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Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

One for All: Social Power Increases Self-Anchoring of Traits, Attitudes, and Emotions

Jennifer R. Overbeck and Vitaliya Droutman

The authors of this study hypothesized that powerful people are more likely than people with little power to engage in self-projection — the projection of one’s own traits, attitudes, and values onto group members. Participants were told they would be playing a group game and were assigned the role of group manager (high-power condition) or team member (low-power condition). After playing the game, participants rated themselves and their fellow group members on measures of individualism and collectivism. Participants in the high-power group labeled their team members as being more similar to themselves than did participants in the low-power condition, which supports the authors’ hypothesis.

Suppression on Your Own Terms: Internally Generated Displays of Craving Suppression Predict Rebound Effects

W. Michael Sayers and Michael A. Sayette

Studies that examine emotion suppression typically find a rebound effect in which suppression actually increases the targeted emotion. One problem with the methods of these studies is that they explicitly instruct participants to suppress the specific emotion, so what happens when participants are not given these instructions? Nicotine-deprived smokers were told they would (nonsuppression) or would not (suppression) be able to smoke during a 2-hour experiment. They then completed several tasks meant to index smoking motivation. Results indicated that participants in the suppression group valued smoking more than did participants in the nonsuppression group, providing the first evidence that internally generated suppression can exert rebound effects.

The Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Val66Met Polymorphism Moderates an Effect of Physical Activity on Working Memory Performance

Kirk I. Erickson, Sarah E. Banducci, Andrea M. Weinstein, Angus W. MacDonald, III, Robert E. Ferrell, Indrani Halder, Janine D. Flory, and Stephen B. Manuck

A polymorphism in the gene that encodes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is associated with decreased BDNF-protein secretion and poorer memory. Can exercise — which has been shown to increase BDNF production — moderate the effect of this polymorphism on memory? When participants were assessed for weekly levels of physical activity and for memory performance, the researchers found that greater levels of activity offset the deleterious effects of the BDNF polymorphism on working memory performance. They suggest that future studies examine changes in serum levels of BDNF in response to physical activity in individuals with this type of polymorphism.

The Ontogeny of Lexical Networks: Toddlers Encode the Relationships Among Referents When Learning Novel Words

Erica H. Wojcik and Jenny R. Saffran     

When children learn the word for a new object, are they also able to learn associations between that object and other things? Infants heard the words for four novel objects that had been grouped into visually similar pairs. They then heard pairs of the previously learned words that included two similar or two dissimilar objects. The infants listened longer when the word pairs consisted of similar rather than dissimilar objects. This indicates that the infants learned both the names of and the relationships between the novel objects.