Even When You ’re A Member Of An Elite Group, It Can Be Demoralising To Rank Lower Than Your Peers
In this study, some participants in the huge-fish-tiny-pond condition were told they had done better than 35% of all American test-takers, while some in the tiny-fish-huge-pond condition were told they had done better than 65% of Americans.  This meant that participants in the huge-fish-tiny-pond group were 30 percentile points lower than those in the tiny-fish-huge-pond group. And yet, the effect still occurred (albeit at a smaller scale): they rated their abilities as higher than those in the latter group. Finally, the researchers found evidence that this effect is driven by people focussing on their own rank wit...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 24, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Educational Social The self Source Type: blogs

Pro-Environmental Beliefs Are Less Likely To Lead To Action Among Those Who Believe In A Controlling God
This study confirms that it’s the belief in a controlling god, rather than a belief in God per se, that weakens that association, the team argues. As already noted, though, the religious people in this study were Christians, and they were all American. So the findings may or may not extend to people with other religious beliefs. Also, these studies featured a lot of self-report and assessments of “intention” to act. It would of course be interesting to know whether belief in a controlling god makes any difference to actual, real world behaviour. However, as the researchers also point out, when it co...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 23, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: environmental Religion Source Type: blogs

Adults Put Off Crucial Conversations About Race Because They Mistakenly Think Young Children Won ’t Understand
By Emily Reynolds Conversations about race are not always easy, as the writer Reni Eddo-Lodge has recently explored in her brilliant book Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race. But they’re no less necessary for it: not talking about racism is simply not an option, particularly for those of us who benefit from structural inequality. We all have a part to play in this ongoing dialogue — including parents of children growing up in a world full of racial injustice. Previous research has suggested that constructive conversations about race and ethnicity can have positive outcomes for ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 22, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Babies Developmental Educational Source Type: blogs

Cognitive Control Helps Cheaters To Stay Honest — And Honest People To Cheat
By Emma Young Many of us are faced with daily temptations to cheat. You might be offered the chance to download pirated music, perhaps. Or you might wonder about passing your child off as younger than they are, to avoid buying them a ticket on public transport. As the authors of a new paper, published in PNAS, point out, several lines of research propose that cognitive control is needed for us to resolve the conflict between wanting to cheat and wanting to be honest. We need, in other words, to make an effort to rein in our impulses. However, the new work, led by Sebastian Speer at Erasmus University in the Neth...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 21, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Decision making Lying Source Type: blogs

Bee Brains And Eyebrows: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web You’ve probably heard of ASMR — or maybe experienced it yourself from watching videos of people doing things like whispering or rustling paper. But although such videos are incredibly popular, there have been surprisingly few studies on the phenomenon. Giulia Poerio explores what the research has revealed so far at The Conversation. The feelings of “dissociation” caused by drugs like ketamine seem to be related to slow, rhythmic firing patterns of brain cells in an area called the retrosplenial cortex. Research...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 18, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

Our Ability To Perceive Musical Beat Becomes More Refined Through Childhood
By Emma Young If you were to play your favourite song right now, I imagine you’d have little difficulty clapping along with the beat. Our appreciation of beat allows us to clap, dance, march and sway in time with a piece of music — or just with each other. As the authors of a new paper published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General point out, these behaviours occur spontaneously across human cultures. But while moving to a beat seems effortless, it involves all kinds of perceptual processes. The team, led by Jessica E. Nave-Blodgett at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, now repor...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 18, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Developmental Music Perception Source Type: blogs

When Causing Harm Is Unavoidable, We Prefer To Cause More Harm For More Benefits Rather Than Less Harm For Fewer
By Matthew Warren Imagine that you’re an official faced with an unenviable decision: you must choose whether to establish a farm on existing land which can produce enough to feed 100 hungry families, or cut down an acre of rainforest to create a larger farm able to feed 500 hungry families. What choice would you make? If you chose not to cut down the rainforest, you’re in the majority. In a new paper in Psychological Science, participants tended to avoid choosing to harm the rainforest, despite the benefits it would bring. This isn’t surprising: time and again, researchers have found that we wi...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 16, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Decision making Morality Source Type: blogs

Which Human Experiences Are Universal?
By Emma Young As everyone knows, American undergrads are not representative of all humanity — and the perils of drawing conclusions about people in general from WEIRD studies have been well-publicised. To really understand which human experiences are universal, and which are a product of our individual cultures, we need big, well-conducted studies of people from many different cultures. Fortunately, there are studies like this. Here are some of their most fascinating insights… Personal space How big is your “personal space”? As a Brit, I’d expect mine to be larger th...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 15, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cross-cultural Feature Source Type: blogs

People Love Winning Streaks By Individuals More Than Those By Teams
By Emily Reynolds When Usain Bolt or Serena Williams step out for their latest race or match, the world waits with bated breath. As some of the best athletes in the world, their unbelievable winning streaks have been met by almost universal acclaim — and plenty of people hoping that streak isn’t broken. But according to Jesse Walker from Ohio State University and Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University, that investment and goodwill just isn’t the same when it comes to teams: we’re far less impressed by consecutive wins by groups of people than those by individuals. They call this phenomen...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 14, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Sport Team work Source Type: blogs

Passive-Aggressive Texts And Polygraph Machines: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web When it comes to text messages, a single full stop can be loaded with meaning. A simple “OK”, for example, might be fine by itself — but suddenly takes on a passive-aggressive tone when it becomes “OK.” Danny Hensel explores why this is the case at NPR. Some people who have been infected with Covid-19 continue to have physical symptoms for months — and this can take its toll on their mental health. Recent research has suggested that between one third and one half of Covid “long-haulers” ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 11, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

The Process Of Psychological Recovery Begins While A Stressful Event Is Still Going On, According To Study Of Early Stages Of Coronavirus Pandemic
By Emma Young The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed all our lives. For those of us fortunate enough to avoid unemployment, our work lives have still changed drastically. So how long should it take employees to recover psychologically, and settle into a “new normal”? According to a new paper, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, this process actually began very early on. This is among the first work to show that psychological recovery can start during a stressful experience. The pandemic has threatened workers’ wellbeing in all kinds of ways. As Eric Anicich at the University of Sou...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 10, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Coronavirus Mental health Source Type: blogs

People Often Don ’t Understand The Psychology Of Confessions — And This Could Contribute To Wrongful Convictions
By Emily Reynolds Not all confessions are created equal. In a criminal justice setting, some admissions of guilt are both sincere and corroborated — but others are not, having been coerced, given by vulnerable or underage defendants, or unreliably reported secondhand. Yet mock jury trials have shown that lay people often tend to take a confession at face value, handing down a guilty verdict without considering other potential evidence. It’s with this in mind that Fabiana Alceste from City University of New York and colleagues question just how well people really understand the existing body of eviden...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 9, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Forensic Source Type: blogs

Here ’s Why We Falsely Remember Completing Tasks We Had Intended To Do
By Emily Reynolds Finishing off a big task can be memorable, whether you sincerely feel you’ve achieved something or are just relieved to have got it out of the way. Everyday tasks, however, are much more mundane: taking your daily medication or typing in a password are unlikely to be particularly noteworthy events. You may also have found a gap between your intention to do a particular mundane task and actually enacting it — meaning you either can’t remember whether you actually did it, or misremember having done it entirely. It’s this phenomenon that Dolores Albarracin and colleagues fr...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 8, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Memory Source Type: blogs

When We Follow Orders To Hurt Someone, We Feel Their Pain Less Than If We Hurt Them Freely
By Emma Young It’s one of the best-known and also controversial experiments in psychology: in 1963, Stanley Milgram reported that, when instructed, many people are surprisingly willing to deliver apparently dangerous electrical shocks to others. For some researchers, this — along with follow-up studies by the team — reveals how acting “under orders” can undermine our moral compass. Milgram’s interpretation of his findings, and the methods, too, have been criticised. However, the results have largely been replicated in experiments run in the US, Poland, and elsewhere. And in 20...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 7, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Morality Perception Social Source Type: blogs

Faces And Friendliness: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web A new study adds to the “nature vs nurture” debate about the fusiform face area, a region of the brain specialised for processing faces, reports Neuroskeptic at Discover Magazine. Researchers found that both blind and sighted people show activation of this area when touching models of faces, suggesting that visual experience, at least, isn’t necessary for the area to become specialised. Humans have prospered as a species because of our “friendliness”, such as our tendency to perform acts of kindness tow...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 4, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

Black Women With Natural Hair Face Biases From Potential Employers
By Emily Reynolds Stories about discriminatory practices against Black people with natural hairstyles (e.g. afros, twists, dreadlocks, braids and cornrows) abound. At school, having natural hair has led to detention, punishment and even exclusions, and previous research has also found serious stigma around natural hair when it comes to desirability and professionalism. A new study in Social Psychological and Personality Science backs this up, finding that such biases can tangibly affect Black women’s chances with potential employers. Christy Zhou Koval at Michigan State University and Ashleigh Shelby Roset...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 3, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Occupational Source Type: blogs

Episode 21: How To Stay Connected In The “New Normal”
This is Episode 21 of PsychCrunch, the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, sponsored by Routledge Psychology. Download here. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/psychcrunch/PsychCrunch_Ep21.mp3 What can we do to stay connected in the middle of a pandemic? We’ve all played our part in fighting COVID-19, and for many of us that has meant staying away from our friends and families. In this episode, our presenter Ginny Smith explores how this unprecedented period of separation has reinforced the importance of connection. Ginny looks at how video chats compa...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - September 2, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Coronavirus Podcast Social Source Type: blogs

Dream Diaries And Awkward Acronyms: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web Psychologists interested in dreams spend a lot of time analysing dream diaries — but what if they could have a computer do all that laborious work for them? That’s the promise of a new algorithm that uses text analysis to look for patterns in people’s dream reports, writes Charlotte Hartley at Science. The tool could help researchers understand how dreams differ in different populations, or how the content of dreams relates to wellbeing. Extreme worry and anxiety is rarely a good thing, but some level of worry can be adaptive...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 28, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

Babies ’ Moods Can Determine How Well They Remember Things They’ve Learned
By Matthew Warren One of the classic findings in memory research is that we’re better at remembering information when we’re in a similar context to that in which we learned it. This was perhaps most famously demonstrated in a 1975 study, which found that people who learned a list of words while scuba diving had better memory for the words when again underwater, compared to when on land (similarly, those who had learned the list on land were better at remembering it on land). But it’s not just the external environment that matters: our internal states can also provide memory cues. For instance, ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 27, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Emotion Developmental Memory Source Type: blogs

More Entitled People Get Angrier After Experiencing Bad Luck
By Matthew Warren We’ve all had the experience of losing our temper when being treated unfairly by someone else. And while anger isn’t the most pleasant emotion, it can be a useful social tool to signal to another person that we’re not happy with how they’re acting towards us. But what about when we suffer because of bad luck, rather someone else’s actions? In that case it would seem to make little sense to get mad. And yet, a new study in Personality and Individual Differences finds that a certain group of people are more likely to show anger in such situations: those who feel like...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 26, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Anger Personality Source Type: blogs

How Making Sacrifices For A Partner — Or Saying You Will — Affects Wellbeing
By Emma Young You were hoping to go out with friends on Saturday night, but your partner really wants to have a quiet night at home instead… Your life’s going great, but then your partner is offered their dream job in a town you’d happily never visit, let alone live in… So what do you do? Do you stand your ground? Or you do you sacrifice your own goals for the sake of your partner’s? It’s a dilemma familiar to anyone who’s ever been in a relationship. It would seem reasonable, then, to assume that research could tell us what the likely impacts would be on individ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 25, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Emotion Sex Social Source Type: blogs

Here ’s How Feelings Of Optimism Change As We Age
By Emily Reynolds There’s a commonly held notion that young people are more hopeful about the future than any other group — you might have heard this referred to, either positively or negatively, as “youthful optimism”. Even Jane Austen picked up on it: “There is something so amiable in the prejudices of a young mind that one is sorry to see them give way to the reception of more general opinions”, she wrote in Sense and Sensibility. But is this actually the case? According to a new study from William J. Chopik and colleagues published in the Journal of Research in Personality...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 24, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cross-cultural Developmental Positive psychology Source Type: blogs

We Find Some Word Sounds More Emotionally Arousing Than Others
By Emma Young Of all “cross-modal” findings, the most famous is surely the bouba-kiki effect — that we tend to pair round, blobby shapes with the sound bouba and spiky shapes with kiki. However, research has not yet revealed why this effect is common among adults who speak very different languages — and even in infants as young as four. Various theories have been put forward. One holds that levels of emotional arousal may be key — that both kiki and a spiky shape trigger relatively high levels of arousal, compared with bouba and a blob. Now a new study, reported in Psychologica...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 20, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Emotion Language Perception Source Type: blogs

Reminders Of God Don ’t Actually Encourage Us To Take Risks, Replication Study Finds
 By guest blogger Sofia Deleniv “…Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” This passage, pulled from Isaiah 41.10, is just one example of the Bible’s many references to God’s power to protect. And this protective persona might affect you much more than you think. At least that’s what emerged in 2015, when researchers from Stanford University published a string of studies finding that people prompted to think of God made significantly riskier decisions — whether or not they were religious. The scie...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 19, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cognition Decision making Religion Replications Source Type: blogs

Musings On Music: Seven Insights From Psychology
By Emma Young Music and humans go back a very long way. The earliest accepted instruments, made from bones, appear on the European scene about 40,000 years ago. But for perhaps at least a million years before that, our ancestors had the throat architecture that in theory would have allowed them to sing. All kinds of ideas have been put forward for why and how music came to matter so much to us. But what’s abundantly clear is that it does matter; there isn’t a society out there that doesn’t make and listen to music. And new research is now revealing all manner of psychological and neurological effects...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 18, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Brain Emotion Feature Memory Music Source Type: blogs

Small Pleasures Are Just As Important For Our Wellbeing As Long-Term Goals
By Emily Reynolds When it comes to leading a happy and fulfilled life, many of us focus on long-term goals: what job we want, whether or not we want children, or how to reach a certain level of skill at a particular hobby or interest. There’s a reason so much research looks at how to achieve the things you value in life. As such, we often (try to) eschew short-term pleasures, deeming them a distraction from more loftier goals. But according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the pursuit of those more immediate pleasures could be just as important for our wellbeing. The ability to enga...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 17, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Emotion Positive psychology Source Type: blogs

Mathematical Mistakes And Social Sharks: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web We really struggle to wrap our heads around the idea of exponential growth, writes David Robson at BBC Future. Instead, we tend to rely on our intuitions and think of growth as linear even when it is not — which could help to explain why many people underestimated the dangers of coronavirus spreading. Researchers say that politicians and the media should be doing more to try and highlight the exponential nature of transmission in an attempt to correct this mathematical bias. For a lot of the country, this week has been unpleasantly hot. An...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 14, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

The Shape Of A Glass Can Influence How Much We Drink
By Matthew Warren Recent years have seen the government take measures to try and limit people’s consumption of sugary drinks and other unhealthy foods. Take the so-called “sugar tax” placed on soft drinks, for instance, or the proposal to ban adverts for junk food before the 9pm watershed. Some psychologists hope that small changes in design can also help “nudge” people into healthier behaviours. For example, a study from last year found that the order in which drinks are presented on the McDonald’s menu could encourage people to choose the sugar-free options more often. Now a new p...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 13, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Alcohol Health Perception Source Type: blogs

“Successful” Psychopaths Learn To Control Their Antisocial Impulses
By Emma Young You’ll be familiar with the concept of the “successful psychopath”. Like regular psychopaths, such people are callous and manipulative, self-seeking, and free from guilt — but rather than ending up behind bars, they are able to flourish in their careers. However, though the concept of the successful psychopath is popular, it’s also contentious. That’s because there’s been a lack of data to substantiate it, or to explain it. But now, ten years after an initial study hinted that levels of the personality trait of conscientiousness might be important for understandi...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 12, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Personality Psychopathy Source Type: blogs

People Prefer Strangers Who Share Their Political Views To Friends Who Don ’t
By Emily Reynolds Friendship tends to be based on some kind of shared experience: growing up with someone, working with them, or having the same interests. Politics is an important factor too, with research suggesting that we can be pretty intolerant of those with different political positions — not an ideal starting point for friendship. This can have a significant and tangible impact. One Reuters/Ipsos poll, for example, found 16.4% of people had stopped talking to a family member or friend after Trump was elected, while 17.4% had blocked someone they care about on social media. So what happens when you find o...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 11, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Political Social Source Type: blogs

People May Only Notice They ’ve Become More Active After More Frequent Vigorous — But Not Moderate — Physical Activity
By Emily Reynolds Starting a new habit isn’t always easy — we probably only have to look at our own history of failed New Year’s Resolutions to know that. One common frustration is that things don’t happen fast enough — we start doing something that’s supposedly good for us but don’t see a significant behaviour change as quickly as we’d hoped. That certainly seems to be the case with exercise, at least according to a new study in Frontiers in Psychology. It found that people only feel they’ve become more active when they increase the amount of vigorous activity the...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 10, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cognition Sport Source Type: blogs

Abstract Art And Pigeon Personalities: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web The world is designed for —  and by — extraverts, forcing introverts to try and adapt to society, writes Noa Herz at Psyche. But it’s unfair to place the onus on introverts, Herz argues, writing that simple changes could make work and educational settings more welcoming places for a group that makes up around a third of the population. Loneliness can manifest differently according to your age group, reports Amy Barrett at BBC Science Focus. Researchers looking at data from thousands of adults in the Netherlands found ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 7, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

How STEM Fields Can Foster A Sense Of Belonging For Minority And First-Gen Students
By Emily Reynolds Fostering a positive identification with science is an important part of many programmes trying to make STEM more diverse. This is vital, as underrepresented groups may be faced with cultural stereotypes about science: that scientists are mainly White men, for example. These kinds of experiences can reinforce inequalities: governmental research from 2019, for example, found that girls were far less likely to see themselves as good at science-related subjects, and enjoyed them less — despite outperforming their male peers at exams. . Identifying as a ‘”science person” might als...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 6, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Educational Source Type: blogs

Finally, One Area Where We Don ’t Think We’re Better Than Others: Remembering Names
By Matthew Warren We tend to see ourselves as better than our peers across a whole range of traits and skills. We think we’re more environmentally friendly,  morally superior, and more observant than those around us. The bias can even spill over to our perceptions of our loved ones: we overestimate the intelligence of our romantic partners, for instance. But according to a new study in Psychology and Aging there’s one domain where we don’t see ourselves as “better than average”: remembering other people’s names. Past work has shown that the better-than-average effect is less l...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 5, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Language Memory Social Source Type: blogs

Teacher Trainees Are More Likely To Misread Black Children As Angry Than White Children
This study was designed to demonstrate the existence of this bias to White people and other researchers, she explains. She’s also keen to expose other racial prejudices besides the anger bias: “We want to keep our eyes and ears open to what other phenomena are being imposed by … culture and by White people on others because of stereotypes. So the next question is, ‘ What are other biases that we have that we haven’t become aware of?’” In the UK, researchers from the Centre For Education and Youth (CFEY) have found that teachers in London show biases against Black Caribbean boys an...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 4, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Anger Educational Source Type: blogs

Overconfidence Can Be Transmitted From Person To Person
In this study, participants were indirectly influenced by a fictitious former partner of their own partner in the weight-guessing task.) Further work revealed that these confidence effects can persist, still being evident several days later. Importantly, two of the studies produced evidence that the influence of overconfident peers on a participant’s own self-estimations happened largely outside their conscious awareness. As the team writes, if you’re unaware of such a “stealthy” transmission of bias, this could make it harder to resist. The work also reveals one important qualifier to all these eff...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - August 3, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cognition Social Teams Source Type: blogs

Sex Differences And Happy Relationships: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web Researchers have reported on the unusual case study of a man, known as RFS, who could read letters but not numbers. When RFS saw numbers, they appeared as a jumbled up mess, writes Sam Kean at Science. Yet he could see the shape of an “8” once it was turned on its side, suggesting that the problem wasn’t a visual deficit, but something specific to number processing. A study has found sex differences in the volume of grey matter in certain areas of the brain — differences which may be related to the expression of genes on...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 31, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

How To Get The Most Out Of Virtual Learning
By Emily Reynolds  When the coronavirus hit, many of us had to quickly adapt to remote working — and even post-pandemic, many of us are likely to continue at least some of these tasks online. Demands for more flexible working practices continue to grow, and for good reason — it can make life easier for employees with parenting or caring responsibilities, health problems or disabilities, and some argue it can also increase productivity. Online webinars and conferences also allow continued professional development without workers ever having to leave their home office. Things are no different in the wor...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 30, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Coronavirus Educational Feature Memory Source Type: blogs

Researchers Assume White Americans Are More Representative Of Humankind Than Other Groups, According To Analysis Of Psychology Paper Titles
By Matthew Warren It’s well-known that psychology has a problem with generalisability. Studies overwhelmingly involve “WEIRD” participants: those who are western and educated, from industrialised, rich and democratic societies. And while there is increasing recognition that other populations need better representation in research, many psychologists still often draw sweeping conclusions about humanity based on results from a narrow portion of the world’s population. A new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that this problem may have had another, more insidi...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 29, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cross-cultural Methodological Source Type: blogs

Having Realistic Expectations Could Make You Happier Than Being Over-Optimistic
By Emily Reynolds There are fairly good arguments for optimism and pessimism both. Optimists, who see the best in everything, are likely to have a sunnier disposition; pessimists, on the other hand, would argue that their negative expectations never leave them disappointed when the worst actually happens. But in the end, it might be realists who win out. According to a study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, being realistic about your life outcomes is likely to make you happier than overestimating them. David de Meza from the London School of Economics and Chris Dawson from the University of Ba...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 28, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Mental health Money Positive psychology Source Type: blogs

Vets Show “Weight Bias” Against Obese Dogs And Their Owners
By guest blogger Ananya Ak The concept of weight bias or “fatphobia”, the social stigma around obesity, has been around for quite a while. Studies have shown that such stigma is present even among medical professionals, which negatively impacts quality of care for patients with obesity. Over the years, there have been several instances of doctors attributing medical symptoms to obesity when the symptoms were actually caused by something more serious, like a tumour. But what about social stigma towards obese pets? Over 50% of cats and dogs in the USA are obese and, like humans, pets with obesity have a higher ri...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 27, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Comparative guest blogger Health Source Type: blogs

Magic Tricks And Brain Art: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web Recent work has cast doubt on many previously reported priming effects — but the kind of priming used by magicians may in fact work, writes Jennifer Ouellette at Ars Technica. Researchers used the gestures and verbal cues employed by illusionist Derren Brown to try and encourage participants to think of a 3 of diamonds when given the choice of any card from a deck. And it worked: participants picked that card 18% of the time, much higher than would be expected by chance. Psychologist Stuart Ritchie has a new book out, Science Fictions, wh...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 24, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

Receiving Money-Saving Gifts Can Make People Feel Ashamed And Embarrassed
By Emily Reynolds Looking for the perfect gift can be a pleasure and a curse: the joy of picking exactly the right thing vs. the anxiety that you’ve completely missed the mark. Whether to get somebody something luxurious but impractical or something with utility is another common dilemma. It’s also one that may have unintended consequences: while some practical gifts — those that save someone time, for example — can be appealing and well-received, others may fall short. If you were thinking of getting that special someone a gift with the intention of saving them money, for example, think again ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 23, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Emotion Social Source Type: blogs

Plant “Cognition” Deserves Greater Attention In Comparative Psychology, Paper Argues
In this study, each plant’s roots were split between two different pots, one of which received a constant level of nutrients, the other a variable level. The overall level of nutrients in these pairs of pots was also varied, so that some pairs had high levels, and some low. In overall low-nutrient situations, the plants went for the safe option of the pot with the stable (if unsatisfying) level of nutrients, focusing root growth in this pot. But in higher nutrient conditions, they took a punt on the variable-level pot. As Castiello writes: “The experiment showed that plants are able to respond to risk and to sw...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 22, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Cognition Comparative Source Type: blogs

Religious People In The US — But Not Elsewhere In The World — Have More Negative Attitudes Towards Science
By Matthew Warren It’s a common view among the public — and certain intellectuals — that science and religion are in fundamental opposition to each other, despite claims to the contrary. As Richard Dawkins put it in his essay The Great Convergence, “To an honest judge, the alleged convergence between religion and science is a shallow, empty, hollow, spin-doctored sham.” Part of this conviction that science and religion cannot be reconciled comes down to a belief that the two doctrines are psychologically incompatible. How can someone put their faith in a divine being while also trying to ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 21, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Personality Religion Source Type: blogs

People Who Crave Structure Are More Likely To Declare That Errors In Media Reports Are “Fake News”
By Emily Reynolds There’s been much interest in what drives fake news over the last few years: who exactly shares it, and why? But beyond actual fake news — that is, purposefully misleading information spread online to further a particular agenda — recent years have also seen many people labelling genuine journalism as untrustworthy or downright false. There are obvious ideological drivers to this, with some keen to undermine political opponents by any means necessary. But there might be another reason people are drawn to declaring “fake news!”: a need for order. Viewing publications as s...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 20, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Media Personality Source Type: blogs

Pregnancy Cravings And Cakes In Disguise: The Week ’s Best Psychology Links
Our weekly round-up of the best psychology coverage from elsewhere on the web More journals have issued expressions of concern for papers authored by the psychologist Hans Eysenck. These are just the latest of many similar statements and retractions related to Eysenck’s work, particularly that which purported to find strong links between personality and cancer risk. But as Cathleen O’Grady reports at Science, it’s taken a long time to reach this stage: some researchers began raising concerns more than 25 years ago.  The public has increasingly come to accept the fact that mental health disorder...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 17, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Weekly links Source Type: blogs

Engaging With The Arts Is Related To Greater Wellbeing (But It ’s Not Entirely Clear Why)
By Emma Young Social isolation and fears for our family and friends, as well as ourselves, have all affected psychological wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdown. But being unable to visit an art gallery, theatre or live music venues may also have taken its toll. According to new research by Peter Todderdell at the University of Sheffield and Giulia Poerio at the University Essex, such experiences contribute to wellbeing in a way that watching a sporting event, for example, does not. The pair’s new paper, published in Emotion, presents the first longitudinal examination of the effect of engaging with the “...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 16, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Aesthetics Media Mental health Source Type: blogs

When Reminded Of Their Mortality, People Are More Likely To Donate Possessions That Allow Their Identity To Live On After Death
By Emily Reynolds Mortality is a weighty, often difficult topic. Some avoid thinking about it altogether, while others try to come to terms with it: research suggests a fear of death can be ameliorated by unexpected tactics including hugging a teddy or listening to death metal. It’s also been posited that a fear of mortality can lead to materialism: trying to accrue as many possessions or as much wealth before death as a way of managing existential terror. But a paper in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that thinking about mortality might have a different impact on behaviour, making people more likely t...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 15, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: The self Source Type: blogs

Eating Lunch At Your Desk Again? Study Examines Why Workers Don ’t Always Take Breaks
By Emily Reynolds If you work for more than six hours a day in the UK, you’re legally entitled to a rest break of at least twenty minutes per shift. Many workers get more; if you work an eight hour day, it’s likely your employer will give you an hour-long lunch break. Whether or not you actually take that break, however, is a different matter. Despite the fact that breaks can increase motivation and productivity and decrease potentially damaging inactivity, research has indicated a growing trend of workers eating their lunch at their desks or not taking their rest time. Some figures suggest 82% of workers ...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - July 14, 2020 Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: BPS Research Digest Tags: Mental health Occupational Qualitative Source Type: blogs