Psychology

With the fall semester coming to a close, a Purdue University psychologist has some advice for all those college students who are poring over their notes in preparation for finals. Don't.

In a paper recently featured in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, psychologist Jeffrey D. Karpicke suggests that students spend their study sessions testing themselves repeatedly, improving their memory retrieval skills, as opposed to cramming for tests using written notes. He says this strategy will make recalling the information much easier when the pressure is on.

Karpicke found in his study that college students are more likely to invest their time in repetitive note reading, and those who do practice retrieval spend too little time on it.
Contrary to the widely held assumption that people use facebook and other social networking sites to make idealized impressions of themselves, a new psychology study suggests that facebook and myspace profiles are actually utilized for genuine social interaction and portray accurate personality images as a result.

To conduct the study, the researchers collected 236 profiles of college-aged people from the United States (facebook) and Germany (StudiVZ, SchuelerVZ). The researchers used questionnaires to assess the profile owners' actual personality characteristics as well as their
ideal-personality traits (how they wished to be). The personality traits included: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.
Religious people say their belief in a personal god functions as a moral compass, helping them form opinions about controversial issues and distinguish right from wrong. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, however, suggests that it's just the opposite; people attribute whatever they happen to believe to god.
It's well known that young girls are very self-conscious about their bodies, but it may not be because of the unrealistically thin Disney characters they see on TV, as is often assumed.

A new study featured in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology suggests that while the media's portrayal of beauty does influence how young girls see themselves, they aren't likely to suffer short-term consequences from watching Cinderella, a conclusion in sharp contrast to earlier studies which suggest that the self-esteem of older girls and women suffers after short-term exposure to thin, beautiful models on television and in the movies.
Considering the people and things most often googled these days, it maybe surprising to learn that search engines play a much bigger role in our lives than just helping us find pictures of Megan Fox and mildly entertaining videos of would-be wrestlers in their backyards. Specifically, search engines are becoming a major part of how we learn, according to research published in the November issue of Information Processing and Management.
Psychologists earlier this month confirmed what most parents likely already know about their  teenage children. The more they're involved in their kids' lives (Specifically, by knowing where their children are, who they're with and what they're doing), the less likely it is they will engage in illicit behavior--like smoking marijuana.
If you don't think there's anything to learn by observing a bunch of drunk college students while they watch football and yell at the TV, you're missing out on a valuable cultural lesson.

By studying the emotional reactions of college football fans to their favorite teams' on-field performances, communication experts say they have gained important insights into the relationship between entertainment and human emotion.

Ohio State University researchers studied fans of two college football teams as they watched the teams' annual rivalry game on television. They found that fans of the winning team who, at some point during the game, were almost certain their team would lose, ended up thinking the game was the most thrilling and suspenseful.
Everybody understands that good parents have to lay down rules for their children as they grow up. However, too many rules can be a bad thing, says a new report in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

According to the authors, numerous studies have found that in Western countries, when parents are too strict with their children, they can impede their psychological development. It has also been suggested that this effect may not be as strong in East Asian countries — researchers have posited that certain aspects of East Asian culture may make children more accepting of their parents' intrusive behavior.
With the publication of a paper in the upcoming issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, science has finally confirmed what most people have long thought. According to the study, physical appearance says a lot when seeing someone for the first time. What most people likely don't know, however, is that first impressions based solely on appearance are actually fairly accurate.