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Why Is Sarcasm so Difficult to Detect in Texts and Emails?

Image of a confused woman with her hands in the air looking at a computer screen

This sentence begins the best article you will ever read.

Chances are you thought that last statement might be sarcasm. Sarcasm, as linguist Robert Gibbs noted, includes “words used to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning of a sentence.” A form of irony, it also tends to be directed toward a specific individual.

Psychology News Round-Up: ICYMI June 16, 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.

Faithfulness Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Satisfied Partners Downgrade the Appearance of Potential Threats to Their Romantic Relationship

Though they meet thousands of new people in their lifetime, what underlying psychological factors might couples use to stay committed to their partners? According to a recent study, people in relationships actually see tempting people outside of their partnership as less attractive. This perceptual bias could represent a non-conscious method of self-control that assists in overcoming temptations in order to facilitate long term goals of staying with a romantic partner.

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.

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?

Social Influence and Teen Sex: What Matters and What Doesn’t

Image of four young boys and girls sitting near one another, all using tablets or phones
By Benjamin Le
 
American parents often worry that their adolescent children are susceptible to their friends’ influence and will be pressured into having sex before they are ready to do so. Are these worries justified?
 
Past research has found that social influence is associated with behaviors such as smoking and alcohol use among teenagers.1,2 A recent study3 extended this work and investigated whether three types of social influence predict adolescent sexual behavior:
 

Jealousy Can Drive Us to View Ourselves More Like Our Rivals

If you see your partner flirt with someone else, you may feel hurt, angry, and jealous. The last thing you might expect is to start thinking of yourself more like your rival. New research suggests just that: that jealousy can prompt people to change how they view themselves relative to competitors for their partners' attention.
 
Previous research has shown that individuals often will change their self-views to be more similar to someone to whom they want to get closer, such as a romantic partner.

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

Declining Loneliness Among American Teenagers

There has been a growing concern that modern society is increasingly lonely. In 2006, a New York Times article "The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier" highlighted research that shows a decline in social engagement--people are less likely to join clubs, have fewer close friends, and are less likely to perceive others as trustworthy. However, studies have also shown an increase in extraversion and self-esteem, which suggests loneliness is decreasing.

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