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Social Psychology

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Facebook May Not Be So Friendly for Those With Low Self-Esteem

The Pain of Social Rejection

Bullying: Why Social and Emotional Learning in Schools is Paramount to Prevention

The Science of Smiling

Being Left Out Puts Youth with Special Needs at Risk for Depression

Social Cues in the Brain (Interactive Tour of the Mind)

empathy and aggression

 

 

 

How Empathy Can Spark Aggression

 

September 26, 2014—Empathy is typically seen as eliciting warmth and compassion—a generally positive state that makes people do good things to others. However, empathy may also motivate aggression on behalf of the vulnerable other. Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, examined whether assessed or elicited empathy would lead to situation-specific aggression on behalf of another person, and to explore the potential role of two neurohormones in explaining a connection between empathy and aggression. The study is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
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Meaningful Relationships Can Help You Thrive

August 29, 2014—Deep and meaningful relationships play a vital role in overall well-being, says new research. Past studies have shown that individuals with supportive and rewarding relationships have better mental health, higher levels of subjective well-being and lower rates of morbidity and mortality. A paper published in Personality and Social Psychology Review provides an important perspective on thriving through relationships.
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The Social Origins of Intelligence in the Brain

CHAMPAIGN, IL; July 29, 2014—By studying the injuries and aptitudes of Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head wounds during the war, scientists are tackling—and beginning to answer—longstanding questions about how the brain works.
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Mom Was Wrong: You Should Talk to Strangers

 

New study finds commuters have a more positive experience when they connect with strangers

July 17, 2014—An interesting social paradox plays out every morning around the world as millions of people board commuter trains and buses: Human beings are one of the most social species on the planet, yet when in close proximity with one another—sitting inches away on a train—we routinely ignore each other.
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Study: Young Women with Sexy Social Media Photos Seen as Less Competent

BEND, OR; July 14, 2014—Girls and young women who post sexy or revealing photos on social media sites such as Facebook are viewed by their female peers as less physically and socially attractive and less competent to perform tasks, a new study from Oregon State University indicates.
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Smart and Socially Adept

 

Study by UCSB economist finds that individuals who demonstrate both qualities achieve greatest success in the workplace

July 7, 2014—Two qualities are particularly essential for success in the workplace: book smarts and social adeptness. The folks who do well tend to demonstrate one or the other. However, according to research conducted by UC Santa Barbara economist Catherine Weinberger, the individuals who reach the highest rungs on the corporate ladder are smart and social. Her findings appear in a recent online issue of the Review of Economics and Statistics.
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Gestures That Speak

 

Gesticulating while speaking is not just a 'colorful' habit

June 23, 2014—Have you ever found yourself gesticulating—and felt a bit stupid for it—while talking on the phone? You're not alone: it happens very often that people accompany their speech with hand gestures, sometimes even when no one can see them. Why can't we keep still while speaking? "Because gestures and words very probably form a single 'communication system,' which ultimately serves to enhance expression intended as the ability to make oneself understood," explains Marina Nespor, a neuroscientist at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste. Nespor, together with Alan Langus, a SISSA research fellow, and Bahia Guellai from the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défence, who conducted the investigation at SISSA, has just published a study in Frontiers in Psychology which demonstrates the role of gestures in speech "prosody."
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Emotional Contagion Sweeps Facebook, Finds New Study

ITHACA, NY; June 15, 2014—When it hasn't been your day—your week, your month, or even your year—it might be time to turn to Facebook friends for a little positive reinforcement. According to a new study by social scientists at Cornell University, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Facebook, emotions can spread among users of online social networks.
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Minority Entrepreneurs Face Discrimination When Seeking Loans

 

Minority small-business owners face more questions, get less help than white counterparts

May 29, 2014—A disheartening new study from researchers at Utah State University, BYU and Rutgers University reveals that discrimination is still tainting the American Dream for minorities.
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Personal Judgments Are Swayed by Group Opinion, but Only Temporarily

May 23, 2014—We all want to feel like we’re free-thinking individuals, but there’s nothing like the power of social pressure to sway an opinion. New research suggests that people do change their own personal judgments so that they fall in line with the group norm, but the change only seems to last about 3 days. The research is published inPsychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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Favoritism, Not Hostility, Causes Most Discrimination, Says Research Review

May 19, 2014—Most discrimination in the U.S. is not caused by intention to harm people different from us, but by ordinary favoritism directed at helping people similar to us, according to a review published online in American Psychologist.
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Oxytocin, the 'Love' Hormone, Promotes Group Lying, Say Researchers

 

Findings highlight why collaboration turns into corruption

BEER-SHEVA, Israel; April 1, 2014—According to a new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the University of Amsterdam, oxytocin caused participants to lie more to benefit their groups, and to do so more quickly and without expectation of reciprocal dishonesty from their group. Oxytocin is a hormone the body naturally produces to stimulate bonding.
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The Unconscious Mind Can Detect a Liar Even When the Conscious Mind Fails

March 24, 2014—When it comes to detecting deceit, your automatic associations may be more accurate than conscious thought in pegging truth-tellers and liars, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
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Male, Stressed, and Poorly Social

 

Stress undermines empathic abilities in men but increases them in women

March 17, 2014—Stressed males tend to become more self-centred and less able to distinguish their own emotions and intentions from those of other people. For women the exact opposite is true. This is the main finding of a study just published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, carried out with the collaboration of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Triest.
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Democrats, Republicans See Each Other as Mindless—Unless They Pose a Threat

March 17, 2014—We are less likely to humanize members of groups we don’t belong to—except, under some circumstances, when it comes to members of the opposite political party. A study by researchers at New York University and Harvard Business School suggests that we are more prone to view members of the opposite political party as human if we view those individuals as threatening.
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The Pain of Social Exclusion

 

'Social' pain hurts physically, even when we see it in others

February 27, 2014—We would like to do without pain and yet without it we wouldn't be able to survive. Pain signals dangerous stimuli (internal or external) and guides our behaviour. Its ultimate goal is to prioritize escape, recovery and healing. That's why we feel it and why we're also good at detecting it in others.
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Caring for Animals May Correlate with Positive Traits in Young Adults

NORTH GRAFTON, MA; January 31, 2014—Young adults who care for an animal may have stronger social relationships and connection to their communities, according to a paper published online today in Applied Developmental Science.
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How Politics Divide Facebook Friendships

 

Study suggests ways social media site could bridge political divide

January 28, 2014—Those who say one should never talk about politics in mixed company have never logged on to Facebook. These days a typical newsfeed is peppered with links, opinions and jabs about the latest political topics.
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Does Anonymity Make a Difference with Online Comments?

 

Study reports most anonymous comments online are uncivil

January 21, 2014—In a study titled, "Virtuous or Vitriolic: The Effect of Anonymity on Civility in Online Newspaper Reader Comment Boards," University of Houston assistant professor Arthur D. Santana at the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication found a significant correlation between anonymity and civility.
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Social Experience Drives Empathetic, Pro-Social Behavior in Rats

 

Rats will help a stranger in distress only if they have had prior social experience with the type of the unfamiliar individual

January 14, 2014—Empathy-driven behavior has been observed in rats who will free trapped companions from restrainers. This behavior also extends toward strangers, but requires prior, positive social interactions with the type (strain) of the unfamiliar individual, report scientists from the University of Chicago in the open access journal eLife, on Jan. 14.
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A Brief Visit to a Neighborhood Induces the Social Attitudes of That Neighborhood

January 14, 2014—Spending as little as 45 minutes in a high-crime, deprived neighbourhood can have measurable effects on people's trust in others and their feelings of paranoia. In a new study, students who visited high crime neighbourhoods quickly developed a level of trust and paranoia comparable to the residents of that neighbourhood, and significantly different from that in more low-crime neighbourhoods. As a result, urban planners should carefully consider the psychological effects of the environment.
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New Social Network Study Investigates How People Use Facebook to Maintain Friendships

MACOMB, IL; January 3, 2013—New social networking research by a Western Illinois University faculty member investigates how individuals use Facebook to maintain their friendships.
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Are We Hard-Wired to Follow Celebrity Medical Advice?

 

Food for thought: Following celebrities' medical advice may be harmful to your health

December 17, 2013—A paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ asks why so many people follow medical advice from celebrities when so much of it is ill-informed and some of it is potentially harmful.
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Gratitude or Guilt? People Spend More When They ‘Pay It Forward’

BERKELEY; November 26, 2013—As shoppers across the nation prepare to pounce on Black Friday sales, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are looking at what happens to commerce when there’s no set price tag. In an exhaustive study of consumer behavior, they found that shoppers spend more money when engaged in a chain of goodwill known as “Pay-it-forward” than when they can name their own price.
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Back to the Future: Nostalgia Increases Optimism

November 13, 2013—New research from the University of Southampton shows that feeling nostalgic about the past will increase optimism about the future.
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Social Networks Make Us Smarter

 

Cultures become endangered without mentors and strong social networks, says new UBC research

November 13, 2013—The secret to why some cultures thrive and others disappear may lie in our social networks and our ability to imitate, rather than our individual smarts, according to a new University of British Columbia study.
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Mothers’ Relationships Can Influence Adolescent Children’s Relationships, MU Study Finds

COLUMBIA, Mo; November 5, 2013—Until now, little research has been conducted on the association between parents’ friendships and the emotional well-being of their adolescent children. A new study from researchers at the University of Missouri suggests that mothers’ friendships with other adults can impact their adolescent children’s relationships with their own friends, particularly the negative aspects of these relationships such as conflict and antagonism.
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Do You Want the Good News or the Bad News First?

 

UC Riverside researchers find that where positive information comes in a bad-news conversation can influence outcomes

RIVERSIDE, CA; November 4, 2013—There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want to hear first? That depends on whether you are the giver or receiver of bad news, and if the news-giver wants the receiver to act on the information, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside.
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Eyetrack Study Captures Men's—and Women's—Objectifying Gazes

Lincoln, NE; October 29th, 2013—Usually, women can tell when someone's eyes aren't on her face and are, well, focused elsewhere on her body. In other words, there's a reason the saying on the T-shirt is "My Eyes Are Up Here."
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Why We Can't Accurately Judge Our Friends' Behavior

October 9, 2013—There is no such thing as objectivity when it comes to your friends: According to a new study, people evaluate their friends' behavior more positively than do strangers, regardless of actual performance on a series of tasks. Researchers say that we should then think twice before allowing people who know each other to be in positions to judge each other—from job interviews to legal settings.
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People Mean Most for our Collective Happiness

 

Most people seem to realize money can't buy happiness or love, say researchers.

October 7, 2013—Swedish soccer star Zlatan is associated with happiness, but not iPhones. A new study at the Sahlgrenska Academy and Lund University suggests that our collective picture of what makes us happy is more about relationships, and less about things.
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On the Political Fringes, Feelings of Superiority Abound

October 7, 2013—Ideologues on both ends of the political spectrum are equally likely to believe their opinions are superior to others', but their feelings of superiority emerge for distinct political issues, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

These findings suggest that, while people with moderate attitudes tend to be more evenhanded, those on the extreme ends of the political spectrum seem especially convinced that their viewpoints are the only "correct" ones.
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