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In the Journals

Making Moral Arguments

Image of two businessmen at podiums debating

By Tamar Kreps

Imagine that you are telling someone else about your views on a policy issue—for example, expressing the view that the death penalty is wrong. What sort of justification should you give for your opinion? You might be tempted to shore up your view using a cost-benefit rationale: “I oppose the death penalty because of the extra financial costs it imposes on our legal and prison systems, and because there is no evidence that it is effective at preventing crime.”

Self-affirmation changes health behavior

Image of a man snapping a cigarette in half

By Tracy Epton

People engage in many behaviors that are bad for their health such as smoking, not exercising, eating unhealthily or drinking too much alcohol. What is intriguing is that people continue pursuing an unhealthy lifestyle even when they are confronted by information that tells them that these choices are bad for them; they minimize the risks or even deny them altogether. Self-affirmation theory (Steele, 1988) offers an explanation of why people do this.

Relationship Visibility

Image of a young businessman looking at his phone with a young businesswoman looking over his shoulder

By Lydia Emery

Think about the last time you were on Facebook. You probably noticed “that couple” – the person who always posts pictures of himself with his girlfriend, or the one who claims that she has “the best boyfriend ever” in her status updates. And then there are the people who you know are in relationships, but there’s no trace of it on Facebook. No “in a relationship” status, no pictures together, maybe no mention of the relationship at all.

Emotional Similarity can Reduce Stress

Image of man speaking on a stage in front of a crowd of seated people

By Sarah S. M. Townsend

Does public speaking stress you out? If you are the type of person who gets very stressed out when you have to give a presentation, what do you usually do to help yourself feel better? Take a deep breath? Imagine the crowd naked? Perhaps talk to someone who looks confident and seems to know what she’s doing? Or share your feelings with someone who seems equally stressed? Most people may not think of this last one, but our recent research suggests they might want to give it a try.

The Teacher Expectation Project

Image of a silhouetted woman reading a story to seated children

By Christine Rubie-Davies

Differences in student outcomes have been attributed to many factors, among which have been differential teacher expectations. Teacher expectations are ideas teachers hold about the potential achievement of students. They are important because they determine the level and types of instruction teachers plan for students and can have a substantial impact on student outcomes.

Can Marijuana Reduce Social Pain?

Image of a young girl being talked about behind her back

By Timothy Deckman

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. This project, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, focuses marijuana’s ability to dampen social pain among the lonely.

There is less ‘I’ in teams

Image of circle of people reaching in to the center and joining hands

By Mina Cikara

Mina Cikara, Anna Jenkins, and Rebecca Saxe discuss their new research about how moral behavior changes when we’re part of a group. 

A relationship with God?

An image of two pointer fingers touching, creating a burst of white light

By Kristin Laurin

I have relationships with lots of people. I have relationships with my parents and sisters. I have relationships with my friends and colleagues. I have a relationship with my girlfriend. I even have a relationship with the cashier at the Trader Joe’s who doesn’t make me feel bad when all I buy is chips, beer and chocolate peanut butter cups. But do I have a relationship with God? Could I have a relationship with God that bears a psychologically meaningful resemblance to my relationships with the important people in my life?

A Recipe for Replications

Illustration of a man creating his own self portrait illustration

By Mark Brandt

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