters.”
“Although we might dream of dating a supermodel or other gorgeous celebrity, we usually realize we are better off with someone whose mate qualifications are similar to our own.”
“If your friend mentions that he’s traveling to Tucson, Arizona, for spring break, you might scrunch up your nose and furrow your brow (demonstrating your negative evaluation of Tucson) as thoughts of your grandparents’ retirement community spring to mind (your cognitive belief that Arizona is for retirees)”