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Psychology In the Light of Evolution

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By Alex Danvers

Without evolution, your thinking is impoverished. In introducing speakers Leda Cosmides and Joseph Henrich at the SPSP Annual Convention symposium “Big Questions in Evolutionary Science and What They Mean for Social-Personality Psychology,” moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt argued that not reading their work is “a huge missed opportunity.”

How Discrimination Shapes the Health of American Racial and Ethnic Minorities

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By Lauren Howe

Racial and ethnic minority Americans have worse overall health than White Americans. What causes this difference, and what can we do to close this gap?

Talk About Your Body!

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By Alex Danvers

Charlotte Markey only had one couple get in a fight as a result of her study—mildly surprising, given that she forced same-sex romantic partners to rate what they thought their partner’s ideal body shape was in front of each other.

Is It Better To Be Feared or Loved: Comparing Dominance Vs Prestige-based Leadership Styles

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By Luke Wilmhurst

There are two classic approaches to leadership. You can win the respect and admiration of your staff, giving them the inspiration to give their very best effort.

Or you can just scare the hell out of them.

From a subordinate’s perspective, the first approach seems much more preferable. But which one is really more effective? These two leadership styles can be understood as dominance (i.e., leading via power and fear) or prestige (i.e., influence via a positive reputation) based on approaches.

Can Digitally-Mediated Communication Compare to Face-to-Face Communication?

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By Vivian P. Ta

Gone are the days of face-to-face only communication. Technology provides us with many fast and easy ways to connect with and communicate with others, such as through text messaging, instant messaging, and others. But can digitally-mediated communication compare to face-to-face communication?

Creating a New Definition of What It Means To Be Healthy

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By Lauren Howe

What does being healthy mean to you? The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “complete physical, mental, and social well-being - and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” But research suggests that, despite this, Americans may still define health in a narrow way.

The Forces that Divide Us

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By Tessa Thwaites

As young children we are told that “hate” is a strong and loaded word; that we shouldn’t use the word unless we are absolutely sure that we mean it; and that we probably actually mean just intense “dislike.” But is “hate” not simply equivalent to an experience of intense dislike?

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Embrace the Data

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By Alex Danvers

What words can classify a movie review as positive? What words classify it as negative?

In the symposium Big Data: Vast Opportunities for Psychological Insight from Mining Enormous Datasets at the SPSP Annual Convention, Harvard economist Sendil Mullainathan threw up some obvious candidates, like “dazzling” or “gripping”—words that researchers brainstormed would do a good job. Using these “theory-grounded” words, a team of computer scientists was able to classify reviews with 60% accuracy—not much of an improvement over 50/50 guessing.

The Psychological Importance of Bacon-Scented Candles

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By Tessa Thwaites

Novelty items and male-targeted branding abound to protect fragile masculinity: from tumblr’s “menswear dog” to grenade-shaped bath bombs to bacon-scented candles. Although these items superficially appear to be simple jokes, they may actually reflect insidious experiences of what Joseph Vandello from the University of Southern Florida describes as a culture of “precarious manhood”.

Honor Is The Original Enforcer

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By Alexander Danvers

“My name is my name.” –Marlo Stanfield, The Wire

Honor is stubborn. It compels people to respond to aggression in kind—even when responding to a provocation will lead to losing a fight. It seems out of date, even irrational. But if honor is so problematic, why is it so common across the U.S.?

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