Soldiers returning home from combat may be at a heightened risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder if public support for a war effort is low, according to recent research. Social validation or invalidation shapes the level of distress soldiers feel from the act of killing, the researchers say. The study involved two experiments that asked participants to exterminate woodlice in a modified coffee grinder – in one, having an actor show either interest or disgust for the act and in another, asking participants to record who agreed to the extermination and who refused. In both cases, the conditions that socially invalidated the killing of the bugs led to more distress and guilt among the participants. Ironically, the researchers report in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the very anti-war protests meant to show support for troops but disdain for combat may increase the likelihood that returning soldiers experience mental distress.
Read about this new research and more from our journals in this month's tipsheet for journalists.
Working on a team is always a challenge, but a new study highlights a particular challenge to women: how much they credit themselves in a joint success. Women will devalue their contributions when working with men but not with other women, according to the new research. The study suggests yet another reason why women still tend to be under-represented at the highest echelons of many organizations.
Michelle Haynes of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, had examined how other people evaluate men and women working together. She decided to build on that work to look at how women view themselves on teams after herself reading glowing group feedback for a conference submission she co-authored. "As I was reading this extraordinary review, I thought: 'Wow! Those other co-contributors must have really written something amazing for us to have gotten this kind of feedback.' And then it hit me like a ton of bricks: I do this too,” she says. She did not recognize her own positive contribution to the team endeavor. Read the full press release.
Even in the face of a disaster, we remain optimistic about our chances of injury compared to others, according to a new study. Residents of a town struck by a tornado thought their risk of injury from a future tornado was lower than that of peers, both a month and a year after the destructive twister, as reported today in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Such optimism could undermine efforts toward emergency preparedness.
After an F-2 tornado struck his town in Iowa, Jerry Suls, a psychologist at the University of Iowa who studies social comparison, turned his attention to risk perception. "I had dinner as a guest in a home that was destroyed by the tornado the next evening,” he recalls. "It was hard not to think about future weather disasters while helping with the clean-up in the following weeks.” Read the full press release.
time for Valentine's Day, Personality
and Social Psychology Bulletin
is featuring several new studies all about relationships –
including the link between income in marriage and health, the role of
jealousy in becoming a parent, and how humor affects romantic couples
in conflict. Read this month's tipsheet for journalists.
And read A Love Letter for Public Outreach, about why scientists should talk to the media, a follow-up to the recent media training seminar at SPSP 2013.
When we typically think of kids who are the victims of school bullying, what comes to mind are isolated youth who do not fit in. A new study, however, shows that when that harassment occurs online, the victims tend to be in mainstream social groups – and they are often friends or former friends, not strangers.The research is part of a burgeoning field of study into the effects of social media on everyday relationships and behavior.
Personality and social psychologists are finding surprising ways in which people's online environments and relationships reflect and influence their real-world ones, as presented today at SPSP annual meeting in New Orleans. Read the full press release.
We all know that getting a good night's sleep is good for our general health and well-being. But new research is highlighting a more surprising benefit of good sleep: more feelings of gratitude for relationships. It is one of several studies on the benefits of gratitude and giving being presented this week at the SPSP meeting in New Orleans.
Social psychologists are increasingly finding that "prosocial” behavior – including expressing gratitude and giving to others – is key to our psychological well-being. Even how we choose to spend our money on purchases affects our health and happiness. And children develop specific ways to help others from a very young age. Read the full press release.
mom is the boss at home, she may have a harder time being the boss at
work. New research suggests that women, but not men, become less
interested in pursuing workplace power when they view that they are
in control of decision-making in the home. This shift in thinking
affects career choices without women even being aware.
don’t know that they are backing off from workplace power because
of how they are thinking about their role at home,” says Melissa
Williams of Emory University. "As a result, women may make
decisions such as not going after a high-status promotion at work, or
not seeking to work full time, without realizing why,” explains
Williams who will be presenting her findings today at the SPSP annual meeting in New
new study is one of several at the SPSP meeting that will explore a
continued gender gap in workplace power – from how women versus men
view their roles in the home to how gender stereotypes form at a
young age to how these attitudes affect women's likelihood of
pursuing careers in science and math. Read the full press release.
Extraversion does not just explain differences between how people act at social events. How extraverted you are may influence how the brain makes choices – specifically whether you choose an immediate or delayed reward, according to a new study. The work is part of a growing body of research on the vital role of understanding personality in society.
"Understanding how people differ from each other and how that affects various outcomes is something that we all do on an intuitive basis, but personality psychology attempts to bring scientific rigor to this process,” says Colin DeYoung of the University of Minnesota. "Personality affects academic and job performance, social and political attitudes, the quality and stability of social relationships, physical health and mortality, and risk for mental disorder.” DeYoung is one of several researchers presenting new work in a special session today about personality psychology at the SPSP meeting in New Orleans. Read the full press release.
Keep up-to-date with the latest news from SPSP 2013 in New Orleans (Jan. 17-19)! Check out the SPSP 2013 Press Room, complete with press releases, tipsheet for journalists, and Twitter feed (@SPSPnews, #SPSP2013). And check back often for updates and the latest coverage of the meeting in the news.
Being a good partner
may make you a better parent, according to a new study. The same set
of skills that we tap to be caring toward our partners is what we use
to nurture our children, researchers found.
The study sought to examine how
caregiving plays out in families – "how one relationship affects
another relationship,” says Abigail Millings of the University of
Bristol, lead author of the work published online this week in
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. "We wanted to
see how romantic relationships between parents might be associated
with what kind of parents they are.” Read the full press release.
A growing body of research highlights the importance of gratitude for both social and personal well-being. SPSP will have a session on gratitude at the SPSP annual meeting in New Orleans, with a related press conference.
Read about this and new research in our journals on the link between group victimhood and trust, how weight stigma affects health, and more, in this month's tipsheet for journalists.
SPSP invites members of the press to
attend its annual
January 17-19, 2013, in New Orleans. Registered members of the press will have access to a press
room with Wi-Fi and the following exclusive press briefings: How
Stereotypes Shape Women's Identities and Careers; Giving, Getting,
and Gratitude; and Bullying, Relationships, and Personality: How the
Social Media World Maps to Social Reality. More details are available
in the latest Media Advisory.
People often remark that people of a different race "all look alike.” However, when we have trouble recognizing people from another race, it may actually have little to do with the other person's race. Instead, new research finds that that we can improve our memory of members of another race by identifying ourselves as part of the same group -- whether a sports team or nationality. Such identification could improve everything from race relations to eyewitness identification, says Jay Van Bavel of New York University, co-author of the new study published online last month in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read the full press release.
Your home city matters for both who you are and how you feel, according to a new suite of studies. In seven studies, researchers examined the history and culture of San Francisco and Boston, as well as surveyed residents (including commuters, college students, and middle-aged residents) of each city. They found that San Francisco showed more emphasis on egalitarianism, innovation, and looser social norms, while Boston emphasizes tradition, community, and tighter social norms. As a result, for Bostonians, feeling good is more contingent on social factors such as education, finances and community, as published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
Read about more new research from our journals, including how a mouth rinse can refuel willpower, in this month's tipsheet.
myths, aversive racism, heat and retaliation in baseball, and the
power of writing about personal trauma – these are just a few of
the research areas of the winners of the 2012 annual awards from the
Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). Each of the
recipients has made a unique and significant contribution to
understanding the individual and social factors shaping people's
personalities, interactions, and behaviors. Read the full press release.
It is not always best to forgive and forget in marriage, according to new research that looks at the costs of forgiveness. Sometimes expressing anger might be necessary to resolve a relationship problem – with the short-term discomfort of an angry but honest conversation benefiting the health of the relationship in the long-term. The research is part of a larger effort to better understand the contexts in which some relationships succeed and others fail, and also to understand how close relationships affect our health -- research presented this week at the APA Annual Convention in Orlando. Read the full press release.
For more personality and social psychology stories from the APA convention, visit the SPSP tispheet.
Does flirtation help or hurt a woman negotiating? According to new research, it helps – creating better economic outcomes for the female negotiators, if the flirtatiousness is perceived as above and beyond friendliness. The study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin examined "feminine charm” in negotiations through four different experiments, looking at the balance between friendliness and flirtatiousness. Flirtation as opposed to friendliness, the research found, signals self-interest and competitiveness.
Read more about this and other new studies, including about moving beyond cultural stereotypes to understand "shooter bias," in the July tipsheet for journalists.
A father’s love contributes as much — and
sometimes more — to a child's development as does a mother's love.
That is one of many findings in a new large-scale analysis of
research about the power of parental rejection and acceptance in
shaping our personalities as children and into adulthood.
our half-century of international research, we’ve not found any
other class of experience that has as strong and consistent effect on
personality and personality development as does the experience of
rejection, especially by parents in childhood,” says Ronald Rohner
of the University of Connecticut, co-author of the new study in
Personality and Social Psychology Review. Read the full press release.
More story ideas this month for Father's Day and beyond in the June tipsheet for journalists.
Summer vacation time is upon us. If you
have been saving up for your dream vacation for years, you may want
to make sure your dream spot is still the best place to go. A new
study has found that when we fantasize about such trips before they
are possible, we tend to overlook the negatives – thus influencing
our decision-making down the line.
"We were interested in the effects of
positive fantasies – what happens when people imagine an idealized,
best-case-scenario version of the future, compared to when they
imagine a less idealized version,” says Heather Kappes of New York University, author of
the study published online this week in Personality and Social
Psychology Bulletin. Read the full press release.
children cope with the loss of a loved one depends on their
attachment to their mother and activity within their nervous system,
according to a recent study. Adolescents with more attachment anxiety
to their mom at age 14 had a harder time adjusting to the loss of a
close social partner than adolescents with less attachment anxiety, according to the paper in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by Christopher P. Fagundes of the Ohio State University School of Medicine and colleagues.
Read about this and other stories for Mother's Day and beyond, including about the connection between family size and intelligence, in this month's SPSP tipsheet for journalists.
The traditional Southern belief that
men must defend their honor is alive and well but not just among men.
A new study finds that both men and women in the Southern United
States believe in responding aggressively – and sometimes in the
extreme – to attacks on the nation.In two studies, researchers sought to
measure both individual and regional differences in honor ideology in
the United States. "Honor ideology encompasses beliefs about how
men are supposed to behave in the face of provocations and the
attributes that 'real' men should exhibit,” says Collin Barnes of
the University of Oklahoma, lead author of the research online this
month in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Read the full press release.
Thinking about death can actually be a
good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and
help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new
analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking
about death – say walking by a cemetery – could prompt positive
changes and promote helping others.
Past research suggests that thinking
about death is destructive and dangerous, fueling everything from
prejudice and greed to violence. "There has been very little
integrative understanding of how subtle, day-to-day, death awareness
might be capable of motivating attitudes and behaviors that can
minimize harm to oneself and others, and can promote well-being," says Kenneth Vail of the University of Missouri, lead author of the study in the online edition of Personality and Social Psychology Review this month.
The color of our skin or where we come does matter when it comes to
how we react to a racist insult. A new study has found that African
American women are more likely than Asian American women to directly
rebuff racist comments, a difference that may reflect deeply rooted
The researchers, led by Elizabeth Lee and José Soto of The Pennsylvania
State University, tested direct responses to racism by analyzing Instant Messenger conversations in which an actor delivers to participants a racial insult. They then tested indirect responses by looking at jellybean flavors chosen for the same conversation partner. Read more details about the study, published this week online in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, in the press release.
With Easter fast approaching, Shige Oishi and Casey Eggleston discuss a recent study that looks at Americans' and Koreans' views of Jesus and shows that cultural differences play a large role in people's images of him. "The image of Jesus might be culturally constructed (to fit the existing ideal in a given culture), or it could be the reflection of individuals’ self-image,” they write.
Read more story leads and expert ideas from online and in the journals, in this month's SPSP Tipsheet for journalists.
For a 6-year old, one of the most powerful educational tools may be direct instruction, according to new research on how children learn about prejudice. Scientists found that as children get closer to age 10, they begin to rely more on their own experiences rather than what people tell them – but for youngsters, instruction trumps experience.