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Psychological Science

Revisiting the Land of Opportunity

Wray Herbert | Posted 12.06.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Fewer and fewer Americans, including many middle-class Americans, believe that they can even preserve their existing standard of living -- or that their children will do any better. But how accurate are these perceptions?

Mothers and Lovers: From Parenting to Romance

Wray Herbert | Posted 12.02.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Scientists wanted to see if children's experiences with their parents shape their nervous system responses much later on, when they are in romantic relationships. They wanted to see if children's experiences with their parents shape their nervous system responses much later on, when they are in romantic relationships.

Hard to Think Straight: Processing Prejudice

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.24.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

It seems that when we perceive and process other people with ease, we judge them favorably. When we have difficulty -- for whatever reason -- we judge them negatively.

The National Sadness of Sandy Hook

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.13.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

While thinking about the Sandy Hook shooting evokes more sadness than anxiety in general, focusing on explanations leads to a shift in emotional tone from sadness to anxiety. Importantly, it appears that this emotional shift -- especially the growing anxiety -- is tied to people's lingering worry that a similar tragedy might occur in the future.

Nervous Laughter, Tears of Joy

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.06.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Everyone has witnessed or experienced discordant expressions -- crying at a wedding, growling at the sight of a newborn baby, screaming in the presence of a teen idol. Are these inappropriate emotional expressions simply embarrassing aberrations? What psychological purpose could they serve?

Are You a Political Extremist?

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.04.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

The results taken together are consistent with a view of the political extremist as thoughtful and confident, not unthinking. This does not mean of course that extreme political positions are necessarily sound or that they are not biased in other ways, but it does raise doubts about the mindless ideologue stereotype.

Holy Safety Net! Religion and Recklessness

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.30.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Psychological scientists suggest that belief in God could actually increase the tendency to take certain risks -- specifically, risks with no moral overlay. Their reasoning is that God is for most believers a source of security and protection, and feeling safe in God's care could diminish fear and boost bravery and daring.

Is Powerlessness the Key to Successful Negotiation?

Wray Herbert | Posted 12.23.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Leigh Steinberg, the inspiration for the title character in the film Jerry Maguire, is one of the most successful agents in the history of American sports. He is also a master negotiator. Psychological scientists believe they may have an explanation for Steinberg's seemingly irrational behavior and for its ironic success.

Troubled #hearts -- in 140 Characters

Wray Herbert | Posted 12.20.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Is it possible that aggregate Twitter patterns might also be revealing in some useful way? Could Twitter offer snapshots of communities as well as individuals? A team of scientists has been exploring this possibility.

Remember Me: Personal Legacy and Global Warming

Wray Herbert | Posted 12.15.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Many people have a need to be remembered well, even if that motivation is hidden, so sparking it can shift the focus to future others. Public policies that encourage futuristic contemplation might be one tool for stemming the ravages of climate change before it's too late.

Apple or Ice Cream? The Mechanics of a Healthy Choice

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.30.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Why is dietary self-control so difficult, even when we know full well what's at stake and what's right? It's not helpful at all to say simply that some people have more willpower. What's going on, at the most fundamental cognitive level, that leads to good and bad dietary decisions?

Breaking the Rules -- And Feeling Good About It

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.25.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Intriguingly, people don't lie and cheat indiscriminately -- simply because they can get away with it. Even when there is no chance of being found out, people show some level of aversion to acting unethically. They want it both ways: to profit by dishonesty, but also to preserve some sense of themselves as moral beings.

(Clinical) Fear and Loathing in America

Max Dorfman | Posted 11.09.2014 | Politics
Max Dorfman

Maybe as a nation--despite the depressed economy--we're not looking at ourselves clearly. We are still powerful--but no one, and no country, could possibly confront the mass amount of issues we believe we're responsible for in today's world. That is scary.

Labors Lost? Memories of Childbirth

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.05.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Nobody questions the physical intensity of labor and childbirth, but how do we know how painful the experience really is? Does recall -- especially months and years later -- accurately reflect the experienced pain?

Dating and Romance: The Problem With Kindness

Wray Herbert | Posted 11.03.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

If choosing a partner is such an important life decision, why do so many of us get it wrong?

Mental Illness: How the Victim's Families Suffer A Similar Faith

Olayiwola A. Alara | Posted 11.01.2014 | Healthy Living
Olayiwola A. Alara

While there is no known cure for a psychological disorder, there are a few medications that can assist to subdue the illness so the victims are not ...

The Power of Two: Why Sharing Is Better

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.28.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

We spend time every day in the company of others, but without explicit communication. Our lives unfold socially but silently, but even in the silence, good experiences get better and bad experiences get worse.

Alone on the Summit: The Costs of Adventure

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.26.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Many of us hunger for special experiences, things none of our friends have done or will do. But do these adventures really make us happy in the long run? Are they worth having?

Lean On: Workers, Work and the Spouses Who Help Us Succeed

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.22.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

We marry for "richer or poorer," but does our choice of partner actually make us richer or poorer?

Working Out at the (Implicit) Fitness Center

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.12.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Negative caricatures of aging are far too prevalent in our culture -- and they are harmful. Simply telling people to think positively about aging doesn't work, because the mind is very good at thwarting such explicit lessons. There may, however, be a more subtle way to mitigate the deleterious effects of such caricatures.

Healing the Wounds of the Future

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.06.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Is it possible that the mere prospect of terrifying battle experiences is enough to traumatize soldiers before they actually deploy?

Have and Have Not: The Widening Gap

Wray Herbert | Posted 10.01.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Little is known about people's thoughts about wages and fairness. In general, people favor some threshold of fairness, but what is this threshold -- and how widely is it shared? Two psychological scientists have recently begun exploring these important questions.

How To Tell The Difference Between 'In Like' And 'In Love'

The Huffington Post | Taryn Hillin | Posted 08.07.2014 | Weddings

We all know there's a difference between being "in like" with someone and being "in love," but it's often hard to tell how the other person feels abou...

Is Postpartum Depression a Disease of Modern Civilization?

Wray Herbert | Posted 09.23.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Working with UCLA's Martie Haselton, Chapman University psychological scientist Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook has been exploring the evidence from diverse sources to argue that postpartum depression is linked to early weaning, deficient diet, inactivity, not enough sunshine, and lack of family support.

The Handiest Tool in the World

Wray Herbert | Posted 09.21.2014 | Science
Wray Herbert

Psychological scientists decided to see if hand size is more reliable than other possible rulers. They wanted to see if indeed the perceptual system treats hand size as more constant than the sizes of other objects in the world, including other body parts.