234 posts · 119,372 views
Stuck in a rut?
What does it mean for your relationship when you find yourself stuck in a rut? A group of researchers decided to answer this question by examining how being bored now affects relationship satisfaction down the road.
Tsapelas and colleagues (2009) asked 123 married couples who had been married for seven years how often during the past month they had felt that their relationship was (or was getting into) a rut. They also asked them how satisfied they were with their relationship........ Read more »
Tsapelas, I., Aron, A., & Orbuch, T. (2009) Marital Boredom Now Predicts Less Satisfaction 9 Years Later. Psychological Science, 20(5), 543-545. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02332.x
Can you read my mind?
Do you think this guy is:
Being able to "mind-read" is a unique and important human trait. Being high in emotional intelligence and empathy helps us smoothly navigate our social world and communicate effectively with other people. Not everyone, however, is an emotion-decoding master.
One of the tests that psychologists use to assess people's level of emotional recognition (also called empathy, emotion de........ Read more »
Baron-Cohen S, Jolliffe T, Mortimore C, & Robertson M. (1997) Another advanced test of theory of mind: evidence from very high functioning adults with autism or asperger syndrome. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 38(7), 813-22. PMID: 9363580
Gregory C, Lough S, Stone V, Erzinclioglu S, Martin L, Baron-Cohen S, & Hodges JR. (2002) Theory of mind in patients with frontal variant frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer's disease: theoretical and practical implications. Brain : a journal of neurology, 125(Pt 4), 752-64. PMID: 11912109
Adams RB Jr, Rule NO, Franklin RG Jr, Wang E, Stevenson MT, Yoshikawa S, Nomura M, Sato W, Kveraga K, & Ambady N. (2010) Cross-cultural reading the mind in the eyes: an fMRI investigation. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 22(1), 97-108. PMID: 19199419
Chapman E, Baron-Cohen S, Auyeung B, Knickmeyer R, Taylor K, & Hackett G. (2006) Fetal testosterone and empathy: evidence from the empathy quotient (EQ) and the "reading the mind in the eyes" test. Social neuroscience, 1(2), 135-48. PMID: 18633782
"I'm sorry" is infamous for its inadequacy. It often seems flippant, insincere, or incomplete, as in "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I'm sorry, but...". Wayward public figures are notorious for inadequate apologies, especially those that involve a failure to own up to wrongdoing. Some argue that a full apology requires many elements, such as acceptance of responsibility, an expression of genuine remorse, an offer to make amends, and an excuse-free explanation. Heartfelt apologies can go a lo........ Read more »
Schumann K, & Ross M. (2010) Why women apologize more than men: gender differences in thresholds for perceiving offensive behavior. Psychological science, 21(11), 1649-55. PMID: 20855900
We're combining science and video games! (source)
I think people who play video games are well aware of the public debate over the link between violent video-game playing and actual violent behavior, and if you're not, you can easily catch up with the more than decade-long discourse here, here, and here. What I think most people are not aware of, is that this same debate goes on within the walls of the ivory tower of academia!
I think the debate centers around two key issues: The firs........ Read more »
Anderson CA, Shibuya A, Ihori N, Swing EL, Bushman BJ, Sakamoto A, Rothstein HR, & Saleem M. (2010) Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in eastern and western countries: a meta-analytic review. Psychological bulletin, 136(2), 151-73. PMID: 20192553
Can you imagine getting off a roller coaster ride and falling in love with the first attractive person you see as you leave the ride? Likely not, but in fact, classic social psychology experiments have shown that sometimes people do misattribute feelings of fear and anxiety to sexual attraction. More generally, researchers have found that when people feel physiologically aroused (think racing heart, sweaty palms), they use environmental cues to help them determine why they are feeling that way ........ Read more »
Dutton, D., & Aron, A. (1974) Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30(4), 510-517. DOI: 10.1037/h0037031
I watched this IKEA commercial in my intro social psych class, and five plus years later, it is still seared into my memory. Take the minute to turn on your volume and watch this commercial, and then after the jump I'll tell you how Spike Jonze used social psychology to render me near tears.
Read More->... Read more »
After we go through a painful experience – a conflict with a friend, a break-up, a loss, we face a conundrum. On the one hand, reflection on the experience is essential. It allows us to gain insight, to understand the experience in new and important ways, to get over it. Yet, what once was healthy reflection can often turn into rumination – a toxic preoccupation with the experience that fosters negative emotion. In fact, rumination is believed to contribute to depressive episodes (e......... Read more »
Kross E, Ayduk O, & Mischel W. (2005) When asking "why" does not hurt. Distinguishing rumination from reflective processing of negative emotions. Psychological science, 16(9), 709-15. PMID: 16137257
Ayduk, �., & Kross, E. (2008) Enhancing the Pace of Recovery: Self-Distanced Analysis of Negative Experiences Reduces Blood Pressure Reactivity. Psychological Science, 19(3), 229-231. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02073.x
Ayduk O, & Kross E. (2010) From a distance: implications of spontaneous self-distancing for adaptive self-reflection. Journal of personality and social psychology, 98(5), 809-29. PMID: 20438226
With all of the season finales happening on tv the past few weeks, I've been in a bit of a funk. I feel like some of my good friends have just taken off for a three month vacation, and I miss them already. During the Glee finale I felt like I was in New York with the New Directions, and had goosebumps when they performed at Nationals. When it was over, I kept replaying the highlights of the episode in my head. The worst is when the finales leave you with a cliffhanger - will Beckett........ Read more »
Davis, M. (1983) Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 113-126. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.124
"Emotions are the heart of social living." -- E. J. Horberg, 2011
As the above quote suggests, emotions serve important social functions in our everyday lives. Emotions communicate important information about the social context, emotions provide a window into others' (hidden) intentions, and emotions can be communicated quickly and accurately in brief displays of behavior. These are all truisms of emotion, and perhaps explain the explosion of emotion research over the last 25 years........ Read more »
Keltner D, & Anderson C. (2000) Saving face for Darwin: Functions and uses of embarrassment. Current Directions in Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8721.00091
In 1963, Stanley Milgram published perhaps the single most important piece of research in the history of social psychology. His Behavioral Study of Obedience experiment is among the most influential studies of all time, and is still being taught today in psychology classes everywhere.
The experiment was designed to take place in laboratory room where the goal was to study learning and memory as part of a Yale psychology experiment. There were 40 total participants between the ages of 20 an........ Read more »
A co-worker once told me that he was a "sticker." At parties, he stuck in one place and let people come to him (sort of like a wallflower but with a more positive connotation). In other words, he was the opposite of a social butterfly, and he seemed totally fine with that. My immediate reaction was not entirely positive - his strategy seemed lazy (why did everyone else have to do the work?) and even rude. And yet, as I examined my own behavior, I realized that my natural inclination at big gath........ Read more »
Baumeister, R., & Scher, S. (1988) Self-defeating behavior patterns among normal individuals: Review and analysis of common self-destructive tendencies. Psychological Bulletin, 104(1), 3-22. DOI: 10.1037//0033-2909.104.1.3
Jamieson JP, Mendes WB, Blackstock E, & Schmader T. (2010) Turning the knots in your stomach into bows: Reappraising arousal improves performance on the GRE. Journal of experimental social psychology, 46(1), 208-212. PMID: 20161454
Schmitt, D. (2004) The Big Five related to risky sexual behaviour across 10 world regions: differential personality associations of sexual promiscuity and relationship infidelity. European Journal of Personality, 18(4), 301-319. DOI: 10.1002/per.520
The Sorting Hat perfectly divines people's personalities, something us mere muggle psychologists can only dream about doing. Yet we continue to try. So in honor of the final Harry Potter movie premiere tonight, I scoured the internet to find some psychology-based quizzes that will tell you, with science-backed certainty, in which Hogwarts House you belong.
Read More-... Read more »
McCrae, R., Costa, P., & Busch, C. (1986) Evaluating comprehensiveness in personality systems: The California Q-Set and the five-factor model. Journal of Personality, 54(2), 430-446. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1986.tb00403.x
Like many people who study psychology, I can't help but see it everywhere -- including songs that were clearly not intended to be Psych 101 textbook supplemental material (though they should be!). The following is a list of some of my favorite psych-relevant songs.
Altruism: Give a little love, Ziggy Marley
Attributions: Blame it on the rain, Milli Vanilli
Attachment anxiety: Without you, Mariah Carey
Conformity: Another brick in the wall, Pink Floyd
Cognitive Dissonance: Not an ........ Read more »
Napoletano, Margo. (1988) Teaching adolescent psychology using popular song lyrics. Psychological Reports, 62(3), 975-978. info:/
I’m sure most of you will recognize these pictures, and many of you may even remember the exact moments when they were taken. Certain words immediately come to mind: disgrace, fall, scandal, regret. These eerily similar expressions all occurred during the variety of infidelity scandals that have rocked the political scene. This picture, now being called “the look,” has been floating around the internet for the last few weeks. It provides a great opportunity for social psychologists to ra........ Read more »
Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. (1971) Constants across cultures in the face and emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 17(2), 124-129. DOI: 10.1037/h0030377
Last weekend I went back to my hometown for the wedding of my childhood best friend. June is the height of wedding season and there was definitely a frenzy in the air as people prepared for their big day. So during this time, it seems only right to ask… does marriage matter?
Our society certainly seems to think so. As young girls, my best friend and I used to dress up in her mom’s dresses and “play wedding.” In early elementary school we had imaginary husbands. In high school we looked ........ Read more »
Burnham, T., Chapman, J., Gray, P., McIntyre, M., Lipson, S., & Ellison, P. (2003) Men in committed, romantic relationships have lower testosterone. Hormones and Behavior, 44(2), 119-122. DOI: 10.1016/S0018-506X(03)00125-9
Did power lead to Arnold's infidelity? source
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton (1887)
We have many ideas about leaders in our society-- those individuals who have the capacity to influence the rewards and punishments of the rest of us. One of the more prominent opinions is expressed in the above quote. That is, powerful people are arrogant, selfish, greedy, immoral, and deceitful. Some research tends to support this perspective:
For........ Read more »
Côté S, Kraus MW, Cheng BH, Oveis C, van der Löwe I, Lian H, & Keltner D. (2011) Social power facilitates the effect of prosocial orientation on empathic accuracy. Journal of personality and social psychology. PMID: 21463075
As much as we like to romanticize poverty, there's no denying that money is important. Many of life's pleasures and necessities, like having free time to spend with loved ones and obtaining good quality health care, require sufficient finances. But research suggests that the relationship between money and happiness is much smaller than one might expect. In a recent review article, Elizabeth Dunn, Daniel Gilbert, and Timothy Wilson argue that the main reason that money does not buy as much happi........ Read more »
Dunn, E., Gilbert, D., & Wilson, T. (2011) If money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21(2), 115-125. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2011.02.002
Little touches mean so much (source)
Touch is arguably the most important sense we have. Some non-human primates spend upwards of 20% of the time grooming, a behavior primates rely upon for its social functions and ability to solve conflicts. In humans, touch may be even more important. Touch is the most highly developed sense at birth, and as you might guess, far preceded language as a means of communication in human evolution.
It's a wonder then, that such a small amount of research ha........ Read more »
Williams LE, & Bargh JA. (2008) Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth. Science (New York, N.Y.), 322(5901), 606-7. PMID: 18948544
Kraus MW, Huang C, & Keltner D. (2010) Tactile communication, cooperation, and performance: an ethological study of the NBA. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 10(5), 745-9. PMID: 21038960
Coan JA, Schaefer HS, & Davidson RJ. (2006) Lending a hand: social regulation of the neural response to threat. Psychological science, 17(12), 1032-9. PMID: 17201784
"Of Mankind we may say in general they are fickle, and greedy of gain." --Machiavelli (1532)
In several of the posts on this blog, we have written about the various forms and functions of social hierarchies in society. For instance, we have written about the perils of economic inequality here and here, we have written (here) about how power can corrupt people--unless they are prosocially oriented (read: nice), and we have written (here) about our paradoxical ne........ Read more »
Flynn FJ, Reagans RE, Amanatullah ET, & Ames DR. (2006) Helping one's way to the top: self-monitors achieve status by helping others and knowing who helps whom. Journal of personality and social psychology, 91(6), 1123-37. PMID: 17144769
This is the first part of an occasional series at Psych Your Mind that will delve into psychological experiences that contribute to (or detract from) happiness. In Part I of this series, we will discuss the potential dark side of happiness.
Over the last 20 years or so there has been an explosion of literature and accompanying research on the science of happiness. Most of this research has been devoted to understanding what makes people happy (or unhappy)? In general, the research on ........ Read more »
Gruber, J., Mauss, I., & Tamir, M. (2011) A Dark Side of Happiness? How, When, and Why Happiness Is Not Always Good. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(3), 222-233. DOI: 10.1177/1745691611406927
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