Character  &  Context

Psychology News Round-Up (December 12th)

Image of newspapers shaped to spell the word News

By Dave Nussbaum

This week on Character and Context, Daniel Effron wrote about how we make a lot of our past good deeds when we anticipate doing something unsavory, and Kaitlin Woolley wrote about some of the psychological benefits of doing what you love.

In a recent article for the Washington Post, David Sherman and Leaf Van Bovan discuss how self-affirmations may reduce government gridlock driven by partisan politics. People who have self-affirmed are less defensive and more tolerant to threats to their political identity. In one study around the 2008 presidential election Democratic and Republican voters watched segments from a debate and rated agreement with the policies and performance of Barack Obama and John McCain after. Voters who had previously self-affirmed were less partisan in their assessments of the candidates. Self-affirmation has also been shown to reduce barriers to conflict resolution and increase openness to negotiation even among highly contentious groups. Self-affirmation activities are not a cure-all, but if our representatives affirmed their values each morning maybe it would inspire enough aisle crossing to get something done.

Richie Lenne (@richienwl)

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