Your source for the latest psychological research.

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…


Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

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…


Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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…


Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Need to Solve a Personal Problem? Try a Third-Person Perspective

ECWhy is it that when other people ask for advice about a problem, we always seem to have sage words at the ready, but when we ourselves face a similar situation, we feel stumped about what to do?

In a 2014 Psychological Science article, researchers Igor Grossmann (University of Waterloo) and APS Fellow Ethan Kross (University of Michigan) suggested that people’s tendency to reason more wisely about others’ social problems than they do about their own is a common habit — one they referred to as Solomon’s Paradox. In a series of studies, the researchers not only found evidence of Solomon’s Paradox, but also identified a way that this reasoning bias can be eliminated.

The researchers began by confirming whether people are wiser when considering another’s problems than they are when considering their own problems. Participants in a long-term relationship imagined either…


Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Feeding Mental Health Through Nutritional Interventions

Major depression affects many millions of people worldwide and is one of the leading causes of disability, according to data from the World Health Organization. Diagnosing and treating depression is, therefore, a critical component of boosting health and well-being across the globe. Evidence-based interventions for depression include both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, but a burgeoning area of research suggests another type of therapy that could aid in effective treatment: nutrition.

This is a photo of a person washing leafy greens.“Depression is a complex and heterogeneous condition,” writes researcher Kaitlyn Rechenberg of the Yale School of Public Health. “Although much of the available research focuses on genetics and environmental factors, a small body of research indicates that nutritional influences on depression are underestimated.”

In an article published in Clinical Psychological Science, Rechenberg reviews the available literature on nutritional interventions for depression —…


Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »