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In the Journals

The Power of a Hug Can Help You Cope with Conflict

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Friends, children, romantic partners, family members – many of us exchange hugs with others on a regular basis. New research from the United States, published today in PLOS, now shows hugs can help us to cope with conflict in our daily life.

Hugs are considered a form of affectionate touch. Hugs occur between social partners of all types, and sometimes even strangers.

Family Environment in Early Childhood Has Enduring Effect on Self-Esteem

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Most of us assume that the way how young children are raised shapes their evolving sense of self-esteem. Consider two examples. Rachel’s parents are warm and responsive individuals, show interest in Rachel’s feelings and opinions, and promote her cognitive development. In contrast, Sophie’s parents have persistent marital conflicts, often lack the emotional resources to pay attention to Sophie’s needs, and frequently yell at her when she does something wrong. It seems likely that Rachel develops higher self-esteem than Sophie.

The SAGE Model of Social Psychological Research

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Following the 2008 global economic crash, the Irish accepted harsh austerity as the national economy collapsed, only to protest in 2014 & 2015 during a stark economic recovery. This paradox raises many pertinent questions for social and cultural psychologists: why do some people not protest when others riot in the streets; how are culturally-salient narratives taken up by individuals in times of social change; under what conditions do people tolerate economic inequality and when does this tolerance give way?

Growth Mindset Interventions Yield Impressive Results

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A growth mindset is the belief that intellectual abilities are not fixed, but can be developed. Do students who are taught a growth mindset earn higher grades and test scores?

Schools Are Buying 'Growth Mindset' Interventions Despite Scant Evidence That They Work Well

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Ten years ago, after over two decades of research on this topic, Carol Dweck – the Stanford University developer of “mindset theory” – concluded, “what students believe about their brains – whether they see their intelligence as something that’s fixed or something that can grow and change – has profound effects on their motivation, learning, and school achievement.” This idea – mindset – has become increasingly popular since then in education. Many school teachers are very enthusiastic about teaching growth mindsets in the classroom.

When Does Living a Moral Life Lead to a Flourishing Life?

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How can we live a meaningful and purposeful life? Answering this question can significantly contribute to our long-term well-being. Recent research in positive psychology among diverse populations unequivocally suggests that living a more meaningful and purposeful life predicts better physical and mental health.

Knowing Who You Are Matters in Relationships

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We’re often told that it’s important to “know thyself.” Although this advice might sound a bit clichéd, it turns out that knowing who we are makes a difference in our romantic relationships.

How Women and Men’s Different Emotional Experiences Shape Moral Decisions

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Negative stereotypes about women’s emotionality have persisted throughout history, leading to many damaging myths about their decision-making capacities in the social, professional, and political sphere.  Historically, women’s emotionality was also considered to undermine their ability to make moral decisions.  Women were often viewed as morally inferior to men because they based moral judgments on emotion rather than logic.  In stark contrast to this early view, we now know that self-conscious moral emotions, like guilt, are critical to moral judgment and moral behavior (

Why Confronting Paradoxes Can Give You a Creative Boost

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In either the social or corporate world, we often face contradictory expectations. Your friend expects you to maintain regular contact, but to give them personal space. Your boss expects you to follow rules, but to remain flexible and adaptive. You compete to outperform your coworkers, but collaborate with them in a team to deliver high quality work.

Angels and Demons: Differences in Mental Images of Believers and Atheists

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Atheists are considered one of the most untrustworthy social groups in the U.S. People tend to imagine that atheists are morally uninhibited; capable and willing to cheat, steal, and even murder. This assumption that atheism signals immorality may be based in the premise that religious belief is a prerequisite to moral behavior. That is, a moral person is a religious person, and an immoral person must be an atheist.