Psychology


Distraught Seattle Seahawks fans after their team lost the Super Bowl. Jason Redmond/Reuters

By David G. Myers, Hope College

Browsing Facebook has become a daily activity for hundreds of millions of people. Because so many people engage with the website daily, researchers are interested in how emotionally involved Facebook users can be with the social networking site and how regular use can affect their mental health.

Now, journalism scholars at the University of Missouri did a survey of more than 700 college students and found that Facebook use can lead to symptoms of depression if the social networking site triggers feelings of envy among its users. Margaret Duffy, a professor and chair of strategic communication at the MU School of Journalism, says that how Facebook users use the site makes a difference in how they respond to it.

One in three people say they would risk living a shorter life instead of taking a daily pill to prevent cardiovascular disease, according to new research.

The scholars surveyed 1,000 people (average age 50) via the Internet hypothetically asking how much time they were willing to forfeit at the end of their lives to avoid taking daily medication.

They were also asked the amount of money they would pay and the hypothetical risk of death they were willing to accept to avoid taking medications to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The survey showed:


Peter Sarsgaard stars as the psychologist Stanley Milgram in the new film "The Experimenter". BB Film Productions

By Kathryn Millard, Macquarie University

Why have the landmark psychology experiments of the post-war era proved so enduring? Designed as dramas about human behavior, experimenters drew on theatrical techniques and tailored their results for cinema – results that, though skewed, have become embedded in the collective subconscious.

There’s no scientific definition of picky eating, but parents know it when they see it.  Sharon Donovan, a University of Illinois professor of nutrition, says that picky eaters do exhibit definable preferences and mealtime behaviors.

The analysis showed that kids deemed picky eaters by their parents did react differently to common foods and behaved differently at mealtime than kids whose parents said their kids weren’t choosy. The differences were significant and occurred across 16 assessed behaviors, according to Soo-Yeun Lee of the University of Illinois.
Teenagers who own smart phones spend more time online – including during the night, which may affect their sleep. A new University of Basel study on more than 300 students reports that teenagers' digital media use during the night is associated with an increased risk of sleep problems and depressive symptoms. 

Though they only became ubiquitous around 2007, most teenagers nowadays own smart phones. Due to wireless Internet connections and cheap data rates, teenagers with smart phones spend more time online and communicate with their peers for less money – for example via WhatsApp – which has changed their digital media use pattern profoundly. 
Risky sexual behaviors such as casual sex, lack of condom use and a high number of sexual partners have been linked to poor health outcomes, including obviously an increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections, in the effects part of the psychological sex equation, but what causes that risky behavior?
We are all familiar with the following scenarios: a woman and a man are having a conversation. She is warm and friendly and clearly interested in the conversation. He interprets her behavior as sexual interest. Or she is warm and friendly and clearly interested in the conversation and he thinks she is just being friendly and then she wonders if he's gay.

Same behavior, different interpretations. 

Men and women misunderstand each other a lot and psychologists in the Department of Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) believe that we are built that way by biology and time - we have evolved to get the wrong idea about sexual interest.
Political conservatives in the United States are somewhat like East Asians in the way they think, categorize and perceive, while liberals in the U.S. are more extreme in thought, categorization and perception, according to a new cultural psychology analysis.
Evidence from some wrongful-conviction cases suggests that suspects can be questioned in ways that lead them to falsely believe in and confess to committing crimes they didn't actually commit.

The new work provides lab-based evidence for this phenomenon, showing that innocent adult participants can be convinced, over the course of a few hours, that they had perpetrated crimes as serious as assault with a weapon in their teenage years. The research in Psychological Science indicates that the participants came to internalize the stories they were told, providing rich and detailed descriptions of events that never actually took place.