Posts

November 26, 2014

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9:00 AM | Why sadness lasts longer than other emotions
Staying positive can feel like an uphill battle. No wonder: when Philippe Verduyn and Saskia Lavrijsen asked over 200 high-school students (average age 17) to reminisce about the duration of their recent emotional experiences, they found that sadness had an unfortunate habit of lingering, more so than any of the other 26 emotions studied, including joy, pride and relief.Indeed, the average duration of the episodes of sadness recalled by the students was 120 hours. At the other extreme, the most […]

Verduyn, P. & Lavrijsen, S. (2014). Which emotions last longest and why: The role of event importance and rumination, Motivation and Emotion, DOI: 10.1007/s11031-014-9445-y

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November 25, 2014

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9:00 AM | When Korea imposed a limit on working hours, did it make people happier?
Across different professions, many people are familiar with the sense of having to deliver more with less, meaning clocking-off time falls later and later. One way to protect workers’ rights, and look after their wellbeing, is to introduce working hours restrictions. But a new paper by Korea University's Robert Rudolf investigates the impact of such a reform, and its conclusions are disappointing.Beginning its roll-out in 2004, the (South) Korean Five Day Working Reform was intended to […]

November 24, 2014

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9:20 AM | Happy people think they're good at empathising with the pain of others. They're wrong
Which of your friends - the happier, or the more melancholy - is better at spotting your excitement that Chris is attending your birthday, or that a B+ has left you disappointed?Evidence suggests that more upbeat people consider themselves especially empathic, and it would be reasonable to believe them, given that they know more people on average, and tend to form deeper, more trusting relationships. The reality, however, is more complicated. New research led by Yale's Hillary Devlin suggests […]

November 22, 2014

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8:13 AM | Link feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:Down The Culinary Rabbit HoleOver at The Psychologist magazine, Chef Heston Blumenthal describes his work with psychologists,  and there's an exclusive extract from The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining, by Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman (free registration required).The Best Optical Illusions to Bend Your Eyes and Blow Your Mind – In PicturesHighlights from the book Eye […]

November 21, 2014

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8:31 AM | The 100 most followed psychologists and neuroscientists on Twitter
Updated for November 2014, here are the 100 most followed psychologists and neuroscientists on Twitter based on follower counts recorded over the last few weeks. If we've missed anyone (individuals, not organisations) who should be in the top 100, please let us know via comments and we'll add them in. This is an update to our February 2014 post. Check the comments to that earlier post for even more psychologists on Twitter than we were able to include here. We're aware there are issues with […]

November 20, 2014

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8:20 AM | Bankers become dishonest when reminded of their professional identity
The "Natwest 3" jailedfor wire fraud in 2008.Picture a banker tossing a coin ten times. She knows the more tails she gets, the more money she wins (up to $200), so long as she gets more tails than a rival playing the same game. She performs her coin tossing in private and reports her number of tails. Do you think she'll be honest?When a team of researchers surveyed the general population about the likely dishonesty of bankers and other groups in this scenario, they found the bankers had the […]

November 19, 2014

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9:26 AM | Do you remember the time? How collective nostalgia inspires group loyalty
Nostalgia seems like a distraction in a world that’s moving forward. But new research proposes a powerful function of the emotion: as a glue to bind members of social groups.Students from the University of Southampton recalled and wrote about an experience either involving other students, or where they were alone. They were either asked to choose an ordinary event or one that triggered nostalgic feeling, defined in the instructions as "sentimental longing for the past".Next they were […]

November 17, 2014

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8:00 PM | Why you're particularly likely to run your first marathon when your age ends in a "9"
When we look at our lives, we tend to break them up into chapters, rather like the seasons of a TV box set. Potential dividers come in many forms, including the dawn of a new year, or the start of a new job. But if those events act as a marker between episodes, it is the decades of our lives that represent the more profound end of one series or season and the start of the next.According to the psychologists Adam Alter and Hal Hershfield, when we're on the cusp of one of these boundaries - in […]
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9:51 AM | How guessing the wrong answer helps you learn the right answer
Guessing, even wrongly, is thought toactivate webs of knowledge, which leadsto richer encoding of the correct answer. It's well known that taking tests helps us learn. The act of retrieving information from memory helps that information stick. This seems intuitive. More surprising is the recent discovery that guessing aids subsequent learning of the correct answer, even if your initial guess was wrong.Let's consider a simple example in the context of learning capital cities. Imagine you […]

Yan, V., Yu, Y., Garcia, M. & Bjork, R. (2014). Why does guessing incorrectly enhance, rather than impair, retention?, Memory & Cognition, 42 (8) 1373-1383. DOI: 10.3758/s13421-014-0454-6

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November 15, 2014

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8:00 AM | Link feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:Winter Is a Black Hole: How I Deal With Seasonal Depression"Seasonal depression hits for me, like clockwork, the day after Halloween" - writes Dayner Evans at Gawker.com.Learning How Little We Know About the BrainBy James Gorman in the New York Times.How To Debunk FalsehoodsAt BBC Future, Tom Stafford investigates the best way to correct false ideas.The “Paper Effect” – Note Something Down And […]

November 14, 2014

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8:46 AM | Reformers say psychologists should change how they report their results, but does anyone understand the alternative?
The rectangular bars indicate samplemeans and the red lines represent theconfidence intervals surrounding them.Image: Audriusa/WikipediaPsychological science is undergoing a process of soul-searching and self-improvement. The reasons vary but include failed replications of high-profile findings, evidence of bias in what gets published, and surveys suggestive of questionable research practices.Among the proposed solutions is that psychologists should change the way they report their […]

November 13, 2014

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10:00 AM | Babies' anxiety levels are related to their fathers' nervousness, not their mothers'
Picture a one-year-old infant crawling across a table top. Half way across, the surface becomes transparent so that it appears there is a deep drop. On the other side is the infant's mother or father, encouraging them to crawl across the "visual cliff". Will the baby's anxiety levels be influenced more by the mother's own anxiety or the father's?This was the question posed by Eline Möller and her colleagues in what is the first ever study to examine paternal behaviour in the classic […]

Möller EL, Majdandžić M & Bögels SM (2014). Fathers' versus mothers' social referencing signals in relation to infant anxiety and avoidance: a visual cliff experiment., Developmental science, 17 (6) 1012-28. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24909521

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November 12, 2014

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9:49 AM | Loneliness is a disease that changes the brain's structure and function
Loneliness increases the risk of poor sleep, higher blood pressure, cognitive and immune decline, depression, and ultimately an earlier death. Why? The traditional explanation is that lonely people lack life’s advisors: people who encourage healthy behaviours and curb unhealthy ones. If so, we should invest in pamphlets, adverts and GP advice: ignorance is the true disease, loneliness just a symptom.But this can’t be the full story. Introverts with small networks aren’t at […]

Cacioppo, S., Capitanio, J. & Cacioppo, J. (2014). Toward a neurology of loneliness., Psychological Bulletin, 140 (6) 1464-1504. DOI: 10.1037/a0037618

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November 11, 2014

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9:39 AM | Who are the most eminent psychologists of the modern era?
A new paper identifies Albert Bandura as themost eminent psychologist of the modern era.Twelve years ago the behaviourist B.F. Skinner topped a list of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the twentieth century, followed by Jean Piaget and Sigmund Freud. Now a team led by Ed Diener has used their own criteria to compile a list of the 200 most eminent psychologists of the modern era (i.e. people whose careers occurred primarily after 1956).Here is the top 10: Albert Bandura in first place, […]

Diener, E., Oishi, S. & Park, J. (2014). An incomplete list of eminent psychologists of the modern era., Archives of Scientific Psychology, 2 (1) 20-31. DOI: 10.1037/arc0000006

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November 10, 2014

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9:59 AM | When we lie to children, are we teaching them to be dishonest?
Cookie Monster - one ofthe characters featuredin this research.Most parents lie to their children, often as a way to control their behaviour. A new study asks whether lying to the little ones increases the likelihood that they too will lie. The authors, Chelsea Hays and Leslie Carver, say theirs is the first attempt to investigate this possibility.Nearly two hundred children aged three to seven were each put through a similar scenario, one at a time. First, they were invited to go through to […]

Hays, C. & Carver, L. (2014). Follow the liar: the effects of adult lies on children's honesty, Developmental Science, 17 (6) 977-983. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12171

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November 08, 2014

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9:55 AM | Link feast
Our pick of the best psychology and neuroscience links from the past week or so:Perhaps My Oxytocin Was Low When I Read This PaperStats whizz Professor Andy Field turns his expert eye to the results of a high-profile paper that found the hormone oxytocin increases trust. His own analysis - "there is not really a lot of evidence that oxytocin affected trust."60 Free Journal Articles on ParapsychologyCourtesy of Taylor and Francis / Psychology Press (free access until the end of the year).The […]

November 07, 2014

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9:31 AM | When we get depressed, we lose our ability to go with our gut instincts
People who are depressed often complain that they find it difficult to make decisions. A new study provides an explanation. Carina Remmers and her colleagues tested 29 patients diagnosed with major depression and 27 healthy controls and they found that the people with depression had an impaired ability to go with their gut instincts, or what we might call intuition.Intuition is not an easy skill to measure. The researchers' approach was to present participants with triads of words (e.g. SALT […]

November 06, 2014

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10:00 AM | Countries with more gender equality score more Olympic medals - among women and men
There are huge benefits to be gained when women and men are given equal opportunities. For example, companies with at least one woman on their board are more successful. In countries with less stereotyped views about women's abilities, girls tend to perform better at science. Now a team led by Jennifer Berdahl has extended this line of research to the realm of sport. In countries with greater gender equality, they find, both women and men tend to perform better at the Olympics.The researchers […]

Berdahl, J., Uhlmann, E. & Bai, F. (2015). Win–win: Female and male athletes from more gender equal nations perform better in international sports competitions, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56 1-3. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2014.08.003

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November 05, 2014

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9:54 AM | You've heard of "Owls" and "Larks", now sleep scientists propose two more chronotypes
For many years psychologists have divided people into two types based on their sleeping habits. There are Larks who rise early, feel sprightly in the morning, and retire to bed early; and Owls, who do the opposite, preferring to get up late and who come alive in the evening.Have you ever thought that you don't fit either pattern; that you're neither a morning nor evening person? Even in good health, maybe you feel sluggish most of the time, or conversely, perhaps you feel high energy in the […]

Putilov, A., Donskaya, O. & Verevkin, E. (2015). How many diurnal types are there? A search for two further “bird species”, Personality and Individual Differences, 72 12-17. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.003

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November 04, 2014

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10:01 AM | Does dreaming of exam failure affect your real-life chances of success?
Why do we dream? It's still a scientific mystery. The "Threat Simulation Theory" proposes that we dream as a way to simulate real-life threats and prepare ourselves for dealing with them. "This simulation in an almost-real experiential world would train the brain to perceive dangers and rapidly face them within the safe condition of sleeping," write the authors of a new paper that's put the theory to the test.Isabelle Arnulf and her colleagues reasoned that if dreams help simulate future […]

Arnulf, I., Grosliere, L., Le Corvec, T., Golmard, J., Lascols, O. & Duguet, A. (2014). Will students pass a competitive exam that they failed in their dreams?, Consciousness and Cognition, 29 36-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2014.06.010

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November 03, 2014

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10:03 AM | What can bereavement cards tell us about cultural differences in the expression of sympathy?
Sympathy towards the suffering is culture-dependent. People from "simpatico" cultures such as Brazil or Costa Rica are more likely to help people in need, as are people from economically poorer nations compared to wealthier counterparts. Now new research explores differences in how sympathy is expressed within two Western countries. Americans encourage sufferers to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, the study finds, while Germans are more comfortable gazing at its dark walls.Birgit […]

November 01, 2014

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8:00 AM | Link feast
This Is What A Panic Attack Physically Feels LikeDescriptions from people who experience panic attacks are accompanied by illustrations of their experiences.Magic May Lurk Inside Us All"Several streams of research in psychology, neuroscience and philosophy are converging on an uncomfortable truth: We’re more susceptible to magical thinking than we’d like to admit."A Mug of Cocoa is Not a Cure For Memory ProblemsThe headlines said new research showed a cup of hot cocoa could give […]

October 31, 2014

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12:01 AM | Spook Me, Please: What Psychology Tells Us About the Appeal of Halloween
By guest blogger Mathias ClasenIt’s the time of year, at least in our part of the world, when darkness encroaches on us—literally and metaphorically. The symbols and agents of darkness dominate Halloween decorations everywhere, and Halloween is growing in popularity across Europe and in the US. According to the National Retail Federation, US Halloween spending now exceeds $7 billion. In the UK, Halloween is worth about £330 million.Why is this Americanized version of the […]

October 30, 2014

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10:30 AM | The psychology of "mate poaching" - when you form a relationship by taking someone else's partner
According to one estimate, 63 per cent of men and 54 per cent of women are in their current long-term relationships because their current partner "poached" them from a previous partner. Now researchers in the US and Australia have conducted the first investigation into the fate of relationships formed this way, as compared with relationships formed by two unattached individuals.An initial study involved surveying 138 heterosexual participants (average age 20; 71 per cent were women) four times […]

October 29, 2014

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9:40 AM | Friendly, conscientious people are more prone to "destructive obedience"
In Milgram's shock experiments, a surprising number of people obeyed a scientist's instruction to deliver dangerous electric shocks. This is usually interpreted in terms of the power of "strong situations". The scenario, complete with lab apparatus and scientist in grey coat, was so compelling that many people's usual behavioural tendencies were overcome.But a new study challenges this account. Recognising that many participants in fact showed disobedience to the scientist in Milgram's studies, […]

October 28, 2014

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10:20 AM | What I don’t hear can’t hurt me: insecure managers avoid input from employees
Organisations do better when there are clear communication channels that allow staff to point out ways the company can improve. Similarly, teams who freely share ideas and concerns are more tight-knit and motivated. And their managers get enhanced awareness, and to share in the praise for any improvements that pay off. So encouraging employee voice should be a no-brainer, especially for any manager feeling unsure of their ability to deliver solo. Yet according to new research, these insecure […]

Fast, N., Burris, E. & Bartel, C. (2014). Managing to Stay in the Dark: Managerial Self-Efficacy, Ego Defensiveness, and the Aversion to Employee Voice, Academy of Management Journal, 57 (4) 1013-1034. DOI: 10.5465/amj.2012.0393

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