Envy, education, and the real reason people procrastinate; just a few of the gems in this week's roundup. Read on for the latest in social and personality psychology news and research. Recently in the news, written a post, or have selections you'd like us to consider? Email us, use the hashtag #SPSPblog, or tweet us directly @spspnews.
Women make up 50.8 percent of the U.S. population and have equal voting rights, yet are politically underrepresented. The country has never had a female president or vice president. Only 3.5 percent of Supreme Court justices have been women, and women make up only 20 percent of Congress.
What does the future hold? Our enduring fascination with predicting the future is reflected on the silver screen, as excitement builds over the Blade Runner sequel. We continue being mesmerized by ancient prophecies, such as Nostradamus' Quatrains. And we certainly pay very well to pundits, economists, and intelligence analysts who try to predict coming social, economic, and political events. Unfortunately, this abiding interest in prediction has not translated into the ability to forecast future events with much accuracy.
“Black people don’t go to therapy, Joan; we go to church.” So says one woman to her struggling friend on the TV sitcom Girlfriends after her friend admits that she wants to find a therapist. This moment captures an important insight: Identities, like race, gender, and socioecomonic status, are linked to health behaviors. The behaviors that people choose to engage in to promote their health are shaped by what identities come to mind and the strategies for improving health that are linked to those identities.
What do you think of when you hear the word “feminist?” To some, this term elicits images of political, social, and economic equality for men and women. To others, this term elicits images of man-hating women plotting to steal power from men. As PhD student Victoria Parker (Wilfrid Laurier University) points out in her talk entitled “Diverging Definitions: How the Conceptualization of “Feminism” Engenders Dislike and Obscures Common Ground Across Party Lines” at the SPSP Annual Convention, these diverging definitions are problematic.
Managing what to disclose and what to conceal has been an integral part of our everyday lives. Think about a time when you feel like you simply cannot trust someone, or perhaps that person is not as accepting as you want him to be, what would be the odds that you would open up to him? On the flip side, you probably are more likely to open up about your secrets with someone who is accepting and trustworthy.
Some individuals believe that people in disadvantaged positions are personally to blame for their situation. For example, poverty can be viewed as resulting from poor people’s bad decision making. This belief can lead these individuals to feel happy when disadvantaged groups face harsh treatment. For example, they may be happy when asylum seekers are put in detention centres, believing that the asylum seekers were wrong to enter the country illegally and so they must suffer the consequences.
Historically, elected office in the United States has been a white man’s game. Racial and gender diversity among winners of House, Senate, and gubernatorial elections have increased steadily since the late 1980s, but as a nation we are far from parity. The current Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history, and the incoming 116th Congress will likely be even more so.