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Lucky Charms: When are Superstitions Used Most?

It might be a lucky pair of socks, or a piece of jewelry; whatever the item, many people turn to a superstition or lucky charm to help achieve a goal. For instance, you used a specific avatar to win a game and now you see that avatar as lucky. Superstitions are most likely to occur under high levels of uncertainty. Eric Hamerman at Tulane University and Carey Morewedge at Boston University have determined that people are more likely to turn to superstitions to achieve a performance goal versus a learning goal.

The Psychology of Gift-Giving and Receiving

Gift exchanges can reveal how people think about others, what they value and enjoy, and how they build and maintain relationships. Researchers are exploring various aspects of gift-giving and receiving, such as how givers choose gifts, how gifts are used by recipients, and how gifts impact the relationship between givers and receivers.

The symposia "The Psychology of Gift Giving and Receiving" will take place during the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention in Long Beach, California.

Challenges of "picky" recipients

A Meta-Analysis of Peer Norms and Their Relation to Adolescent Sexual Behavior

Researchers at Utrecht University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute collaborated on a meta-analysis of research on adolescent sexual behavior. The goal was to analyze how this behavior is related to adolescents' perceptions of three types of sexual peer norms, including how sexually active their peers are, how much their peers would approve of being sexually active, or how much they feel pressured by their peers to have sex.

How We Form Habits and Change Existing Ones

Much of our daily lives are taken up by habits that we've formed over our lifetime. An important characteristic of a habit is that it's automatic-- we don't always recognize habits in our own behavior. Studies show that about 40 percent of people's daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations. Habits emerge through associative learning. "We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals.

Aggressive Behavior Observed After Alcohol-Related Priming

Researchers from California State University, Long Beach, the University of Kent and the University of Missouri collaborated on a study to test whether briefly exposing participants to alcohol-related terms increases aggressive behavior. It has been well documented by previous research that the consumption of alcohol is directly linked to an increase in aggression and other behavioral extremes. But can simply seeing alcohol-related words have a similar effect on aggressive behavior?

Designing the experiment