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Credit:  Ding Yuin Shan
Group Membership Shapes Mind Perception

September 11, 2014
--This week on SPSP's blog, Character & Context, Leor Hackel discusses research showing that group memberships influence how we attribute minds to others. A new study indicates that top-down motives may influence not only higher-level mind attribution, but also how we interpret bottom-up perceptual cues to the presence of a human mind.

Read more.

Credit:  Ding Yuin Shan
How Meaningful Relationships Can Help You Thrive

September 3, 2014
-- Past research has shown that individuals with supportive and rewarding relationships have better mental health, higher levels of subjective well-being and lower rates of morbidity and mortality. A paper published in Personality and Social Psychology Review provides an important perspective on thriving through relationships, emphasizes two types of support that relationships provide, and illuminates aspects where further study is necessary.

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Credit:  Ding Yuin Shan
Can Marijuana Reduce Social Pain?

August 27, 2014
-- Marijuana use is hot topic of debate recently. With states legalizing recreational use, more states putting medicinal use up for referendum, and even the NFL reconsidering its disciplinary policy on the issue, it is important for researchers (and data) across specialties to be a part of this debate. The study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, focuses marijuana’s ability to dampen social pain among the lonely.

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Credit: Anderson Mancini
Can Fiction Stories Make Us More Empathetic?

August 20, 2014
-- Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, discussed how exposure to narrative fiction may improve our ability to understand what other people are thinking or feeling in his session at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

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Credit: Anderson Mancini
How We Form Habits and Change Existing Ones

August 14, 2014
-- Studies show that about 40 percent of people's daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations. "We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and response," Wendy Wood explains in her session at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

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