Your source for the latest psychological research.

Portrait of Self-Control as a Young Process

Among the most famous self-control experiments of all-time, the “marshmallow” test conducted several decades ago by APS Past President Walter Mischel offered young children one marshmallow immediately or, if they were capable of delaying gratification, two later. When revisited as adults, the children who’d controlled themselves better that day also showed more success on a number of measures, from SAT scores to healthy body mass.

In the time since Mischel’s test, psychological science has learned a great deal about self-control — in particular, how it develops from a very early age. Much of that insight was on display during the presidential symposium organized by one of Mischel’s successors, APS President Nancy Eisenberg of Arizona State University, for the 2015 APS Annual Convention. The panel outlined the emergence of self-control networks from the initial months of infancy to the throes of adolescence.

“I believe the research the group will…


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Mind Over Matter

Humans are an easily distracted species — if you don’t believe it, just look at everyone around you on a smartphone right now — but we’ve always longed for ways to regulate our own attention. In an ancient Hindu book called the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna remarks to Krishna that the mind “is as difficult to control as the wind.” The blessed lord replies that with practice and indifference to worldly objects, the mind indeed can be restrained.

In the 2,500 years since that conversation was recorded, psychological science has figured out quite a bit about controlling the mind, said APS William James Fellow Michael I. Posner of the University of Oregon during the Fred Kavli Keynote Address at the 2015 APS Annual Convention. We know how the attention system develops in childhood, how it operates in adults, and yes, how to restrain it with practice.

We even…


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Getting Hands-On Deepens Science Learning

The rise of virtual and online classrooms has meant that students have fewer opportunities for hands-on experiences with the concepts they are learning. But new research suggests that students who are able to test or demonstrate scientific concepts in ways that are hands-on understand the concepts more deeply and score better on science tests.

This is an illustration of various physics concepts.The research, published in Psychological Science, comes from the Human Performance Lab at the University of Chicago, led by psychological scientist Sian Beilock.

“This gives new meaning to the idea of learning,” Beilock in a UChicago news story. “When we’re thinking about math or physics, getting students to actually physically experience some of the concepts they’re learning about changes how they process the information, which could lead to better performance on a test.”

To see…


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Diverse Perspectives on Strengthening Science

During the last 5 years, Perspectives on Psychological Science (PPS) has published several special sections focused on improving research methods and strengthening psychological science. This special section, introduced by Editor Barbara A. Spellman, is an eclectic collection of articles that present new insights into the strength of our science or provide commentary on topics raised in past methodology-based special sections.

Why are some scientists tempted to use questionable research practices, fabricate data, or otherwise cheat in the pursuit of science? Engel explains this temptation — and how we can reduce it — using a standard economic model describing both the individual benefits to an investigator that can arise from scientific disintegrity and the potential costs to the investigator and to other scientists.


Not all types of replications are the same. Exact replications seek to directly repeat a past study, whereas critical replications seek…


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Richeson, Behrmann Cohen, Dell, and Baillargeon Elected to NAS

APS Past Board Member Jennifer A. Richeson and APS Fellows Marlene Behrmann Cohen and Gary S. Dell have been elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS). APS Fellow Renée Baillargeon has been elected as a Foreign Associate of NAS. NAS announced the election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates on April 28. Scientists are elected to NAS on the basis of “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Jennifer A. Richeson is a professor of psychology and African American studies at Northwestern University. She studies how belonging to different social groups (e.g., racial, class, and gender groups) impacts behavior, thoughts, and emotions. One current project seeks to alleviate the stress associated with interracial interactions by reducing effortful self-regulation during such interactions.

Marlene Behrmann Cohen is a…


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