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Commitment and Forgiveness in Relationships Focus of APS Registered Replication Report Project

APS is pleased to announce the launch of a new Registered Replication Report (RRR) aimed at replicating a 2002 experiment investigating commitment and forgiveness in close relationships.

Drawing on the framework of interdependence theory, psychological scientists Eli Finkel, Caryl E. Rusbult, Madoka Kumashiro, and Peggy A. Hannon hypothesized that commitment, as a fundamental property of relationships, would promote “positive mental events, pro-relationship motives, and forgiveness.”

The researchers designed an experiment to test this hypothesis, recruiting 89 undergraduate student participants who were in dating relationships at the time of the study. The students were randomly assigned to either a low-commitment or a high-commitment experimental condition. Students in the high-commitment group answered questions designed to activate thoughts related to dependence and commitment (e.g., “Describe two ways in which you feel that your life has become ‘linked to’ your partner.”). Students in the low-commitment group…


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APS Registered Replication Report Project to Explore the “Facial Feedback Hypothesis”

Editors of Perspectives on Psychological Science are now accepting proposals from researchers who would like to participate in a new Registered Replication Report (RRR) designed to replicate a 1988 experiment testing the “facial feedback hypothesis.” The experiment, originally conducted by Fritz Strack, Leonard Martin, and Sabine Stepper, investigated the hypothesis that a person’s facial expressions can influence their affective responses, an idea that dates back to Darwin.

In their study, Strack and colleagues surreptitiously induced participants to smile by holding a pen in their teeth or to pout by holding it between their lips. Although the participants were not aware of these pen-induced facial expressions, those who held the pen between their teeth (smiling) found the cartoons to be significantly funnier than did those who held the pen between their lips (pouting).

The study has been cited almost 1000 times according to…


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Mistargeted Messages Could Spur Help-Seeking for Depression

From decades of research, scientists have developed effective, empirically-validated interventions for treating major depression and, yet, many people suffering from depression don’t receive these treatments. While there can be many reasons why a depressed person might not seek help, one major barrier seems to emerge from the disorder itself:

“Unlike many physical illnesses in which help-seeking increases as severity intensifies, the more depressed people become, the less likely they are to seek help from family, friends, and mental-health professionals,” psychology researcher Jason T. Siegel and colleagues at Claremont Graduate University write in Clinical Psychological Science.

Researchers and practitioners have tried to harness mass communication as one tool for encouraging help-seeking, and yet some research suggests that these efforts can backfire. Indeed, studies have shown that messages that directly target people with depression can, for example, increase feelings of self-stigma and reinforce beliefs about the link between depression and…


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Current Directions in Psychological Science

Current Directions in Psychological Science: Volume 24, Number 1

Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, publishes reviews by leading experts covering all of scientific psychology and its applications.

Stress and Immune Function During Pregnancy: An Emerging Focus in Mind-Body Medicine Lisa M. Christian

Unpacking Emotion Differentiation: Transforming Unpleasant Experience by Perceiving Distinctions in Negativity Todd B. Kashdan, Lisa Feldman Barrett, and Patrick E. McKnight

Category Learning Stretches Neural Representations in Visual Cortex Jonathan R. Folstein, Thomas J. Palmeri, Ana E. Van Gulick, and Isabel Gauthier

The Changing Face of Attentional Development Jelena Ristic and James T. Enns

Developing Sensorimotor Systems in Our Sleep Mark S. Blumberg

Moral Character in Person Perception Geoffrey P. Goodwin

Social Networks in Later Life: Weighing Positive and Negative Effects on…


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Evolution of the Human Brain: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

PAFF_021315_EvolutionRomantic_newsfeatureWith our uniquely large brains and extended childhoods, humans are a bit of an evolutionary puzzle. According to a recent article published in Perspectives in Psychological Science, romantic love and the pair-bonding that it motivates may be part of the answer to this evolutionary riddle.

Researchers Garth Fletcher of Victoria University in Wellington New Zealand and collaborators Jeffry A. Simpson, Lorne Campbell, and Nickola C. Overall argue that the adaptation of romantic love may have played a key role in the evolution of our big, sophisticated brains and social aptitude.

“Evolutionary adaptations typically have a jury-rigged nature, and romantic love is no exception,” says Fletcher.

Nevertheless, the researchers posit that romantic love allowed our early ancestors to form long-term, monogamous pair-bonds, which in turn created more available resources for raising children.

“Romantic love provides a potent motivational push toward the kind…


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