Have you ever caught yourself wistfully thinking about a past event? If so, you aren’t alone; research has shown that almost everyone engages in nostalgic thinking and that these types of memories occur quite often — around 3 times per week. Historically, nostalgia was thought to be a variant of depression, but new research is changing the way we view this emotion. There is now a large body of evidence suggesting nostalgia has positive impacts on how people feel about themselves and how connected they feel towards others. Turner, Wildschut, Sedikides, and Gheorghiu, the authors of a recent European Journal of Social Psychology study, further this research by examining whether nostalgia can be effective in reducing stigma against out-groups (2013).
In a previous study, the authors examined the effect of nostalgia…
Close the doors, cover the windows, seal any cracks — the room is now pitch black. You can’t see anything…or can you?
New research from psychological scientists at the University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University, and Seoul National University in South Korea suggests that body movements, like waving your hand, can trigger visual sensations, even in the absence of visual information.
That is, we may be able to “see” without actually seeing.
To conduct the study, the researchers recruited participants with and without synesthesia, a condition in which a stimulus generates an automatic response in more than one sensory system. People with grapheme-color synesthesia, for example, see certain colors when they read letters and numbers.
The participants sat in a dark room, while the researchers waved three different things in front of their faces – the participant’s own hand, an arm-shaped piece of…
The Grawemeyer Foundation has named Antonio Damasio, whose research suggested emotions have a critical effect on reasoning and decision-making, the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology.
Damasio, David Dornsife Professor and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, won the prize for his somatic marker hypothesis, which scholars have since cited more than 30,000 times. He will receive a $100,000 award.
The University of Southern California professor developed his theory after spending years accumulating evidence that some brain injuries compromise emotional processing and make social and personal decision-making difficult for people. The hypothesis was first published in an influential article in 1996 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
“Damasio’s pioneering work showed that emotions, by way of decision-making, are indispensable for the construction of social…
It stands to reason that you’d be willing to pay more for a nice slice of pumpkin or apple pie before Thanksgiving dinner, when you’re hungry and salivating, than afterwards, when you’re full to bursting.
As anyone who has ever shopped for groceries on an empty stomach can attest, our emotional and physiological states can play a huge role in determining the value we anticipate getting from any given consumable item. When you’re hungry, you think just about anything would make for a tasty snack or a delicious dinner.
This is what researchers refer as a hot-to-cold empathy gap: Our hunger, a “hot” state, leads us to overestimate the value of a food that we would consume later when we’re not so hungry, a “cold” state.
And the gap also runs in the opposite direction: When we’re satiated, we tend to underestimate…
Think “Hunger Games” and you’ll undoubtedly think of heroine Katniss Everdeen fighting against a totalitarian state in the blockbuster series of books and movies. Fortunately for us, those Hunger Games are entirely fictional, but new research suggests that we may have developed a different kind of real-world “hunger games” as a way of getting others to share a particularly precious resource: Food.
Researchers Lena Aarøe and Michael Bang Petersen of Aarhus University in Denmark hypothesized that, because resource sharing was so critical to survival, our modern inclinations toward social welfare may actually reflect a basic evolutionary strategy aimed at getting others to share what they have.
To test this hypothesis, the researchers asked participants to fast before arriving at the lab. When they got there, some were given regular soda to drink, effectively boosting their blood-glucose levels; others were given a soda…