Your source for the latest psychological research.


History on Display at the 2014 APS Convention

2014-EB_Web_260x210Original uniforms, a billy club, and sunglasses from the historic Stanford Prison Experiment, in which social psychology pioneer and APS Fellow Philip Zimbardo examined how college students reacted to being placed in a simulated prison environment as either guards or inmates, will be on display at the 2014 APS Convention in San Francisco, California. The Center for the History of Psychology is sponsoring the exhibit and will display the uniforms from the 1971 study in the Exhibit Hall.

The clothing prisoners and guards wore served an important purpose to the experiment by playing a role in their perceptions of and reactions to their experimental surroundings. While the inmates were given identical uniforms and referred to by numbers, the guards wore silver mirroring glasses that shaded…

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Young Children Form First Impressions From Faces

Just like adults, children as young as 3 tend to judge an individual’s character traits, such as trustworthiness and competence, simply by looking at the person’s face. And they show remarkable consensus in the judgments they make, suggests a new Psychological Science study led by Emily Cogsdill of Harvard University.

Cogsdill’s study received Open Data and Open Materials badges from Psychological Science, a designation the journal gives to articles whose authors share their data with other researchers for possible study replication. All data, face stimuli, and prompts used in the study are publicly available via the Open Science Framework (www.osf.io/c5kme).

In the experiment, the researchers had 99 adults and 141 children (ages 3 to 10) evaluate pairs of computer-generated faces that differed on one of three traits: trustworthiness (i.e., mean/nice), dominance (i.e., strong/not strong), and competence (i.e., smart/not smart). After being shown a pair of faces, participants might be asked,…

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Patching the Leaky Pipeline of Women in STEM

March is designated Women’s History Month in the United States, recognizing “generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.” And yet, as we celebrate the many advances and achievements of women across history, a stark fact remains: Women continue to be underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

It’s a complex issue, driven by many factors. Some point to existing biases and stereotypes related to women and their abilities, while others talk about gender differences in achievement motivation and self-image. Many emphasize the lack of visible women leaders and role models in STEM fields. And there is still a debate about whether there are gender differences in actual ability.

There are likely to…

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Kids Come to Like Their Own Before They Dislike “Outsiders”

Social groups form along all sorts of lines — from nationality to age to shared interests, and everything in between. We come to identify with our groups, whichever those might be, to the point where we prefer people who belong to our groups and discriminate against those who don’t.

These group affiliations undoubtedly confer tangible and intangible benefits, but those benefits often come at a cost to members of other so-called out-groups.

Given the consequences for human societies, researchers David Buttelman and Robert Bohm of the University of Erfurt in Germany set out to investigate the early origins of intergroup discrimination.

“Investigating the developmental origins of in-group love and out-group hate is important not only from a theoretical point of view but also from a practical perspective,” the researchers note. “For instance, to develop…

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Busted Bracket? Science Suggests Strategy to Improve March Madness Picks

It’s official: No one on this planet will walk away with Warren Buffett’s $1 billion dollar prize for filling out a perfect March Madness bracket.

Hopes for the money were quickly dashed after the second round of games in the NCAA college basketball tournament – Dayton topped Syracuse, Stanford snuffed out Kansas, and Kentucky ended Wichita State’s hopes for the first perfect NCAA season in almost 40 years.

Suffice it to say, we all made wrong picks in one way or another. It’s likely that some people will blame their mistakes on the bracket “gurus” – those experts who allegedly know the ins and outs of each game in extraordinary detail.

But, according to research published in Psychological Science, thinking about the outcomes of sports games in such precise detail…

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