It can be a conversation killer to tell people you’re a psychologist. “Do you go round analysing people?” is a common response. “Are you reading my mind?” is another. Psychology is very people focused. It’s all about us: why we do things, who we are, what we think and feel and how our minds, brains and bodies interact. While this can be disconcerting if you think someone is reading your mind (we’re really not, we’re too busy worrying about our own), there is something intriguing about reflecting on our own and others’ motivations. Most people like the idea of some evidence-based advice on how to lead a happier or better life, and psychology can provide this.
There are loads of apps that claim to use psychological principles to increase wellbeing in some way, encouraging you to keep track of your mood, to manage worry, to influence what you dream about … all sorts. There are others that don’t sell themselves as psychology but draw on psychological principles. Can an app really distil something useful from psychological research and plug you into some life-influencing wisdom? I think some of them can and I review ten of the best here for Observer Tech Monthly.