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So Many in the West are Depressed Because They’re Expected Not to Be

Image of young woman laying on the floor using her laptop

Depression is listed as the leading cause of disability worldwide, a standing to which it has progressed steadily over the past 20 years. Yet research shows a rather interesting pattern: depression is far more prevalent in Western cultures, such as the US, Canada, France, Germany and New Zealand, than in Eastern cultures, such as Taiwan, Korea, Japan and China.

Arts Engagement Can Help Counter Divisions in Society

Engagement with the arts can help societies counter economic, cultural and political divisions, new research co-ordinated by psychologists at the University of Kent shows.

The study  provides evidence that the arts can act as a key social psychological catalyst that can foster and maintain social co-operation.

Psychology News Round-Up: ICYMI July 14, 2017

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Each week, we recap featured posts from Character & Context and other blogs around the cyberspace, plus news stories and tweets worth a look. If you have an item you'd like us to consider, use the hashtag #SPSPblog or tweet us directly @spspnews.

Psychology News Round-Up: ICYMI June 23, 2017

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Each week, we recap featured posts from Character & Context and other blogs around the cyberspace, plus news stories and tweets worth a look. If you have an item you'd like us to consider, use the hashtag #SPSPblog or tweet us directly @spspnews.

People Looking for Prestige Prefer “Big Ponds” Over Small Ones

Would you rather be the big frog in a small pond or the small frog in a big pond? The decision rests on culture: Chinese are more likely to choose the big pond than Americans.

Good Intentions Are in the Eye of the Beholder: Culture Shapes Perceived Intentionality

by Cory Clark

When determining whether someone did something intentionally, should it matter whether the action had positive or negative consequences? Logically, the downstream consequences of an action should be irrelevant to such judgments, but research reveals that U.S. Americans are far more likely to see actions with harmful side-effects as intended than identical actions with helpful ones.[1]

Consider the following example:

How Much Does China Smile?

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By Thomas Talhelm

Several years ago, I was traveling in Thailand. They call it “the land of smiles,” and that sure seemed true to me. I remember seeing a passenger on the back of a motorbike make eye contact with me and smile. I smiled back.

Two days later, I landed in Kunming, southwestern China. Thailand had gotten me into the habit of smiling at people, so as I walked in a local market, I smiled at anyone who made eye contact with me. What happened in response is what I’d call confusion, mild negativity, and sometimes a furrowed brow.

The Healthiest Eaters Are the Most Culturally "Fit"

How to be a healthy eater depends on culture. A recent study shows that in the U.S. and Japan, people who fit better with their culture have healthier eating habits. The results appear in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

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